Students are gaining a better understanding of civics, what it means to be an engaged citizen and how they can actively participate in their communities, through a new mandatory social studies course called, Citizenship Education 9.
The course is being piloted in 17 schools across the province.
“We know that active and engaged citizens are necessary for a resilient democracy and it’s never too early to teach our youth about the importance of being an active participant in their schools and communities here at home and on the global stage,” said Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, Lunenburg MLA, on behalf of Zach Churchill Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “This new course will challenge students to consider ways they can be active citizens and how they can contribute.”
A key component of the course is a service learning project where students identify an issue in the community and work together to find a solution. For example, students in Caledonia, Queens Co., restored a cenotaph and created a pop-up museum, students in Mabou, Inverness Co., created more sit-down spaces in their school and students in Indian Brook, Hants Co., launched a campaign for road improvements.
Students learn to use problem solving and decision-making skills, while understanding their own rights and responsibilities as citizens and the role they play in democracy.
An additional component of the course is financial literacy.
Today, April 25, a Citizen 9 class from Central Kings Rural High School in Cambridge, King’s Co. demonstrated in Halifax what they have learned about financial literacy in an event called Money Fair. Students selected a money topic, researched it and prepared a creative display that showcases what they have learned. Topics include how to take out a mortgage and everything thing you need to know about having a credit card.
The event was held by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development with the support of the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education.
“The new citizenship course engages students through inquiry based learning experiences, which bases the curriculum around questions students may have about specific topics,” said Allison Corbett, a Grade 9 teacher at the school. “It gives them the skills to be 21st century global and community-minded citizens.”
The course also teaches students to look at issues from different perspectives. They will learn to consider how historic, geographic and government decisions have affected citizenship in Canada and around the world.
The pilot phase will end in June 2018 and the course will be rolled out across the education system for the 2018-19 school year.