Throughout the months of February and March, there have been a variety of themes displayed within our classrooms. Interdisciplinary themes, combined with our play-based learning philosophy, were evident everywhere you went at The International Preschools!
In February, both locations welcomed twelve fertilized eggs in incubators, which produced many fluffy chicks that were born on Valentine’s Day! At 76th Street and 86th Street, the classes visited the chicks throughout the hatching process and celebrated with a “birthday party” to commemorate our feathered friends’ entry into the world.
To kick off the winter season at The International Preschools, our classes have been learning about all that comes in the month of January: the New Year and related celebrations, snow, ice, hibernation, and animals that live in predominantly cold-weather climates. Our play-based learning curriculum provides IPS students with a variety of outlets, from dramatic play to art to science, to engage in these thematic units.
The Pre-K classes also have acquired knowledge about the great Martin Luther King, Jr., and what his legacy means to our country. In early February, the children in all of our classes will learn about Lunar New Year and how it is celebrated.
See below for a wonderful array of photos displaying the current interdisciplinary themes at The International Preschools!
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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)!
For many parents, this September will mark the first time that their child will attend a full day of preschool. With that comes the nightly (or for some, morning) routine of preparing your child’s lunch.
It’s not an easy thing. After all, toddlers and preschoolers are notoriously picky and fickle about what they eat. Some days, a cheese sandwich is perfect. Other days, a cheese sandwich will be greeted with a resounding NO from your child.
I’m currently going through the lunchtime process with my second child and, having been an early childhood educator for more than 20 years now, have also witnessed firsthand what works and what doesn’t. Here are some tips and ideas to help make your child (and your!) first experience with lunch-at-school a happy one:
Stick with what he/she knows. Be sure that your child’s lunch contains mostly items that he/she has eaten before and enjoys. Let dinnertime be the place where new foods can be tasted and evaluated. Then, new foods that are given the thumbs-up can be included in future lunches.
Give variety. Including a variety of foods from many food groups (protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, healthy fats) ensures that your child will eat something (even if he/she doesn’t eat everything). And on that note…
Pay attention to portion sizes. I’ve seen many well-meaning parents (myself included!) pack lunches with large portion sizes that don’t get eaten. It’s not that your child can’t/won’t eat that much…it’s more that having lots of baggies and containers with large amounts of food in them can be visually overwhelming. As a result, some children will just avoid the food altogether. Case in point: I have given my five-year-old the same types of food for lunch packed in a bento box (if you haven’t gotten one for your child already, look into it – they are awesome!) with small portions, and the same food in a variety of containers. She almost always eats all of the food in the bento box, but when the food is in larger containers, she leaves a lot of it behind.
Make it visually appealing! Visual aspects are sometimes as vital to kids eating their lunch as the actual food. If you’re crafty, and up for the challenge, click here for some cute lunchtime (or dinnertime) ideas.
Next week’s blog will touch on the skills that kids learn from having snack and lunch together at school…and they aren’t just food-related!
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.
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.
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!
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!
This week’s blog post features the next portion of our book/author studies unit at The International Preschools: the author studies being conducted in our Green (3s) Rooms.
The Green Rooms at our 76th Street and 86th Street locations have been working hard on their author studies. Each class chose an author that they are focusing on. Throughout the months of February and March, the children have been reading books by that particular author. Scroll down to see some photos of the great literacy-based work occurring in our Green Rooms!
Be sure to return next week, where the Red Rooms will be showcased through their annual Color Unit!
The children in the Green (3s), Pre-K (4s), and Junior K (4s/5s) classrooms at The International Preschools have been working on literacy studies throughout the months of February and March. The Green Rooms primarily choose one author to focus on, while the Pre-K and Junior K classes choose either a book/book series or a chapter book/series to concentrate on.
As in all of our play-based learning themes, the classrooms are transformed to reflect the topic at hand. Dramatic play centers, discovery centers, and book shelves will exhibit books by a particular author or topic. Art projects and writing/drawing activities will represent characters and plot lines from the books being read. This way, the children will fully immerse themselves in the books they are reading, and usually, better understand the text and concepts being taught.
One may ask, are chapter books age-appropriate for the Pre-K and Junior K children? Will the information and stories be difficult for them to understand? The answer is no, provided that you pick the right books…which our teachers have certainly done. The chapter books and chapter book series that have been chosen by our teachers this year all include illustrations, which help provide the children with a visual source for plot lines and characters. At the same time, the lesser amount of illustrations allows for children to use their imaginations, creating their own versions of what the characters and the settings in the stories look like. With less pictures for visual comprehension, chapter books require children to fine tune their listening skills, as they will need to rely on their receptive language to understand what is going on in the story being read aloud.
Be sure to return for next week’s blog entry, which will spotlight the Pre-K and Junior K classes’ work on their book studies. (The Green Rooms’ author studies will be highlighted the week after.)
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The International Preschools Blog is an opportunity to journey into the school's classrooms. Here you will find information about play-based education, diversity, classroom themes; all the things that make learning joyful and fun at one of the best preschools in New York City.