The International Preschools Blog

The Great Outdoors: Celebrating Nature at IPS Summer Camp

Camping by the "fire" at IPS Summer Camp!
Camping by the “fire” at IPS Summer Camp!

Our third summer camp theme, “The Great Outdoors,” is in full swing!  Although The International Preschools is located in New York City, our outdoor camp theme is designed to expose and explore elements of nature that we might not see every day in the city (unless we are at the park, of course!).  During weeks 5 and 6 of summer camp, the children have learned about a variety of nature-related objects and animals, including bugs, plants, and trees.  Many of our camp rooms have incorporated camping into their summer activities and classroom dramatic play areas, which has been well received by the children!

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Swimming and Water Play: Getting Your Child Used to the Water

Children exploring inside the camp water table.
Children exploring inside the camp water table.

When one thinks of summer, time spent in the water immediately comes to mind.  Splashing in the pool, ocean, and lake are popular warm weather activities both inside and outside of New York City.  For some children, water exposure can be thrilling; for other children, water play can bring about feelings of apprehension or anxiety.  Fortunately, there are many ways that parents, teachers, and caregivers can make water play a fun-filled, positive experience for young children.

Here at The International Preschools Summer Camp, children spend a significant amount of time engaged in water play.  Each age group is allotted thirty to sixty minutes a day for water play, weather permitting.  As part of our play-based learning philosophy, children are exposed to the water in a variety of ways, so that they can choose the styles that are most comfortable to them.  Each playground has a water play table, filled with squirt toys, watering cans, pails, and ocean animals.  Some children will feel satisfied just by placing their hands inside the water; others will enjoy pouring the water on their arms and legs.  A sprinkler is also set up on warm days; some children delight in running back and forth through the water, while others are content sticking a tentative hand or foot inside the stream of water.  Either way, the goal for water exposure has been achieved:  a pleasant, positive event for all!

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Team USA at IPS Summer Camp!

Play-based learning does not stop when the school year comes to an end!  At The International Preschools, our philosophy continues through our summer camp season.  Our newest camp theme is called “Team USA!”  Created last year to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics, the Team USA theme celebrates the Fourth of July holiday, along with promoting pride for the country in which we live, the United States of America.  During the school year, learning about and appreciating each other’s multicultural backgrounds is a prominent theme; the Team USA camp theme is a tangible addition to our awareness of the countries of the world!

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The International Preschools Summer Camp: Ocean Commotion!

Luau Day
Luau Day at 86th Street
Luau Day at 45th Street
Luau Day at 45th Street

Summer camp at The International Preschools began on June 13th, and we’ve already experienced so many fun activities in this short time!  We have four age groups at our camps:  Tadpoles (18 months and up), Guppies (2s), Goldfish (3s), and Dolphins (4s/5s).  Most weeks, the campers will attend a special performance by entertainers such as story tellers, singers, puppeteers, and clowns.  We also will welcome the Petland Traveling Animal Show and New York City’s very own Art Farm for some animal interaction!  Children will be able to observe, pet, and in some cases, hold, a variety of animals!

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Elizabeth Patrick Leadership Award for Faculty Members: Meet Our Newest Recipient!

unnamed-1Congratulations to this year’s Elizabeth Patrick Leadership Award Winner: 76th Street Head Teacher, Alyssa Wisoff.

In 2015, The International Preschools’ Board of Trustees established the Elizabeth Patrick Leadership Fund in appreciation of Ms. Patrick’s leadership as the Board Chair.   The Fund was established to support professional development and educational advancement for faculty as well as provide for an annual award to a faculty member who has made a notable contribution to living out and promoting the mission of the school by taking initiative within the school community.

This year, the school had five nominees of highly qualified and deserving faculty members. Nominations were made by peer teachers and location directors. A committee consisting of a Board member, two faculty members, and four staff members reviewed the nominees and selected the winner.
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A Look Back at a Great Year: 2016-2017

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…

September: We welcomed the new school year by getting to know the daily routines in our new classrooms...not to mention, meeting new teachers and friends!
September: We welcomed the new school year by getting to know the daily routines in our new classrooms…not to mention, meeting new teachers and friends!
October: Fall units and our annual United Nations Day celebrations took place at all three locations. After UN Day, "culture shares" begin; this is where families are invited into the classrooms to share a family tradition with the children.
October: Fall units and our annual United Nations Day celebrations took place at all three locations. Classrooms began their international “culture share” units, asking parents to join the class to teach about a holiday their family celebrates.
November: Classrooms begin their "culture share" units, often by asking parents to teach the class about a holiday that their family celebrates. The American holiday of Thanksgiving is celebrated via themes of family, food, and friendship.
November: The American holiday of Thanksgiving was celebrated via themes of family, food, and friendship.  Food, clothing, and toy drives took place, teaching children in a hands-on manner about the importance of helping those less fortunate in and around New York City.
December: Units on "light" and "dark" take place in honor of our Winter Solstice celebration. Families are invited to IPS to take part in a sing-along and international potluck during the holiday season.
December: The concepts of “light” and “dark” were explored in honor of our Winter Solstice celebration. Families were invited to IPS to take part in a sing-along and international potluck during the holiday season.















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End-Of-The-Year Celebrations

An IPS student prepares for "graduation"!
An IPS student prepares for “graduation”!

Each May, The International Preschools celebrates the end-of-the year with a variety of play-based learning activities.  It is a bittersweet time for everyone:  parents, children, and teachers alike. While parents and teachers are incredibly proud of what the children have accomplished throughout the last nine months, it is also a sad time of year, as we all prepare to say goodbye for the summer.

Classroom teachers approach the end-of-year celebrations in different ways depending on age levels.  For the Creche (1.5s-2 year olds) and Red Rooms (2 year olds), families gather in the children’s classrooms for an international potluck and children might perform a few songs with the grown-ups.

In the Green Rooms (3 year olds), teachers incorporate memory books, a photo/video collage and performances by the children.

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Uniquely IPS: The “Learning Through the Arts” Curriculum

Mrs. Foss displaying the clay birds created for last year’s performance

The International Preschools offers unique specialty classes to supplement the already multi-faceted play-based learning curriculum in our classrooms.  Currently, we offer five specialty classes:  music, creative movement, clay art, library, and iPads/technology.  To connect and culminate a year of enlightenment in our specialty classes, the Pre-K and Junior K children participate in a performance for the Green (3s) classes entitled “Learning Through The Arts.”

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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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