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Nexus Introduces Brain Fitness to Its Classrooms

In an exciting collaboration between Nexus and the leading brain fitness gym, SPARKD, brain fitness was brought to a school in Asia for the first time. The project combined the expertise of Sarah Cole, Head of Primary Physical and Health Education at Nexus, and Anna Milani, Founder and CEO of SPARKD, to co-create an innovative programme for young children. Working with Year 1 learners at Nexus, Sarah and Anna also conducted a study while running this programme to study the effectiveness of combining mental and physical fitness. 

Innovation Through Collaboration

Not only was this a partnership between two industry experts, it was also a golden opportunity for two good friends of over ten years to collaborate on a project. Combining Anna’s expertise in brain fitness and Sarah’s expertise in working with children, the two were able to explore how a brain fitness programme could be developed for young children, a new age group that had not been explored previously. 

 

Working with Year 1 learners at Nexus, they conducted a 6-week study while running this programme to study the effectiveness of combining mental and physical fitness.

Sarah Cole, teacher from Nexus International School and Anna Milani, CEO and Founder of SPARKD

By comparing the pre-assessment and post-programme data, the two found that children experienced improved cognitive performance. Sarah and Anna were also nominated as speakers at the PHASE conference to present their findings to teachers from schools in APAC and Oceania. All this echoes the passion that the duo have for investigating innovative ways to improve learning and promote the overall wellness of individuals. It also bolsters Nexus’ belief in using technology as a vehicle to enhance learning. 

 

After the success of the pilot programme, Nexus will be continuing its use of the equipment and create new programmes for different age groups. The school hopes to use this technology to further the performance of its athletes and raise the wellbeing of its learners as a whole. 

Gamified Learning Experience

Thanks to the flexibility of the light display boards, they could be easily customised for this programme as the equipment can suit a wide range of ages by varying the type of activities and their intensities. In this case, the colourful, touch-responsive lights were particularly great for capturing the attention of the young learners. The learners were treated to memory, pattern, matching, sequencing and reaction games that build cognitive-motor skills using dual-task training technology. In fact, in future iterations of this programme, the team would also look at creating more complex games that include spelling and arithmetic elements. As a whole, it is a highly engaging experience that keeps learning fun, active and fruitful.

The Link Between Physical and Mental Fitness

With research that has already found the link between physical fitness and cognitive function in other year groups, it was exciting to prove the effectiveness of the training within a younger age group at Nexus. 

 

“PE is not just about sports – it’s about the health of the whole child,” Sarah shares, “we know that physical and mental health are interrelated, just like relational, emotional and environmental factors are too.” 

 

With this project really focusing on the brain-body connection, it reflects the way Nexus approaches wellbeing holistically. As a school, Nexus has a big emphasis on promoting wellbeing within its school community and this collaboration was an interdisciplinary endeavour that introduced an innovative way to boost both cognitive and physical functions in each learner. In the end, it’s really all about that drive towards pioneering newer and better ways to improve learning.  

Why does it matter to teach in better ways?

As we know that everyone learns in different ways, there really is no one best way to approach it. This is why innovation in teaching and learning is crucial to developing new and better ways to help learners process, absorb and retain information – it could even be about finding more enjoyable ways to do so! By employing innovative practices and lessons, we also exemplify creative and critical thinking to our learners as they approach challenges in their lessons. These soft skills will become key to developing future entrepreneurs and thought leaders who lead the pack. Afterall, authentic and innovative learning experiences nurture relevant, resilient and flexible individuals who can cope with the quickly-evolving times. 

Teacher working with a student in a gymnastic in a school gym
Nexus International School (Singapore)

Nexus International School (Singapore)

As a school for learners aged 3 - 18 years old, we love sharing our insights on education, learner wellbeing and learning in general.

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CPE Registration No. 201009668C, 21 March 2023 to 20 March 2027

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