Curriculum for a Sustainable Future

In 2017, Alberta Curriculum Development for all grades and six core areas (math, science, social studies, language arts, health and wellness and arts) is well underway. The Curriculum for a Sustainable Futures continues to support curriculum development to infuse more environment, energy and climate change education across all grades and subjects. 

In January 2017, Alberta Education's Expert Working Groups spent two-days hearing from non-profit groups.

  • Environmental education was well represented thanks to the groups that presented - ACEE,  Alberta Global Cooperation Council, Alberta Tomorrow, Devonian Botanical Gardens, River Watch, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs). Congratulations to everyone for the concerted effort. Sorry if we missed listing any group.

What should students learn about the environment, energy and climate change?

Curriculum for a Sustainable Future - January 2017 - download the full Document (PDF)
Curriculum for a Sustainable Future Excerpt - January 2017- download the key concepts and learning outcomes (PDF)

  • In 2014, ACEE established an Education Task Force to answer this question. The task force gathered and created many resources, used the "Environmental Education Framework' a 2013 research based document, and interviewed 35 opinion leaders and created the Curriculum for a Sustainable Future.

  • Doctor Gregory Lowan-Trudeau, professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, reviewed successive drafts of the document for inclusion of First Nations, Métis and Inuit content.

  • Curriculum for a Sustainable Future outlines key concepts and student learning outcomes for science, social studies and wellness that are needed for students to be energy and environmentally literate. It also identifies teaching and learning resources that will help teachers achieve the outcomes.

This wordle was created using all the key concepts and learning outcomes in the Curriculum for a Sustainable Future. The larger the word, the more frequently it appears in the text.

The need for environmental education in the new curriculum...

Why this matters – how to reach a million students! In the early 1990s, Alberta Education was developing its new Elementary Science Curriculum. I was invited to meet with their curriculum designers, and I hastily pulled together a small network of thoughtful and knowledgeable environmental educators to add value to those sessions. Several meetings later, we had influenced several dimensions of the curriculum, and successfully pitched Alberta Education on a new Grade Five science topic, Wetland Ecosystems. The new curriculum became law in 1996 and is still in place – and in the intervening 23 years over a million Alberta students have gone outdoors to study pond life and learn first-hand about food chains, ecosystems, and stewardship.  THIS is what can happen when we work together to help design new curriculum!

- Gareth Thomson, Executive Director, Alberta Council for Environmental Education

Alberta Education Curriculum Development


  • On 15 June, ACEE was pleased to join some of Alberta's educational leadership, upon the invitation of the Education Minister. The Minister announced the launch of Education's work on K-12 curriculum development. See the Alberta Education Curriculum Development page for more information

  • ACEE has worked hard to position K-12 environmental and energy education as an important solution to climate change, and we were really pleased to hear the Minister flag climate change as a key issue that must be dealt with in the new curriculum, along with the related topic of environmental stewardship. 

  • Ministerial Order on Student Learning – announced May, 2013 is the legal document that guides the provision of education in Alberta.

Here's some interesting media stories that mention climate change in education: