In the early 1980s, Saskatchewan undertook a review of its K-12 education system. As a result, a report entitled Directions (1984) listed sixteen recommendations that formed the blueprint for the K-12 educational reform known as Core Curriculum introduced in 1987. Core Curriculum outlines a K-12 continuum of seven required areas of study: English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, health education, physical education, and arts education. In addition, Core Curriculum identifies six Common Essential Learnings (CELs) for all students: communication, numeracy, critical and creative thinking, technological literacy, personal and social values and skills, and independent learning. The CELs assist students in acquiring the knowledge, values, skills, and processes that make up their school subjects; they also develop the abilities needed to function as rational, responsible, and productive members of society.
To meet community and student needs at the local level, provision is made within Core Curriculum to offer locally determined options. Such options can be provided through the selection of provincially developed courses or through courses developed at the local level. Some schools, for example, offer bilingual education in French or Ukrainian; some offer religious instruction at all grades; some offer English as a Second Language programs; and many offer specialized arts programs, practical and applied courses such as welding and wildlife management, or sports or cultural programs to reflect local interests and community contexts. In recognition of the diverse needs of students, provision is also made for teachers to adapt their instruction, materials, and environment in order to help students achieve curriculum objectives. Adaptations are tailored to students' strengths, needs and interests and are applied within all programs of instruction (i.e., regular and alternative programs). This adaptive dimension addresses the importance of providing varied ways for students to learn and for assessment to take place. In addition to these components, Core Curriculum includes various initiatives that guide the development of teaching materials as well as instruction in the classroom. These initiatives include: resource-based learning, Indian and Métis content and perspectives, gender equity, multicultural education, career education, instructional approaches, and evaluation practices.
Jane Thurgood Sagal