ENCORE: Why We Celebrate United Nations Day at The International Preschools

Throughout the month of August, the IPS Blog will rerun some of our blog entries from the 2016-2017 school year.  Enjoy!

Happy United Nations Day!  Our UN Day celebrations have been an annual tradition at The International Preschools since the founding of the school in 1963.  The themes of peace, friendship, and acceptance run through the 2s, 3s, Pre-K, and Junior K classes at all three locations during this time of year.   Here is a window into some of the classrooms for you to see the fun and various way students are preparing to celebrate this unique tradition.

Ms. Nikki will be introducing an application in her iPad class for the older children called "World Flags Wood Puzzle Maze". This app (best for four and five-year-olds) is a great way for children to expand their knowledge of the countries of the world in a developmentally appropriate way.
Ms. Nikki will be introducing an application in her iPad class for the older children called “World Flags Wood Puzzle Maze”. This app (best for four and five-year-olds) is a great way for children to expand their knowledge of the countries of the world in a developmentally appropriate way.

At the 45th Street location, world flags play a role in classroom activities.  The Pre-K class plays a game using a world map; each day, a different child picks a country on the map, and then the class sings “hello” in the language of that particular country. One of the 3s classes created copies of their families’ flags at the art table.  In the full day 3s class, the children graphed the flags that represent the children in the classroom, in addition to identifying and sorting them.  They also learned that although their peers may have different flags, everyone shares one: the United States flag!

we-all-sing-with-the-same-voice-ipsThe teachers at 76th Street have used concepts from last month’s “All About Me” unit to to connect the students to this month’s “We are different, but we are the same” theme.  In the 2s class, the children will use shape stickers to create flags representing themselves, as opposed to a country.  They also made a book called Kids of the World  book, using the students’ photos and flags.  Children in both 3s classes have used mirrors to note facial characteristics (i.e. eye color), and noted what is the same and what is different among their peers.  One of the 3s classes read We All Sing With The Same Voice by John Parr Miller, which further emphasized that although we may live in different places and look different, we are all the same on the inside.  In Pre-K 2, the children are expanding on learning about where they live and are now exploring houses and homes around the world.

Junior K students at 86th Street created paintings of flags that represent their families.
Junior K students at 86th Street created paintings of flags that represent their families.

Several classrooms at the 86th Street location are using cooking as a way to explore the world.  The Junior K picks a flag out of the “Mystery Flag Box” each week and cooks a dish from the chosen country to sample.  Similarly, in one of our 3s classes, the children complete and taste a recipe from countries that represent the students in their class each week.  These activities will continue throughout the year.  Children in another 3s class are also participating in a yearlong activity, where they learn to say “hello” in a different language each week.

The United Nations Day celebrations on October 21st (76th Street) and October 24th (45th Street and 86th Street) act as a springboard for our yearlong “culture share” unit.  The 3s, Pre-K, and Junior K at all three locations will invite each child’s family to school to teach the class about a particular family tradition or holiday celebrated in their home.  We are looking forward to sharing more about these culture shares in a future blog post.

To learn more about why we celebrate United Nations Day at The International Preschools, click here.

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