Category: Classroom Themes

Winter Solstice at The International Preschools

Pre-K students working on a collaborative moon project in honor of the Winter Solstice.

December has arrived, and with that comes holiday preparations, gift giving…and, at The International Preschools, the annual celebration of the Winter Solstice.  The Winter Solstice marks the day with the shortest amount of daylight and the longest amount of darkness.  Traditionally, the Winter Solstice celebrates the return of the sun, as the days following the solstice contain more minutes, and ultimately hours, of daylight, culminating with the Summer Solstice (the longest amount of daylight in one day of the year) in June.

Curriculum at IPS during December focuses on the concept of light and dark while integrating aspects of the holiday season.  Many of the holidays that our families celebrate, from Diwali to Hanukkah to Christmas, cherish light sources such as candles and lanterns; the

Exploring outer space in Pre-K!

se items act as icons of the season.   In some cultures, people choose not to use electricity on the Winter Solstice and rather, live by candlelight on this day.  Nature is also revered during this season and within the classrooms; traditionally, evergreen trees are decorated because they are seen as the “eternal symbol of life during the dark months of the winter.”  They are referred to as Yule Trees or Winter Solstice Trees and are decorated with symbols of light (i.e. sun, moon, star ornaments; candles) as well as pinecones and garlands filled with food for animals during the winter months.

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Halloween 2019 at IPS!

86th Street students pose in their Halloween costumes!

The fall season at The International Preschools is filled with many different events, from Curriculum Night to United Nations Day to Thanksgiving, not to mention Parent/Teacher Conferences, Diwali, Thanksgiving…the list goes on!  Of course, the year would not be complete without celebrating a holiday that the children (and teachers) look forward to all year…Halloween!

Here at IPS, our 76th Street and 86th Street locations commemorated Halloween in a variety of ways.  Keep reading to learn about our Halloween curriculum and view photos from Halloween 2019!

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United Nations Day at The International Preschools

Green Room children play “Flag Bingo” in preparation for United Nations Day.

In late October, The International Preschools commemorates United Nations Day with a school-wide celebration.  United Nations Day is special to The International Preschools because more than 50 years ago, our school was created in order to assist families who were affiliated with the United Nations.  IPS (back then, known as IPG, The International Play Group) gave families who were new to the United States a place to come together, to make friends, and to acclimate to a new culture.  Today, IPS honors our roots by hosting a multi-lingual sing-along for families and children, as well as an international potluck.

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Field Trip Fun at The International Preschools

An IPS class visits the New York Botanical Garden.

Spring is high season for field trips at The International Preschools! Our students thoroughly enjoy attending class trips and look forward to doing so every year.  New York City (and its surrounding areas) provide a wealth of opportunity for extended learning within our school curriculum and for making connections between home and school.  Read on to see where we’ve been and why we went!

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Every Day is Earth Day at The International Preschools!

Creating a collaborative spring project using paint and collage materials. The green and blue colors represent the land and water of the Earth respectively.

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd every year, but at The International Preschools, we believe that Earth Day is every day!  Although a special curriculum focus is placed upon taking care of the Earth throughout the month of April, the skills learned by the children are meant to be used every day of the year.  Topics such as plant and animal life cycles, recycling, gardening, and keeping the Earth clean are touched upon inside of our classrooms during this time.  Continue reading to learn more about the concepts that IPS students are exploring throughout the spring months!

 

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76th Street Museum Night at The International Preschools

76 Pre-K 1 created a replica of the Empire State Building for their New York City-themed book study.
Families observing the Pre-K 3 exhibit at the 76th Street Museum Night.

On Tuesday, April 9th, The International Preschools’ 76th Street location hosted its second annual Museum Night for the Green Rooms (3s) and Pre-Kindergarten classes (4s).  Museum Night first took place in 2018, as a Green Room function. Families were invited to observe artwork, photos, and other projects created during each class’ curriculum theme.  Pizza was served and children were invited to dress up for this special evening celebration!

This year, our Pre-K classes joined the Green Rooms in displaying work from their winter author and book studies. Read on to find out more about this special event!

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The Early Bird Catches The Worm: Welcoming Chicks at IPS!

Quiver Farms visited our 86th Street location to teach the students about the life cycle of chicks.

In hopes of ushering in an early spring, the students at The International Preschools spent some time in February learning about the life cycle of chicks.  Each location welcomed farmers from Quiver Farms, located in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania.  The farmers introduced the children to a hen and a rooster, and spoke about the process of how chicks grow and ultimately hatch from eggs.  Read on to view photos of the chicks’ time at IPS, as well as to learn about how each location prepared for the chicks’ arrival!

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Fathers and Special Friends Read-Aloud at The International Preschools

Each year, The International Preschools hosts an event called the Fathers and Special Friends Read-Aloud.  It was created ten years ago to foster a love of reading in young children.  Because, in the past, mothers and female relatives had often made up the majority of guest readers, the Fathers and Special Friends Read-Aloud provided an opportunity for fathers, as well as other male relatives and friends (brothers, grandfathers, uncles, neighbors, etc.), to model positive feelings about reading to preschoolers.  Currently, our Read-Aloud occurs in conjunction with the author and literary studies that take place in the Green (3s), Pre-K (4s), and Junior K (4s/5s) classrooms during the winter months. Continue reading →

End-Of-School Transitions: From School to Summer

760a97cc25146479740451724-900x675The last few weeks of classes at The International Preschools are exciting for our students.  Teachers and children begin play-based learning activities to celebrate the end of the school year:  classroom parties with parents, end-of-the-year gifts, and memory books.

But after the festivities have concluded, what’s next?  The “what’s next,” for some children, can be  filled with uncertainty, sadness, or fear.  Sometimes, these feelings can result in regressing behaviors, such as difficulty separating from parents or caregivers.  This is an opportunity for children to develop life-strategies for transitioning between one set of routines towards another exciting phase in their lives.

The process actually begins in September when teachers spend time helping students acclimate to the routines and expectations of the classroom.  This action is crucial in helping the children feel confident and comfortable in their surroundings; toddlers and preschool-age children crave stability in their day-to-day schedules, thriving most when they know “what comes next.”  Providing consistency is key to helping children feel safe, secure, and confident.

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Life Cycles and Our End-Of-Year Units: How Are They Connected?

 

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Interacting with a baby chick!
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Observing Caterpillars

Spring is an exciting season in play-based curriculum. Following thematic classroom units on the Earth, students at The International Preschools explore life cycles.  Students of all ages are introduced to live caterpillars who are then placed in a “butterfly garden” and observed and recorded closely.  Preschoolers excitedly experience firsthand as caterpillars enter their chrysalises and emerge as butterflies! For a few joyful days, the children enjoy spending time with their new “classmates.”  But soon, the teachers will tell the class that it is time to release the butterflies to live in their natural habitats. There is a bittersweet “ceremony,” where the butterfly gardens are opened and its inhabitants are set free, to live in a local park.

Chicken eggs are introduced at each location in early May by Quiver Farms and are placed in an incubator until they hatch. All of the students (and teachers!) from the entire school spend time visiting and examining the eggs.  Soon, the location is filled with delighted squeals of our preschoolers, as they have a front-row seat to the arrival of baby chicks!  Under careful supervision, the students help to care for, and even pet, these tiny creatures for about a week.  They are then transported back to Quiver Farms to live after a final goodbye and hug from the children.

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