10 things to know about the province’s redesigned school curriculum

As students in Kelowna head back to school, those in kindergarten to Grade 9 will embark on a new curriculum

With students heading back to class in the Central Okanagan

With school kids back in session and a new curriculum being brought in for students in kindergarten to Grade 9 this year, parents might be wondering what the redesigned curriculum entails.

For the past few years, the Ministry of Education has partnered with teachers and education experts to develop a new curriculum that will make sure British Columbia’s students and education system remains a global leader.

Today is back-to-school throughout the province. It’s also the start of the second year of a three-year process of phasing in the new curriculum.

This year the new curriculum will come alive in every kindergarten to Grade 9 class around the province, while draft Grade 10 to 12 curriculum is available to teachers for their feedback and optional use in classrooms.

Here are the 10 things you need to know about B.C.’s new curriculum:

1. The basics of reading, writing and math remain at the heart of the education system. Students will learn – and be tested – on these core skills needed to succeed in university, in the workforce and in life.

2. Tomorrow’s skills today – collaboration, critical thinking, and communications. New curriculum is designed so students learn these skills – which are exactly what post-secondary institutions and employers say they need.

3. New curriculum builds on success. British Columbia has rising graduation rates and some of the best learning outcomes in the world – and the Province is building on this so B.C.’s kids keep succeeding.

4. The focus is on concepts. Students will understand and work with the big ideas, rather than simply memorizing the facts.

5. In this together. B.C.’s new curriculum was developed in consultation with more than 200 teachers nominated by the BC Teachers’ Federation, the Federation of Independent School Associations and First Nations Schools Association. Together, global best practices were looked at.

6. Coding is coming for all students. Coding is a path to careers in the booming tech sector – and it teaches logic and critical thinking needed in almost every path in life. By 2018, every student will experience basic coding between grades 6 and 9. Government is helping train teachers this year to implement the module.

7. Broad perspectives are embedded. Aboriginal perspectives are included throughout the curriculum and students will learn about the historical wrongs faced by East and South Asian immigrants and Aboriginal people in B.C.

8. Provincial exams will test bedrock skills. Between grades 10 and 12, students will write provincial exams in English and math – skills that cut across every subject and at the heart of the courses that universities and colleges look at during admissions.

9. Testing will be rigorous. In other subjects there will be rigorous classroom-based exams, assessments, tests and projects to measure student progress.

10. Training the teachers, buying technology. Government is providing $6 million for teacher training and technology purchases, as well as dedicated training time, so schools can bring coding and the new curriculum to life.