More elementary school kids to learn about residential schools

Province commits funding to provide First Nation learning to grades 1-3

The province has vowed to expand First Nation, Métis and Inuit content and learning for the province’s youngest students.

A day in advance of National Truth And Reconciliation Day, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the Ontario Government is working with Indigenous partners, Elders, Knowledge Holders, and education stakeholders to strengthen mandatory learning about residential schools.

Currently, the province’s curriculum includes mandatory learning in Social Studies for Grades 4-6, and History in Grades 7, 8, and 10, including mandatory learning on residential schools in Grades 8 and 10. The Ministry of Education announced a commitment to address the current gap in Grades 1 and 3 by September 2023.

“This is a step forward toward greater reconciliation in Ontario. It is important to ensure that all students are learning about the histories and contributions of Indigenous people throughout Ontario’s K-12 curriculum,” said Elaine Johnston, chair of the Indigenous Trustees’ Council, Ontario Public School Boards’ Association. “What we will need to see is a true collaboration with Indigenous leaders, at every stage of the process, to ensure our cultures and perspectives are properly reflected. There is much work to be done, but I’m hopeful the progress announced today will become a catalyst towards an ongoing conversation that leads to real action in the years ahead.”

“We are very pleased with the announcement that our request for multi-year funding agreements has been approved by the Ministry of Education. This will assist us in retaining the expertise required to ensure the educational priorities of First Nation communities are addressed in the provincial education system in a timely manner,” said Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare. ” While we welcome additional funding for school boards to produce supports that better meet the needs of First Nation learners, we ask for continued efforts to ensure school boards co-develop these supports with their local First Nation partners through all phases of development – from concept to implementation and ongoing evaluation.”

The implementation of mandatory learning on the subject of residential schools and Indigenous history is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action, specifically, items 62 and 63.