The International Preschools Blog

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


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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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Life Cycles and Our End-Of-Year Units: How Are They Connected?

 

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Interacting with a baby chick!
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Observing Caterpillars

Spring is an exciting season in play-based curriculum. Following thematic classroom units on the Earth, students at The International Preschools explore life cycles.  Students of all ages are introduced to live caterpillars who are then placed in a “butterfly garden” and observed and recorded closely.  Preschoolers excitedly experience firsthand as caterpillars enter their chrysalises and emerge as butterflies! For a few joyful days, the children enjoy spending time with their new “classmates.”  But soon, the teachers will tell the class that it is time to release the butterflies to live in their natural habitats. There is a bittersweet “ceremony,” where the butterfly gardens are opened and its inhabitants are set free, to live in a local park.

Chicken eggs are introduced at each location in early May by Quiver Farms and are placed in an incubator until they hatch. All of the students (and teachers!) from the entire school spend time visiting and examining the eggs.  Soon, the location is filled with delighted squeals of our preschoolers, as they have a front-row seat to the arrival of baby chicks!  Under careful supervision, the students help to care for, and even pet, these tiny creatures for about a week.  They are then transported back to Quiver Farms to live after a final goodbye and hug from the children.

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Celebrating Earth Day 2017 at The International Preschools

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Our youngest students learned about Earth Day via planting activities.
Our youngest students learned about Earth Day via planting activities.

Earth Day is every day at The International Preschools!  Of course, during the month of April, celebrating Earth Day becomes a focused portion of our play-based learning curriculum.  Every year the teachers and students at IPS commemorate this day with a rich, impressive, and varied curriculum.

Many classes embarked on their Earth Day-related units by planting.  Lima beans and grass seeds were popular plants among the classrooms, and are great choices:  both sprout quickly, allowing for the children to witness the growth process.  Children learned about the parts of a plant (i.e. stems, leaves, roots) and what is needed for seeds to grow (sunlight, water, soil).  Then, via hands-on activities (daily plant watering, placement of plants on the windowsill for adequate light), students assist the plants by giving them what they need!

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A Rooftop Garden at The International Preschools


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A portion of the IPS rooftop garden!

“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”  This meaningful quote from David Brower perfectly describes how The International Preschools’ community feels about taking care of the Earth.  We, as teachers, staff members, and parents, strive to take care of the Earth through modeling for our children and students, so that they too can take care of the Earth for their children.

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Earth Day is Every Day at The International Preschools!

Children working on the 45th Street rooftop garden.
Children working on the 45th Street rooftop garden.

At The International Preschools, every day is a day to take care of the Earth!  During the month of April, the classroom themes center around Earth Day; sub-topics include ways to keep our Earth clean and safe for animals and people, including recycling and gardening.  The goal is to teach the children small things that we can do to care for our Earth during April, that ultimately we can carry out year-round!

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Celebrating the Spring Benefit at The International Preschools

Parents and teachers dressed for last year's Bollywood-themed Spring Benefit.
Parents and teachers dressed for last year’s Bollywood-themed Spring Benefit.

Every spring, The International Preschools hosts a Spring Benefit here in New York City. Faculty, administration, current and former IPS parents, and friends gather to support our school in a variety of ways.

Each year, the benefit has a special theme, usually with a multicultural motif.  Cuisine, clothing, and music at the event represent the chosen theme (much like the teachers facilitate with each month’s classroom subjects!). During the first part of the evening, the IPS community enjoys great food and drink and mingle with each other.

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