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I had the privilege of sitting down for a live discussion with one of my all-time favourite educators, Laurie McIntosh, to discuss the recently proposed K-6 Alberta Curriculum. Can I just say – I never get nervous – but, I was fucking nervous. It’s so much easier to not talk about the hard things. Emotions are so high and sometimes I get scared that this, my platform, isn’t the place to handle it. That I need to stay in my own lane (politics has never been my lane). But, I also know that mental health, and kids, and families, and kindness – are all my lane. And sometimes they’re political. In fact, often, most things are. 

I am not an educator, I am a psychologist with enormous love and appreciation for educators, and in my work, over the last few years, I have never seen a group of professionals feel more exhausted or unseen. Thank you to the many amazing educators who tuned in and continue to teach me so much. 

Here are three takeaways from my conversation with Laurie McIntosh:

  1. Acknowledgment matters. Just when I think it can’t possibly matter that much, I am reminded, once again, that “the human soul does not want to be advised, or fixed, or saved, it simply wants to be witnessed” – Parker Palmer
  2. We need to look after each other, now more than ever. It’s the hardest thing to do when you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and unseen. If you’ve got anything left today – give it away. You matter so much to so many.
  3. Rarely is there an “answer” to it all (on so many levels and in so many domains); however, kindness, respect, and upholding dignity must be revisited again and again and again. It’s never an end game.

“As educators, we’re all grieving and scared and feeling unheard. Don’t look away. Look us in the eyes and lean into the hard conversations.”

– Laurie McIntosh

Teachers – if you’re reading this: I am so grateful for you. Every day you hold space for babies just like my three and it is the most important work on the planet. 

As for the curriculum, there are so many things that need to be addressed, and so many beautiful souls who know so much more than I do that have so eloquently articulated them. Here are a few links to some of those who I respect highly, as well as some direction on where continued feedback can be provided:

Dr. Robin Bright’s analysis of ELA portion: 

https://twitter.com/drrobinbright/status/1378051788239069184?s=20

Carla Peck PhD analysis of Social Studies:

https://carlapeck.wordpress.com/2021/03/29/analysis-of-the-draft-alberta-k-6-social-studies-curriculum-part-1/

Dr. Michele Jacobsen and Dr. Barbara Brown analysis of Digital Literacy: 

http://drbarbbrown.com/2021/04/09/analysis-of-digital-literacies-in-the-draft-alberta-k-6-curriculum/

Richelle Marynowski analysis of Math: 

https://twitter.com/rmarynow/status/1381312195573600257?s=20

Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton evidence of plagiarism: 

https://drsaraheaton.wordpress.com/2021/04/03/analysis-of-plagiarism-in-the-draft-alberta-k-6-curriculum/

How We Got Here: The process from the ministerial order to the feedback that will be open until Spring 2022 

https://www.alberta.ca/curriculum-how-we-got-here.aspx

Public Feedback Survey: 

https://extranet.gov.ab.ca/opinio6//s?s=public2021EN

Caucus Contact List: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nArdbT0bWxUxIKplQP113v_qy74eC3bb08f-buaczbc/edit?fbclid=IwAR2Wy3ecRA_3pY580KKsew3xoggY7jqTjKEKRaJeXuix36XDc1DocUanO3Q

Curriculum Advisory Panel Recommendations: 

https://open.alberta.ca/publications/curriculum-advisory-panel-recommendations-on-direction-for-curriculum#summary

I will continue to share my concerns as a parent and will hold space for the hard conversations on this platform in a safe way. If you’re up for that, then I’m so glad you’re here. Give it away today, sweet ones. Whatever you’ve got is more than enough to change a life.