Society recognizes a set of widely-held principles which provide a framework for public education. The principles identified for the Prince Edward Island education system are as follows.
Public education in P.E.I. is based on a quality program that respects the intrinsic value of the individual and centres on the development of each child.
Respect for the individual is exemplified in a number of ways. It includes promoting educational practices that reflect a variety of learning styles, that present intellectual challenges appropriate to each student, that permit flexibility for students’ interests and imaginations.
The development of the child implies providing each student with the basic education required to participate in and contribute to society. It also means preparing students with the knowledge and intellectual training needed to enter the work force or to pursue post-secondary studies.
The public education system recognizes that education is a responsibility shared among the school, the family, and the community.
In the first few years of children’s lives, the immediate family plays the dominant educational role. As children grow, so does their involvement with their environment. They develop interests in a variety of forms of play, in books, in radio and television, and in community experiences initiated by the home.
When children begin to attend school, additional, more specialized educational tasks become the responsibility of the school. At the same time, their participation in community activities such as church, sports, and clubs provides them further opportunities for learning.
Throughout the school years, the family continues to play a central role in education. Thus, it is essential that family and school regularly communicate.
The public education system demonstrates respect and support for fundamental human rights as identified in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the P.E.I. Human Rights Act.
The fundamental rights of citizens involve a number of areas which have either specific or broad application to education. These include support for the principle of gender equity, recognition of the bilingual nature of this country, and the need to ensure equality of access for individuals with mental or physical disabilities.
Respect and support for fundamental human rights require application of the provisions of the Charter and the Human Rights Act and promotion of the principles they embody by example and through the programs and materials used in schools.
The public education system reflects the character, cultural heritage, and democratic institutions of the society it serves.
Prince Edward Island society and its educational institutions have been shaped by many factors. The insular nature of the land, the rural character of the environment, the relation to the sea, the contributions of aboriginal peoples, the settlement by a number of distinct cultural groups, and the prominent role of religion have all contributed to developing a society with a strong identity.
Island society is also influenced by the wider Canadian society, by changes in transportation, communications, and the patterns of trade and commerce, by the migration of members of communities, and by the presence of new cultural groups within society.
The public education system is based on a recognition of the beliefs and values shared by the Island community and by the wider Canadian society. These include respect for the individual, for heritage, for multiculturalism, and for democratic principles.
The programs in the public education system reflect a contemporary view of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are of most worth to the individual and to society.
It is essential that the education provided today be grounded in the experiences of the past while preparing students for the future. The content of education is not static. While a core of objectives has been with us since the beginning of public education, even what is considered changes over time.
To keep the school program current requires a systematic review process and the involvement of knowledgeable people. All participants in this review process must recognize that the scope of human knowledge is so vast that only a small fraction of it can be presented in the school program.