The International Preschools Blog

Discussing “Scary” Topics With Your Children

My five-year-old daughter pays attention to every little detail. Even when you think she’s not listening to your conversation (or taking notes on what you are watching on TV), she is. I know I’m not the only one who is constantly maintaining the balance between sharing information simply and concisely, while keeping other unnecessary news (that is, news not needed for a five-year-old’s ears) at bay.

In light of all the media coverage, be it on television or an iPad, about a variety of scary visual topics for our young ones (the storming of the Capitol Building, to name just one), I researched ways to answer questions or attend to comments that may come about.

I found a great article on the PBS website that gives great advice about tackling topics from the assault on the Capitol building to (unfortunately) more frequent occurrences, such as a fire. I hope you find it helpful! Here’s the link:

https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/helping-kids-navigate-scary-news-stories

For more on the community of The International Preschools, as well as how to apply online, visit our website by clicking here.

IPS Milestone Recipients for 2020-2021

Ms. Grace (left) and Ms. Babette (right), pictured with Ms. Rumana and their Red Room class, are each celebrating 20 years of employment at The International Preschools.

Each year, The International Preschools commemorates those faculty and staff members who have achieved a milestone; that is, completing five, ten, fifteen, twenty years and beyond at five-year increments.

Donna Cohen (right, with 86th Street Location Director Monique Tabbs) is celebrating ten years of employment at The International Preschools.

This year, IPS is celebrating sixteen staff members across both locations who have reached milestone status! Here are the awardees for the 2020-2021 school year:

Klara Reisinger, 76th Street Head Teacher – 35 Years

Anja Loefken, Library Aide – 30 Years

Judith McIntyre, 86th Street Teacher’s Aide – 30 Years

Mayu Cavior, 86th Street Office Aide – 30 Years

MacKerrow Talcott, Librarian – 30 Years

Charlene Sison, Finance Department – 25 Years

Babette Ayassamy, 86th Street Assistant Teacher – 20 Years

Doug DaSilva, Music Teacher – 20 Years

Grace Zukowska, 86th Street Head Teacher – 20 Years

Jerilyn Rubenstein, 76th Street Floater – 15 Years

Deborah Matlovsky, 86th Street Assistant Teacher – 10 Years

Donna Cohen, IPS Director – 10 Years

Chelsea Mayorga, 76th Street Head Teacher – 5 Years

Jamie Raboy, 76th Street Head Teacher – 5 Years

Jaya Misra, 86th Street Assistant Location Director – 5 Years

Margarit Santiago, 76th Street Head Teacher – 5 Years

Ms. Talcott, librarian, is celebrating 30 years of employment at The International Preschools.

Congratulations to all of our milestone recipients!

To learn more about the outstanding IPS faculty and staff, click here.

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

Happy Holidays: Winter Solstice Curriculum 2020

Every December, The International Preschools celebrates the Winter Solstice with a month-long curriculum on light, dark, and how families around the world celebrate the holiday season. This year, our Winter Solstice festivities were held via Zoom, live from each individual classroom. Although we missed having our traditional international potlucks and our school-wide sing-along, the feelings of community and togetherness were still evident.

Currently, IPS is closed for the holiday break. Please enjoy some photos from our classrooms, commemorating the Winter Solstice, light/dark curriculum, and the 2020 holiday season. Happy Holidays!

IPS Book Fair 2020 Goes Virtual

The International Preschools’ annual Book Fair went virtual this year, taking place during the week of November 30th. This year’s fair was hosted by Main Street Books. Teachers from both locations created recommendation lists of well-loved books to assist parents with their shopping. In addition to children’s books, Main Street Books also contained reading for adults as well, including cookbooks and novels as well as writing journals.

As in previous years, a guest author was invited to read to the children at the book fair. This year, author Anna Kim visited the 76th Street classrooms via Zoom. She read her book, Danbi Leads the School Parade, about a little girl from Korea who starts a new school in the United States. Despite eating different food and not knowing the language or the games played in her classroom, Danbi connects with her classmates by marching with them in a parade. Anna also facilitated a few fun activities for the 76th Street children related to the book, including a drumming session with the Green and Red Room students and creating bento boxes with the Pre-K students. Thank you Anna Kim for a wonderful presentation and reading!

Anna Kim’s book, Danbi Leads The School Parade, was read to our 76th Street students during the week of the IPS Book Fair…by the author herself!

At 86th Street, some students became authors and illustrators via a Zoom meeting with Miss Birdy! Children worked with Miss Birdy to create a book based upon their own ideas and suggestions. The final result was a book called Emma and Sparkle’s Adventure. Well done!

86th Street’s student-written masterpiece, created with assistance by Miss Birdy

Special thanks to the IPS Parents Association, Anna Kim, Miss Birdy, and the IPS community for helping to make the 2020 Book Fair a great success!

Interested in joining the IPS community? Learn more about the application process by clicking here.

Holiday Season 2020: Keeping It Simple And Fun!

The holiday season is my absolute favorite time of year. One of the best things about this time is seeing my two young children experience the traditions that I’ve loved and carried out when I was their age (and beyond).

This year’s holiday season will look different…for example, in our area, live performances of The Nutcracker and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular have been postponed until 2021, and tree lighting ceremonies are either not occurring or not allowing visitors. It is disappointing to miss out on those fun events, but there are many other ways to celebrate the holiday season that are memorable and meaningful for your children. Here are a few ideas that worked for my family (and ones we will try in the coming weeks):

  • Crafts: Our family celebrates Christmas, so this year, we’ve spent a lot of time gluing, painting, and decorating wooden, paper, and plastic ornaments to hang on our Christmas tree. For a great resource outlining some fun holiday craft and homemade gift ideas, click here: https://www.pbs.org/parents/sharing-your-creativity
  • Lights: We spent an hour last weekend driving around our town admiring the holiday lights that residents have used to decorate their homes. (We also saw a lot of inflatable holiday icons, since we live outside of the city.). Families in both urban and rural areas can enjoy this activity by walking or driving.
  • Cooking/Baking: Toddlers and preschoolers can help with the cooking and baking process for your holiday celebrations, whether they are with just your immediate family or with extended family members. Chopping vegetables (with a child-safe knife), decorating cookies, and mixing batter is fun for both children and adults and provides an opportunity for practicing skills such as problem-solving, following multi-step directions, and measurement, to name a few.
  • Books: My children love reading books about any and every holiday. Books provide opportunities for children to ask questions and make connections between the text and home (or school) experiences.
  • Holiday TV/Movies: There’s nothing more cozy than snuggling with your little ones and watching a holiday favorite. As an adult, one of my favorite holiday activities is to break out all the classic cartoons and movies (I’m talking about you, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street”) and watching them as often as possible throughout the month of December.
Red Room children work on their homemade holiday gifts.

Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!

Interested in making 2021 an awesome year by enrolling your child at IPS? Apply online today!

Election 2020: Preschool-Style!

A Pre-K class votes for the president of the United States on Election Day!

No matter who you voted for, the 2020 election season brought up strong feelings…not to mention no clear winner on election night!

Many classroom teachers at The International Preschools turned this current event into a teachable moment, incorporating the concept of voting, casting ballots, and holding an election into the curriculum.

Thanksgiving 2020: Different, But Still Special

The Pre-K 3 children display their leaf collection projects

The students at The International Preschools spent the month of November learning about fall, harvest, and Thanksgiving. In previous years, IPS celebrated the holiday with feasts shared among age-levels, school-wide Thanksgiving Day Parades, and the idea of coming together as a whole group. This year, due to our commitment to social distancing and remaining in our static pods, the children were unable to congregate as a whole school to commemorate Thanksgiving.

A Green Room student plays “Feed the Turkey,” a fun Thanksgiving game that strengthens their fine motor skills!

However, Thanksgiving was still recognized and studied within our IPS classrooms. Instead of sizable feasts and coming together as a large group, the teachers shifted the focus of Thanksgiving to fall, families, and the harvest season. Many classrooms discovered the types of foods typically grown during fall harvest (corn, pumpkin, apple) as well as foods from around the world. Children examined their family structures and talked about what made each family similar and different.

Children making Thanksgiving-themed pumpkin pie play dough as a whole group project!

Of course, turkeys and other symbols of the Thanksgiving holiday were decorated, discussed, and read about in all of our classrooms. In the Green, Pre-K, and Junior K classes, children and teachers discussed their plans for Thanksgiving instead of At 76th Street, the Green Rooms decided to have pizza parties to celebrate Thanksgiving; while the groups may be smaller, they still function as a “family,” and the Thanksgiving holiday is always worthy of a celebration!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from The International Preschools!

Take a look inside an IPS classroom by clicking here.

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online!

Books To Help With “The New Normal”: Masks, Greetings, and More!

With masks and social distancing now becoming the “new normal” here in New York and across the country, it can be hard to determine how best to explain these changes to young children. In any new type of situation, one of the best ways to teach children about something new is through reading.

Fortunately, there are several great books for preschoolers and school-aged children available for purchase. Here are a few books that we have used here at The International Preschools inside of our classrooms:

  • If You Can’t Bear Hug, Air Hug by Katie Sedmak: A cute story demonstrating the different ways that people can greet each other and participate in activities together, even when keeping away from handshakes and hugs.
  • The Love Behind the Mask by Lizy Toth: A story about the importance of wearing masks and how they protect others.
  • Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen: Although not about masks and social distancing, this book reinforces the idea of resilience and how friends and teachers can be their own type of family.
  • Lucy’s Mask by Lisa Thompson: This book finds a fun side to the not-so-fun parts of social distancing for kids: creating and wearing your own mask.

Interested in learning about how our school has reopened in Fall 2020? Visit our website by clicking here: https://www.ipsnyc.org/fall-2020-reopening-plan/

Happy Halloween from The International Preschools!

Halloween, like United Nations Day and other IPS events during the 2020-2021 school year, looked a bit different than years past. We weren’t able to have our usual school-wide Halloween fashion shows or parades. Happily, there were many things we were still able to do. The children and teachers had a great time attending school in costume. Many classrooms held Halloween-themed activities, including pumpkin carving and the baking of Halloween treats. Everyone had a great time!

Here’s a look at Halloween 2020 at The International Preschools:

Pumpkin experimentation in our Green 3 Room…with bubbles!
The Green 2 children (and teachers) show off their amazing costumes.
One of our Pre-K classes in full costume!
A surprise match-up! Pre-K and Red Room superheroes!

A great time was had by all!

Interested in joining the IPS community? Visit our website by clicking here: https://www.ipsnyc.org