It’s hard to believe that we’re already in the month of November at The International Preschools! September and October were very busy months at IPS, with lots of fun activities and (hurray!) several in-person family events. Here’s a look at what’s been happening at IPS over the last few weeks:
We are looking forward to many more exciting in-person events over the next several weeks, including our annual Winter Solstice Sing-Along in December!
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Fall is a busy season here at The International Preschools. We celebrate the seasonal changes that occur in the fall (i.e. apples, pumpkins, leaves, acorns) as well as the holidays that occur: United Nations Day, Halloween, Diwali, and Thanksgiving.
United Nations Day (October 24th) is a special day for the IPS community. Much of the month of October is spent highlighting and appreciating the multiculturalism that sets IPS apart from other schools. The children and teachers spend time observing what is the same and different about each other.
After United Nations Day, our school quickly jumps into Halloween mode, with festivities at both locations. On November 2nd, IPS then celebrated the Hindu holiday of Diwali with Zoom presentations from the Ajna Dance Company, as well as “culture shares” initiated by families who observe the holiday. Rounding out the month of November is the American holiday of Thanksgiving, which is commemorated at IPS with classroom “feasts” as a way of coming together to share a meal with friends.
Please enjoy some highlights from the last month, which includes photos from our classroom learning about United Nations Day, Halloween, Diwali, and the fall season!
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The holiday season is my absolute favorite time of year. One of the best things about this time is seeing my two young children experience the traditions that I’ve loved and carried out when I was their age (and beyond).
This year’s holiday season will look different…for example, in our area, live performances of The Nutcracker and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular have been postponed until 2021, and tree lighting ceremonies are either not occurring or not allowing visitors. It is disappointing to miss out on those fun events, but there are many other ways to celebrate the holiday season that are memorable and meaningful for your children. Here are a few ideas that worked for my family (and ones we will try in the coming weeks):
Crafts: Our family celebrates Christmas, so this year, we’ve spent a lot of time gluing, painting, and decorating wooden, paper, and plastic ornaments to hang on our Christmas tree. For a great resource outlining some fun holiday craft and homemade gift ideas, click here: https://www.pbs.org/parents/sharing-your-creativity
Lights: We spent an hour last weekend driving around our town admiring the holiday lights that residents have used to decorate their homes. (We also saw a lot of inflatable holiday icons, since we live outside of the city.). Families in both urban and rural areas can enjoy this activity by walking or driving.
Cooking/Baking: Toddlers and preschoolers can help with the cooking and baking process for your holiday celebrations, whether they are with just your immediate family or with extended family members. Chopping vegetables (with a child-safe knife), decorating cookies, and mixing batter is fun for both children and adults and provides an opportunity for practicing skills such as problem-solving, following multi-step directions, and measurement, to name a few.
Books: My children love reading books about any and every holiday. Books provide opportunities for children to ask questions and make connections between the text and home (or school) experiences.
Holiday TV/Movies: There’s nothing more cozy than snuggling with your little ones and watching a holiday favorite. As an adult, one of my favorite holiday activities is to break out all the classic cartoons and movies (I’m talking about you, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street”) and watching them as often as possible throughout the month of December.
Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!
December has arrived, and with that comes holiday preparations, gift giving…and, at The International Preschools, the annual celebration of the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice marks the day with the shortest amount of daylight and the longest amount of darkness. Traditionally, the Winter Solstice celebrates the return of the sun, as the days following the solstice contain more minutes, and ultimately hours, of daylight, culminating with the Summer Solstice (the longest amount of daylight in one day of the year) in June.
Curriculum at IPS during December focuses on the concept of light and dark while integrating aspects of the holiday season. Many of the holidays that our families celebrate, from Diwali to Hanukkah to Christmas, cherish light sources such as candles and lanterns; the
se items act as icons of the season. In some cultures, people choose not to use electricity on the Winter Solstice and rather, live by candlelight on this day. Nature is also revered during this season and within the classrooms; traditionally, evergreen trees are decorated because they are seen as the “eternal symbol of life during the dark months of the winter.” They are referred to as Yule Trees or WinterSolstice Trees and are decorated with symbols of light (i.e. sun, moon, star ornaments; candles) as well as pinecones and garlands filled with food for animals during the winter months.
A primary curriculum focus of The International Preschools is to celebrate the cultural diversity in our families and in our world. In October, our Green (3s), Pre-K (4s), and Junior K (4s/5s) classrooms begin with studies of families (i.e. how many people are in our families, how many brothers/sisters we have) and ourselves (i.e. eye color, hair color, skin color). Classes incorporate the study and awareness of the flags that each family identifies with as well. Our school-wide United Nations Day celebration officially kicks off the IPS international unit, known as Culture Shares. The international curriculum runs simultaneously with, not in place of, units on fall, winter, transportation, farms, spring, and the like.
Read on to see how IPS fuses the international study into our play-based learning experience!
At The International Preschools, students, teachers, and their families celebrate holidays from around the world. As part of our ongoing international unit, families are invited to visit the IPS classrooms and teach the children about traditions, holidays, and other celebrations that are important to their culture. Recently, IPS commemorated Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, at both of our locations.
The International Preschools Blog is an opportunity to journey into the school's classrooms. Here you will find information about play-based education, diversity, classroom themes; all the things that make learning joyful and fun at one of the best preschools in New York City.