The International Preschools Blog

How Toddlers (Two Year Olds) Learn About Fall: November Classroom Themes

creche-fall-2016-ips
Children in 45 Creche (1.5s-2s) sat as a whole group to sing songs, using fall props such as pumpkins and leaves.

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.

Children at 45th Street learn about the inside and outside of a pumpkin by observing its seeds. They also learned a new vocabulary word - jack o'lantern - which is a pumpkin that has a face!
45th Street children learned about the inside and outside of a pumpkin by observing its seeds. They also learned a new vocabulary word – jack o’lantern – which is a pumpkin that has a face!

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.

Continue reading →

Fall, Harvest, Families, Food: November Classroom Themes in the Green Rooms (3 year olds)

At 76th Street, a three-year-old class painted and decorated their own pumpkins to take home.
At 76th Street, a three-year-old class painted and decorated their own pumpkins to take home.

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….

Continue reading →

The Importance of Parent/Teacher Conferences

Our youngest students hard at work! The children here are bolstering a variety of skills while at the play dough table: strengthening their hands for future writing activities; learning to share tools; engaging in both parallel and cooperative play; and working on expressive and receptive language skills...just to name a few!
Our youngest students hard at work! The children here are bolstering a variety of skills while at the play dough table: strengthening their hands for future writing activities; learning to share tools; engaging in both parallel and cooperative play; and working on expressive and receptive language skills…just to name a few!

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:

Continue reading →

Learning Through Play

“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

boy-girl-pattern
Learning math skills is fun and educational! Junior Kindergarten children play a game where they ultimately create a boy-girl (AB) pattern.

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?

Continue reading →

United Nations Day: How We Celebrate at The International Preschools

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.

Continue reading →

Why We Celebrate United Nations Day at The International Preschools

un-day-party-ips-green-2
Families celebrating United Nations Day at The International Preschools.

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.

Continue reading →

Talking to Children About Difficult Topics

kids-holding-hands-ips

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.

Continue reading →

“All About Me”: September Classroom Themes at The International Preschools

all-about-me
Exploring our “flags” (the countries that we are from) is an important activity during our “All About Me” unit.

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:

Continue reading →

Separation Anxiety: It Can Happen to Anyone!

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!

Continue reading →

Back To School Books For Your Child

books-2Exploring books in the Red Room (2s)

Story time is an important part of your child’s day at The International Preschools. Each day, at least one book is read aloud to the class that is related to the current classroom theme. During these first days and weeks of school, most teachers focus on getting children acquainted with the daily routines inside their classroom, in addition to following simple rules: cleaning up after themselves after choice time and snack, hanging their coats and backpacks in their cubbies, and playing cooperatively with their peers, to name a few. The books read aloud at IPS during the month of September often center around the topic of the first day of school.

Continue reading →