Curriculum for a Sustainable Future


What should students learn about energy and the environment?

Curriculum for a Sustainable Future - January 2019 - download the full Document (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.

In 2018, 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 Future continues to support curriculum development to infuse more environment, energy and climate change education across all grades and subjects.

Since 2017, environment and energy educators provided input on draft curriculum:

  • Jan/Feb 2020 - engagement around a draft Ministerial Order for Student Learning
  • 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.

Alberta Education - Curriculum Updates


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

Other News on Curriculum Development


  • On 15 June 2016, ACEE was pleased to join some of Alberta's educational leadership (photo above), 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:



“Schools should prepare us for the future, not the past. The future of the world will be built on sustainability. If we learn what sustainable technologies are available when we are in school, we will be able to help shape the future of global sustainability when we graduate.” 

- Quinn, student at Jasper Place high school in Edmonton