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Originally Broadcasted
Date: Thursday 9th September, 2021

Montessori, Reggio or Inquiry-Based Learning? What does modern brain science say?

Here are the 3 key takeaways: 
1) There has been a shift from traditional teacher-led instructional approaches to child-led learning approaches, primarily as a means to increase student engagement. Approaches like Montessori, Reggio Emilia & Inquiry-based learning are largely child-led approaches.
2) Research into the science of learning made discoveries which support aspects of these philosophies (eg. Montessori hands-on materials and phonics approach):
  • Reduced classroom visual clutter leads to better focus and learning;
  • Activities that promote motor skills, esp fine-motor skills, benefits learning;
  • Activities that promote spatial skills contributes to Math learning;
  • structured phonics programme is important for literacy development. 
3) Research into the science of learning made discoveries which challenge these philosophies:
  • Rather than being born as competent learners, children are born with a large spectrum of learning abilities.
  • If left to the natural, children’s cognitive weaknesses are likely to hinder their learning potential.
  • Direct, organised, adaptive teacher-led instructional guidance may be the most effective for early learners, with little prior knowledge.

Ms Cheryl Chia

With more than 20 years’ experience in brain fitness training, Cheryl is an accomplished physiotherapist, who is also the founder of BrainFit, an entity that specialises in scientific brain fitness training. Cheryl holds a Master Degree in Physiotherapy Studies from the University of Queensland, Australia. She was awarded a full scholarship from KK Hospital and was also the overall coordinator for paediatric neurology physiotherapy there. She has lectured in Nanyang Polytechnic and is a much sought-after speaker, including at events organised by MediaCorp-SMART Parents, the Child Guidance Clinic and schools. She is a frequent invited guest on Parenting Made Easy Radio 93.8, where she shares her expertise on brain fitness to help parents raise smarter and more resilient children. Cheryl is also an author and a mother to two young girls.