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.
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 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.
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.