An early childhood curriculum should offer educators a vision and a clear understanding of what an age–appropriate programme looks like and a framework for making decisions about how to achieve that vision and the set of intended learning outcomes identified for each level.
The Authentic Learning Experience (T.A.L.E.) Curriculum is made up of both rich and authentic experiences using good quality children's literature as the starting point for all learning. The T.A.L.E. Curriculum is mindful of the need to include and address the relevant guidelines and standards as given in the Early Years Development Framework (EYDF) and Kindergarten Curriculum Guide (KCG) documents to schools by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore.
The curriculum developers are cognizant that research has indicated that high quality programmes are planned and implemented by people who are skilled and knowledgeable about young children and how they learn. The T.A.L.E. Curriculum is developed with the aim of helping early childhood educators embrace the vision of what an age-appropriate programme looks like and a framework that balances fun with engaging learning for the children.
Thus, the T.A.L.E. Curriculum is in agreement with the current Singapore preschool educational philosophy that we should not 'overteach our children in the preschool years,' but rather seek to address the different emotional and social needs of children. We know that it is important that children are able to verbalise their inner thoughts and feelings. According to Vygotsky, this would involve a good grasp of language. This is the basis of why the T.A.L.E. Curriculum has chosen to use children's literature as the basis of the children's learning. By giving the children an authentic context and rich 'book' language, the curriculum will enable children to learn and use language in all the different domains of learning in a more realistic and authentic environment.
In summary, the Authentic Learning Experience (T.A.L.E.) Curriculum is based on authentic children's literature and provides:
- experiences that are developmentally appropriate;
- opportunities for social, emotional and cognitive development;
- opportunities to strengthen fine and gross motor physical skills;
- opportunities to express the learning in creative ways and through the performing arts
- observations by teachers of children's cognitive and social-emotional development;
- anecdotal discussions and assessments about individual interests and learning thresholds for every child; and
- a preschool environment that is a trusting and safe learning haven