Frequently asked questions
Preschool and Playschool overview
What is the difference between Agora Playschool and Agora Preschool?
- Agora Playschool is a parent-accompanied or partial drop-off programme for children aged 6 months to 3 years old. It offers a complete sensory and educational experience for infants and toddlers, and prepares them for preschool. We offer two sessions daily, from 8:15am to 10:15am, and from 10:30am to 12:30pm.
- The Agora Preschool is a licensed kindergarten for children aged between 18 months and 7 years old, 5 days a week from 7:30am to 2:00pm. It is a personalised programme combining hands-on experimentation, imaginative play, physical activities to spark curiosity and foster early learning in a dynamic and engaging environment. It serves as an exciting and safe stepping stone to prepare children for the next stage in their educational journey. We prepare children for that transition by developing their competencies, their social skills and by nurturing their curiosity to comprehend the world around them.
What does a day in the life of Playschool children look like?
The day starts with exploring the playspace and discovering the specially-prepared activity stations. Children attend the first activity, followed by studio time for music and movement. Next, children have a healthy snack, and then they return to any stations that are yet to be explored. They finish their session with free play, on the equipment or outdoors on the terrace.
What does a day in the life of Preschool children look like?
The preschoolers’ day is structured into 30 minute blocks approximately, depending on each child’s level of engagement and progress.
- The day starts in the Agora library, where the class teacher meets and greets the children.
- The children go through the theme-based curriculum spanning the arts, humanities and STEAM subjects.
- Two outdoor blocks, one for playground time and one for PE activities, provide space to use up energy, and have fun!
What is your child: teacher ratio?
- For children aged 6 to 12 months, our ratio is three children to one teacher
- For 12 to 18 months-olds, our ratio is five children to one teacher
- Over 18 months-old, our ratio is six children to one teacher
What are your school hours?
- The Playschool programme offers two sessions daily, from 8:15am to 10:15am, and from 10:30am to 12:30pm.
- The Preschool offers a flexible start from as early as 7:30am, and finishes at 2:00pm. We will be offering a number of third-party enrichment activities for our Preschool age children after 2:00pm - please check out at our website to find out more.
Other than gazetted public holidays and training days, we are open all year round. The calendar will be published yearly 3 months ahead of the start of the year.
Teaching, pedagogy, training
How do you help children with their social and emotional development?
Learning how to build and maintain connections with others are some of the most important aspects of growing into a successful young adult. We help children navigate the process as well as create the space for them to development social and emotional capabilities that we observe and reinforce.
Our programme is developed with these holistic aspects in mind. The 4 out of the 6 underlying principals are focused on development of our social and emotional skills; Personal Effectiveness, Empathy, Being, Values/ Virtues. We believe that Every Child Matters and it is important to develop the child as a whole rather than focus on specific skills.
How do you develop cognitive skills?
We seek to instill a positive attitude towards learning, encouraging a love for language and reading. We emphasise age-appropriate play-based learning, storytelling, rhyming games, and interactive exercises helping children develop phonemic awareness and build a strong language foundation. In due time, we develop children’s pre-reading and pre-writing abilities, and promote language acquisition through fun and interactive activities.
What qualifications do your teachers have?
Our Playschool facilitators have all undergone training leading to diplomas or degrees in Childhood Development, and have professional experience in their fields. Our Preschool teachers have ECDA-recognised certifications at the EY1, L1 or L2 levels respectively.
How do you train your teachers?
We keep all staff up to date with current practices, curriculum development and child safety management through a combination of in-house and third-party training programmes.
Preschool program specifics
What age groups constitute your Preschool class levels?
- Playgroup: 18 months 2 years old
- Nursery 1: 2-3 years old
- Nursery 2: 3-4 years old
- Kindergarten 1: 4-5 years old
- Kindergarten 2: 5-6 years old
How often will I receive communication from school about my child’s progress?
Preschool parents should expect:
- a weekly highlight
- a fortnightly e-newsletter with comments, pictures and captions
- a monthly review of one specific ILP target
- a quarterly review of the full ILP
- a biannual parent-teacher meeting, coinciding with Open Days
What is an ILP?
ILP stands for Individual Learning Plan, a programme for learning that takes into consideration each child’s likes and dislikes, areas of strength, and areas for development, outlines their learning goals and milestones, and incorporates the Early Years Development Framework (EYDF) benchmarks. Each child’s ILP is implemented after a 4-6 week period during which we engage in focused observation as we learn as much as possible about them.
Do you have a bilingual programme?
We do not currently offer a bilingual programme. Preschool children have up to 4 Mandarin lessons per week.
Do you provide English/Chinese mother tongue spelling/tests?
Our focus is primarily on building foundational skills, and fostering a positive and engaging learning environment that supports holistic growth and early language development. Starting in K2 we do spelling tests to monitor children’s understanding of sight words, as they are difficult to learn and retain.
Can I accompany my child who is newly enrolled in Agora Preschool?
Yes. You may accompany you newly-enrolled child to help them adjust to the new environment. We will discuss with you how best to ease them in.
Do you provide uniforms?
Yes, every child enrolling to Agora receives two T-shirts, a sun cap, a painting apron, grip socks and a water bottle. Any practical clothing for the bottom half is allowed. Additional items can be purchased from our friendly hosts at the front of house.
Do you provide snacks?
Yes, we provide children a portion of fruit and milk daily.
Do you provide lunch?
Our Preschool license determines however that we may not provide lunch prepared on premises. We therefore ask parents to pack a lunch box every day. We have the capacity to warm food up and keep it refrigerated.
Playschool programme specifics
What age groups constitute your Playschool class levels?
The youngest children attending are 6 months old, and the oldest are 3 years old.
What is the difference between the 2-hour and the half-day programme?
- The 2-hour programme is a full drop-off or accompanied (at your option) session lasting up to 2-hours.
- The half-day programme is an up to 4-hour session. Drop-off is limited to 2 hours and an adult must accompany the child for the rest of the time.
How often will I receive communication from school about my child’s progress?
You will receive a quarterly update, along with a selection of photos showcasing daily activities, along with periodic messages from teachers.
Do you have a Chinese language playschool programme?
Mandarin-speaking teachers will engage with Playschool children in Chinese if you let us know your preferences.
Can I accompany my child?
Yes. You may accompany your child to any of the sessions for as long as the session duration. Do note that for the half-day programme, parents are required to attend at least one hour.
Can I stay at Agora while my child is attending Playschool?
Yes you are welcome to stay in the Playschool space, or make yourself comfortable in our reception area. We offer free WiFi, tea and coffee facilities.
Do you provide snacks?
Yes, we provide a morning snack after our Core Music and Movement time. It offers a natural break time for the children and gives them energy for the next round of activities. We seek to ensure that all snacks are healthy. Please remember to provide us with information regarding allergies during registration.
Are you a licensed Early Childhood Development Centre?
Yes, the Agora Preschool is registered with ECDA as a License C Early Childhood Development Centre.
What is ECDA?
The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) is the regulatory and developmental authority under the Ministry of Social and Family Development responsible for the early childhood sector in Singapore, and overseeing all aspects of children’s development below the age of 7, across both kindergartens and child care centres.
Health and Hygiene
Are your teachers first aid trained?
We have Child First Aiders on site at all times as required by regulations.
How do you clean, and how often do you clean equipment and resources?
All of our equipment is cleaned after usage in accordance with ECDA standards. At the end of each session, it is cleaned and wiped down with disinfectant. We put any resources that have been in children’s mouths during the session aside, so that they won’t be played with until they have been sanitised.
My child has mild flu symptoms. Can they attend?
We ask that parents be mindful of how easily viruses pass between children. They should not attend if they are unwell, or have a fever of 37.7°C or above. Children who are unwell (e.g. have symptoms of fever, cough or runny nose) should see a doctor and return only when fully recovered or upon expiry of their medical certificate (if applicable). This is to minimise the risk of transmission of infectious diseases and protect the health of all other children and staff.
My child is grumpy/under the weather today. Can they attend?
They can attend if they seem a little unwell - as long as they do not have a fever, are not coughing, have a runny nose (green mucus), a sore throat, or other symptoms of illness. In situations where their health is not clear, it may be preferable for them to wear a mask, if they will accept to do so.
What happens if my child becomes unwell during the school day?
Daily checks are carried out at arrival, and during activities if required. To avoid infecting other children and staff, we bring children who become unwell while at Agora to a designated sick bay to rest. Meanwhile we will connect with you to discuss the situation and assist in making arrangements for you to pick them up and seek medical attention as needed. If a child displays any symptoms of highly contagious illnesses such as diarrhea or vomiting they will be isolated (with a member of staff) until a parent can come and collect them.
My child has recovered from an infectious disease. Do I need to provide a letter from a registered medical practitioner to prove that they are fit?
If they have recovered from an illness and are well, meaning their Medical Certificate (MC) has expired and they show no more symptoms of illness, you are not required to produce a doctor’s letter/certificate to return to Head of Agora. Early Years.
If however they are still displaying symptoms of the illness, we may ask you to bring them to a medical practitioner for further assessment before they can return, to ensure the health and wellbeing of the other children. It is also for the benefit of your child, as children who are unwell may be more susceptible to contracting a secondary infection.
Do you have facilities for showering?
Preschools in Singapore are not required to shower children as part of the daily routine. Instead we provide necessary care to ensure that children are clean throughout the day (e.g. through wipe downs and change of clothes). We offer needs-based showering in the instance of soiling or skin conditions. If so, children are showered individually, and we rinse the contact areas carefully after each use.
Registration and related matters
Do you offer trial classes?
Yes, all programmes offer a complimentary trial.
How can I register?
The online registration process is simple - you can complete it by following this link: https://registrations.agora-colearning.space/early-years-registration
What are the enrolment age requirements?
Minimum age required by 1st January:
- Playschool: 6 months old
- Playgroup: 18 months old
- Nursery 1: 2 years old
- Nursery 2: 3 years old
- Kindergarten 1: 4 years old
- Kindergarten 2: 5 years old
- For children 3 and above, independent toileting is preferred.
What documents do I need to provide to register my child?
You will need to prepare the following:
- Child’s birth certificate
- Immunisation Records/ Health booklet (Preschool only)
- Digital photograph of the child
- Digital copy of NRICs/passports (front and back) of both parents
- Digital copy of NRICs/passports (front and back), particulars and recent photo of authorised persons (if authorising someone else to pick up your child, e.g. grandparent or helper/nanny)
Additionally, for foreigners:
- Child’s entry/re-entry permit / Child’s dependant pass
- Work permits of both parents or work permit of one parent and dependant pass of the other parent, as the case might be
Are there any subsidies that Singaporean citizens can enjoy?
If your child is a Singapore Citizen, he/she may qualify for the Baby Bonus scheme, which comprises the Baby Bonus Cash Gift and a Child Development Account (CDA) – a special co-savings scheme for your child. Agora is a Baby Bonus Approved Institution. You may find more information here: https://www.madeforfamilies.gov.sg/support-measures/raising-your-child/financial-support/baby-bonus-scheme
What are the terms and conditions for withdrawal?
Withdrawals require written notification (email is sufficient) and will be accepted with at least one calendar month’s notice. In other words, the withdrawal date will be the end of the following month. For example, a withdrawal request made in writing by 31st January will have an effective withdrawal date of 28th February. There will be no partial month refunds. Re-enrolment is subject to availability, and carries a $125 administrative fee.
For Playschool, I have the option to subscribe or buy packages of sessions. What’s the difference?
Subscribers enjoy our lowest session rates and fees are deducted from their account on a monthly recurring basis one month in advance. They are entitled to two make-up sessions per month and are subject to withdrawal terms and conditions.
Parents using class packages enjoy the flexibility to use sessions over a 3-months (10 pack) or 6-months (20 pack) validity period. You may choose specific days and slots and can join alternative sessions on a best efforts basis.
Can I sign up as a non Singapore citizen or PR?
Yes, if your child has a Dependent’s Pass or Immigration Exemption Order. If they do not have one they will need a Student’s Pass. For more information, please refer to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA) website at https://www.ica.gov.sg/pass/studentpass/msf.
Do you offer enrichment programmes?
A number of Education Providers offer activities for our Preschool age children - please check out at our website to find out more. We are also looking to build out our own in-house enrichment opportunities, based on demand.
Can you accommodate children with special needs?
Yes, we can accommodate certain mild or moderate disabilities. Claire Michael, the Head of Early Years, is an ECDA-certified Inclusion Officer (ICO), and our programme is flexible to individual needs. To ensure that we are able to offer a suitable support, we recommend a trial period to evaluate and discuss options.
Do you offer a school bus service?
We are exploring options to provide a bus service for families residing on Sentosa. Please register your interest with Claire Michael, Head of Early Years.
How do you verify who is allowed to pick up my child?
Authorised persons must be listed in the registration form and introduced to the Head of Early Years and teachers, in person if possible, otherwise by sharing photographs.
What happens if I am running late picking up my child?
Your child will remain safe under the supervision of Early Years staff. Agora Colearning opens every weekday until 8pm.