Each year, The International Preschools invites parents to a fun and educational Curriculum Night during the early fall. The purpose of this evening is to teach parents the important aspects of the school day, including IPS teaching philosophies, topics of study, daily schedules and routines, and upcoming events throughout the school year, as well as answer any questions that parents have about their child’s school day. This year, on Wednesday, October 17th, parents at our 45th Street, 76th Street, and 86th Street locations will visit their child(ren)’s classrooms to learn about the school day from two points of view: the teachers and the students!
The International Preschools Blog
The International Preschools created and instituted an iPad/Technology program for our Green Rooms (3s), Pre-Kindergarten (4s), and Junior Kindergarten (4s/5s) classes several years ago. The 2018-19 school year will bring about some changes to the curriculum, led and instituted by our Technology teacher, Ms. Nikki. While some aspects of the program will remain the same, other parts of the curriculum will include new learning topics and a larger focus on concepts such as coding.
If you’re like me, you’re one of the many parents who are amazed at how quickly toddlers and preschoolers work their way around an iPad or an iPhone. Scrolling and clicking on various apps seem to be second-nature to young children these days. With technology being an ever-prominent aspect of day-to-day life, it’s a wonder that activities such as drawing, building with blocks, and movement or dancing haven’t fallen completely by the wayside.
Unfortunately, a reliance on technology to entertain young children is apparent everywhere you go. I’m always surprised by the amount of toddlers clutching an iPhone instead of playing with a favorite toy or looking at a book while riding in a stroller. In restaurants, it’s not abnormal to see children watching videos on an iPad instead of engaging in conversations with their parents or siblings.
Welcome back to school! Here at The International Preschools, the teachers and staff are preparing for the children’s arrival. Our hallways are being decorated with posters and “welcome back” decor, and the classrooms are filled with play-based centers for the children to explore.
This time of year brings about a variety of feelings amongst children and parents. Some children might feel excitement over returning to a familiar setting and routine and seeing old friends, while others might feel nervous about entering a new classroom with new teachers. Both parents and children might grapple with the idea of separation, particularly if this is a child’s first time in a school setting.
Happily, there are some things that parents can do to help ease the transition from summertime to school time. Here’s a list of activities that you might want to try with your child in the days leading up to the first day of school:
- Stick to a regular daily routine. Small children crave the structure of a schedule; it gives them a feeling of control over their environment by allowing them to know what activity/transition comes next during the day. At The International Preschools, the daily schedule is used as a visual cue for students to know what will happen during school that day. There is always a picture of “arrival time” and “dismissal time,” to remind children that someone always comes back at the end of the day to pick them up. This small action helps to comfort children who are uneasy about returning to school.
- Engage in pretend-play with your child. Role-playing is a wonderful way for children to test out social interactions, solve problems, and recreate situations that they observe in real life. Taking on the roles of “student” and “teacher” can help your child become comfortable with classroom life. Often, it can bring up questions that your child might have about school, and will give you the opportunity to answer them in a fun setting.
- Establish “school day bedtimes” several days before the start of school. Allow bedtime to be a relaxing time for your child (i.e. bath, story, etc.) and begin to transition back slowly into “school day bedtimes,” which most likely are earlier than the more laid-back routines of summer.
- Read books to your child about returning to school. According to the Scholastic Books website, “Picture books offer your young child the chance to answer her never-ending questions about the world” around him/her. The stories below provide a forum for asking and answering questions to gain comfort and confidence when encountering common social situations:
Sometimes You Get What You Want by Meredith Gary
My Preschool by Anne Rockwell
Will I Have A Friend? by Miriam Cohen
Do You Want To Be My Friend? by Eric Carle
Mommy Always Comes Back by Penny Schnee-Bosch
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
Otto Goes to School by Todd Parr
Best, Best Friends by Anne Rockwell
Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins
I Can Share by Karen Katz
Spot Goes to School by Eric Hill
You Go Away by Dorothy Corey
My First Day at Nursery School by Becky Edwards
We are looking forward to a wonderful 2018-2019 school year!
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Congratulations 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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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…
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.
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.”
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: 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.
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.