Category: Curriculum

The Holiday Season and the Winter Solstice at The International Preschools

Winter Solstice sing-along with Mr. Doug in the Red Room at 76th Street.

At The International Preschools, the children and teachers spent time learning about the Winter Solstice throughout the month of December, concentrating on the concepts of light and dark. The majority of the holidays occurring during the months of November, December, and January honor the idea of light via candles, the sun, the stars, fire, etc. after the longest night of the year, which is the Winter Solstice.

In the classrooms, one of the ways that the children acquired information about the Winter Solstice was by examining the holidays that are celebrated at that time of year. This is done within the classroom curriculum and through culture shares, where parents visit the school virtually via Zoom (due to COVID restrictions) and teach the children about the holidays that they celebrate. Some of the “festivals of light” presented at this time of year include Christmas, Hanukkah, the Feast of St. Lucia, Diwali, Yule, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and the Three Kings.

See below for photos from the classrooms celebrating the Winter Solstice and exploring the concepts of light and dark, as well as our annual Winter Solstice celebration.

Winter Solstice and Holiday Season Gallery:

October Events at The International Preschools

The first month of school has been a huge success! Over the last several weeks, the children have acclimated nicely to the daily routines at IPS. The children and teachers are building strong relationships and creating a sense of community within their classrooms. The 2021-2022 school year is definitely off to a great start!

What If We Were All The Same! by C.M. Harris is a wonderful book appreciating similarities and differences between people…and is simply worded for young children.

During the month of October, a variety of topics are covered within our classrooms. The overall theme is “We Are Different, Yet We Are The Same,” a nod to the celebration of multiculturalism at our school. IPS was founded more than 50 years ago as a place for those families affiliated with the United Nations to come together as a community. (For more on why United Nations Day is so important to The International Preschools, click here.)

Take a look inside of our classrooms and learn about what’s going on at IPS…

Be sure to return to the IPS blog next month for more photos, curriuculum, and events taking place at our wonderful school!

Are you interested in joining the IPS community? Learn about the application process by visiting our website.

Snack Time and Lunch Time in Preschool: An Important Part of Your Child’s Day

At The International Preschools, all children have a morning snack time built into their daily schedule. Full day children have about 45 minutes for lunch, in addition to their morning snack.

Socializing at snack time with the Little Dolphins at 76th Street!

This is an important time of day for the children. First and foremost, snack time (and lunch time) keep the children nourished and their energy levels regulated for the activities that they will participate in. Many social, emotional, and cognitive skills are also honed and strengthened while enjoying a well-balanced meal or snack.

Here are some of the important skills that your child is acquiring during snack and lunch at The International Preschools:

  • Self-Help Skills: During snack time, children clean up their place setting on their own, which might require putting a placemat in its proper place; disposing of plates, cups, and utensils; and washing hands. At lunch time, children (where applicable) help to take out their lunches (containers, drinks, etc.) and put everything back inside their lunch box when finished. The children also put their lunch boxes back into their cubbies.
  • Expressive Language Skills: Teachers model responses and questions for the children. For example, if a child would like more of a certain snack (Chex, Cheerios, etc.), the teacher would model, “More Chex, please,” so that he/she can copy the verbal request. The goal is for the child to use the words on his/her own, in any situation, to ask for what he/she needs.
  • Number Sense: During conversation at snack or lunch time, a child might notice things such as how many Cheerios he/she has on his plate, or how many chicken nuggets he/she has in his/her lunch. This is play-based learning at its most casual! Becoming aware of what makes a number (i.e. that five objects make the number 5) is a math skills required for counting with correspondence, addition, subtraction…you name it!
  • Social Skills: Snack time and lunch time provide a perfect opportunity for children to socialize with their peers and teachers. Often, teachers will place children strategically next to different classmates at each snack time, so that they get an opportunity to chat with (and get to know) all of the children in the room. Teachers will model expressive language when needed, so that children can practice asking for what they want, interacting with peers, and reading social cues, to name a few skills.
  • Life Skills: In the Green (3s) and Pre-K (4s) Rooms, children have “jobs” that they are in charge of throughout the day. These jobs might change daily or weekly. Jobs instill confidence and responsibility in young children; achieving the goal of a job (such as watering a plant) boosts their self-esteem and motivation. A few of these jobs are completed during snack or lunch time: one child passes out the napkins, another might count the lunch boxes (to be sure everyone’s lunch is present), another child might pass out cups. At home, parents can allow children to carry out these jobs as well, in the form of setting the table (in part or in its entirety). Children love to help out, and giving them a job (or jobs) at home will help develop your child’s confidence as well.

Any time of the day can be a time for learning (the play-based kind is our favorite)!

End-of-year pizza lunch with the 86th Street full-day Green Room students (and teachers)!

Interested in learning more about The International Preschools’ play-based learning philosophy, and how it is implemented? Take a look at our curriculum pages on our website.

Ready for your child (and family) to join the IPS community? Apply online today!

End-Of-The-Year Curriculum, Part 2: Growth

At 86th Street, a class keeps track of what skills each child has mastered (i.e. riding a bike) after reading All By Myself by Mercer Meyer.

After the butterflies have been set free and the life cycle curriculum comes to an end, the classrooms at The International Preschools concentrate their learning on the celebration of growth. The teachers and children reflect and reiterate on how much growth has happened in the nine months of the school year, as well as the growth that has occurred from the day that the children were born (which doesn’t feel like all that long ago, from a parent’s perspective!) to now, as a preschool-aged child.

In a Pre-K class at 76th Street, the classroom theme centered around future occupations, and what the children wanted to be when they grow up. These are jobs that the children chose and wanted to learn more about. Here, two students act out scenes from a nail salon in the dramatic play area.

For some classes, the observations of the children’s development focus on what they can do now as a three, four, or five-year-old, which they could not do as babies or toddlers. In other classes, growth is measured in inches (or in some cases, Unifix cubes!); the children track how tall they’ve gotten over the last nine months using various units of measurement. Many classes have enjoyed seeing photos (submitted by parents) of each student (and some teachers!) as a baby, and have excitedly tried to guess (using clues) what that baby looks like now.

A Green Room at 76th Street played “Guess Who?” where the teacher held up a baby photo and the children guessed who it was. Here, the “answers” to the guesses display their baby photos with pride!

Overall, these celebrations of growth assist in building confidence in our young students. We commemorate how far they’ve come, what they have learned, and how they now have the tools to be successful in kindergarten, in another preschool class, and beyond. Congratulations to all of our IPS students, as they “move up” to new classes and places in September 2021!

End-Of-Year Curriculum, Part One: Life Cycles

A three-year-old class at 86th Street sets their butterflies free!

During the month of May, classrooms at The International Preschools focus their curriculum on growth and transitions. We use several topics to assist the children in understanding the idea of growth and “moving on” (in terms of changing classrooms or schools, or transitioning into summer vacation and/or camp).

The Pre-K 1 class at 76th Street observes their caterpillars in the chrysalides stage.

One of these themes is studying life cycles of plants and animals. There is a correlation between the children “growing” and the plants/animals “growing”: for a time period (the school year), the children learn and grow in their classroom, much like the caterpillars, ladybugs, and plants do. The children are taken care of by their teachers; the caterpillars, ladybugs, and plants are taken care of by the children. Finally, when they are ready, the animals are “set free” to go out into nature and the plants are “sent home” with the children; the children, meanwhile, are also “set free” from their current classrooms, to go forth into summer vacation, summer camp, and the upcoming school year.

86th Street children add soil to their planting pots.

During April and May, IPS students will plant lima beans, grass seeds, and flower seeds. They will learn about the parts of a plant and/or flower, and learn what plants need in order to grow (i.e. water, food, air, sunlight). By participating in play-based, hands-on learning through caring for their plants, the children really share in the growth of their plants.

A Pre-K 3 student holds a butterfly before it flies away!

Continuing with the life cycles theme…all of the IPS students bear witness to the life cycle(s) of caterpillars and/or ladybug larvae. The process is similar to that of the plants: the children learn the specific parts of the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly (i.e. egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly) and observe the changes that occur each day. The children also take care of the butterflies, once hatched, by feeding them fruit and sugar water. Once the butterflies are ready to move on to the outside world, classes will travel to the school playground or a nearby park to release the butterflies into nature. For the ladybugs, once they are mature, children will guide the ladybugs onto outdoor plants for them to create their new homes.

Butterflies go free at Carl Schurz Park in New York City!

Next week, the blog will showcase the next part of IPS’ end-of-year curriculum: the growth of the children from babies to “big kids,” and how each class goes about its learning in different ways.

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online today!

Summer Camp Returns to The International Preschools!

Camp is back! Although COVID-19 derailed the summer camp season in 2020, the IPS community is happily welcoming our fun-filled summer session back to its students and teachers in June 2021.

Camp is back for Summer 2021!

Here’s what to expect from IPS Summer Camp 2021, and why you should sign your child(ren) up immediately…

Water play and the sprinklers are a highlight of IPS Summer Camp!
  • Transitions:  Camp provides a relaxed environment for children new to IPS.  It’s a great way for incoming IPS students to get used to our school prior to the start of the new year.  For children transitioning from half-day to full-day, the easygoing setting allows for students to become accustomed to the longer school day, which in the afternoon provides outlets for increasing self-help skills (i.e. taking out and cleaning up after lunch, setting up rest mats, etc.).
  • Friendships:  Current and incoming IPS students will have the opportunity to make new friends and foster old friendships.  For our Pre-K students, camp provides the chance to be in “class” with peers that will be in different classes in the fall.  It’s also a great way for exiting IPS students to spend one last summer in a loving, nurturing, comfortable environment.
  • Gross Motor Activities:  Let’s get moving!  Half-day campers will receive one hour each day of indoor (gym) and outdoor (backyard) play, depending upon the weather.  Full-day campers will receive two hours of free play; one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
  • Sensory Activities and Water Play:  All campers of all ages will engage in a variety of sensory-stimulating activities, from sand tables to water tables to sprinkler time!
  • Flexible Schedules:  Camp is being offered for three weeks this summer, from June 14th through July 2nd.  You can choose to sign your child(ren) up for one, two, or three weeks.  The best part is, the weeks do not have to be consecutive; you can sign up for whichever weeks fit your summer schedule.  It’s a win-win!
  • Special Days and Camp Themes: In keeping with IPS’ play-based learning philosophy, our camp will boast an Olympics theme. The sports, flags, and international theme of the Summer Olympics will play a role in many parts of the camp day, from art to games to books!
  • IPS Teachers and Staff: The camp is staffed with current IPS teachers and administration…all familiar faces to our current students, and faces that will become familiar to our incoming students!
The Olympics are coming to IPS Summer Camp!

We are looking forward to seeing you this June at IPS Summer Camp!

To sign up for IPS Summer Camp, visit our website today!

Not a member of the IPS school community, but would like to be? Apply online so your child(ren) can come to IPS Summer Camp as well!

Earth Day is Every Day: Honoring Our Planet at The International Preschools

Children at both locations learn that the Earth’s two main colors are green (land) and blue (water). Many “free art” projects center around these two colors to help reinforce the students’ learning about the Earth. This is a concept that even our youngest children can understand.

Curriculum at The International Preschools (IPS) in April often centers around planet Earth and, ultimately, Earth Day, which falls on April 22nd. Children in every age group, from the Red Rooms (2s) to the Junior Kindergarten (4s/5s), learn about the topography of the Earth, as well as what we can do to help keep the Earth safe and clean for plants, animals, and people.

The 76th Street Green Room children practiced working at a recycling center by sorting paper items from plastic items during a fun game.

At our 76th Street location, a special in-class celebration was held for Earth Day. The Red (2s) and Green (3s) Rooms learned about recycling by playing a sorting game; the children had to find plastic and paper from around the classroom and place the items in the appropriate boxes. The Pre-K (4s) Rooms repurposed cardboard boxes from packages to create toys and buildings to play and build with. Everyone gained a new understanding of the importance of recycling for our planet!

One of our Pre-K classes at 76th Street display their “reused items” project, where the children repurposed cardboard boxes as building materials.

At our 86th Street location, individual classrooms approached the topic of Earth Day in different ways. Some classes collected cardboard boxes, paper, and plastic and used it to create magnificent art projects. In the Junior Kindergarten (4s/5s), children are learning about the solar system, to help determine the Earth’s place in space.

A student at 86th Street reuses boxes, cartons, and bottle caps to create a project of his own!

Happy Earth Day to all!

Want to learn more about IPS’ play-based learning approach? Visit the curriculum section of our website.

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online today!

Observing (And Learning!) About The World Around Us

Red Room children use magnifying glasses to closely observe the parts of a flower.

The changing of seasons helps children embark on a learning adventure by employing their five senses. From the Red Room (2s) to the Junior Kindergarten (4s/5s), the children in every classroom are asked questions about what they see, feel, hear, smell, and taste when introducing a new season.

At our 86th Street location, some classes have started learning about the caterpillar-to-butterfly life cycle! Here, a child observes the caterpillars, as well as a life cycle chart.

Now that the spring season has arrived, the students are applying their senses to learn about what changes have occurred. How does the weather feel when you go outside? Do you need a heavy coat, or a light jacket? What do the trees look like? Are there leaves on the trees? What else do you see (flowers, animals, green grass)? What do you hear when you are outside (i.e. birds chirping)? Thinking about, and utilizing, the five senses helps children make connections between the world around them and the themes that they are learning about in the classroom.

In the Green Room, students observe the life cycle of plants by using a special translucent container. This way, the changes underneath the soil’s surface, such as the forming of roots, can be seen.

The next time you are out and about with your child, be sure to ask them some questions about what they are seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. It will open up a world of learning, as well as provide a prompt for meaningful conversation!

Want to learn more about The International Preschools? Take a look inside an IPS classroom on our website.

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online today!

Welcome Spring! What’s Ahead at The International Preschools

Spring means…more time playing outside!

After a restful and relaxing spring break, the students and teachers are back at The International Preschools for the final stretch of the 2020-2021 school year!

Spring means…learning about topics such as birds and nests!

In the classrooms, spring will bring about a variety of new topics: gardening, planting, recycling, trees, birds, insects, and more! We will spend time learning about Earth Day, and why it is so important to take care of the planet that we live on.

Spring means…learning about the parts of a flower, and creating representational flower paintings using a “live” model!

Our Parents’ Association is hard at work in putting together our annual Spring Benefit, which will take place virtually on Wednesday, April 28th. An online auction will include contributions from each classroom from both locations. One of the many items to bid on or buy include an “Almost Sleepover,” where a few lucky guests will join their teachers in wearing pajamas, making a craft, watching a movie, and enjoying a meal right here at IPS!

Happy Spring to all!

Learn more about the 2021 Virtual Spring Benefit on our website.

Not a member of The International Preschools’ community, but would like to be? Apply online on our website today!

IPS Classrooms: January-March 2021

Classes at The International Preschools resume on Tuesday, April 6th, after a two-week spring break. Before the final stretch to summer begins, please enjoy the following snapshots of our IPS students hard at work in our classrooms. Happy Spring!

Learn more about our play-based curriculum, read a letter from our director, or better yet, apply online for the 2021-2022 school year by visiting our website!