Ontario Curriculum Documents

A Review for Teachers

Locate and Navigate

Where do I find the curriculum documents? How do I navigate through them?

You can access all curriculum documents online here: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/curriculum.html

Each document is structured in a similar way. They each will outline general goals and big ideas for your students in this particular subject followed by the curriculum expectations. First the overall expectations followed by more specific expectations within each strand.

Who makes these documents and how?

It is up the Ministry of Education to decide what students in Ontario are required to know at the end of each grade and in each subject. It is up to the teachers to determine how to teach that information effectively through their own teaching philosophies.

An ongoing cycle of review (research and evidence based process) takes place each year in order to ensure the curriculum content stays relevant and appropriate for each grade.

Glossary: Vocabulary words you need to know

In order to better understand the structure of the curriculum, here are some terms you need to know:

Strand: expectations for each subject are organized into different strands. For example, the Science and Tech Curriculum explains that the expectations for this subject are divided into four strands: Understanding life systems, Understanding structures and mechanisms, Understanding matter and energy, and Understanding Earth and space systems.

Big Ideas: the ideas that we hope students will retain long after they may have forgotten the small details of the content they studied. In all subjects, “big ideas” are very important. For example, a "big idea" hopefully taken way from The Arts Curriculum is that the work and art of Canadians can make a significant difference in the world (PED 3141 Template, The Arts).

Achievement Chart: determines levels of achievement as a form of assessment and evaluation* in all subjects. Level 1: represents achievement that falls below provincial standard. Level 2: approaches the standard. Level 3: represents the standard. Level 4: surpasses the standard.

*gathering information that reflects what the student has learned, then judging the quality of that information based on overall expectations.

Helpful Tip!

Keep in mind there is a glossary located at the back of your curriculum documents as well. It is a lengthy glossary that offers definitions to help you better understand the curriculum content as oppose to the structure. For example, in the Social Studies Curriculum you’ll find proper definitions for “Elder”, “tectonic forces”, and “Loyalists” among many other terms.


Incorporating and valuing diversity in the classroom is essential, whether it be including all types of learners into each lesson plan or practicing and implementing inclusive education regardless of race, religion, gender or other similar factors. The Social Studies Curriculum outlines that interactions between the school and the community is a positive way for students to learn more about diversity. Teachers should be practicing outreach strategies and encourage the parents of their students to get involved with school activities and programs. When teaching a social studies topic related to multicultural or diverse religious groups, it is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure all students feel comfortable and can see their own diversity reflected in the course materials.

This brief resource touches on differentiated learning and how to approach different learning styles in the classroom.


This link below is a useful article on how to support English Language Learners in your classroom.



Don' forget to check out each curriculum document as well as countless other resources the Ministry has for you here: