For more information to support you in your role
as a parent in the education system, visit
For details regarding
other aspects of Alberta's education system,
Literacy is more than reading and writing. It is the door to the world! You,
your community and your school help open that door for your child, exposing them
to unlimited opportunities. Between Kindergarten and Grade 12, students will
develop and use many literacy skills and strategies to understand what they see,
hear and read and to communicate effectively. For more about literacy, including
information on strategies you can use to encourage literacy, visit the Literacy
You and staff at your child’s school are partners in providing a positive learning
environment for your child. You can be involved in your child’s education in
many ways. It is really important to get to know your child’s classroom teacher(s)
and the school principal by attending parent-student-teacher meetings. You could
also attend, or volunteer at, school events such as open houses, information
sessions, parent advisory meetings, concerts and special events. Often schools
have newsletters that provide updates on upcoming events in the school. In this
way, you will have a better idea of school rules, program expectations, discipline
policies and grading practices. School
councils provide another way for you to become involved in the school. The
school council works together with school staff to support and enhance student
learning. Contact your child’s school to get more information on ways you can
You, as a parent, play a key role in supporting and reinforcing your child’s
learning. It is so important for you to talk with your child’s teachers about
their expectations for the work they assign. Keep in touch with the teachers
about your child’s progress, including successes and achievements, not just
concerns. Knowing what the teachers expect and how they organize the classroom
learning experience will help you to help your child. Don’t be afraid to ask
the teachers questions when you are unsure of the tasks and work assigned.
Communication with teachers (often through the use of a school organizer or
agenda) will help you and your child prioritize and organize the homework and
studying they must do. In many schools, you can easily contact teachers via
e-mail. Just visit the school website or talk to the school office staff to
find out more.
Once you have determined what schoolwork or skills your child must work on
at home, set aside a time when there are few distractions and spend time with
your child. Be positive and encouraging in your approach to learning. It will
help your child feel confident and enthusiastic about success. Talk to your
child about schoolwork and help with homework when you can. Help your child
set realistic goals, and discuss progress in an encouraging way. Connect your
child’s schoolwork with everyday life, and use these opportunities for problem
solving in everyday situations. As you support your child through encouragement
and guidance, homework and studying can become a positive experience with rich
rewards. Developing strong homework and study habits early in life will build
a strong foundation for your child’s future learning.
You and your child can choose from a wide range of options for schooling:
public schools, separate schools, Francophone schools, private schools and
charter schools. There are also a number of unique and innovative programs,
including home education, online/virtual schools, outreach programs and alternative
When searching for a school or program that will best meet your child’s needs
and future aspirations, be sure to research what types of learning experiences
a school or program offers. Talk with the school administration and teaching
staff and attend school open-house or information events. The more information
you gather, the more informed you will be about your options, and the better
you’ll feel about your child’s learning experience. For information about schooling
options, refer to the School
Choice web page.
If your child is having difficulty learning, the first step is to talk with
the classroom teacher to determine what might be causing these difficulties
and decide if there are some small changes that can be made in the classroom
environment to improve learning.
Teachers can use a number of strategies to explore your child’s learning strengths
and needs, including:
- talking with your child
- observing your child in the classroom in various types of learning experiences
- analyzing your child’s class work
- doing an informal reading or mathematics inventory.
Many school authorities have school-based teams that might include administrators,
counsellors, learning coaches and other school staff knowledgeable about learning
strategies and learning difficulties. Classroom teachers can consult with the
team to develop strategies for addressing the learning needs of individual
If it is apparent that school-based strategies aren’t enough, the teacher,
in consultation with parents, may make a referral for a specialized assessment.
Written informed parent consent is required before any specialized assessment,
such as psycho-education, speech-language or IQ testing, begins. Each school
authority has different assessment procedures, so talk to your child’s teacher
or the school principal about what will take place and how long it will take.
There should be opportunities during the assessment for you, as a parent, to
share information and insights about how your child learns.
When the school requests a specialized assessment for your child, this does
not necessarily mean your child has a specific disability or special education
needs. It may simply be an indicator that your child is having difficulties
learning at a particular time and may require short-term support.
When assessment results and additional information have been compiled, the
school will contact you and arrange for a meeting to explain the results, discuss
the recommendations and get your input on any related decisions.
Many children who have disabilities or medical conditions that impact learning
will receive support in regular classrooms in their local school or school
of choice. For more information on the types of strategies required to support
students with disabilities or medical conditions, see Medical/Disability
Information for Classroom Teachers.
Depending on the individual learning needs of your child, there is a continuum
of possible supports, from minor adaptations in instruction to intensive individualized
All decisions about programming must be made in the best interest of your
child so he or she can experience both challenge and success. Your child may
benefit from specialized programming, either within a local school or at a
district site. They may attend specialized classes full-time or may spend part
of the day in a specialized program and part of the day in the grade-level
classroom. Alternatively, your child may do best in a regular classroom with
additional supports. In a truly inclusive education system, there is a wide
variety of placement and programming options that may be right for your child.
For more ideas on how to support your child's learning, see The Learning Team: A Handbook for Parents of Children with Special Needs.
For more information on inclusive education, refer to the Inclusive Education web page.
Raising children who have exceptional abilities can be both exciting and challenging
for parents. Because every child is unique, there is no one way to ensure children
have the best opportunities possible to develop the skills and attitudes they
need to live a satisfying and happy life. For information and ideas on supporting,
at home and at school, children who are gifted and talented, see The
Journey: A Handbook for Parents of Children Who Are Gifted and Talented.
French immersion is a program open to all students. Just like students in the
regular English program, French immersion students display a wide range of abilities
and needs—they may be gifted or have behavioural, emotional, physical or learning
challenges. View more
information regarding French immersion special needs.
There are several reasons why children may become disinterested in school and consider leaving school. A student’s decision to leave school is not a snap decision but rather the result of a process that often begins long before the student reaches high school. For details on key reasons why students contemplate leaving school, and to learn about how you can support your child to stay in school,
visit the High School Completion website.
How can my child prepare for the transition from...
You are your child’s first and most important teacher. When your child begins
Kindergarten, you and the teacher form a partnership to support learning at
home and at school. In Kindergarten, the values and beliefs of the home are
acknowledged, and the cultural diversity of families is recognized.
Entering Kindergarten is an exciting time for your child. Moving from the
home environment to the school environment is a big step. Because this transition
can be stressful for both you and your child, the teacher typically provides
orientations to help everyone feel at ease. Your child will then become acquainted
with other children and with classroom activities and materials. Gradually,
your child will gain a sense of belonging because they know the routines and
Young children are naturally curious and eager to learn. Learning is enhanced
by interaction and cooperation with others, including adults and children.
Through interactions, organized activities and purposeful play in the Kindergarten
program, your child will explore and experiment with their environment to add
to their knowledge, learn new skills and practise familiar ones. In some Kindergarten
programs, a teacher assistant helps with and supports delivery of the program.
In special needs or language programs, the assistant has a more specialized
Program Statement provides more information about Kindergarten in Alberta.
Additional helpful links include the following:
Transitioning from elementary to junior high school is not always easy. As
thrilling as it may sound to your child at first, the reality may feel extremely
overwhelming. In the junior high school years, your child will go through more
physical, mental, social and emotional changes than they have experienced since
their first years of life.
Grades 7–9 students are required to take six subjects: English Language Arts,
Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, and Health and Life
Skills. To round out their learning and pique their interests, they can also
choose options such as Career and Technology Studies, Fine Arts, Languages,
Environmental and Outdoor Education, and Ethics.
In contrast to their experience in elementary school, Grade 7 students will
discover that they have more than one teacher—each with his or her own expectations—and
that they are expected to move from room to room throughout the day. Their
workloads and homework expectations will increase, they will be expected to
show more independence and self-motivation, and they’ll be encouraged to explore
and develop individual interests and skills and to participate in extracurricular
and cocurricular activities.
If you’re a parent reading this right now in order to help your child transition
from elementary to junior high school, the news for you and your child is positive:
The most successful students have historically been those whose parents are
involved with their schooling.
Most importantly, the stress of your child’s move from elementary to junior high
school need not fall squarely on your family. Staff from your child’s elementary
school and junior high school will be happy to provide assistance and support
during this important transition.
Your teen’s strengths, interests and career dreams will influence the courses
they choose in junior and senior high school. It is really all about options.
Work with teachers, school counsellors and administrators to determine the path
that will help your teen move toward their future goals. At the start of high
school, it is important to understand the high school graduation requirements
and the course sequences that must be followed to ensure that your teen is on
the path that will help them achieve their goals. Want more support for your
teen’s transition to senior high school? Visit the Alberta
Learning Information Service website. If your teen is contemplating a career in the trades, see the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Updated Entrance Requirements.
High School Graduation Requirements:
Senior high school courses (required and optional) help students plan careers,
develop personal management skills, explore their options and build their résumés.
Students should make sure they have the courses they need to enter the program,
or to follow the career path, they are interested in. For some 30-level courses,
diploma examination must be written. Your teen can get help with course
decisions by consulting school counsellors and by referring to current post-secondary
calendars, the Alberta
Learning Information Service website and the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Updated Entrance Requirements. School counsellors can also help
your teen apply to post-secondary institutions, explore scholarships and
investigate options for financial
assistance. Get the Education
and Training Planner or visit the Alberta
Learning Information Service website to learn more. The Tip
Sheet for Career Coaching Your Teens may also be helpful.
High School Graduation Requirements:
Provincial Dual Credit Strategy
Dual Credit provides high school students with the opportunity to participate in apprenticeship training or post-secondary, college, or university courses. Students get high school and post-secondary credits for the same course.
- In preferred placement, students do not have to take some courses (often at the first-year level) because of coursework completed in high school (e.g., first-period apprenticeship, child development assistant).
- In workplace certification, students can achieve workplace certification through pathways particularly in Career and Technology Studies (e.g., medical first responder, Adobe Certified Expert).
To learn more, visit http://education.alberta.ca/department/ipr/dualcredit.aspx
I want to know more about...
Beginning in Grade 8, students who learn best through experiential learning
can choose to take Knowledge and Employability courses to prepare for employment,
further studies, lifelong learning and active citizenship. Knowledge and Employability
includes a combination of academic and occupational courses. Learning plans
establish goals for students to succeed in school and to become better prepared
for the workplace. Knowledge and Employability students earn a Certificate
of High School Achievement. They may also transition from Knowledge and Employability
courses to courses in other sequences if they wish to earn an Alberta High
School Diploma. To determine if Knowledge and Employability courses might be
the right choice for your child, review the specific criteria outlined in the Knowledge
and Employability Courses Handbook: Grades 8–12 (see pages 3 and
Students and teachers don’t have to be in the same place for learning to occur.
Students can learn anytime, in any place and at any pace with a variety of learning
resources. Distributed learning Learn EveryWare courses developed by Alberta
Education are provincially authorized and offer students flexibility in their
learning. All online distributed learning courses are available on LearnAlberta.ca under
the T4T Courses tab.
Locally developed courses (LDCs) provide opportunities for students to explore
a variety of interests in different subject areas. Courses in such subject areas
as creative writing and publishing, forensic science studies, international languages,
and philosophy allow students to pursue their special interests. LDCs often incorporate
local expertise and attractions; e.g., an LDC in palaeontology has been co-developed
with the Royal Tyrrell Museum. LDCs are developed/acquired and authorized by
school authorities and are intended to complement provincially authorized programs.
Talk to the staff at your school to find out if they offer any LDCs that might
interest your child. View more
details regarding LDCs.
French immersion is a highly successful approach to second language learning.
It’s an effective way for your child to become functionally fluent in French
while achieving all of the objectives of the regular school program. French immersion
may begin in Kindergarten (early immersion) or in Grade 6 or later (late immersion).
Several or all subjects, except English language arts, are taught in French.
This program is designed for students whose first language is not French. The
objectives are full mastery of the English language, functional fluency in French,
and understanding and appreciation of the French culture. Want to know more?
Refer to the Yes You Can Help! Information and Inspiration for Parents, which is part of the French
Immersion web page.
Many children born in Canada speak a language other than English at home, and many students move here from countries where English is not the main language. Students who are learning English at the same time they are learning the content of their school subjects are called English language learners. Schools provide English as a second language (ESL) supports and programs to help English language learners learn English so they can do well in all of their school subjects.
English language learners receive supports in the classroom, such as:
- pictures, diagrams and charts to help them understand what they read or hear
- books and other written materials that match their reading abilities and interests
- direct teaching about English grammar and vocabulary.
Some ESL programs or courses help students learn English while they learn about Canadian cultural values, customs and social expectations.
Every year, schools measure English language learners for their fluency in English. Schools use this information to decide what sort of supports each student needs. Many schools use the Alberta K–12 ESL Proficiency Benchmarks to find out an English language learner’s English level in Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. There are five levels of language proficiency. If your child is an English language learner, the school will tell you about their English language proficiency either once every school year or at report card times. You are encouraged to:
- contact the school to ask questions
- provide useful information about your child
- volunteer at the school.
You might also wish to look at Curriculum Express for Parents if you are learning English as a new language. This resource series, available for Kindergarten to Grade 3, gives short explanations about Alberta schools and what students learn.
For more information about ESL programs, contact your child’s school.