Having spent over a decade educating young children, E-Bridge Pre-School’s executive centre leader Angeline Goh believes that an inquiry-based curriculum is most effective in helping them absorb and internalise what they are being taught.
The 36-year-old currently manages Singapore’s first mega childcare centre at 78 Edgedale Plains with over 100 staff and 500 children. Under her leadership, her centre was nominated for the Outstanding Centre for Teaching and Learning Award conferred by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) last year. She was also a finalist for the ECDA Outstanding Childhood Leader Award this year.
Ms Goh explains how an inquiry-based curriculum can help children learn better.
What is inquiry learning?
“It is an active form of learning. Instead of presenting facts directly to children without any questions asked, we create opportunities for questions to arise and seek answers together with them.”
How is it incorporated in the classroom?
“Recently, we conducted an activity in class to help children explore the importance of conservation. With facilitation and guidance, they came up with creative ways to save the earth by reducing the use of paper products. Some even suggested making paper greeting cards smaller or replacing them with thoughtful gifts instead.
“Another way of inquiry learning is getting the children to spell unfamiliar words with an educated guess, based on their phonetic knowledge. This way, they get to navigate and ‘own’ their learning before arriving at the correct way of spelling the words. This will also improve their literacy skills.”
How does this help with learning for young children?
“Enabling the child to proactively source for information in their environment, make sense of it and then apply what’s relevant encourages them to take a more positive learning approach in life.
“It is only when children are in a conducive environment with the right support system to facilitate their own learning that they can truly understand what is being taught.”