The International Preschools Blog

Fostering Friendships in Young Children

Friends work together during IPS Summer Camp’s three-legged race at our 86th Street location.

Making friends, reading social cues, and initiating play are necessary lifelong skills. Children begin to learn the nuances of creating connections with their peers at a very early age. A baby as young as six months old will get excited when he/she sees another baby!

The strengthening of these types of social skills is a priority in preschools and other early childhood education settings. Teachers model behaviors for young children; this can include role-playing different social situations (i.e. wanting to join a group of children playing in the block area) and/or providing the necessary for the child to express what he/she wants or needs (i.e. a toy that another child is playing with).

Here are two great articles about how to cultivate your child’s friendship-making skills:

Scholastic: How To Help Your Child’s First Friendships Grow

PBS Kids for Parents: Growing Early Friendships

Interested in learning more about The International Preschools, and how our play-based learning philosophy supports social, emotional, and cognitive growth? Read about our curriculum on our website.

Know all you need to know about The International Preschools, and want to become a member of the community? Apply online on our website!

IPS Summer Camp: Three Weeks of Memories

Summer camp at The International Preschools was a blast! We recreated the Summer Olympics 2021 in our very own school, and enjoyed (virtual) visits with the Chickenshed NYC and musician Lou Gallo. We celebrated special days like Crazy Sock Day and the Teddy Bear Picnic. Everyone had a great time!

Here are some photos from the camp season for you to enjoy:

Interested in joining the IPS community? Learn more about our play-based curriculum by clicking here.

Fourth of July and Closing Ceremonies at IPS

The International Preschools’ (IPS) Summer Camp 2021 season ended on Friday, July 2nd, and a great time was had by all! During the last week of camp, we commemorated the Fourth of July via our “Red, White, and Blue Day.” Children were invited to come to school wearing…what else?…red, white, and/or blue and participated in some fun activities, including viewing a fireworks presentation from a previous Fourth of July celebration!

Here are some photos and descriptions of our camp activities from week 3:

Want to learn more about other school events at IPS? Take a peek into one of our classrooms by visiting our website.

Ready to begin the admissions process? Learn more about tuition, our programs, and more on our website.

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IPS Summer Camp 2021: Theme Days and Specialty Classes

The Goldfish group at 76th Street designed their own hats on “Crazy Hat Day.”

There’s lots of fun things happening at IPS Summer Camp every day! Although our overall camp theme for summer is the upcoming Summer Olympics, the children are participating in additional special days and specialty classes that are engaging and exciting!

On “Favorite Sports Team Day,” children in the Little Dolphins Group at 76th Street colored in sports-themed pictures during Choice Time.

The “special days” at summer camp will require parent participation from home! For “Crazy Hat Day,” each child will wear a hat or headband selected from home to show to his/her fellow campers. On Red, White, and Blue Day, the children are encouraged to find red, white, and/or blue items to wear to camp. Activities such as these build a strong “home-to-school” connection; that is, when an activity for school is included or done, in part, at home, and vice versa). It is a great way to help children cultivate positive feelings towards learning, and allows parents to be actively involved in the child’s learning as well.

Campers at 86th Street participate in the Chickenshed NYC show via Zoom.

In addition to special days, IPS Summer Camp also has specialty classes! These classes are different from our school year specialty classes and are with different instructors. They are also brought in via Zoom…and are a huge hit at both locations! On Tuesdays, the children participate in activities with the Chickenshed, an inclusive and interactive children’s theatre. The Chickenshed actors use songs and puppets to bring laughs and entertainment to our campers! On Thursdays, Lou Gallo visits our IPS campers with his catchy, lively music and entertaining songs for kids (and teachers!). Some song favorites include “My Shoes Light Up!” and “No, Molly!”

Both Lou and the Chickenshed visited IPS’ 76th Street location in early 2020, before school was closed due to COVID-19. We are happy to have Lou and the Chickenshed back at IPS this summer!

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online on our website today!

Summer Camp at The International Preschools: Olympics 2021

Egg-on-a-spoon individual event at the 86th Street Olympics!

Our camp season was derailed in summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but The International Preschools is back for three weeks of summer camp in 2021!

Lighting the Olympic torch from the Olympic cauldron at 76th Street!

The theme for this year’s summer camp season is the Olympics, in honor of the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympics are a perfect theme for IPS Summer Camp, as it not only puts gross motor skills to the forefront, but also embraces countries and cultures from all around the world coming together, which is the founding principle of The International Preschools.

Individual event focusing on balancing at 86th Street!

To open up the 2021 camp season, our two IPS locations celebrated the Olympics with some fun activities. At 86th Street, campers participated in individual events in the gym such as egg-on-a-spoon and other balancing activities. At 76th Street, the campers welcomed the season with a torch lighting ceremony, where the children practiced lighting the Olympic torch from the Olympic cauldron. Then, they had a turn to march around the room as the Olympic theme played in the background. The Goldfish at 76th Street also made their own flags out of stickers, as part of the groups’ “Parade of Nations” (similar to what takes place during the actual Olympics).

Marching with our Olympic torches at 76th Street!

Be sure to return to the blog next week for more IPS Summer Camp fun!

Want to learn more about IPS Summer Camp? Though it’s only open to current and incoming students, you can read about our program on our website.

Ready for your child(ren) to become an incoming student? It’s easy! Apply online here.

End-Of-Year Memories from The International Preschools

Last week’s blog spoke about the end-of-the-year celebrations that were occurring (or about to occur) at The International Preschools. Many classrooms initiated the first (and only!) in-person celebrations to happen all year long, all of which took place outdoors at nearby Central Park or Carl Schurz Park. Please enjoy some photos from the end-of-school festivities!

Thank you for a great year!

Be sure to visit the blog in the coming weeks for more IPS fun, including a look at IPS Summer Camp!

Wishing your child was a member of the IPS community? He/she can be! Apply online today!

Celebrating the 2020-2021 School Year

What a year! Nine months ago, in September 2020, the teachers, students, and administration of The International Preschools entered the school year with a mixture of feelings, from hope to excitement to uncertainty. A lengthy list of protocols allowed for our school to remain open five days a week, for the entire school year.

The 76th Street Red Room’s “butterflies” enjoy some time together in Central Park before “flying off” to the Green Room!

And what a success it has been! With copious amounts of hand washing, sanitizing of materials, and the wearing of masks, IPS students were able to come to school safely to play, learn, and socialize. With support and trust from the IPS parent community, we were able to remain open during an uncertain time. With hard work and dedication from the IPS teachers and staff, an environment as similar as possible to the one that IPS children had known pre-pandemic came to be.

The Junior Kindergarten class at 86th Street strolls through nearby Carl Schurz Park, enjoying the time together…and the great outdoors of NYC!

As the last days of school come and go, many classes are commemorating the end of school with something that hasn’t happened all year: an in-person picnic for families, students, and teachers at Central Park (for the West 76th Street location) and Carl Schurz Park (for the East 86th Street location). For other classes, “Zoom parties” have been scheduled, so that parents, families, teachers, and students can come together to mark the end of a wonderful (albeit different) school year.

Thank you to all of the members of the IPS community for your dedication and support of our school!

Interested in learning more about the IPS community? Read about our play-based learning curriculum on the IPS website.

Already know everything you need to know about IPS? Apply online today!

End-Of-The-Year Curriculum, Part 2: Growth

At 86th Street, a class keeps track of what skills each child has mastered (i.e. riding a bike) after reading All By Myself by Mercer Meyer.

After the butterflies have been set free and the life cycle curriculum comes to an end, the classrooms at The International Preschools concentrate their learning on the celebration of growth. The teachers and children reflect and reiterate on how much growth has happened in the nine months of the school year, as well as the growth that has occurred from the day that the children were born (which doesn’t feel like all that long ago, from a parent’s perspective!) to now, as a preschool-aged child.

In a Pre-K class at 76th Street, the classroom theme centered around future occupations, and what the children wanted to be when they grow up. These are jobs that the children chose and wanted to learn more about. Here, two students act out scenes from a nail salon in the dramatic play area.

For some classes, the observations of the children’s development focus on what they can do now as a three, four, or five-year-old, which they could not do as babies or toddlers. In other classes, growth is measured in inches (or in some cases, Unifix cubes!); the children track how tall they’ve gotten over the last nine months using various units of measurement. Many classes have enjoyed seeing photos (submitted by parents) of each student (and some teachers!) as a baby, and have excitedly tried to guess (using clues) what that baby looks like now.

A Green Room at 76th Street played “Guess Who?” where the teacher held up a baby photo and the children guessed who it was. Here, the “answers” to the guesses display their baby photos with pride!

Overall, these celebrations of growth assist in building confidence in our young students. We commemorate how far they’ve come, what they have learned, and how they now have the tools to be successful in kindergarten, in another preschool class, and beyond. Congratulations to all of our IPS students, as they “move up” to new classes and places in September 2021!

End-Of-Year Curriculum, Part One: Life Cycles

A three-year-old class at 86th Street sets their butterflies free!

During the month of May, classrooms at The International Preschools focus their curriculum on growth and transitions. We use several topics to assist the children in understanding the idea of growth and “moving on” (in terms of changing classrooms or schools, or transitioning into summer vacation and/or camp).

The Pre-K 1 class at 76th Street observes their caterpillars in the chrysalides stage.

One of these themes is studying life cycles of plants and animals. There is a correlation between the children “growing” and the plants/animals “growing”: for a time period (the school year), the children learn and grow in their classroom, much like the caterpillars, ladybugs, and plants do. The children are taken care of by their teachers; the caterpillars, ladybugs, and plants are taken care of by the children. Finally, when they are ready, the animals are “set free” to go out into nature and the plants are “sent home” with the children; the children, meanwhile, are also “set free” from their current classrooms, to go forth into summer vacation, summer camp, and the upcoming school year.

86th Street children add soil to their planting pots.

During April and May, IPS students will plant lima beans, grass seeds, and flower seeds. They will learn about the parts of a plant and/or flower, and learn what plants need in order to grow (i.e. water, food, air, sunlight). By participating in play-based, hands-on learning through caring for their plants, the children really share in the growth of their plants.

A Pre-K 3 student holds a butterfly before it flies away!

Continuing with the life cycles theme…all of the IPS students bear witness to the life cycle(s) of caterpillars and/or ladybug larvae. The process is similar to that of the plants: the children learn the specific parts of the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly (i.e. egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly) and observe the changes that occur each day. The children also take care of the butterflies, once hatched, by feeding them fruit and sugar water. Once the butterflies are ready to move on to the outside world, classes will travel to the school playground or a nearby park to release the butterflies into nature. For the ladybugs, once they are mature, children will guide the ladybugs onto outdoor plants for them to create their new homes.

Butterflies go free at Carl Schurz Park in New York City!

Next week, the blog will showcase the next part of IPS’ end-of-year curriculum: the growth of the children from babies to “big kids,” and how each class goes about its learning in different ways.

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online today!

End-Of School Transitions: From School to Summer

This week’s blog post is an updated version of one that originally ran in May 2017.

Children in the Pre-K 2 class brought in baby photos and then drew a picture of themselves as four-and-five-year-olds.

The 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:  outdoor classroom parties/picnics 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.

As a language development activity, children in the Pre-K 1 class identified something that they can do now that they could not do as babies. The answers were listed with photos of themselves as babies and as four-year-olds.

By May, when children feel confident in their classrooms, teachers are able to focus on the passage from school to summer.  In many classrooms, a “Baby Show and Share” is introduced.  Students are encouraged to bring in their baby clothing or baby photos to present to their classmates.  This activity allows children to see how much they have grown, learned, and changed over the course of a few years (and for some classes, a few months!).  Another focus during this time of year centers around building confidence and self-esteem.  As a whole group and individually, classes reflect on tasks that the children can do now that they couldn’t do a few months or years ago (i.e. ride a tricycle, write his/her name, use the bathroom on his/her own).  By doing this, he/she can see that taking risks and learning new things is something attainable.  The goal is that once this idea is reinforced in a child’s mind, he/she will be less afraid to engage in new experiences in the future.

Books provide a great springboard for conversations with children. The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing is a fun, rhyming story about a family getting ready for the summer adventures ahead!

Developmentally, young children do not grasp the passage of time as adults do; for them, the next school year is too abstract (and far away) of a concept.  The idea of summer (and swimming, camp, and playgrounds) is an exciting, happy event that will occur immediately after the end of the school year.  This is a soothing topic to focus on when preparing to leave a familiar classroom. These images help transitions feel less overwhelming and more naturally a part of their growth.

All of our classrooms celebrate the end of school with parent/child celebrations filled with songs, food, and fun. Happily, we will still incorporate these celebrations (for many classrooms) during this COVID-affected time by relocating our farewell parties from the classrooms to the school backyard and/or park.  The children are always encouraged to come back and visit their teachers, and to have play dates with their friends over the summer (and beyond).

Interested in learning more about our school?  Read the IPS mission statement by clicking here.

Ready to apply online? Visit our website today!

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