The Weirdest Food Rules From Around Europe

Your table manners may not be as good as you think they are when you bring them to a different country.

By CHRIS CIOLLI

As full-grown human beings, we like to think we have a solid understanding of dining and drinking etiquette. But as it turns out, even though everyone everywhere eats, food rules are far from universal. For example, growing up, I was taught to leave my hands in my lap on top of my napkin when I wasn’t twirling (though never cutting) spaghetti. But in Greece and France, good manners dictate your hands be visible above the table—luckily, those rules about noodles do hold true in Italy.

No matter where you go, sharing a meal is the best way to connect with locals, and that is much easier without the distraction (and awkwardness) of unintended rudeness. Here are a few food rules from around Europe you may want to get familiar with before your next trip.

DON’T drink water with soup in Spain
While drinking water, in general, is perfectly acceptable in Spain, sipping agua with a couple of specific dishes is culturally taboo, especially among older generations and people from smaller communities. Tradition dictates that you skip water when eating octopus or soup because the combination will make your stomach hurt. If you’re really thirsty, don’t worry—wine and soft drinks are fine.

DO put your bread directly on the table in France
Unlike in many other countries, in France, bread is traditionally laid directly on the table (not a bread plate) and must be placed right side up. Bread placed face down is considered bad luck—bakers used to do this to mark a loaf reserved for the local executioner. It’s also important to note that when sharing a meal in France, no matter how ravenous you are, bread isn’t served as an appetizer—it should be eaten with your meal. Furthermore, you should break it into pieces with your hands, rather than bite right into it.

DON’T ask for extra cheese in Italy
At many Italian restaurants outside Italy, servers walk around offering freshly shredded cheese to add to your pasta or pizza, but in Italy it’s just not acceptable to smother your food with Parmesan. This is partly because a lot of dishes prepared with Parmesan stateside are actually made with pecorino cheese in Italy, and partly because asking for more cheese makes it seem like you’re trying to disguise the taste of the dish you ordered. Whatever you do, don’t commit the cardinal sin of requesting cheese on a seafood dish.

DO eat your food exactly as it’s prepared in Portugal and Spain
Looking for salt and pepper at the table? Forget about it. In Portugal and Spain, asking for salt and pepper to add to your food is an insult to the cook. In most restaurants (and in many homes) the two seasonings are not even brought to the table.

DO fold lettuce—DON’T cut it—in Germany and France
No matter how big the pieces of romaine in your German or French salad, remember this simple rule—fold and spear, never cut. To slice your lettuce may be considered a negative comment on the salad’s preparation.

DON’T waste bread in Russia
Around Europe, wasting bread is generally considered pretty bad form because in most countries, it’s a sacred component of every meal. But in Russia, it’s especially important to be judicious about how much bread you serve yourself, because the consequences could be dire: Tradition holds that when you die, all of the bread you’ve wasted over the years will be weighed and added to the balance that decides whether or not you get into heaven.

NEVER take the last bite of a shared dish in Denmark
Sharing a piece of cake with a friend? Social custom among Danes dictates that the parties divide the last bits of a shared dish equally among all parties until the dish in question is reduced to crumbs.

DO tilt soup away from you in the United Kingdom
In England and Scotland, the correct way to eat soup is to tilt the bowl and even the spoon away from you, then sip from the side of the spoon after it’s brought up to your mouth.

DON’T chew gum after dark in Turkey
Chewing gum isn’t as popular in Europe as it is in the United States and is even considered not-so-polite behavior. In Turkey, chewing gum after dark isn’t just rude—it’s taboo. According to local legend, after the sun goes down, gum turns into the flesh of the dead in your mouth. So if you’re looking to freshen your breath after a late dinner, you would be best advised to switch to mints.

ALWAYS pass the port to the left in the United Kingdom
It may seem a bit arbitrary, but in the United Kingdom, port is always passed to the left, after you’ve poured a drink for the person on your right. If someone forgets, the English tradition is to ask, “Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?” If the person hogging the bottle is in the know, he or she will take the hint, apologize, and pass it on (to the left, of course). If the person doesn’t get it, the next step is to say, “He’s a terribly good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port.”

How to be a wedding guest on a budget

By, Carla Hindman,

From wedding showers to engagement parties to wedding ceremonies, the cost of celebrating the couple-to-be can put a strain on your budget during the summer wedding season. According to WeddingBells Canada, weddings are a $5-billion business in Canada, with more than 160,000 weddings taking place every year and 67% of weddings occurring between June and September.

Are weddings also a financial burden for guests? For a few years in my late twenties, it seemed like as soon as summer hit, I was spending every weekend at a wedding, and spending all my dollars while I was at it! Though I loved celebrating with my friends, between travel and gifts, the pressure from all the partying was putting a strain on my bank account. If you’re heading to a few weddings this summer, here are some tips to get you through the season without paying the high cost of love:

Build a budget: Before wedding season, take inventory of upcoming weddings and build a budget based on your current financial situation. Do you have wiggle room for the extra dollars you may need to fork out on expenses beyond the main event? If not, consider making adjustments to your spending habits leading up to wedding season. Need help building a budget? Practical Money Skills has a calculator that can help you build or even rework a budget.

Wedding Attire:  Want to look your best on someone else’s big day? It’ll cost you. RetailMeNot says that Wedding guests spend an average of $325 for wedding attire, with men outspending women (men spend an average of $334). Don’t be afraid to recycle your outfits. For men, simply changing a shirt and tie combo can make for a quick and less costly new look. Women can save by exploring dress rental stores with options that will keep them on trend. Another option is to stick with a classic little black dress, but switch up accessories for a different look. If you really want to wear something new, you can make a little extra cash by selling your old suits and dresses at a consignment shop or online. Also, be on the lookout for buy, trade and sell groups on social media sites – often they have gently used attire that could help you celebrate in style.

Wedding Gifts: Wedding gifts can also take a big slice out of your budget. According to the RetailMeNot survey, 54 per cent of Canadians prefer to give cash. But cash is not always king for your budget. Consider bringing together a group to pitch in for a big-ticket item and don’t forget to look for sales while shopping the gift registry. Giving the newlyweds an experience, like a cooking class or a honeymoon excursion, is also a great idea for a present. Most of all be thoughtful. If your friends have invited you to share their day, hopefully they’ll be more thrilled with your presence than your present!

Travel expenses: Travelling to and from a wedding can be costly. If possible, travel with a group to cut down on fuel and hotel costs. Heading to a destination wedding? A WeddingBells survey estimates that one in four weddings that occur between November and April will be destination weddings. Explore using your rewards or loyalty points on airfare and hotel costs.

Bottom Line: Weddings are expensive, even if you’re not the one walking down the aisle. With planning and budgeting you can enjoy wedding season without breaking the bank.

By, Carla Hindman, Director of Financial Education, Visa Canada

http://www.practicalmoneyskills.ca

Golden’s Sikh heritage recognized on new Stop of Interest sign

GOLDEN – A new Stop of Interest sign was unveiled in Golden today, recognizing the community’s early Sikh pioneers and the role they played in Golden’s history.

“This new Stop of Interest recognizes the important contributions early Sikh settlers made in Golden and throughout the Interior of B.C.,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. “This is a good example of the Stop of Interest signs we want to add across the province, to tell the stories of how B.C. was shaped through the contributions of many different ethnicities and cultures.”

“We acknowledge the Gurdwara in Golden as the first in B.C., and quite likely the first in North America,” said Pyara Lotay, on behalf of the local Sikh community. “We thank the B.C. government for recognizing Golden’s Sikh pioneers and their place of worship with this Stop of Interest.”

The sign recognizing Golden’s Sikhs was originally a small local area history sign located next to the ‘Golden’ Stop of Interest sign at the viewpoint off Golden View Road. The new sign will replace the ‘Golden’ Stop of Interest sign, and the refurbished ‘Golden’ sign will be relocated to a site to be selected in consultation with the Town of Golden.

“The story of our community’s Sikh pioneers is one of hard work and determination,” said Golden mayor Ron Oszust. ” This Stop of Interest means a lot to our present-day Sikh residents, and highlights an important chapter in the rich history of our region, of which we’re all proud.”

B.C.’s Stop of Interest signs were first installed in 1958 to commemorate the Colony of B.C.’s centenary and recognize significant historical places, people and events. The ministry is refurbishing existing signs in need of repair and updating language where necessary.

In addition, the Province is adding up to 75 new Stop of Interest signs. British Columbians are invited to submit ideas for new Stop of Interest signs and share interesting stories that could be told to people travelling B.C.’s highways.

Submissions will be accepted through Jan. 31, 2017. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will install the majority of the new Stop of Interest signs in late spring/early summer 2017.

Hardy Grewal, Subway franchise kingpin, donates $1M to Concordia

Son of Indian farmers came to Canada with $7, former cabbie now owns 2,100 fast-food franchises

By Roberto Rocha, CBC News

Hardeep Singh Grewal, the son of Punjabi sugar-cane farmers, came to Canada from India in 1972 with $7 in his pocket.

Fast-forward 44 years, and the entrepreneur owns 2,100 Subway restaurant franchises in Ontario and the U.S.

Grewal now lives in California, but he stopped by Montreal to revisit his former home — and to donate $1 million to Concordia University to endow MBA scholarships at the John Molson School of Business.

“I achieved with hard work what I wanted to accomplish: my parents’ dream to get an education,” Grewal said at a ceremony at the university Monday.

In recognition for the gift, Concordia has renamed the atrium in the business school in his and his wife’s honour: It is to be called the Hardeep (Hardy) Singh Grewal and Patwant Kaur Grewal Atrium.

Grewal hopes he will inspire future entrepreneurs to work hard and achieve their goals.

“Just have a great work ethic,” Grewal said, when asked what advice he’d give students.

“Work hard, and you’ll get anywhere.”

Working all the time

To make ends meet while attending classes, Grewal worked several jobs, including driving a taxi at night.

“I was working part-time all the time. Wherever I could find a job, I made it happen,” he said.

Hoping to start a new life in California, Grewal and his brother pooled together all the money they had and bought a Subway franchise in Sylmar, a neighbourhood in Los Angeles.

He left his wife in charge of the restaurant, while he worked a job in finance.

“It was a simple business where you don’t have to cook. Just make money and deposit it in the bank,” he said.

But when he saw that the Subway was making more money than his main job, Grewal knew he was sitting on an opportunity. So he started buying more franchises and didn’t stop.

Today, he’s Subway’s master developer in southern Ontario, operating 260 stores in the region.

Along with hard work, he credits education for his success.

“My family was always talking about education. That was my motivation,” he said. “Nobody can take that away from you.”

Surrey Libraries launches Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2018

Surrey, BC. Surrey Libraries is pleased to launch its Strategic Plan for 2016 – 2018. The Library Board presented the Plan to Mayor and Council at the Council meeting on May 2. The Plan is a culmination of a yearlong process incorporating community, stakeholder and staff input.

“Libraries continue to serve an important role in the community. Long respected in their traditional roles, libraries are now emerging as dynamic platforms, offering improved access to technology and sparking innovation that will, in turn, help to transform the communities they serve,” said Library Board Chair Upkar Tatlay. “The library is at the forefront of addressing the digital literacy needs of our residents,  ensuring that everyone has access to technology and the required technical skills that are driving change in our schools, workplaces and homes. “

“Board and staff alike are proud of the accomplishments of the past few years,” says Melanie Houlden, Chief Librarian.  “We have seen a gradual shift in services as people adopt electronic formats such as e-books.  With a focus on excellent service, we will engage with the community to inspire creativity and innovation.”

Some key initiatives planned for the future include:

A brand new website to engage better with Surrey residents

  • An action plan for serving children and families
  • Expanded software and tools to support digital learning

 

The full plan can be viewed at the library website www.surreylibraries.ca

‘Where are Canada’s 4,472 missing baby girls?’

Robyn Urback | April 13, 2016 

There is something about aborting a fetus because she is a girl, as opposed to aborting a fetus for any of the other innumerable reasons women decide to terminate a pregnancy, that makes many people — including the staunchest of pro-choice advocates — acutely uncomfortable. Part of it, I think, has to do with the way that we think of the fetus. It is much harder to think of that baby as just a clump of cells when we know that she has a sex — something we obviously can’t ignore when we’re talking about sex-selective abortion.

But more than that, I think what distinguishes sex-selective abortion from abortion for nearly any other reason is that it is driven entirely by who that child is, or will become. Usually when we talk about abortion, the focus is the woman and her choices. In Canada, women can choose to terminate a pregnancy for any reason: some feel they are too young, or too old, or not suitably financially secure, or would prefer to focus on their careers, or simply don’t feel like having a child or being pregnant — now or ever. In all these cases, the woman’s quality of life is the deciding factor, not the baby’s, and there is some consensus that it’s better to end the pregnancy than bring an unwanted child to term. In cases of sex-selective abortion, the decision has nothing to do with the mother’s quality of life, and everything to do with who the mother wants that child to be.

The only other comparable scenario is where abortion is sought for a baby that has been prenatally diagnosed with a debilitating physical or mental disability. But even in those cases, the decision is usually a reluctant one, made by parents who want to spare their child a life of unnecessary suffering. Perhaps the same justification could be used for sex-selective abortion in countries where girls can expect to be mutilated, abused and subjugated for their entire lives, but this is Canada, where girls and boys grow up to enjoy the same, equal fundamental rights and freedoms. One could attempt to make the case that aborting female fetuses in Canada prevents another girl from growing up in a family where she will be seen as second-class, but that is just about the worst conceivable way to remedy an unacceptable cultural phenomenon. In fact, rather than remedy it, it indulges it.

This week, a new Canadian study revealed particular patterns among babies born to Indian immigrant mothers that suggest these women might be choosing to abort female fetuses — particularly in cases where they already have two or more daughters. According to the study, the normal ratio of male births to female births in Canada is about 105:100. Among Indian-born mothers with two girls, the ratio jumps to 138:100. With three girls, it becomes 166:100. The study’s authors estimate that over the past 20 years, 4,472 baby girls are unaccounted for.

The suggestion that sex-selective abortion is happening in Canada is not new: in 2012, an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal urged doctors to keep the sex of a baby from his or her parents until 30 weeks, noting that the phenomenon of female feticide happens in North America “in numbers large enough to distort the male-to-female ratio in some ethnic groups.” In 2014, a joint statement by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Association of Radiologists called for an end to performing ultrasounds solely for “entertainment” purposes or to determine the sex of the baby. Nevertheless, despite these calls for reform, the reports are clear that distorted sex ratios are already a fact in some of Canada’s South Asian communities, and are likely to remain so, absent some change in policy.

The issue is a hot potato for Canada’s government, both from a cultural relativism perspective, and because our proudly feminist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that his MPs will always vote in favour of “a woman’s right to choose” in the House of Commons — which could make an awkward debate if his caucus were indeed compelled to support a woman’s right to choose to abort her baby for being a girl. But regardless of whether the government chooses to take this on (I have my money on “no”), this is an issue that the law alone won’t remedy. Indeed, when women’s lives are so undervalued that a family would rather have an abortion than another daughter, the problem is bigger than something that can be fixed by banning ultrasounds before 30 weeks.

Part of the problem is that dogmatic pro-choicers largely refuse to acknowledge that sex-selective abortion exists, much less that it is a problem. But being pro-choice is not — or should not be — absolute. It’s possible to both support a woman’s right to choose and reject the notion that aborting a baby because of its sex is acceptable. It’s not. Perhaps feminists should ask themselves how they reconcile their defence of a woman’s right to choose but not of a girl’s right to live.

National Post

More funding for MEND: Healthy living program expands

KAMLOOPS – Families with children throughout British Columbia soon will have more help in achieving healthy lifestyles and healthy weights with $2 million to support the expansion of the free Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it! (MEND) program.

MEND is modelled on a U.K.-based program, which empowers families with children above a healthy weight to become healthier by participating in twice-weekly sessions focused on healthy meal planning, goal setting and physical activity.

“As a dad, I know having fun, learning healthy behaviours and growing together as a family are all great steps toward preventing chronic disease before it starts,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Through accessible programs like MEND, making an active lifestyle a lifelong habit is easier for B.C. children and families.” With

MEND, children in B.C. aged five to 13 years, gain access to fun, interactive support in adopting healthier behaviours to help achieve a healthy weight. B.C. families were first introduced to MEND in 2013, and the new funding will help the program continue in existing sites and allow for expansion to more sites provincewide.

“The MEND program is not a diet or about being told what is right or wrong,” said Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson. “Having the MEND program in local recreation centres creates new ways for families and children to learn, play and be supported in making healthier choices together.” MEND is delivered in partnership with the Provincial Health Services Authority and the Childhood Obesity Foundation, which work with the YMCA and B.C. Recreation and Parks Association to bring MEND to communities throughout the province.

MEND is available in 23 B.C. communities, including seven new expansion sites that opened in winter 2016: Fort St. John, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond, Kent-Agassiz, Squamish, Penticton. For a comprehensive list of all current MEND sites, visit: www.bchealthykids.ca. “We were very pleased to see that families who participated in MEND 7-13 made healthy lifestyle changes and planned to make more changes after finishing the program,” said Dr. Tom Warshawski, chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation.

“Children participating in the MEND program increased physical activity and met Canadian physical activity guidelines. MEND also helped families to build physical activity into their daily routine. In addition, children participating in the MEND program increased fruit and vegetable intake and MEND helped families to better understand healthy eating and to build it into their daily routine.”

“We’ve seen how MEND helps children and families make positive decisions about their health and are thrilled to be a partner in bringing the program to more B.C. communities,” said Andrew Tugwell, director of Health Promotion & Prevention, BC Children’s Hospital, Provincial Health Services Authority. “MEND is a fun and effective way for kids and families to take the first step toward healthier living,” said Rebecca Tunnacliffe, CEO, B.C. Recreation and Parks Association.

“This funding enables more families to be active in this program and learn these life changing skills. As the network expands, the message about the achievable lifestyle goals is amplified beyond the core participants.” MEND encourages a healthy body and self-image, with a focus on physical and emotional health. Examples of MEND activities include teaching healthy skills to parents and children, like healthy eating, grocery store tours and one hour of physical activity for children. “We are proud to be hosting a beneficial program like MEND,” said Craig Sheather, YMCA’s vice-president of operations.

“It’s a great way to help B.C. communities get healthy and stay healthy.” MEND is just one component of the government’s strategy to promote childhood healthy weights. Other programs within the strategy include the Shapedown BC program, offered in five health authorities, which provides medical, nutritional and psychological assessment, education and support for children with weight management issues by physician referral. In addition, the HealthLink BC Eating and Activity Program for Kids is a telehealth service that helps British Columbia children, teens and their families reach healthy weights and improve their overall health and quality of life.

Launched in February 2015, the service provides healthy eating and active living coaching for at-risk families in rural and remote parts of the province who may have limited access to the direct, in-person supports provided in MEND and Shapedown BC. The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) provided $6 million in 2011-12 to the Childhood Obesity Foundation for the Childhood Healthy Weights Strategy, which began with the Shapedown BC program.

PHSA provided an additional $2 million in 2012-13 and $2.4 million in 2013-14 to support expansion of the initiative and launch MEND. This additional $2 million provided by the Ministry of Health supports the continuation and expansion of the MEND program. MEND supports B.C.’s Physical Activity Strategy through Healthy Families BC, the government’s comprehensive health-promotion program aimed at improving the health and well-being of B.C. families and their communities.

The Legend of Santa Claus

Dr Sarwan Singh Randhawa, Community Librarian – Supervisor, Muriel Arnason Library, FVRL

 

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. to a wealthy family in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. His parents died, and he inherited a considerable sum of money, but he kept none of it. He gave away all of his wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick.

Nicholas was chosen a bishop by the people of Myra at very young age. But life was not always good for him. He along with many others was thrown into prison for not worshipping himself as a god as declared by the Roman emperor Diocletian. He was released in 313 AD when Diocletian resigned and Constantine came to power. He then returned to his post as Bishop of Myra continuing his good works until his death on December 6, 343.

After Nicholas died, he was canonized as a saint. Much admired for his piety and kindness, he became the subject of many legends. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6, a holiday in many countries. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married.

Many stories are told of his generosity as he gave his wealth away in the form of gifts to those in need, especially children. Legends tell of him either dropping bags of gold down chimneys or throwing the bags through the windows. One of the best known of the St. Nicholas stories is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married.

By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged, St. Nicholas maintained a positive reputation, especially in Holland. During the Protestant Reformation, German Protestants depicted the Christ child, “Chriskindl”, as a giver of gifts. This helped merge the association of St. Nick with Christmas. Later, this association with Chriskindl was translated to Santa’s other name: Kris Kringle. In England he came to be called Father Christmas, and in the Netherlands, the saint’s name, Sinter Nikolass, became shortened to Sinter Klaas.

The American version of the Santa Claus figure received its inspiration and its name from the Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century, and the name evolved into what it is today – Santa Claus. As early as 1773 the name appeared in the American press as “St. A Claus”. A popular author, Washington Irving gave Americans detailed information about the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas in his book “History of New York” published in 1809 under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker. This Dutch-American Saint Nick achieved his fully Americanized form in 1823 in the poem “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke. It was further elaborated by illustrator Thomas Nast, who depicted a rotund Santa for Christmas issues of Harper’s magazine from the 1860s to the 1880s.

Finally, from 1931 to 1964, Haddon Sundblom created a new Santa each Christmas for Coca-Cola advertisements that appeared world-wide on the back covers of Post and National Geographic magazines. This is the Santa we know and love today with a red suit trimmed with white fur, leather boots and belt, long white beard and a pack of toys slung onto his back.

In these days, Santa Claus is a symbol of hope, faith and trust. People believe that he is a jolly, happy and really fat (in good sense) guy, who visits on Christmas Eve, entering houses through the chimney to leave presents under the Christmas tree and in the stockings of all good children. In addition, children are taught that Santa rewards the good children and leaves the bad ones empty-handed.

This Diwali, clean, remove stains and brighten clothes all in one

Tide  wants to wish everyone Happy Diwali and introduce their Tide PODS Plus Febreze™ to help you lighten your housework load.

When you pop in a pac of Tide PODS Plus Febreze™, you’ll get an amazing clean plus 24 hours of lasting freshness! Simply toss a 4-in-1 pac into the washer to clean, brighten fabrics, fight stains and freshen each load. It’ll infuse all your favorite clothes with a bright Botanical Rain scent that smells like fresh flowers.  Tide PODS Plus Febreze™ pacs are 15% bigger vs. regular PODS to give you even more of the freshness you love (vs. Tide PODS Spring Meadow). Let your whole wardrobe spring to life with just one pac of Tide PODS Plus Febreze™.

Just one pac delivers the trusted cleaning power of Tide, wash after wash. For a brilliant clean and a wonderful scent experience that pops all day, Tide PODS Plus Febreze™ is the 4-in-1 solution for you. Tide PODS Plus Febreze™ work in HE and non-HE machines and dissolve quickly in hot and cold water.

Govt launches new curriculum to prep students to succeed in changing world

B.C.-Students attending public school  in British Columbia are about experience a new way of learning, with new curriculum being launched this year.

The B.C. government says the  new curriculum starting this school year is the first phase of a three-year transition  for students in kindergarten to Grade 9.

The world is changing. Technology and innovation are reshaping society. Today’s students need the right skills to succeed in tomorrow’s world, says Minister of Education.

“Parents, teachers, educators all share the same goal – student success. With five years of labour peace, we can focus together on connecting students with the skills they will need tomorrow. The new curriculum will help ensure students have the skills they need to turn their dreams into reality in our constantly changing world,” says Mike Bernier, Minister of Education.

“That is why this fall the B.C. government is kicking off a three-year transition to a new curriculum in B.C. schools that will ensure students learn the basics like reading, writing and arithmetic in a way that connects them to the collaboration, critical thinking and communications skills they need to thrive in college, university and the work force,” say the Minister.

Curriculum is the game plan for teaching – it maps out what teachers teach, and what students are expected to learn. In the first phase of the transition, Kindergarten to Grade 9 teachers will have the chance to use the new curriculum in their classrooms.

Flexible learning is at the heart of the refined approach and it will help teachers tap into the passions and interests of individual students. Students can learn about core subjects while doing projects related to their interests, such as music, hockey, or dinosaurs. There are also more hands-on learning opportunities so students can see how classroom knowledge applies in real life situations.

The curriculum also includes:

  • renewed emphasis on environmental sciences;
  • Aboriginal perspectives integrated throughout all grade levels;
  • the history and ongoing legacy of the residential school system; and
  • new content regarding historical experiences of East and South Asian immigrants.

The plan was developed in collaboration with more than 100 B.C. teachers over the past three years, and for the first time, all subject areas have been developed at one time – by teachers.

Starting this fall, the government begins the three-year process of transitioning to the new curriculum, starting with Kindergarten to Grade 9. Teachers in those grades will have the option to use the new curriculum this school year, before it is fully implemented in all schools in fall 2016. The entire K-12 curriculum will be phased in by the 2017-18 school year and will continue to be presented by subject areas and grade levels, ensuring consistent province-wide learning standards for all B.C. students.

The new curriculum fits in with the key goals of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to re-engineer education to ensure young people have the skills they need to qualify for in demand careers and is part of the larger transformation efforts outlined in B.C.’s Education Plan.

Quick Facts:

  • More than 500,000 B.C. students head back to school Sept. 8, 2015.
  • The teams of teachers that developed curriculum were formed in collaboration with the BC Teachers Federation, the Federation of Independent School Associations and the First Nations Schools Association.
  • Draft K-9 curriculum was posted online for review in October 2013 and garnered more than eight million views and more than 1,200 pieces of feedback from teachers, experts, parents and the general public.
  • Draft curriculum for Grades 10-12 has been developed and will be finalized this school year.
  • The provincial six-year completion rate has increased by more than 10% since 2001 and was at 84.2% in 2013-14 (public and independent schools).