Tag: caterpillars

End-Of-Year Curriculum, Part One: Life Cycles

A three-year-old class at 86th Street sets their butterflies free!

During the month of May, classrooms at The International Preschools focus their curriculum on growth and transitions. We use several topics to assist the children in understanding the idea of growth and “moving on” (in terms of changing classrooms or schools, or transitioning into summer vacation and/or camp).

The Pre-K 1 class at 76th Street observes their caterpillars in the chrysalides stage.

One of these themes is studying life cycles of plants and animals. There is a correlation between the children “growing” and the plants/animals “growing”: for a time period (the school year), the children learn and grow in their classroom, much like the caterpillars, ladybugs, and plants do. The children are taken care of by their teachers; the caterpillars, ladybugs, and plants are taken care of by the children. Finally, when they are ready, the animals are “set free” to go out into nature and the plants are “sent home” with the children; the children, meanwhile, are also “set free” from their current classrooms, to go forth into summer vacation, summer camp, and the upcoming school year.

86th Street children add soil to their planting pots.

During April and May, IPS students will plant lima beans, grass seeds, and flower seeds. They will learn about the parts of a plant and/or flower, and learn what plants need in order to grow (i.e. water, food, air, sunlight). By participating in play-based, hands-on learning through caring for their plants, the children really share in the growth of their plants.

A Pre-K 3 student holds a butterfly before it flies away!

Continuing with the life cycles theme…all of the IPS students bear witness to the life cycle(s) of caterpillars and/or ladybug larvae. The process is similar to that of the plants: the children learn the specific parts of the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly (i.e. egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly) and observe the changes that occur each day. The children also take care of the butterflies, once hatched, by feeding them fruit and sugar water. Once the butterflies are ready to move on to the outside world, classes will travel to the school playground or a nearby park to release the butterflies into nature. For the ladybugs, once they are mature, children will guide the ladybugs onto outdoor plants for them to create their new homes.

Butterflies go free at Carl Schurz Park in New York City!

Next week, the blog will showcase the next part of IPS’ end-of-year curriculum: the growth of the children from babies to “big kids,” and how each class goes about its learning in different ways.

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online today!

Caterpillars to Butterflies at IPS

Creating butterflies with coffee filters in Pre-K 1!

A spring curriculum tradition at The International Preschools is to learn about life cycles.  Every year, IPS teachers receive caterpillars and/or ladybug larvae and, through observation, watch these tiny animals transform into butterflies and ladybugs respectively.  Although COVID-19 has prevented us from maintaining this tradition in person, our crafty teachers were able to still take part in this amazing unit via Zoom (and their homes)!

Continue reading →

Every Day is Earth Day at The International Preschools!

Creating a collaborative spring project using paint and collage materials. The green and blue colors represent the land and water of the Earth respectively.

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd every year, but at The International Preschools, we believe that Earth Day is every day!  Although a special curriculum focus is placed upon taking care of the Earth throughout the month of April, the skills learned by the children are meant to be used every day of the year.  Topics such as plant and animal life cycles, recycling, gardening, and keeping the Earth clean are touched upon inside of our classrooms during this time.  Continue reading to learn more about the concepts that IPS students are exploring throughout the spring months!

 

Continue reading →

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

 

003b8b441b146358718390039-522x700
Interacting with a baby chick!

dsc_0027
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.

Continue reading →