Category: Recommended Books

Prime Time Parenting: The Two Hour a Day Secret to Raising Great Kids

This week’s blog post was written by Heather Miller, an IPS alum who is the Director of LePage-Miller, Inc., an education firm based in New York City. A graduate of MIT, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Heather has developed and delivered educational programs for children for over twenty years. As a researcher on children’s interactions with educational technology, she has worked in China, France, India, and in the United States. She has written over 30 plays for children and lives in Manhattan with her family.  Heather recently spoke to parents at IPS about her new book, Prime Time Parenting

A few words about my IPS experience—from a Class of 1976 preschooler:

Heather Miller, former student of The International Preschools and author of the new book, Prime Time Parenting.

“I attended IPG, as it was then called, in the mid-1970s at its midtown location on First Avenue. I vividly remember the warm, creative and welcoming atmosphere. It seemed to me that we were constantly painting at easels; I remember the feel of the paint under my paintbrush. The smell of the paint and the look of the paint bottles are some of my keenest and earliest sensory memories.

Having our flags in front of each of us at lunch made a big impression on my four-year-old self. I understood that these flags represented our countries, where our parents were from. In that respect, having a teacher place my two little flags in front of me at lunch each day told me that the school saw me as an individual. That felt wonderful. Some of us, myself included, had two flags. I remember looking around the lunch table, taking in the colors and patterns of the flags and looking from the flags to the faces they belonged to. Even though each of our flags were personal to us and our families, taken together, they were a celebration of our school’s glorious diversity. It provoked a wonder in the wider world, in all the faraway places our flags represented. I could connect our little flags at our lunch table to the huge flags that hung outside the UN Secretariat that I passed each day on the bus to school.

I remember being happy, busy, and engaged at IPS—and never being rushed. I remember
being read lots of wonderful stories and having lots of time for imaginative play. I greatly
enjoyed playing house in our outdoor playhouse and dreaming up stories and adventures with my friends. It was a place where a young child’s imagination could flourish. Many of my IPS classmates joined me in kindergarten at UNIS and two years later, when I moved to Convent of the Sacred Heart, I found several of my other IPS classmates there, too. IPS was a joyful environment, in the words of my father ‘a magical place’ that truly understood the developmental needs and potential of its young students. The school’s creativity, warmth and friendliness made a lifelong impression.”

—Heather Miller, S.M. MIT, Ed.M. Harvard

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Earth Day is Every Day at The International Preschools!

Children working on the 45th Street rooftop garden.
Children working on the 45th Street rooftop garden.

At The International Preschools, every day is a day to take care of the Earth!  During the month of April, the classroom themes center around Earth Day; sub-topics include ways to keep our Earth clean and safe for animals and people, including recycling and gardening.  The goal is to teach the children small things that we can do to care for our Earth during April, that ultimately we can carry out year-round!

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Author Studies and Chapter Books in the Pre-K (4s) and Junior K (4s/5s) Classes

At The International Preschools, literacy and pre-reading skills are at the forefront of our interdisciplinary, play-based learning curriculum.  During the months of January, February, and March, these skills are highlighted via our school-wide author and book studies.

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Author/Book/Character Studies in the Red (2s) and Green (3s) Rooms

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A scene from Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson…
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…and the Red Room children at 86th Street, reenacting Harold’s drawing adventures at the art table!

The author study season is well underway at The International Preschools!  Classrooms at all three locations are thoroughly immersed in learning about their chosen author, book, or character.  This curriculum theme is an effective way to promote early literacy among young children.  In keeping with our play-based learning approach, each classroom will create interdisciplinary activity centers about the books being read there.  This method will assist in children retaining as many skills and as much information as possible about the books at hand, while having fun at the same time!

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Love, Love, Love: Valentine’s Day at The International Preschools

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Students created their own valentines for family members at the art table.

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!

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Some children built on their letter acquisition skills by learning to spell Valentine’s Day-related phrases!

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!

To purchase any of the books above, while also supporting our school, click here.

To learn more about our school, visit our admissions pages, including a letter from our director, click here.

 

 

Celebrating Lunar New Year at The International Preschools

lunar-new-year-2017The 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.”

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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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Pre-K (4 years old) and Junior K (4/5 years old): Fall Themes at The International Preschools

November is in full swing, and the oldest students at The International Preschools are learning about a wide variety of fall-related topics.  This week, we will take a look at the fall themes inside the Pre-K (4 years old) and Junior K (4/5 years old) classes at The International Preschools.

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Picture Books: Reading For All Ages

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On occasion, IPS will publish an additional blog post during the week on special topics.  MacKerrow Talcott, the librarian at The International Preschools, is our guest blogger this week.

As the librarian for The International Preschools,  I am often asked questions about my favorite books.  Recently, I was asked what was my favorite holiday-themed book.   In honor of November being Picture Book Month, I wanted to share with you why this book is so dear to me.  

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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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