Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture and Education 2017

Are the Arts available to Canadian Children? A 2016 examination of Canadian Arts Curriculum

John Poulsen

University of Lethbridge, Canada


The premise of this examination is that for some children the arts are the most important part of their education. For many students, it is vital that they are able to regularly study and self-express in art, dance, drama, and/or music. The purpose of this paper is to examine and report on the 2016 curriculum in K-12 art, dance, drama, and music in the ten Canadian provinces. Curriculum is the domain of each province and there is considerable variation province to province with what arts are required learning and even what is available. The methodology used was an in-depth examination of all ten Canadian provinces’ K-12 curriculum plus interviews. These interviews were conducted with teachers to ascertain whether there was a difference between the stated curriculum and common practice. A major finding of this study suggest that Canadian K-12 arts curriculum is inconsistent with regard to what arts are even available to children. Some provinces such as B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec seem to place greater emphasis on children having regular access to the arts. These provinces have curriculum in the four arts areas and mandate how much time teachers are to engage students in the arts. Some provinces such as the Atlantic Provinces do not even have provincially mandated curriculum for all four arts. The importance of the arts to all children is often referred to in curriculum documents, but, as this examination shows, not all children have equal access to arts education.


Teaching fine arts, Canada arts, K-12 Curriculum

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