Align or Adopt?

MUSKOKA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

AND THE ONTARIO MINISTRY OF EDUCATION CURRICULUM

Our mission is to provide students with a well-rounded, Christ-centred education

nurturing student excellence in a caring school community.  Our vision is to provide

an attractive, thriving educational opportunity utilizing quality Christian programmes

to meet the needs of our students.

ALIGNMENT OF CURRICULUM

Muskoka Christian School attributes excellence to the glory of God.  This attribution requires continued awareness and improvement of teaching practices based on current research and curriculum that are in-line with the mission and vision of our school.  Our mission to provide our students with a well-rounded, Christ-centred education nurturing student excellence, is the lens through which MCS identifies and evaluates any curriculum and expectations we might consider with our goal to improve students’ learning.  MCS recognizes that no curriculum is value neutral and all of life finds its purpose and meaning in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  This truth is the core of both our mission and vision, and therefore, any curriculum must be considered with this underlying truth at the forefront.

Any comprehensive curricular model, including those published by the Ontario Ministry of Education (OME), can provide structure and accountability and support the mission and vision of Muskoka Christian School.  In addition to being Christ-centred, MCS seeks to provide students with a balanced education.  The OME recognizes the importance of a balanced or integrated approach for all students in all schools in Ontario.  We recognize the efforts of professional educators to provide a comprehensive structure in the Ministry’s published curriculum documents.  Key to understanding MCS’s relationship with the OME’s documents is our position to align with the expectations set out by the OME, not to adopt them.  Although this distinction may seem subtle, the importance of this difference must be recognized.  Alignment requires deliberate and diligent effort as we seek to continually pursue rigorous school improvement by identifying curriculum that align with our mission and vision and that will best lead to instructional improvement and educational excellence for our students.

Imbedded in MCS’s identity as a Christian school in Ontario is the understanding that our curriculum is infused with a Christian perspective and worldview.  We align ourselves with the expectations set out in the OME’s curriculum documents that clearly support our mission and vision.  Those that conflict are rejected, replaced and/or revised.

Ongoing assessment, reflection and discernment of curriculum, expectations and students’ learning, help to ensure and guide best instruction for our students.  The process of reviewing curriculum is ongoing as we seek to make certain that they continue to reflect our mission, vision and Biblical worldview.  Our desire is to continue to provide a distinctively Christian curriculum where students can confidently learn and grow in their knowledge, skills and in their relationship with God. 

SPECIFIC REASONS FOR ALIGNMENT:

MCS aligns its curriculum and expectations with the Ontario Ministry of Education documents to:

  • Ensure a comprehensive curriculum.
  • Ensure comprehensive teaching of all subject areas.
  • Encourage gap and overlap analysis of the school’s curriculum.
  • Build the necessary knowledge and skills into student learning to prepare students with a foundation for service in God’s world.
  • Encourage higher-order thinking skills.
  • Provide consistency throughout divisions.
  • Guide best assessment practices.

SPECIFIC REASONS FOR ALIGNMENT VERSUS ADOPTION:

MCS aligns its curriculum expectations with the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum documents for most subject area, but does not universally adopt all materials outlined in these documents.  Our reasons include the following:

  • The documents identify minimal competencies and knowledge.  MCS is committed to provide learning opportunities that encourage our students to develop to their full potential and not be constrained by limits.
  • The OME breaks the expectations into “overall expectations” and “specific expectations” of a given subject, both of which may require more time to teach than the amount available to teachers.  Teachers must analyze and discern the specific skills that are key to their students’ learning and development at each grade level.  Aligning allows and empowers teachers to carefully analyze which expectations are most important for engaging and growing students in their love for Christ and passion for learning.
  • The expectations are not written from a Christian worldview.  Alignment allows our school to add, subtract, reposition, and/or rewrite the expectations so they align with our mission and worldview which recognizes Christ’s work in creating and redeeming “all things” (John 1:3).

If you would like to review the Ontario Ministry of Education elementary curriculum documents by grades or subject area, follow the links below:

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/grades.html

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary.subjects.html

 

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