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
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 WinterSolstice 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.
The students, faculty, and administration at The International Preschools recognizes and celebrates holidays from all over the world throughout our play-based curriculum. Thanksgiving is especially festive here in New York City, as both an American holiday as well as providing a cherished tradition: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. On the Upper West Side near our 76th Street location, the giant parade balloons are inflated just blocks from our school. At both of our schools, children in all IPS classes explored Thanksgiving in an age-appropriate manner. Continue reading to learn about and view examples of the Thanksgiving curriculum in action!
At The International Preschools, students, teachers, and their families celebrate holidays from around the world. As part of our ongoing international unit, families are invited to visit the IPS classrooms and teach the children about traditions, holidays, and other celebrations that are important to their culture. Recently, IPS commemorated Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, at both of our locations.
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!
The International Preschools welcomed some special visitors this week. We celebrated Lunar New Year with a performance by lion dancers at all three of our locations on Friday, February 1st, to commemorate 2019 as the “Year of the Boar.”
The Winter Solstice is observed each year at The International Preschools during the month of December. The Winter Solstice is the day with the shortest amount of daylight/longest amount of darkness. Because many of the international holidays during this time of year celebrate the concept of light, the commemoration of the Winter Solstice at our school acts as a way to collectively celebrate many family and holiday traditions.
Sharing and celebrating each other’s family traditions and cultures is an important part of the curriculum at The International Preschools. Our mission statement expresses that “at The International Preschools, where English language learners are welcomed and supported, children and families from New York City and all over the world share their cultures and gain a sense of international awareness through mutual understanding and respect.” This objective is achieved via a variety of events and activities that occur throughout the school year.
The International Preschools ends the 2016-2017 school year on Wednesday, June 7th…and what a wonderful year of play-based learning it has been! Here’s a look back on some of the fabulous events of the past school year…
The topics of love, friendship, and being kind are underlying themes throughout every school year at The International Preschools. In February, the students at The International Preschools bring these concepts to the forefront of their learning by celebrating Valentine’s Day.
The teachers at all three locations approached this subject in ways that were both similar and unique. Colors commonly associated with Valentine’s Day (red, pink, purple) popped up in many classrooms. In fact, many of our Red Rooms (2s) used this opportunity to begin their color units. Children were invited to wear red, pink, and purple to school on Valentine’s Day, and some classes also held a show-and-share of red items. The “heart” shape was also used as a symbol of Valentine’s Day and love; in one classroom, students learned about the heart muscle and became versed in how to take their own pulses!
To further the concept of friendship and working together, many students participated in whole-group projects such as collaborative collages to promote the idea of functioning as a team. Many classroom writing centers provided older children with the tools to make their own valentines, including word boxes (with Valentine’s Day-related words and phrases for children to reproduce, such as “I Love You”), markers, crayons, pencils, paper, and scissors. This type of open-ended activity allows for students to work at their own ability level, the common goal being that the “process” is more important than the final “product, thereby reinforcing the school learning through play philosophy.
Small group and whole group discussions are important in our preschoolers’ learning. Many classrooms discussed ways that we can express our love and friendship to our families and peers. Children came up with a variety of answers as to how to do this, ranging from “giving hugs” to “playing with friends.”
Below is a list of love-and-friendship-themed books that various classes have read at school:
Clifford, I Love You by Norman Bridwell
The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Heart Prints by P.K. Hallinan
Love is You and Me by Monica Sheehan
We Love Each Other by Yusuke Yonezu
Love by Eric Carle
Hugs From Pearl by Paul Schmid
The ‘I Love You’ Book by Todd Parr
Clifford’s First Valentine by Norman Bridwell
We at The International Preschools wish you and your family a very Happy Valentine’s Day!
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The observance of holidays from around the world has long been a tradition here at The International Preschools. This week, each of the three locations commemorated Lunar New Year with school-wide celebrations on Friday, January 27th. The holiday, celebrated in most Asian countries, is also called Chinese New Year and honors a different animal in a 12-year cycle. 2017 is the “Year of the Rooster.”
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.