The International Preschools Blog

Winter Solstice 2018: Celebrations at The International Preschools

Families and children come together for a sing-along in honor of the Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice is observed each year at The International Preschools during the month of December.  The Winter Solstice is the day with the shortest amount of daylight/longest amount of darkness.  Because many of the international holidays during this time of year celebrate the concept of light, the commemoration of the Winter Solstice at our school acts as a way to collectively celebrate many family and holiday traditions.

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IPS vs. UPK: One Family’s Choice

This week’s blog post was written by an IPS parent on choosing a pre-kindergarten class for her child.  The post originally appeared in our blog during the 2017-2018 school year.

Our daughter attended The International Preschools for two years:  in the Red (2s) and Green (3s) Rooms. We chose to send her to Universal Pre-K (UPK) after that because of the cost and because we knew she would ultimately be attending public kindergarten. I offered to share what our experience was to help IPS in marketing itself and to assist other families grappling with this decision. UPK programs do vary, so I emphasize that this was just our experience.

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Culture Shares and Family Traditions at The International Preschools

The culture share curriculum kicks off with our United Nations Day celebration, where children wear clothing that represents the country that their family identifies with.

Sharing and celebrating each other’s family traditions and cultures is an important part of the curriculum at The International Preschools.  Our mission statement expresses that “at The International Preschools, where English language learners are welcomed and supported, children and families from New York City and all over the world share their cultures and gain a sense of international awareness through mutual understanding and respect.”  This objective is achieved via a variety of events and activities that occur throughout the school year.

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IPS Gives Back: Community Outreach

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF coin collection box

The season of giving is upon us, and it’s never too early to start teaching children about the importance of giving back to your community.  Every year, The International Preschools participates in community service projects to help the less fortunate both locally and worldwide.  Here are a few of the programs that our school proudly contributes to:

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The Importance of Parent/Teacher Conferences: Fall 2018

This week’s topic is parent/teacher conferences; this blog post originally ran in November 2016.  Its information will help you prepare for what you’ll learn at our upcoming Green Room, Pre-K, and Junior K conferences on November 5th and 6th, as well as the Creche/Red Room conferences on December 3rd and 4th.  Enjoy!

Creche students at 45th Street experiment with apples via stamping. They are also engaging in a sensory experience by touching the paint, strengthening fine motor skills by grasping the handles of the stampers, while increasing their social skills by working together at the art table.

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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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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Celebrating United Nations Day at The International Preschools

Creating a flag collage in honor of United Nations Day.

Each year, the faculty, staff, parents, and children of The International Preschools come together to celebrate a special holiday:  United Nations Day.  More than 50 years ago, The International Preschools was created as a way to assist international families who relocated to the United States.  Formerly known as The International Play Group, the school opened locations throughout Manhattan and Queens.  Today, we celebrate United Nations Day as a way to commemorate IPS’ inception and to introduce our students and families to the many cultures that make up our school community.

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Curriculum Night at The International Preschools

A child works on her pincer grip while engaged in a game called “Feed the Dog.” Here, she will strengthen her hand muscles for future writing endeavors…all while learning through play!

Each year, The International Preschools invites parents to  a fun and educational Curriculum Night during the early fall.  The purpose of this evening is to teach parents the important aspects of the school day, including IPS teaching philosophies, topics of study, daily schedules and routines, and upcoming events throughout the school year, as well as answer any questions that parents have about their child’s school day.  This year, on Wednesday, October 17th, parents at our 45th Street, 76th Street, and 86th Street locations will visit their child(ren)’s classrooms to learn about the school day from two points of view:  the teachers and the students!

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The (Updated) iPad/Technology Program at The International Preschools

A child working on an app during IPS’ iPad/Technology class.

The International Preschools created and instituted an iPad/Technology program for our Green Rooms (3s), Pre-Kindergarten (4s), and Junior Kindergarten (4s/5s) classes several years ago.  The 2018-19 school year will bring about some changes to the curriculum, led and instituted by our Technology teacher, Ms. Nikki.  While some aspects of the program will remain the same, other parts of the curriculum will include new learning topics and a larger focus on concepts such as coding.

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