What is ocean literacy?

Simply put, ocean literacy is understanding the ocean and our relationship with it. But the ocean isn’t so simple to understand! That’s why the Ocean Literacy Framework was developed.

In the United States, a community of scientists, educators, governmental organizations (Centers for Ocean Science Educational Excellence and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency) and non-governmental organizations (National Marine Educators Association, College of Exploration, and National Geographic) worked over ten years to develop the Ocean Literacy Framework. This framework provides not only a set of ocean literacy principles for grades K–12, but a conceptual tool to help educators build understanding in their students throughout their education.

Ocean Literacy Framework diagram, used with permission from the American Ocean Literacy Network.
Ocean Literacy Framework diagram, used with permission from the American Ocean Literacy Network.

Both the framework itself, Ocean Literacy: The Essential Principles of Ocean Sciences K-12, and the conceptual tool, Ocean Literacy: Scope and Sequence for Grades K-12, are available for free on the US Ocean Literacy website. The framework has also been successfully applied within post-secondary and public institutions.

Just like our global ocean, the framework is universal, so instead of starting from scratch, Canadian educators can adopt and build on its principles, integrating them into curricula and outreach activities.