Category: Parents’ Interests

End-Of-School Transitions: From School to Summer

760a97cc25146479740451724-900x675The last few weeks of classes at The International Preschools are exciting for our students.  Teachers and children begin play-based learning activities to celebrate the end of the school year:  classroom parties with parents, end-of-the-year gifts, and memory books.

But after the festivities have concluded, what’s next?  The “what’s next,” for some children, can be  filled with uncertainty, sadness, or fear.  Sometimes, these feelings can result in regressing behaviors, such as difficulty separating from parents or caregivers.  This is an opportunity for children to develop life-strategies for transitioning between one set of routines towards another exciting phase in their lives.

The process actually begins in September when teachers spend time helping students acclimate to the routines and expectations of the classroom.  This action is crucial in helping the children feel confident and comfortable in their surroundings; toddlers and preschool-age children crave stability in their day-to-day schedules, thriving most when they know “what comes next.”  Providing consistency is key to helping children feel safe, secure, and confident.

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Life Cycles and Our End-Of-Year Units: How Are They Connected?

 

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Interacting with a baby chick!
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Observing Caterpillars

Spring is an exciting season in play-based curriculum. Following thematic classroom units on the Earth, students at The International Preschools explore life cycles.  Students of all ages are introduced to live caterpillars who are then placed in a “butterfly garden” and observed and recorded closely.  Preschoolers excitedly experience firsthand as caterpillars enter their chrysalises and emerge as butterflies! For a few joyful days, the children enjoy spending time with their new “classmates.”  But soon, the teachers will tell the class that it is time to release the butterflies to live in their natural habitats. There is a bittersweet “ceremony,” where the butterfly gardens are opened and its inhabitants are set free, to live in a local park.

Chicken eggs are introduced at each location in early May by Quiver Farms and are placed in an incubator until they hatch. All of the students (and teachers!) from the entire school spend time visiting and examining the eggs.  Soon, the location is filled with delighted squeals of our preschoolers, as they have a front-row seat to the arrival of baby chicks!  Under careful supervision, the students help to care for, and even pet, these tiny creatures for about a week.  They are then transported back to Quiver Farms to live after a final goodbye and hug from the children.

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Fathers and Special Friends Read-Aloud: An IPS Tradition!

The 2017-fathers-read-aloud-7Fathers and Special Friends Read-Aloud is a time-honored tradition here at The International Preschools.  The annual event coincides with the school’s literacy units, which include book, character, and author studies.   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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Preschoolers + After School Program = An Enriching Addition to Your Child’s Day

Children boost their individual coordination and motor skills while playing together in a large group during Super Soccer Stars.

Although dismissal time signals the end of the school day for some, the fun continues “after hours” at The International Preschools.  Our school provides a wide variety of after school program choices for parents to choose from, all of which build upon the concepts being taught inside the classrooms each day.

  • Language Development:  Children acquire new vocabulary words when playing sports (i.e. “dribble” during Soccer) and learn to process and follow directions when playing games.
  • Social Skills:  Making friends and initiating play is an important concept taught in every IPS classroom.  After school programs allow children to meet fellow students who are not in their everyday class.

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Celebrating the Winter Solstice & Diversity at The International Preschools NYC

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.

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Community Outreach Programs at The International Preschools

At the 86th Street location, children sorted dimes, nickels, quarters, and pennies for UNICEF.
At the 86th Street location, children sorted dimes, nickels, quarters, and pennies for UNICEF.

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.

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The Importance of Parent/Teacher Conferences

Our youngest students hard at work! The children here are bolstering a variety of skills while at the play dough table: strengthening their hands for future writing activities; learning to share tools; engaging in both parallel and cooperative play; and working on expressive and receptive language skills...just to name a few!
Our youngest students hard at work! The children here are bolstering a variety of skills while at the play dough table: strengthening their hands for future writing activities; learning to share tools; engaging in both parallel and cooperative play; and working on expressive and receptive language skills…just to name a few!

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:

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Learning Through Play

“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

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Learning math skills is fun and educational! Junior Kindergarten children play a game where they ultimately create a boy-girl (AB) pattern.

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?

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Talking to Children About Difficult Topics

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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.

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Separation Anxiety: It Can Happen to Anyone!

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!

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