At The International Preschools, the children and teachers spent time learning about the Winter Solstice throughout the month of December, concentrating on the concepts of light and dark. The majority of the holidays occurring during the months of November, December, and January honor the idea of light via candles, the sun, the stars, fire, etc. after the longest night of the year, which is the Winter Solstice.
In the classrooms, one of the ways that the children acquired information about the Winter Solstice was by examining the holidays that are celebrated at that time of year. This is done within the classroom curriculum and through culture shares, where parents visit the school virtually via Zoom (due to COVID restrictions) and teach the children about the holidays that they celebrate. Some of the “festivals of light” presented at this time of year include Christmas, Hanukkah, the Feast of St. Lucia, Diwali, Yule, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and the Three Kings.
See below for photos from the classrooms celebrating the Winter Solstice and exploring the concepts of light and dark, as well as our annual Winter Solstice celebration.
The first month of school has been a huge success! Over the last several weeks, the children have acclimated nicely to the daily routines at IPS. The children and teachers are building strong relationships and creating a sense of community within their classrooms. The 2021-2022 school year is definitely off to a great start!
During the month of October, a variety of topics are covered within our classrooms. The overall theme is “We Are Different, Yet We Are The Same,” a nod to the celebration of multiculturalism at our school. IPS was founded more than 50 years ago as a place for those families affiliated with the United Nations to come together as a community. (For more on why United Nations Day is so important to The International Preschools, click here.)
Take a look inside of our classrooms and learn about what’s going on at IPS…
Be sure to return to the IPS blog next month for more photos, curriuculum, and events taking place at our wonderful school!
Are you interested in joining the IPS community? Learn about the application process by visiting our website.
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.
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)!
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.
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.
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!
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!
While our Green Rooms (3s), Pre-K Rooms (4s), and Junior K (4s/5s) are concentrating on their author and book studies, the Red Rooms (2s) are hard at work learning about colors! The children in the Red Room spend six to seven weeks throughout February and March learning about primary and secondary colors. Each week, a different color (red, yellow, blue, green, orange, and purple) is highlighted, with the seventh week being the “favorite color week” for the children.
Throughout the designated color week, children are invited to dress in clothing of that color. The children participate in a “show and share,” where they are asked to bring in an item from home in the color of the week. Art projects, games, books, and even snacks often highlight the specific color that the class is studying.
Scroll down for some photo examples of the Red Rooms’ color units…
The Red Room will focus on learning shapes in the coming weeks as well. Cheers to our littlest students for all of their hard work!
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 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!
Each year, students at The International Preschools embark on an author study during the months of February and March. The curriculum is approached in different ways, based upon the children’s age level. In the Red Rooms (2s) and Green Rooms (3s), one author is chosen, and a variety of his/her books are read. In the Pre-K (4s) and Junior K (4s/5s), a chapter book is selected by the teachers, and a chapter is read every day in class by parent volunteers.
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 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.