The Winter Solstice celebrations at The International Preschools have long been a tradition to welcome and honor the longest night of the year and the diverse holidays celebrated by our families. Each location hosts an all-school Sing-Along, followed by individual classroom potlucks. December holidays celebrated around the world are feasts and festivals of light; our students explore the concepts of “light” and “dark” to delve into these themes via play-based learning.
The holiday season has arrived, and with that comes a focus on community outreach programs here at The International Preschools. Every year, the parents, teachers, and children of our school work with several organizations to help those in need, be it here in New York City, elsewhere in the United States, and around the world.
A friend of mine recently attended the parent/teacher conference for his eighteen-month-old son. Prior to the meeting, he questioned the importance of attending a conference for a child so young. What would the teachers possibly have to say about his son, he asked? After attending the conference, he had an answer: a lot!
At The International Preschools, parent/teacher conferences are held twice a year: once in the fall and once in the spring. Parents have the opportunity to speak directly with their child’s teachers about the child’s school experience. Whether your child is two-years-old and just starting school, or five-years-old and heading to kindergarten next year (or beyond), there is important information to be learned at every level. Here are some of the many topics you can expect to (or ask to) hear about at your child’s conference:
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers, educator and Emmy-winning creator of the children’s show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
The idea of learning through play is a key principle here at The International Preschools. Our school mission states in part that “through play, we promote the cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth of each child in a nurturing atmosphere.” It is believed that, through this practice, children will learn the necessary social and cognitive skills that they will use throughout their lives. How, you might ask, can these goals be accomplished?
One of the most entertaining everyday occurrences at The International Preschools are the many “sound bites” that children share with their teachers. Children provide unique yet innocent insights and observations about the world around them on a daily basis, from a trip that they will be taking with their families to a gaggle of puppies that they saw frolicking in Central Park. As teachers, parents, caregivers, and friends, we are happy to engage in these little conversations.
Sometimes, with both parents and teachers, these conversations can take on a more serious tone. Topics such as death, divorce, moving to a new house or school, or even the addition of a new baby can bring up worries and questions in young children. And, in the world that we live in today, the addition of terrorist attacks close to home can further exacerbate the internal fears within children.
Toddlers lining up to play on the first days of school!
The children’s book, Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, tells the story of a child named Wemberly who worries about everything. Her biggest worry of all? The first day of school! Ultimately, Wemberly vows not to worry so much in the future, so that she won’t miss out on the fun.
Like Wemberly, separation anxiety is a natural thing for children (and parents) to feel during the first days of school. Some children transition easily into school right away, saying goodbye to their parents without ever turning back. Others might start on day one, excited and enthusiastic, and return on day two hesitantly and apprehensively; this often occurs when a child realizes that school doesn’t occur just one day a year! And still, other children take days or weeks to warm up to their new school environment. Rest assured, this behavior is to be expected, and the teachers and staff at The International Preschools are ready to help!
Story time is an important part of your child’s day at The International Preschools. Each day, at least one book is read aloud to the class that is related to the current classroom theme. During these first days and weeks of school, most teachers focus on getting children acquainted with the daily routines inside their classroom, in addition to following simple rules: cleaning up after themselves after choice time and snack, hanging their coats and backpacks in their cubbies, and playing cooperatively with their peers, to name a few. The books read aloud at IPS during the month of September often center around the topic of the first day of school.
Welcome back to school! Here at The International Preschools, the teachers and staff are preparing for the children’s arrival. Our hallways are being decorated with fall-themed photos and art, and the classrooms are filled with play-based centers for the children to explore. Continue reading →
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.