CALP Family Literacy

The following is an update on Family Literacy within the CALP context from Advanced Education manager Ben Hartt:

Message on Family Literacy.

In light of recent changes to the CALP Guidelines about Family Literacy as a mode of delivery, we would like to provide greater clarity to CALP-funded organizations as to how Advanced Education views Family Literacy. Some organizations have expressed concerns that the recent changes signal Advanced Education’s waning belief in Family Literacy. I want to take this opportunity to assure you that this is not the case. Advanced Education strongly believes in the potential of Family Literacy to change the lives of adult learners. Through our participation on the Working Group of the new Family Literacy required training, and through a number of conversations internally and externally, our team has a much clearer sense about the purpose and value of Family Literacy programs in the CALP context. In our view, Family Literacy as a mode of delivery:

  • Is a holistic approach to literacy.
  • Attracts learners to an environment in which they are comfortable to learn: a safe, caring and warm space.
  • Supports learning by modelling: how adults use literacy in the home models ways to use reading and writing to the rest of the family.
  • Is built on the idea that learning happens in relationships (in families, in communities…with those we interact with in our everyday lives).
  • Is designed to build foundational skills by tapping into content that is of interest to families (for example, content could be parenting, children’s homework assignments, budgeting, story-telling, and/or cooking) and intentionally teaching adults the reading, writing, numeracy, foundational life skills, and/or English language skills that they require within this content.

As you can see from this list, there are a number of excellent reasons why a CALP-funded organization might wish to deliver adult literacy and foundational learning opportunities through the Family Literacy mode of delivery.

Family Literacy 0-6 Requirement.

As part of the recent changes to the CALP Guidelines around Family Literacy as a mode of delivering CALP learning opportunities, Advanced Education invited CALP staff and CALP-funded organization staff to share their thoughts on the current Guidelines requirements around serving only the parents/caregivers of children aged 0 to 6 years old in CALP Family Literacy programs. In an anonymous survey administered on the CALP Portal last fall, we received valuable feedback on whether CALP should 1) Adapt this rule (e.g. raise the age limit); 2) Eliminate this rule (no age limit) or 3) Make no change.

With 28 respondents, the preference of the large majority was to eliminate the 0-6 rule. Out of those selecting to eliminate this rule, common reasons included:

  • With the focus of CALP programming on adult literacy and foundational learning, it should not matter how old the children are.
  • Other community organizations, such as public libraries, Parent Link, and FCSS, provide programs to parents/caregivers with children aged 0-6, with a focus on early childhood engagement in learning.
  • There are many parents with children older than 6 who could benefit from literacy and foundational skills development through family literacy, an important consideration, especially for Indigenous and newcomer families.

Respondents who selected to adapt, rather than eliminate, the 0-6 rule feel that 12 would be an appropriate age limit, for the reasons outlined below:

  • This option would also open opportunities up for CALPs to serve parents who could benefit from literacy and foundational learning, but who have older children.

The option to adapt the 0-6 rule also surfaced the following considerations:

  • The challenge of this option would be to plan family literacy programs to accommodate families that may have different age groups of children.
  • To accommodate families of older children, organizations would have to plan programs outside of school hours.

Out of those who suggested that keeping the 0-6 rule and make no change, the unanimous rationale was that children older than 6 are already served by the school system.

After careful consideration of, and reflection on, what we have heard from you, Advanced Education has decided to eliminate the 0-6 rule, effective July 1, 2019. Our team strongly agrees that given the CALP mandate to achieve adult literacy and foundational learning outcomes, the age of the parents’ children should not impact the ability of funded organizations to plan and deliver learning opportunities through the Family Literacy mode of delivery for adult learners.

Community Adult Learning Program Guidelines.

Advanced Education will make any necessary amendments to the CALP Guidelines upon completion of the new required family literacy training project, including updates to Section 5.3.3: Family Literacy as a Mode of Delivery. The CALP Guidelines can be found on the CALP Grant tab of the CALP Portal or on the Government of Alberta’s website,

On behalf of our team, I want to wish all of you a happy and healthy winter and spring! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ECALA.

Thank you,

Ben Hartt

Manager, Community Adult Learning Program


Family Literacy Required Training Project Update

The following is an update from the Community Learning Network regarding the Family Literacy Required Training Project:

Purpose of the Project: The intent of the new training will be to focus on supporting CALPs to implement the principles and best practices of Family Literacy to deliver programs that help adult learners acquire foundational skills, and to:

  • Maintain the integrity of CALP Family Literacy programs in the province by identifying Family Literacy theory, principles and best practices
  • Help CALPs to plan and deliver Family Literacy programs that focus on the achievement of adult literacy and foundational learning outcomes, in alignment with the CALP Guidelines

Working group: To provide input into the development of required training that focuses on Family Literacy as a mode of delivery in the achievement of adult foundational learning objectives, in alignment with the 2018 CALP Guidelines:

  • Working Group Members: Sue Stegmeier, Jane Brenner, Monique Sedlar, Darlene Thompson, Tracey Earl-Wolfe, Kimberly Cairns, Alana Johnson, Barbara Moore Coffey, Wendy Peverett, Ben Hartt, Iona Neumeier, Amanda Giang, Corrie Rhyasen Erdman, Odette Lloyd, Tanis Harms, Lisa Dickner
  • Met on Nov 22 in Edmonton
  • Spent the day examining key focus areas for the training and generating a set of themes and topics to recommend to the Curriculum Committee

Curriculum Committee: Will design and develop the curriculum for the training and produce materials for training (facilitator manual, participant manual, PPT):

  • Curriculum Committee Members: Nada Jerkovic, Wendy Peverett, Corrie Rhyasen Erdman, Tanis Harms, Rebecca Still, Cheryl Lovstrom, Odette Lloyd, Lisa Dickner
  • Met on Nov 26-27 to build on the recommendations of the Working Group
  • Key themes that emerged from the cumulative & collaborative processes of both groups:
  1. History of Family Literacy
  2. Why Focus on Adults in CALP Family Literacy Programs
  3. Differences Between Family Literacy and Family Literacy Programs
  4. Learners in CALP Family Literacy programs
  5. CALP Outcomes and Measures in Family Literacy Programs
  6. Principles and Best Practices
  7. Further Learning

 Next Steps:

  • Curriculum Committee will develop a framework for the training curriculum, which will be reviewed by the Working Group on February 26
  • Feedback and recommendations will inform the curriculum
  • Curriculum Committee will develop training materials for the 3 pilots which will run in the spring

Evaluation feedback from the spring pilots will inform changes to the curriculum and the training will be piloted a final time at the Literacy and Learning Symposium in September 2019


The research phase of the curriculum development process is now complete. The Curriculum Committee is currently finalizing a framework that includes training objectives and learning outcomes. On February 26 the Working Group, with representatives from around the province, will meet to provide guidance to the Curriculum Committee on the content and direction of the framework. Feedback from the Working Group will guide the Curriculum Committee in the final stages of the curriculum development process, which is expected to be completed by the end of March. For more information about this project, please contact the Comunity Learning Network. To discuss how the new training may impact your ECALA-funded learning opportunities, contact Wendy Peverett, PD Specialist.