On occasion, IPS will publish an additional blog post during the week on special topics. MacKerrow Talcott, the librarian at The International Preschools, is our guest blogger this week.
As the librarian for The International Preschools, I am often asked questions about my favorite books. Recently, I was asked what was my favorite holiday-themed book. In honor of November being Picture Book Month, I wanted to share with you why this book is so dear to me.
At The International Preschools, play-based learning is used to help students acquire a love of learning. This week, we will take a look at how our youngest students in the Crèche (1.5-2-year olds) and Red Rooms (2-year olds) explore the season of fall via thematic units and play-based learning.
Songs and books are an effective way to explore classroom themes and expose young children to new vocabulary. The classes at 76th Street used real pumpkins to act out the story of the “five little pumpkins.” Here, the children practiced counting with correspondence and provided another visual cue for storytelling. Some fall books that were read in the classrooms were Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills, Five Little Pumpkins by Iris Von Rynback, Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell, and Clifford’s First Halloween by Norman Bridwell.
The month of November truly reflects the season of fall here in New York City. The weather is noticeably cooler, the leaves on the trees have changed colors, and with the recent celebration of Halloween, fall finally feels upon us. At The International Preschools, fall, food, families, and Thanksgiving are the topics that we focus on within the classrooms from late October through November. The blog posts over the next few weeks will focus on how these themes are implemented into the classrooms. This week, we will take a look at Halloween and the overall theme of fall in the Green Rooms (3 year olds) at all three locations….
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:
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers, educator and Emmy-winning creator of the children’s show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
The idea of learning through play is a key principle here at The International Preschools. Our school mission states in part that “through play, we promote the cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth of each child in a nurturing atmosphere.” It is believed that, through this practice, children will learn the necessary social and cognitive skills that they will use throughout their lives. How, you might ask, can these goals be accomplished?
Happy United Nations Day! Our UN Day celebrations have been an annual tradition at The International Preschools since the founding of the school in 1963. The themes of peace, friendship, and acceptance run through the 2s, 3s, Pre-K, and Junior K classes at all three locations during this time of year. Here is a window into some of the classrooms for you to see the fun and various way students are preparing to celebrate this unique tradition.
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.
One of the most entertaining everyday occurrences at The International Preschools are the many “sound bites” that children share with their teachers. Children provide unique yet innocent insights and observations about the world around them on a daily basis, from a trip that they will be taking with their families to a gaggle of puppies that they saw frolicking in Central Park. As teachers, parents, caregivers, and friends, we are happy to engage in these little conversations.
Sometimes, with both parents and teachers, these conversations can take on a more serious tone. Topics such as death, divorce, moving to a new house or school, or even the addition of a new baby can bring up worries and questions in young children. And, in the world that we live in today, the addition of terrorist attacks close to home can further exacerbate the internal fears within children.
At The International Preschools, a different theme is assigned to every month of the school year. Teachers incorporate this theme into every classroom center, from the sensory table to the discovery center to the songs that are sung and books that are read.
A common unit for the month of September is called “All About Me,” where children learn and share information about themselves and their families with each other. Last year, many classrooms incorporated this unit into the month of September and into all of their classroom centers. Each classroom and age level explored this topic in a variety of ways. Listed below are some highlights from the classrooms across the three locations:
Toddlers lining up to play on the first days of school!
The children’s book, Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, tells the story of a child named Wemberly who worries about everything. Her biggest worry of all? The first day of school! Ultimately, Wemberly vows not to worry so much in the future, so that she won’t miss out on the fun.
Like Wemberly, separation anxiety is a natural thing for children (and parents) to feel during the first days of school. Some children transition easily into school right away, saying goodbye to their parents without ever turning back. Others might start on day one, excited and enthusiastic, and return on day two hesitantly and apprehensively; this often occurs when a child realizes that school doesn’t occur just one day a year! And still, other children take days or weeks to warm up to their new school environment. Rest assured, this behavior is to be expected, and the teachers and staff at The International Preschools are ready to help!
The International Preschools Blog is an opportunity to journey into the school's classrooms. Here you will find information about play-based education, diversity, classroom themes; all the things that make learning joyful and fun at one of the best preschools in New York City.