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Traditional Program

Edmonton Public Schools is a district of choice providing a variety of programs to support the needs of students. At James Gibbons School, the staff, the parents and the students have determined that traditional programming best meets our learning needs. Although we are called a traditional program, we prepare our students for the future by giving them a progressive education that prepares them for 21st century literacies and the global economy.

 James Gibbons’ Traditional Program is a stepping stone toward success.

                      – Meena R., Parent

As a staff we are committed to establishing high academic standards and excellent conduct. The studious butterfly in our school logo reinforces the idea that change requires effort. Our focus is on student achievement, and our motto, “Spread Your Wings”, supports the vision that all students take flight and become life-long learners.


 What is a Traditional Program?

Traditional Program

 A Traditional Program is focused on the direct instruction of subject matter through routine and with a continuity of instruction and resources throughout the year. Whereas mainstream programs have children learn experimentally though personal exploration and discovery of knowledge, a Traditional Program mandates that material be delivered in a systematic and sequential way to the whole group, thus reducing the chances of students missing some concepts. Strong students, once a concept is mastered, may be given more challenging problems on the topic, while students who experience some difficulty can be given special assistance.

Under a Traditional Program, Language Arts strives to build a sequential body of knowledge in the child’s mind concerning the rules and mechanics that control the correct operation of language. This is accomplished with the separate instruction of phonics, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, handwriting, and writing. Similarly, the teaching of Mathematics is focused on developing an understanding of numerical relationships and a sound set of arithmetic skill through the separate instruction of numeracy, memorization, drills and practice questions, and problem solving.

Aside from holding students to a high standard of academic achievement, one of the most valuable things that a Traditional Program strives to provide students with is the concept of work ethic. A good work ethic is an attitude that will give anyone an advantage in whatever one does and, therefore, is viewed as an essential part of schooling and heavily stressed. Together with this work ethic and the orderly, predictable environment, which stresses respectful and cooperative behaviour, the Traditional Program is well-suited to the building of a strong and positive character within students.


Why do Teachers Like a Traditional Program?

 The Traditional Program, based upon a thirty-year study of how children learn best, gives our students the building blocks to confidently move forward in a progressive education. Its methodology of direct instruction of basic skills allows teachers to provide structure for students, and allows students to build an emotional, physical, and academic framework in which they can thrive. In mathematics, for instance, this means teaching students basic math facts in a direct, separate, and sequential manner, which helps them better learn and understand advanced concepts later on. It also means focusing on things such as formal handwriting, a practice that has been shown to improve idea composition, expression, and fine motor-skill development, but is often neglected in contemporary programs. The strong foundation of the Traditional Program allows students of every ability level to improve, and we know it affords our students a solid basis in the essential skills they will need to succeed.

James gibbons offers my children the same program that I remember when I was young.  

– Val B., Parent


What Does it Mean to be an Alternative Program?


An Edmonton public school offering an alternative program teaches the same Alberta curriculum followed by other schools, but does so in conjunction with an alternative program that has been approved by the Edmonton Public School Board. James Gibbons Elementary School is proud to be the only Edmonton public school offering a traditional alternative program that focuses on the traditional values and goals of education and citizenship. As the only such school, we are able to accept students from anywhere on the west end of the city.

All students for whom we are not a neighbourhood school are eligible for yellow bus transportation, and yellow bus service for kindergarten students is free.