At The Caterpillar’s Cove, curriculum development has two key influences. The first is the constructivist theory of children’s learning and development, where the individuality of children is emphasised, and teachers must constantly adjust their methods to accommodate the learning process for each child within the curriculum framework. Children are seen as active participants in their learning. They develop theories about the natural world, and are encouraged to test their ideas in real world settings. The second is the emphasis on culture and what actually takes place in an educational environment. Known as socio-cultural constructivism, this approach is highly relevant in a multicultural and multiracial society like Singapore.
For those aged between 2 months and 3 years, the curriculum adopts a relationship-based approach that believes in establishing effective relationships as an important factor in ensuring effective practice with young children and their families. Responsive care, respect and deep engagement are key features of the curriculum for infants and toddlers. Active learning is at the core of the curriculum; key experiences centre around care-giving routines and play activities that are both teacher-directed and child-initiated. Curriculum is defined as all routines, experiences and interactions.
For the three-year-olds, their learning activities include the conceptual understanding of numeracy, aesthetics, cause and effect, health and safety, awareness as a social being, life skills and routines. Above all, they are immersed in both the English and Chinese languages.
The curriculum comprises two parts: The structured curriculum focuses on literacy and math concepts and skills that prepare children for school readiness; while the emergent curriculum allows children to apply this knowledge through investigation in projects that meet their interests.
Teachers design and provide learning opportunities where children are active and engaged, apply skills in practical and authentic ways, interact with one another, and learn from the larger community. Learning is viewed as a process of discovery, which means teachers are not fixated on giving answers. Instead, questions are used to encourage and probe children’s thinking.
Both parts of the curriculum promote children’s holistic development in the following six learning areas:
Children in different age groups are introduced to listening, speaking, reading and writing the Chinese language, based on second-language pedagogy.
Through picture books, variety of stories, songs, rhymes, poems, music and games, the curriculum seeks to immerse children in the Chinese culture, to build interest in the language and to learn traditional moral values.