The New Curriculum

The New Curriculum

The new curriculum has been designed to ‘better engage students in their own learning and foster the skills and competencies they will need to succeed.’ (BC Ministry of Education).  Its guiding principles are to:

  • Reduce the prescriptive nature of the curriculum
  • Allow for flexibility and choice for teachers and students
  • Respect inherent logic in disciplines while supporting interdisciplinary learning
  • Enable teachers to be creative and innovative in their design of learning experiences

These principles align with what we seek to accomplish with our students, as outlined in our academic plan and captured in our graduate attributes, and will require reflection on how we currently support our students in accomplishing their academic goals, and how we can best support them going forward.

In order to achieve these goals, the new curriculum is built on a foundation of 3 Core Competencies and is organised around a ‘know-do-understand’ model:

The three Core Competencies are Communication, Thinking, and Personal and Social. 


The communication competency encompasses the set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media.


The thinking competency encompasses the knowledge, skills and processes we associate with intellectual development. It is through their competency as thinkers that students take subject-specific concepts and content and transform them into a new understanding. Thinking competence includes specific thinking skills as well as habits of mind, and metacognitive awareness.

Personal and Social 

Personal and social competency is the set of abilities that relate to students' identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society. Personal and social competency encompasses the abilities students need to thrive as individuals, to understand and care about themselves and others, and to find and achieve their purposes in the world.

The curriculum itself is concept-based and competency-driven, and is organised around a ‘know-do-understand’ model of education. 

The Do Know    Understand Model of Learning

Content (Know)

The content learning standards — the “Know” of the know-do-understand model of learning — detail the essential topics and knowledge at each grade level.

Curricular Competencies (Do)

The curricular competencies are the skills, strategies, and processes that students develop over time. They reflect the “do” in the know-do-understand model of learning. While curricular competencies are more subject-specific, they are connected to the core competencies.

Big Ideas (Understand)

The big ideas consist of generalizations and principles and the key concepts important in an area of learning.  They reflect the “understand” component of the know-do-understand model of learning. The big ideas represent what students will understand at the completion of the curriculum for their grade. They are intended to endure beyond a single grade and contribute to future understanding