Core Competencies

The core competencies are a set of intellectual, personal, and social and emotional proficiencies that students will develop through the course of their schooling. These core competencies encompass a set of skills and abilities that are embedded in each discipline and area of learning.

Core Competencies: Communication


Communication competency encompasses the set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences, and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media. Communication competency provides a bridge between students’ learning, their personal and social identity and relationships, and the world in which they interact.
1. Connect and engage with others (to share and develop ideas)

Students engage in informal and structured conversations where they listen, contribute, develop understanding and relationships, learn to consider diverse perspectives, and build consensus. Examples include literature circles, book clubs, blogs, and small group discussions/decision making/informal debating.

I CAN statements:

 I ask and respond to simple, direct questions
 I am an active listener; I support and encourage the person speaking
 I recognize that there are different points-of-view and I can disagree respectfully

2. Acquire, interpret, and present information (includes inquiries)

Students inquire into topics that interest them, and topics related to their school studies. They present for many purposes and audiences; their work often features media and technology. Examples include “show and tell,” explaining a concept, sharing a PowerPoint presentation about a research/inquiry topic, and creating a video proposal.

I CAN Statements:

 I can understand and share information about a topic that is important to me
 I present information clearly and in an organized way
 I can present information and ideas to an audience I may not know

3. Collaborate to plan, carry out, and review constructions and activities

Students work together to accomplish goals, either face-to-face, or through digital media. Examples include planning a construction, inquiry or performance, solving a problem, conducting an inquiry, and working together on community projects.

I CAN Statements:

 I can work with others to achieve a common goal; I do my share
 I can take on roles and responsibilities in a group
 I can summarize key ideas and identify the ways we agree (commonalities)

4. Explain/recount and reflect on experiences and accomplishments

Students tell about their experiences—especially their learning experiences—and reflect, and share what they learned. Examples include presentations of learning, self-assessment, and receiving/offering feedback.

I CAN Statements:

 I give, receive, and act on feedback
 I can recount simple experiences and activities and tell something I learned
 I can represent my learning, and tell how it connects to my experiences and efforts

Core Competencies: Thinking

Creative thinking involves the generation of new ideas and concepts that have value to the individual or others,and the development of these ideas and concepts from thought to reality


Critical thinking involves making judgments based on reasoning: students consider options; analyze these using specific criteria; and draw conclusions and make judgments. Critical thinking competency encompasses a set of abilities that students use to examine their own thinking, and that of others, about information that they receive through observation, experience, and various forms of communication.

Creative Thinking

1. Novelty and value 

Students get creative ideas that are both novel and have value. There are degrees of novelty—an idea may be new to that
student or it may be new to their peers; it may be novel for their age group, or it may be novel to a larger community. It may be new in a particular context or absolutely new. The idea or product may also have value in a variety of ways and contexts—it may be fun, it may provide a sense of accomplishment, it may solve a naturally occurring problem, it may be a form of self-expression, it may provide a new perspective that influences how people think about something or the actions people take. An idea can have an impact on the individual student, classmates, a larger group of peers, in one’s community, or on a global level.

I CAN statements:

 I get ideas when I play. My ideas are fun for me and make me happy
 I can get new ideas or build on other people’s ideas, to create new things within the
constraints of a form, a problem, or materials
 I generate new ideas as I pursue my interests
 I get ideas that are new to my peers
 I can develop a body of creative work over time in an area I’m interested in or
passionate about

2. Generating ideas

Students may generate creative ideas as a result of free play, engagement with someone else’s ideas, a naturally occurring problem or constraints, or interest or passion. New ideas and inspirations can spontaneously arise from the unconscious mind, which is why students often report that their ideas just “pop” into their heads. However, students can also become aware of, and use, ways to help their unconscious minds generate ideas—giving their unconscious minds lots of ideas and information to combine and recombine at random (e.g., by learning a lot about something of interest), providing the incubation time for the unconscious to work, and quieting the filters and censors in the conscious and subconscious minds that tend to prevent novel ideas and inspirations from rising to the conscious mind (e.g., by doing relaxing or automatic activities).

I CAN statements:

 I get ideas when I use my senses to explore
 I build on others’ ideas and add new ideas of my own, or combine other people’s ideas
in new ways to create new things or solve straightforward problems
 I deliberately learn a lot about something (e.g. by doing research, talking to others or
practicing) so that I am able to generate new ideas or ideas just pop into my head
 I have deliberate strategies for quieting my conscious mind (e.g. walking away for a
while, doing something relaxing, being deliberately playful) so that I can be more
 I have interests and passions that I pursue over time

3. Developing ideas

After students get creative ideas, they evaluate them, decide which ones to develop, refine them, and work to realize them in some way. This process of developing ideas may require building the necessary skills, sustaining perseverance, and using failure productively over time. It may also require generating additional creative ideas to come up with solutions to problems along the way.

I CAN statements:

 I make my ideas work or I change what I am doing
 I can usually make my ideas work within the constraints of a given form, problem, and
materials if I keep playing with them
 I build the skills I need to make my ideas work, and usually succeed, even if it takes a
few tries
 I use my experiences with various steps and attempts to direct my future work
 I can persevere over years if necessary to develop my ideas. I expect ambiguity, failure,
and setbacks, and use them to advance my thinking

Critical Thinking

1. Analyze and Critique

Students learn to analyze and make judgments about a work, a position, a process, a performance, or another product or act. They consider purpose, focus on evidence, and use criteria (explicit or implicit) to draw conclusions and make defensible judgments or assessments. They consider a variety of perspectives. Some opportunities for analysis and critique are formal tasks; others are informal, ongoing activities (e.g., assessing a plan they are developing to solve a problem). Students often analyze and critique their own work as a key part of their learning.

I CAN statements:

 I can show if I like something or not
 I can identify criteria that I can use to analyze evidence
 I can analyze evidence from different perspectives
 I can reflect on and evaluate my thinking, products, and actions
 I can analyze my own assumptions and beliefs and consider views that do not fit with

2. Question and Investigate

Students learn to engage in an inquiry and investigation where they identify and explore questions or challenges related to key issues or problematic situations in their studies, their lives, their communities, and the media. They develop and refine questions; create and carry out plans; gather, interpret, and synthesize information and evidence; and draw reasoned conclusions. Some critical thinking activities focus on one part of the process, such as questioning, while others may involve a complex inquiry into a local or global issue.

I CAN statements:

 I can explore materials and actions
 I can ask open-ended questions and gather information
 I can consider more than one way to proceed an investigation
 I can evaluate the credibility of sources of information
 I can tell the difference between facts and interpretations, opinions, and judgments

3. Develop and Design

Students apply critical thinking to create or transform products, methods, performances, and representations in response to problems, events, issues, and needs. They work with clear purpose and consider the potential users or audience of their work. They explore possibilities, develop and refine plans, monitor their progress, and adjust their procedures in the light of criteria and feedback. They can determine the extent to which they have met their goals.

I CAN statements:

 I can experiment with different ways of doing things
 I can develop criteria for evaluating design options
 I can monitor my progress and adjust my actions to make sure I achieve what I want
 I can make choices that will help me create my intended impact on an audience or

Core Competencies: Personal and Social

Positive personal and cultural identity is the awareness, understanding, and appreciation of all the facets that contribute to a healthy sense of oneself. It includes awareness and understanding of one’s family background, heritage(s), language(s), beliefs, and perspectives in a pluralistic society. Students who have a positive personal and cultural identity value their personal and cultural narratives, and understand how these shape their identity. Supported by a sense of self-worth, self-awareness, and positive identity, students become confident individuals who take satisfaction in who they are, and what they can do to contribute to their own well-being and to the well-being of their family, community, and society


Personal awareness and responsibility includes the skills, strategies, and dispositions that help students to stay healthy and active, set goals, monitor progress, regulate emotions, respect their own rights and the rights of others, manage stress, and persevere in difficult situations. Students who demonstrate personal awareness and responsibility
demonstrate self-respect and express a sense of personal well-being.


Social responsibility involves the ability and disposition to consider the interdependence of people with each other and the natural environment; to contribute positively to one’s family, community, society, and the environment; to resolve problems peacefully; to empathize with others and appreciate their perspectives; and to create and maintain healthy relationships.

A Positive Personal and Cultural Identity

1. Relationships and cultural contexts

Students understand that their relationships and cultural contexts help to shape who they are. (“Culture” is meant in its broadest sense, including identifiers such as ethnicity, nationality, language, ability, sex/gender, age, geographic region, sexuality, and religion.) Students define themselves in terms of their relationship to others and their relationship to the world (people and place) around them.

I CAN statements:

 I can describe my family and community
 I am able to identify the different groups that I belong to
 I understand that my identity is made up of many interconnected aspects (such as life
experiences, family history, heritage, peer group)
 I understand that learning is continuous and my concept of self and identity will
continue to evolve

2. Personal values and choices

Students define what they value. They understand how what they value has been influenced by their life experiences.
They identify ways in which what they value helps to shape their choices in all contexts of their lives.

I CAN statements:

 I can tell what is important to me
 I can explain what my values are and how they affect choices I make
 I can tell how some important aspects of my life have influenced my values
 I understand how my values shape my choices

3. Personal strengths and abilities

Students acknowledge their strengths and abilities, and explicitly consider these as assets that can help them in all aspects of their lives. Students understand that they are unique and are a part of larger communities. They explain how they are using their strengths and abilities in their families, their relationships, and their communities.

I CAN statements:

 I can identify my individual characteristics
 I can describe/express my attributes, characteristics, and skills
 I can reflect on my strengths and identify my potential as a leaders in my community
 I understand I will continue to develop new abilities and strengths to help me meet new

Personal Awareness and Responsibility

1. Self-determination

Students who are personally aware and responsible have a sense of personal efficacy and growing confidence in a variety of situations. They value themselves, their ideas, and their accomplishments. They are able to express their needs and seek help when they need it, to find purpose and motivation and act on it, and to advocate for themselves.

I CAN statements:

 I can show a sense of accomplishment and joy
 I can celebrate my efforts and accomplishments
 I can advocate for myself and my ideas
 I can imagine and work toward change in myself and the world
 I take the initiative to inform myself about controversial issues

2. Self-regulation

Students who are personally aware and responsible take responsibility for their own choices and actions. They set goals, monitor progress, and understand and regulate their emotions. They are aware that learning involves patience and time. They are able to persevere in difficult situations, and to understand how their actions affect themselves and others.

I CAN statements:

 I can sometimes recognize emotions
 I can use strategies that help me manage my feelings and emotions
 I can persevere with challenging tasks
 I can implement, monitor, and adjust a plan and assess the results
 I can take ownership of my goals, learning, and behaviour

3. Well-being

Students who are personally aware and responsible recognize how their decisions and actions affect their mental, physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and spiritual wellness, and take increasing responsibility for caring for themselves. They keep themselves healthy and physically active, manage stress, and express a sense of personal well-being. They make choices that contribute to their safety in their communities, including online interactions. They recognize the importance of happiness, and have strategies that help them find peace in challenging situations.

I CAN statements:

 I can participate in activities that support my well-being, and tell/show how they help
 I can take some responsibility for my physical and emotional well-being
 I can make choices that benefit my well-being and keep me safe in my community,
including my online interactions
 I can use strategies to find peace in stressful times
 I can sustain a healthy and balanced lifestyle

Social Responsibility

1. Contributing to community and caring for the environment

Students develop awareness and take responsibility for their social, physical, and natural environments by working independently and collaboratively for the benefit of others, communities, and the environment. 

I CAN statements:

 With some support, I can be part of a group
 I can participate in classroom and group activities to improve the classroom school,
community, or natural world
 I contribute to group activities that make my classroom, school, community, or natural
world a better place
 I can identify how my actions and the actions of others affect my community and the
natural environment and can work to make positive change
 I can analyze complex social or environmental issues from multiple perspectives. I can
take thoughtful actions to influence positive, sustainable change

2. Solving problems in peaceful ways

Students identify and develop an appreciation of different perspectives on issues; they generate, use, and evaluate strategies to resolve problems.

I CAN statements:

 I can solve some problems myself and can identify when to ask for help
 I can identify problems and compare potential problem-solving strategies
 I can clarify problems, consider alternatives, and evaluate strategies
 I can clarify problems or issues, generate multiple strategies, weigh consequences,
compromise to meet the needs of others, and evaluate actions

3. Valuing diversity

Students value diversity, defend human rights, advocate for others, and act with a sense of ethics in interactions, including online.

I CAN statements:

 With some direction, I can demonstrate respectful and inclusive behaviour
 I can explain when something is unfair
 I can advocate for others
 I take action to support diversity and defend human rights, and can identify how
diversity is beneficial for my community, including online.

4. Building Relationships

Students develop and maintain diverse, positive peer and intergenerational relationships in a variety of contexts.

I CAN statements:

 With some support, I can be part of a group
 I am kind to others, can work or play co-operatively, and can build relationships with
people of my choosing
 I can identify when others need support and provide it
 I am aware of how others may feel and take steps to help them feel included
 I build and sustain positive relationships with diverse people, including people from
different generations