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Ontario government making Indigenous education available for students in Grades 1 to 3

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

DURHAM/KAWARTHA: The Ontario government is making changes to the elementary school curriculum to allow for more education about Indigenous peoples.

“Already, the curriculum includes mandatory and detailed learning in the social studies, grade four to six courses, and in history in grade four, grades seven, and eight and ten. [This] includes mandatory learning on residential schools in grades eight and ten. Building on this, we are working on completing the full spectrum of Indigenous-focused learning across the elementary social studies curriculum. This includes mandatory Indigenous-focused learning added to the social studies curriculum for grades one to three,” Ontario education minister Stephen Lecce announced, on Wednesday, September 29th.

These changes, to the grades one to three curriculum, are expected to be made by September 2023. According to a provincial press release, this curriculum is expected to include information on ‘the role of family and resilience in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and nations’, ‘First Nations, Métis and Inuit historical and contemporary realities’, ‘Indigenous peoples’ interrelationship and connection with the land, and the residential school system.

“Today, we continue to work towards acknowledging and addressing past wrongs [which] are still felt across Indigenous communities in a present way. It is why we are working closely with Indigenous partners, elders and knowledge keepers,” Minister Lecce explained.

The Ontario government also announced $23.96 million in funding towards Indigenous education. Minister Lecce said this funding would “allow Indigenous partners, school boards and other education stakeholders to provide supportive, culturally appropriate and safe education opportunities for Indigenous students.”

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