Curiosities to Knowledge
The current system is outdated and broken. We’re here to provide a better option and disrupt the status quo.
💡 Play Based learning is a superior way to learn
✔️ Lecture-style learning is outdated and promotes linear thinking & poor conceptual understanding. In other words, students learn to think like their teacher & not for themselves. Play based learning is any process where students engage in learning through projects, discussion, & experiments that offer meaning and context to a subject. Play based learning increases knowledge gained & retained.
💡 Mixed-age settings promote kindness and compassion
✔️ Mixed-age learning is any environment where younger & older students learn together. Studies show that mixed-age settings increase learning for both groups because the older students model for the younger. Moreover, mixed-age settings promote kindness & community because older students start looking out for & taking care of younger friends.
💡 Student-centred learning teaches independence
✔️ Student-centred learning drives intrinsic motivation & enhances applied knowledge. Students develop a passion to learn, learn more deeply, and ultimately acquire the gift of self-teaching.
💡 Connecting with the natural world creates stewards of the future
✔️ In an age where children are spending most of their childhood on screens and online, we make a concerted effort to reconnect with nature by facilitating experiences through hands-on interactions that foster a sense of respect, love, and responsibility to care for our planet.
We provide children a safe and encouraging environment.
ASD | ADD | Gifted
No matter what your gift or superpower may be, we accommodate all learners and believe that our role is to discover and cultivate your child’s purpose.
We allow our students to take ownership in their pursuit of knowledge. We believe this is far more engaging when led by the students themselves.
We leverage cutting-edge technology like 3D printers, visual smartboards, and augmented and virtual reality to enrich the delivery of knowledge.
Delivering a curriculum that’s customizable to students of varied abilities and interests.
We emphasize the importance of family and community.
We enhance your child’s talent
Here's Our Core Curriculum:
What Parents Say About Us
“Agora prep is one of the most special and unique schools. A school where the kids can have complete freedom to express themselves and will never be reprimanded or judged for it. Emotional well being and self confidence of the child are held in high regard. A school where exploration, imagination and research methods are supported and encouraged in a small classroom size without the traditional desks and chairs. A school where drama, reading buddies, chess and puzzles reign supreme. A school where everyone knows your name and you and your child are greeted every morning with genuine, happy smiles and a warm hug.”Milly R
“One of a kind independent school. The coaches are amazing. We saw a real positive change in our child after moving them from a traditional public school. They're so happy there we actually enrolled them in the summer camp with Agora.”Thomas T
“An amazing private school and curriculum. Our son in SK is already doing work that is beyond what our grade 2 daughter is doing and he loves it. In only a few days he's skip counting, addition and subtraction and knows the entire alphabet in French. If you're looking for an alternative school, this is the place to go.”Robert M
“We are so happy we found Agora Prep. Such a warm and welcoming place. My son is happy to go to school every day and his teachers and the rest of the staff are fantastic. Thank you Agora for creating such a wonderful inquiry-based learning environment!”Jorien B
“Where to begin? These times have been difficult mostly for our children. Through schools shut & online learning, then when in class little to no social integration. A complete nonsense. Then we found Sylvia and Agora. A new way of learning, coaches warm, welcoming and enthusiastic. This is the type of school parents envisage for their children! My girls love it. We could not be happier.”Steve S
“Here at Agora Prep I truly feel the teachers care for & love to nurture the innate inquisitiveness of young kids. A non-traditional school where kids pick what they want to learn. My kid has thrived and his self confidence has soared. THANK YOU AGORA PREP!”Elizabeth S
“Beautiful, bright classrooms fully equipped with everything kids need to explore the world and learn. My kids are attending summer camp there and are loving it! Already came home saying some Spanish words they learned today.”Caroline W
“My daughters have been attending Agora for a few weeks now, and they absolutely love it. Doing schooling remotely since COVID was a real headache, but I was not comfortable putting them back in school from the COVID precautions, to the overall curriculum, I felt lost, and then I found Agora, where all of my concerns have been addressed, and my kids are finally back in a school environment, only the structure is so different and innovative, I am excited to see how much more this school has to offer!”Alanna G
“I absolutely love this school! The space, the energy, the staff, the principal, the morals and values....all amazing!”Nicole M
“I moved my son from a public school to Agora and I am very happy with this move. At this school, kids are treated like human and their needs and opinions count. My son loves his school and is excited to go to school every day. The coaches (teachers) are very kind and caring and work with kids and parents very well. Sylvia, the principal, herself is an amazing soul with great ideas and a big heart. If you want a new way of education for your child to nourish his/her creativity and sense of leadership, Agora is the right place for you.”Samar S
“While Agora supports all the core subjects like reading, writing, math, science they also take it to the next level to make sure the children learn through real-world experiences with things like thinking through and writing a business proposal - supported with financials (math, literacy), growing your own garden (science, math), managing personal finances (math), public speaking (communication, literacy). In addition, the students are encouraged to start their day with reflection and mindfulness to get them open to being creative and ready to learn - supporting and building strong mental health. They do independent and group work helping them learn collaboration as well as independence. The program Agora offers not only prepares my child for his future but is truly setting him up for success! I am amazed at how much my son has flourished since leaving the public school system.”T Miller
“Both my daughters attend agora prep and watching them settle into this school has been so refreshing. They learn through fun and both my girls love learning. Highlights have to be building a robot, gross motor and watching their reading jump forward!”Victoria S
“Incredible education facility. I hate to call it a "school" because Agora Prep is nothing like any school you've ever seen before. They truly nurture each child so they can grow into their own unique abilities.”Genevieve G
“My daughter started here in November of 21’ and it’s been amazing! The teachers and staff are incredible. The style of teaching here has really helped my daughter. I can’t say enough about Agora Prep!”Drewskie W
“Agora Prep is a loving and nurturing environment. A unique school where kids are not relegated into the programmatic “one size fits all” approach. In contrast kids are inspired to explore and integrate their individual gifting and strengths through learning pathways that inspire and build their confidence to succeed. I am proud to be a part of this amazing school where I get to witness kids thriving and support their dreams for the future !!”Kristin M
“Our son has learned so much more in the last year at Agora compared to the last two years in the school system. His reading, writing and math have improved tremendously since he started at Agora. Yes, Agora still teaches cursive! The best part is that Agora supports and encourages all students to flourish through their strengths and needs as well as challenging themselves to new ways and ideas of learning and growing! Not only is he learning the basics of the Ontario School Curriculum, but he is also learning things that were never taught in a regular school. From applying for a mortgage, learning how to pay bills, and planting and tending a garden, to weekly presentations and public speaking, our son will be extremely prepared for the future with education and independence!”Valentino M
Moreover, children should return to fundamental skills such as cursive writing and mastering multiplication tables. They should be adept at debating, conducting research, collaborating effectively, and acquiring essential life skills that empower them to take charge of their own learning journey. With these goals in mind, Mike embarked on a quest for a solution and joined forces with Sylvia Badwi, the founder of Agora Prep Academy. Together, they set out to provide the Markham community's children with a comprehensive education that encompasses all these vital skills.
Sylvia has also worked with the Government of Canada as a Canadian Federal Public Officer for eight years. She also owned and managed Oxford Learning Centre in Newmarket from 2014 to 2016. She has always been a self-motivator and accomplished every goal she set out to pursue throughout her career. Her professional interests focus on building a successful private school in Canada, where she has over twenty-five years of hands-on experience. In addition, she has excellent communication skills, time-management skills, and overall organizational skills. Besides this, she is also a mommy blogger, columnist, public speaker, instructor, trainer and mentor. Sylvia enjoys ongoing learning and values, integrity and honesty above all else.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, we do not. We have innovated a curriculum where each child has a chance to develop their private uniqueness and self-reliance. We say innovated because while seemingly new to most people today, the core philosophy was invented thousands of years ago and a favourite of the ruling classes of Europe. At the core of this elite system of education is the belief that self-knowledge is the only basis of true knowledge. As children gain self-knowledge, they’ll also become self-teachers, and only self-teaching has any lasting value.
Everywhere in this system, the child is placed in an unguided setting with a problem to solve. Our coaches encourage and assist them in finding the solution. They are taught through real-life situations, contexts, and experiences – which equip them with the tools required to develop self-knowledge.
Our academic curriculum, at every age, meets and exceeds all of the core competencies of the Ministry of Education’s own curricula. Moreover, we strongly believe in developing well-rounded human beings and therefore also necessarily emphasize their emotional well-being and mental health. At every opportunity, we promote confluences of parent and child, and child and community that will strengthen family and community bonds. At Agora Prep play based Learning Centre, our mission is to develop well-rounded critical-thinking future leaders who are dignified, independent, courageous, compassionate, generous, and persevering.
We are the antithesis of traditional schooling. Our entire approach is non-conformist and forward-thinking. It’s child-first thinking.
❌ We don’t lock up children with other children exactly their own age
❌ We don’t ring bells to start and stop work
❌ We don’t ask children to think about the same thing at the same time in the same way
❌ We don’t grade children the way we grade vegetables, comparing to others
❌ …and we don’t follow you into the sanctuary of your home and send them home with “homework!”
✔️ We allow children to learn and collaborate with various age groups, mentoring and being mentored
✔️ We provide meaning, time and attention, and purpose to every activity during the day
✔️ We encourage children to be themselves and unleash their uniqueness and creativity
✔️ We build up children’s spirit, confidence, and self-esteem by coaching, inspiring, and loving
✔️ We deliver a customized and experiential curriculum, which is targeted, effective, and taught during the hours your children are here with us.
We promote the highest quality of education by helping children find values and develop a love of learning that will be their roadmap through life. Above all else, we put your children’s interests first.
We administer an assessment called the Brigance CIBS II (Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills) to allow us to measure their language and skills compared to their grade level expectations.
The Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills II includes two volumes—one for Reading/ELA and one for Mathematics—and consists of nearly 400 criterion-referenced assessments and grade-level placement tests intended for students in Grades K–9. The Reading/ELA content includes fluency assessments, and the Mathematics content is based on NCTM focal points. Assessments align to many state and national standards, including the College and Career Readiness Standards.
For more information on this assessment, please visit: https://www.curriculumassociates.com/-/media/mainsite/files/pr/pr-brigance-cibsii-release.pdf
We administer the Brigance CIBS II to students at the beginning of the Academic year (September) to establish learning benchmarks. Then again in January to assess progress and areas of improvement still required. Finally, another assessment is administered at the end of the year.
In all 3 occurrences, parents are given a copy of our assessment report to help inform them of the progress and education pathway we are pursuing with their child.
Criterion-referenced assessment measures a student’s performance on a specified set of skills over time. Educators use criterion-referenced assessment when progress is to be evaluated solely by comparing a student’s own present and past performance. It is commonly used when normative, or standardized, scores are not necessary.
We do not believe in comparing children to one another. Everyone is born with their own capacity, their own intelligence and own potential. It is unnecessary to compare cohorts based on the fact that they were born in the same year. Agora Prep Learning Centre is raising future leaders that can spark their own flames and create their own legacies.
This is our take on TedTalks. We ask students to prepare a presentation on an assignment or learning objective achieved that they are particularly proud of. They may choose to present in any style they like; be it a musical, a poem, or a PowerPoint. These Agora Talks will take place in January and then again in June. Parents, peers and coaches are invited to attend and provide feedback after the presentation. This teaches students the real life skills of pitching their ideas and public speaking. Two extremely important skills that will serve them well as future leaders of our world.
Yes. We want to raise a generation of kind and philanthropic people who will undoubtedly become the future entrepreneurs and billionaires of our world. Before they go on to achieve that success, we would like to instill in them the value of charity.
We will be running several campaigns throughout the year to support local charities with ideas for fundraising coming directly from the students themselves. We will ask for your support and marketing of our various initiatives so we can meet our fundraising goals.
We will also be hiring local and assisting other businesses in the area.
We celebrate the power of character in our everyday journey. We have badges to celebrate students who show various character attributes such as integrity, kindness, patience, cooperation, awareness, creativity and many others. Students are able to collect these pins and display them proudly on their backpacks. These pins will be a challenge to achieve but worth it when collected!
Yes. From time to time, we will travel with the students to various places that will further their learning and reinforce their skills. Parents will be notified well in advance and there will be a permission form and separate charge for these trips.
We are humbled and privileged to serve children of ALL needs and ALL superpowers! We believe that every child has the potential of leaving an amazing imprint on our world. With the right empowerment and redirection, children of all abilities can excel and amaze us.
It is critical to discuss your child’s learning needs with our academy prior to enrollment so we can ensure we have the right people in place to assist your superhero. Please also alert us if there are any serious medical conditions or if the child is a flight risk.
Sylvia Martignani started this learning environment because of her passion for children of all abilities. Her 18 years’ experience working with neurodiverse children prompted her desire to create Agora Prep Academy. We will not refuse children if they would like to attend but we will have to adjust fees if a child requires one-on-one attention from a full-time educator or CYW.