The International Preschools: Alumni Reflections

This week’s blog post contains contributions by Nikos Papagapitos, a graduate of the International Preschools, who attended from 1987-1991.  With over 50 years of global, play-based learning experience, it is always great to catch up with one of our many preschool alumni.

#IPSNYC 74th_Street The_International_Preschools Preschool 1990
Nikos at the 74th Street location (bottom row on the right). Here he is also pictured with Mrs. Schwartz (top center), 86th Street Assistant to the Location Director!

A unique feature of The International Preschools is its multiple locations in Manhattan, allowing families to stay with the IPS community even if they move to another part of the city.  Nikos attended three locations:

1987-1988: Park Avenue Christian Church, located at East 85th Street and Park Avenue. Nikos noted, “This was when I was two and my teacher was the lovely Mrs. Foss.”
1988-1990: Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, located at East 74th Street between First and Second Avenues.  Said Nikos, “I attended the 3s and 4s here.  My teachers were Mrs. Colen and Mrs. Weiss for both years. There were other teachers too, but they were the main ones. I ran into Mrs. Colen a few years ago and she told me that Mrs. Weiss remarried and is now Mrs. Schwartz!”
1990-1991:  Nikos attended IPS’ current 45th Street location for kindergarten.  “That was kindergarten with the amazing Margarete Seer.   I loved Miss Seer, and her acoustic guitar that she used to bust out from time to time. That’s one of my most fond memories of IPS. I was so sad when I learned of her passing. She was great, my sister had and loved her too.”

#IPSNYC 45th Street Kindergarten Preschool
Nikos, top row and fourth from the left, with his Kindergarten class at the 45th Street location.

Nikos remembers his years at The International Preschools fondly.  “My favorite part of IPS, and likely what made the biggest impact on me,” he said, “was the diverse community. In those four years, I encountered kids from every corner of the globe.

The Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, home to IPS’ East 74th Street location. 74th Street closed its doors in June of 2013, merging with what is now our East 86th Street location.

IPS did a fantastic job embracing that diversity and showcasing everyone’s background. By age five, I knew of more countries and cultures than most high school students, and could probably find most of them on a map to boot. This instilled an interest in geography and culture that I carry with me to this day. My mother loves to tell the story how there was a kid in my sister’s class from Upper Volta and while most people had no idea where, or even what Upper Volta was, my sister, Ariadne, by age four, could point to it on a map (today it’s Burkina Faso). This early introduction to other countries probably has something to do with why my sister travels to obscure parts of the globe saving the world (today she works in international human rights).”

Thank you, Nikos, for sharing your memories of The International Preschools with us!


Nikos #IPSNYC alum Preschool
Nikos today, on a trip to South Georgia, a sub-Antarctic island southeast of the Falklands. Now a tech consultant, Nikos formerly worked aboard passenger expedition cruises. This particular cruise was returning from a trip to Antarctica.












Like Nikos, would you be willing to share your fond memories of IPS? Please email us at alumni@ipsnyc.orgInclude in the email your name, location where you attended and the years you attended.

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Interested in having your child experience a diverse and international community and become a future alumnus of The International Preschools?  Learn more about our school by clicking here.




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