To Parents: Education in Ontario

Your Guide to Understanding the Ontario Curriculum

Ontario Ministry of Education

"Support every child, reach every student."

For the last decade, the Ministry of Education has been promoting a strong, vibrant, publicly funded education system that has focused on three goals :

  1. Increasing student achievement.
  2. Closing gaps in student achievement.
  3. Increasing public confidence in publicly funded education.

Who makes the documents and are they current?

The Ontario Ministry of education is responsible for the development of curriculum documents. There is a review process that is ongoing and a number of new subject disciplines are entered each year. The review process goes through a cycle consisting of extensive research, analysis and synthesis, revision and feedback consultation, editing and publication and finally, once released, training and implementation.

Curriculum policy documents identify what students must know and be able to do at the end of every grade or course in every subject in Ontario from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

The 3 components of every curriculum:

  1. The front matter provides critical foundational information about the curriculum itself and about how learning connects to Ministry of Education policies, programs, and priorities.

  2. The curriculum expectations (overall and specific expectations) are the knowledge and skills that students are expected to demonstrate in each subject at each grade level by the end of the grade.

  3. Additional supports, glossaries and overviews are included to provide further guidance and information to support the implementation of the curriculum.

Disciplines are further divided

The curriculum documents are sorted out by subject discipline and within each discipline, it is sorted by Grade which contain Strands.
Strands are the theme and educational aim within each discipline.

Ex) Language curriculum has 4 strands: ORAL, READING, WRITING and MEDIA LITERACY

These strands are then broken down by Grade which each have an overall expectation as well as specific expectations.

Reporting Student Achievement

Each curriculum represents four broad areas of knowledge and skills which expectations for subject can be organized.

The categories of knowledge and skills are as follows:
  1. Knowledge and Understanding.
  2. Thinking.
  3. Communication.
  4. Application.

There are achievement charts located in each curriculum which give guidance to evaluate students based on which level they fall into.

Levels of achievement are:
Level 1) represents achievement that falls much below the provincial standard.
Level 2) represents achievement that approaches the standard.
Level 3) represents the provincial standard for achievement.
Level 4) Identifies achievement that surpasses the provincial standard.

Implement, Facilitate and Empower Learning:

Who is responsible for the delivery and support of these documents?


Students: responsibilities are to respect their own learning development. Parents: support their children by being familiar with the expectations of each grade and encouraging them to complete homework. Teachers: to be the experts in developing teaching strategies to help students achieve curriculum expectations. Principles: are to work in partnership with teachers and parents to ensure each student has access to the best possible education as well as ensure that every curriculum is implemented correctly.

Resources/Bibliography : Where to find your child's curriculum

Joanna Jacobson