Category: Green Rooms (3s)

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!

Lunch Prep for Preschool

Lunchtime at school is a big step in a preschooler’s life!

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!

Interested in joining the IPS community? Visit our website by clicking here.

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!

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!

Green Room Author Studies at The International Preschools

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!

Mo Willems is the chosen author in the Green 2 classroom at 76th Street. The class is focusing on Mo’s Gerald and Piggie series of books. Here, Piggie (in puppet form) visits a Green Room friend’s home. The children were asked to document Piggie’s travels via photos, drawings, and writing, and send the finished pages back to school to share with friends. By the time you read this, each child in Green 2 will have welcomed Piggie into his/her home!
Eric Carle is the author of choice in 76 Green 1. The children learned that Eric Carle is an author and an illustrator, and studied his illustration methods closely. They learned that Eric Carle used collage, as well as layers of materials from paint to paper, to create his drawings. Here is a sample of a multi-step project that the children constructed in honor of Eric Carle, using layers of paint, paper, and glue.
86 Green 2 is also learning about Eric Carle! After reading Eric Carle’s book, The Very Busy Spider, the children created a collaborative spider web with yarn. The children worked their fine motor muscles while looping and threading the yarn through the tiny holes.
Another Eric Carle author study, this time with 86 Green 1! The children in this class are experimenting with artwork inspired by Eric Carle’s illustrations.
86 Green 3 read all of the books in the Harold and the Purple Crayon series. Here, the children are voting as to which of the books they liked best.

Be sure to return next week, where the Red Rooms will be showcased through their annual Color Unit!

Interested in seeing more classroom footage? Take a peek inside an IPS classroom by visiting our website.

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online here!

Literacy Studies at The International Preschools

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.

At our 76th Street location, the Pre-K 3 children are reading My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Here, they have drawn, colored in, cut out, and labeled the animals and characters in the book for a classroom bulletin board.

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.

Green 2 children at our 86th Street location create spiders to coincide with their Eric Carle author study. The spider is the main character in Eric Carle’s book, The Very Busy Spider.

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.)

Not a member of the IPS community, but would like to be? Learn more about our admissions process by visiting our website.

Fathers and Special Friends Read-Aloud: Winter 2020

Fathers and Special Friends Read-Aloud in a classroom at our 76th Street location.

The International Preschools is in the middle of its annual Fathers and Special Friends Read-Aloud.  For this event, male relatives and friends of our students are invited into the classrooms to read to the children.  This person can be a father, brother, grandfather, cousin, uncle, or special friend.

While the program was originally founded many years ago to identify male figures as reading role models for young boys, it has evolved simply into a wonderful opportunity for cherished caregivers and loved ones to provide a literacy-based activity for our preschoolers.

 

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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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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 →

Spring 2019: A Look Ahead at The International Preschools

The Junior K class welcomes 2019 (and winter) by exploring snowflakes!

Happy New Year!  As 2019 begins, so does the spring semester at The International Preschools!  We have a lot of exciting programs and events that will take place over the coming weeks and months.

Read on to learn about what’s to come in Spring 2019!

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