Curriculum for a Sustainable Future


Interested in Alberta's curriculum development? Stay up-to-date!

Alberta Education released the Curriculum Advisory Panel Report and a Draft Ministerial Order for Student Learning.

ACEE reviewed the Draft Ministerial Order and the Curriculum Advisory Panel report released by Alberta Education. We are sharing our response to help others develop their own responses. Read our response.

We encouraged environmental educators to draft a response (Alberta Education online survey in February 2020) and thanks to those that let us know that they had submitted a response.

We will keep you updated on further opportunities and developments on new curriculum and at the bottom of this page is an overview of our work in this area over the past five years.


What should students learn about energy and the environment?

Curriculum for a Sustainable Future - January 2020 

The Curriculum for a Sustainable Future is a guidebook on what students need to learn to be environmentally and energy literate. It outlines key concepts and student learning outcomes for science, social studies and wellness to assist Alberta’s curriculum developers as they update Alberta’s curriculum for all grades and subjects.  It also identifies teaching and learning resources that will help teachers achieve the outcomes.


ACEE is currently updating this document because….

  • It was originally created in 2014 by an Education Task Force based on current research and interviews with 35 opinion leaders, and there is new research and information available.
  • It has been updated with minor revisions (2017 to 2019) - mainly inclusion of First Nations, Métis and Inuit content thanks to Doctor Gregory Lowan-Trudeau, professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary 
  • Albertans need a deeper understanding of all forms of energy, to build energy literacy and depolarize the conversation around energy and environment in Alberta - so we need to ensure  “What Alberta students should learn about energy?” is well addressed.

How will we update the document in 2020?

  • We hosted a series of workshops on 'What should Alberta students learn about energy?'. Read more about the workshops and the workshop summary.
  • We will work with a small group of interested folks to refine an Energy Literacy Definition and update the Curriculum for a Sustainable Future (based on input received in the workshops).
  • The updated Curriculum for a Sustainable Future will be shared with the Minister of Education and Alberta Education curriculum development staff.


Using the words in the Curriculum for a Sustainable Future (CSF), we created a Wordle to represent the words used - the larger the word the more it is used in the CSF.


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


 Engaging with Curriculum Development - a Snapshot

  • Early 2020 - Alberta Education will provide opportunities to provide input on a  draft Ministerial Order for Student Learning - we will share and support the environment, energy and climate change education community  in providing input.
  • August 2019 - Alberta Education announces the Curriculum Advisory Panel that will provide a report to the Education Minister by December 20, 2019.
  • October 2018 - Minister launches the revised drafts of K-4 curriculum and those on the roundtable invited to the launch event
  • August 2018 - a number of groups participated in the Minister's round table on energy and environment education
  • May, 2018 - participated in a full-day session to provide input on the K-4 curriculum for all subjects. Environmental education was well represented with groups such as ACEE, Inside Education, U of A Botanic Gardens, @Nature School, the P.E.E.L. project, Alberta Council for Global Cooperation and the City of Edmonton - waste education in attendance (photo above). Read what the group said about the new K-4 curriculum in a letter submitted to Minister Eggen.
  • May, 2017 - participated in a full-day session to provide input on the scope and sequence for all subjects for K-12. Again, environmental education was well represented with groups such as Inside Education, Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs), Alberta Tomorrow and ACEE.
  • January, 2017 - presented to the Subject Expert Working 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.
  • February, 2015 - presented the Curriculum for a Sustainable Future to Alberta Education’s curriculum development team.


Alberta Education - Curriculum Updates

What's New?

Draft K-4 Curriculum December 2018

Beta test site for Learn Alberta

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



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