Each child’s learning journey is unique – which is why Agora Preschool at Agora Colearning has developed a one-of-a-kind Early Years programme. The approach is child-centred with individual learning plans that are filled with play, in a personalised learning environment. Head of Early Years CLAIRE MICHAEL shares some details about the new preschool in Singapore aimed at children aged 18 months to 6 years.
Tell us about the Early Years programme at Agora Preschool.
We created a unique programme that blends elements of Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Waldorf Steiner to cater to the specific needs of children. So, each child has an Individual Learning Plan that documents, monitors and encourages their learning journey in a personalised learning environment.
The venue has plenty of wide indoor and outdoor spaces. Why is this important?
Space is critical for a child’s growth and development. When children enjoy an open environment that feels limitless, it encourages their imagination and exploration. They learn to contrast their experience with smaller, task-appropriate spaces where they focus on activities under the guidance of teachers.
In time, children explore their own agency and begin to place their own suitability to the places they choose to do certain activities.
What does a day at Agora Preschool look like?
Drop off is anytime from 7:30am. While others stream in, children get started on their Individual Learning Plan targets in a one-on-one environment with their teacher. Next is Stock-Taking. It allows children to share experiences and excitement, and to see what the day has in store for them. It’s followed by Storytime in the 3D library.
Literacy and Numeracy activities follow, before children refuel with a break and playtime. We also take the children outside to play and do PE daily. The rest of the day combines subjects like STEAM, Humanities and the Arts through inquiry-based learning linked to our termly themes.
Lunch is usually served in their classroom or we have a picnic on the terrace. Children who need a nap have that scheduled according to parents’ requests. Our formal Preschool day finishes at 2pm.
Extended day activities start at 2.15pm and go on until as late as 5pm, as per individual arrangements. These include Mandarin, Performing Arts, Arts & Crafts, Sports, Primary Preparation and Wellness.
Other than gazetted public holidays and teacher training days, the school is open all year round.
Are children with learning challenges supported?
I’m a certified Inclusion Officer for the Early Childhood Development Agency. Years of working with gifted and talented children allow me to recognise individual needs. This means I can plan the required support for children with mild to moderate learning challenges.
How are parents kept updated on what happens in school?
We’re very proud of our regular check-ins with parents. Through our purpose-built parent app, they receive a weekly highlight of their child. Every fortnight, we send a newsletter that showcases what their child has been doing with their peers. Also, once a month, one target from their child’s Individual Learning Plan is reviewed, and each term, the whole document is reviewed.
Our bi-annual Parent-Teacher Meetings become an Open House experience. Parents are invited to watch their children in their daily environment, get involved in their learning and play, and also speak with the teacher on a one-on-one basis.
Can parents be involved in any way?
We invite parents on a weekly basis for storytime. They can also share any exciting projects and activities from their own experiences.
In addition, we hold a number of events and festivals throughout the year, such as our very first Mid-Autumn Festival coming up this month. These events come alive with parental involvement.
Who is behind Agora Preschool?
I led the launch of the school with the support of Tom Collin, a veteran in the education industry and co-founder of Agora Colearning.
I have 22 years of experience in the education field in the UK and Singapore, and a Masters in Education and Leadership. I’ve held positions such as Director of Learning, Curriculum Development Lead, Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Initial Teacher Training Manager and Inclusion Officer.
When it comes to guiding and nurturing children through their formative early years, I believe in having balance between holding space for a child to discover something on their own, and highlighting potential beneficial next steps to help them progress, academically or socially and emotionally.
Tom entered the education industry in 2005 with the Meritas Family of Schools, where he led international acquisitions, operated and launched K-12 international schools in the Americas, Europe and Asia. In 2009, he became COO of BE Education in Shanghai where he launched the Oxford International Colleges of China. In 2013, he became CEO for GEMS Education in Malaysia. Since 2016, he has been advising in the education and EdTech sectors.
Experience Agora Preschool and Agora Colearning for yourself
Let your child experience the individual attention in the inclusive and personalised learning environment of Agora Preschool with a trial session. Head to agora-colearning.space/preschool-playschool to register a slot.
#04-01, Lobby C, 1 Maritime Square, HarbourFront Centre
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