Chief Commissioner David Arnot speaks to teachers at the Saskatoon Teachers’ Association Festival of Education, 2014.
The Citizenship Education Project is premised on the belief that if we want to help children become responsible citizens in the future, we need to support educators today. A good way to support educators is to give them quality, classroom-ready resources that work with the existing curriculum.
To that end, citizenship education resource materials have been designed to fit within the existing provincial curriculum, and are a support for teachers of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students. These materials:
- Add a preventative component to the existing education programs at the Commission, and to provide web-based education to residents throughout the province;
- Build a culture of respect for human rights and an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship; and
- Reduce the number and nature of complaints at the Commission.
Our schools are growing rapidly, not only in numbers, but also in diversity. The make up of our schools is a foreshadowing of how our community will look in the not too distant future. The Commission believes that this forward-looking approach fosters an understanding of the relationship between respect, rights, and responsibilities. Feedback from educators indicates that there is no better time to implement a citizenship education program.
Success through Partnerships
Citizenship education is quickly becoming a well-known initiative in educational, government, and all other public sectors. The Chief Commissioner and educators working on this project meet regularly with teachers, school community council members, and educational administrators. Informal and conference-level feedback suggests that teachers are enthusiastic about these materials.
Both the Ministries of Education and Justice have reaffirmed their commitment to this project. Since 2013, the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan has been a significant sponsor of this project. This partnership provides the resources needed to fully implement the curriculum supports in all schools across Saskatchewan.
The ongoing success of the citizenship education project is attributable to many factors including pressing classroom need, teacher support, and the backing of educational and Ministerial organizations. This would not be possible without the generous support of the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan. The Foundation is a critical and significant champion of Canadian citizenship.
There has also been strong interest in this initiative from educational stakeholders such as:
- the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation;
- the Saskatchewan School Boards Association;
- the League of Educational Administrators,
- Directors and Superintendents;
- the University of Saskatchewan;
- the University of Regina; and
- the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
The Courageous Conversations resource was created to help facilitate discussions in classrooms, within businesses, and within organizations. The goal is to engage citizens to become advocates for equality and equity in our society. For many citizens, raising their voices on these topics requires great courage, and in some instances, citizens are still struggling to have their voices heard. Committing to a just society, becoming informed, and responding to the obligations of our citizenship will make a difference.