It's time to start them young. Very young. Premier Doug Ford shared details of the new Ontario math curriculum on June 23 and it's got some big updates for grades 1 to 8 starting in September. Most notably, this change includes introducing coding skills and finance terms starting as young as grade 1.
According to Ford as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday, June 23, this is a much-needed update to prepare the province's schoolkids for vital life skills.
The math curriculum had previously gone untouched since 2005.
"This is the first new elementary school math curriculum in 15 years. It is clear that a lot has changed since 2005 and our children's education needs a change with it," said Ford during the live briefing.
"For the first time ever in Canada, students from grades 1 to 8 will learn coding, along with financial literacy skills as part of the math curriculum."
That will include learning about units of data storage such as kilobytes and megabytes as standard.
Students will also learn vital personal finance skills in each grade.
Per CTV News, these will begin with absolute basics like identifying all coins and bills and calculating change for purchases.
Then, starting in grade 4, students will learn the importance of spending and saving their money.
Grade 5 will see kids learn how to budget their money, and in grade 6 and up, they will learn and understand financial planning, according to Ford.
"For the first time, all students will learn how to code. Starting in grade 1, computational thinking will give our students that competitive advantage," said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce.
As math can be pretty frustrating for most students, Lecce also introduced new resources that aim to help students when things start to get harder.
“We have also incorporated material on social, emotional learning skills to allow students to learn from mistakes, to build perseverance and support their overall wellbeing,” said Lecce.
"The goal is to support how students use math in the world today, and how they will use math to make informed decisions in the world ahead of them," said Dr. Christine Suurtamm, Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Ottawa.
This change comes days after Ford announced that heading back to school in person is now voluntary for students since they'll be able to learn from home.
However, the province is aiming for rotating classes of around 15 students to resume in September.