Tag: IPS

Welcome Back! IPS Reopens for the 2021-2022 School Year

Families at the IPS West 76th Street location prepare for arrival on the first day of school. The (very) rainy weather didn’t stop anyone from having a great time!

And…we’re back! The teachers and staff at our West 76th Street and East 86th Street locations celebrated the start of a new school year on September 9th and September 13th, respectively. With one completed, successful school year of COVID-19-related restrictions under our belt, the IPS community was more than ready to dive into the 2021-2022 school year.

The Red Room teachers at 76th Street welcome parents, caregivers, and students in the lobby of our building. On the first day, adults accompanied our youngest preschoolers to their classrooms. On the second day, the children were dropped off at the door and escorted to the classroom by their teachers.

As we do every year, our classes begin with a phase-in approach. Each class determines a time frame for the children to become acclimated to school in a gentle manner; for our Red (2s) Rooms, the phase-in period will be longer than that of a Pre-K (4s) Room. For example, the teachers might welcome half of the class for an hour, and then the other half of the class for an hour, on the first day. The next day, the class in its entirety might come for an hour; on the third day, the class would stay for an hour and fifteen minutes, and so forth. The older the class, the shorter the phase-in; our Pre-K classes typically reach their full-day schedule in a matter of a few days.

A family celebrating 86th Street’s opening day, and proudly following school protocol! As we did last year, adults and children will wear masks inside the school and its classrooms throughout the school year.

We are looking forward to a wonderful school year!

Be sure to visit the blog throughout the coming weeks for a look at our school. New entries are posted every 4-6 weeks.

Separation from parents and caregivers occur at the door. Our students know that a grown-up will always come back to pick them up!

Like what you see, and want to join the IPS community? Learn more about our admissions process by visiting our website.

Interested in learning more about our curriculum? Our play-based learning philosophy is further explained on the IPS website.

Snack Time and Lunch Time in Preschool: An Important Part of Your Child’s Day

At The International Preschools, all children have a morning snack time built into their daily schedule. Full day children have about 45 minutes for lunch, in addition to their morning snack.

Socializing at snack time with the Little Dolphins at 76th Street!

This is an important time of day for the children. First and foremost, snack time (and lunch time) keep the children nourished and their energy levels regulated for the activities that they will participate in. Many social, emotional, and cognitive skills are also honed and strengthened while enjoying a well-balanced meal or snack.

Here are some of the important skills that your child is acquiring during snack and lunch at The International Preschools:

  • Self-Help Skills: During snack time, children clean up their place setting on their own, which might require putting a placemat in its proper place; disposing of plates, cups, and utensils; and washing hands. At lunch time, children (where applicable) help to take out their lunches (containers, drinks, etc.) and put everything back inside their lunch box when finished. The children also put their lunch boxes back into their cubbies.
  • Expressive Language Skills: Teachers model responses and questions for the children. For example, if a child would like more of a certain snack (Chex, Cheerios, etc.), the teacher would model, “More Chex, please,” so that he/she can copy the verbal request. The goal is for the child to use the words on his/her own, in any situation, to ask for what he/she needs.
  • Number Sense: During conversation at snack or lunch time, a child might notice things such as how many Cheerios he/she has on his plate, or how many chicken nuggets he/she has in his/her lunch. This is play-based learning at its most casual! Becoming aware of what makes a number (i.e. that five objects make the number 5) is a math skills required for counting with correspondence, addition, subtraction…you name it!
  • Social Skills: Snack time and lunch time provide a perfect opportunity for children to socialize with their peers and teachers. Often, teachers will place children strategically next to different classmates at each snack time, so that they get an opportunity to chat with (and get to know) all of the children in the room. Teachers will model expressive language when needed, so that children can practice asking for what they want, interacting with peers, and reading social cues, to name a few skills.
  • Life Skills: In the Green (3s) and Pre-K (4s) Rooms, children have “jobs” that they are in charge of throughout the day. These jobs might change daily or weekly. Jobs instill confidence and responsibility in young children; achieving the goal of a job (such as watering a plant) boosts their self-esteem and motivation. A few of these jobs are completed during snack or lunch time: one child passes out the napkins, another might count the lunch boxes (to be sure everyone’s lunch is present), another child might pass out cups. At home, parents can allow children to carry out these jobs as well, in the form of setting the table (in part or in its entirety). Children love to help out, and giving them a job (or jobs) at home will help develop your child’s confidence as well.

Any time of the day can be a time for learning (the play-based kind is our favorite)!

End-of-year pizza lunch with the 86th Street full-day Green Room students (and teachers)!

Interested in learning more about The International Preschools’ play-based learning philosophy, and how it is implemented? Take a look at our curriculum pages on our website.

Ready for your child (and family) to join the IPS community? Apply online today!

Lunch Prep for Preschool

Lunchtime at school is a big step in a preschooler’s life!

For many parents, this September will mark the first time that their child will attend a full day of preschool. With that comes the nightly (or for some, morning) routine of preparing your child’s lunch.

It’s not an easy thing. After all, toddlers and preschoolers are notoriously picky and fickle about what they eat. Some days, a cheese sandwich is perfect. Other days, a cheese sandwich will be greeted with a resounding NO from your child.

I’m currently going through the lunchtime process with my second child and, having been an early childhood educator for more than 20 years now, have also witnessed firsthand what works and what doesn’t. Here are some tips and ideas to help make your child (and your!) first experience with lunch-at-school a happy one:

  • Stick with what he/she knows. Be sure that your child’s lunch contains mostly items that he/she has eaten before and enjoys. Let dinnertime be the place where new foods can be tasted and evaluated. Then, new foods that are given the thumbs-up can be included in future lunches.
  • Give variety. Including a variety of foods from many food groups (protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, healthy fats) ensures that your child will eat something (even if he/she doesn’t eat everything). And on that note…
  • Pay attention to portion sizes. I’ve seen many well-meaning parents (myself included!) pack lunches with large portion sizes that don’t get eaten. It’s not that your child can’t/won’t eat that much…it’s more that having lots of baggies and containers with large amounts of food in them can be visually overwhelming. As a result, some children will just avoid the food altogether. Case in point: I have given my five-year-old the same types of food for lunch packed in a bento box (if you haven’t gotten one for your child already, look into it – they are awesome!) with small portions, and the same food in a variety of containers. She almost always eats all of the food in the bento box, but when the food is in larger containers, she leaves a lot of it behind.
  • Make it visually appealing! Visual aspects are sometimes as vital to kids eating their lunch as the actual food. If you’re crafty, and up for the challenge, click here for some cute lunchtime (or dinnertime) ideas.

Next week’s blog will touch on the skills that kids learn from having snack and lunch together at school…and they aren’t just food-related!

Interested in joining the IPS community? Visit our website by clicking here.

Food: A Toddler’s Journey (And How Preschool Snack Time Changed Its Path!)

My daughter (age 5) is, and always has been, a fantastic eater. She loves all kinds of food (steak at age 1.5!) and will try most things, even if she ultimately decides she doesn’t like it.

My son (age 2.5), not so much. He is (and always has been) a picky eater, eating mostly berries, cheese, crackers, yogurt, bread, and the like. Then, a few months ago, he suddenly started eating what I consider basically nothing, other than milk, yogurt, and the occasional slice of bologna.

Green Room kids enjoying ice cream sundaes at snack time on the last day of school!

Our beloved pediatrician did not have any problems with what was going on…he said kids go through phases and to keep on offering all types of foods to the little man. Which we did, to no avail.

Then, one day, we turned a corner. That corner, my friends, was preschool snack time. The little man joined summer camp in June, and after a day or so of politely refusing snack options, he was suddenly eating multiple helping of foods. Grapes? Yes please! Pretzels? Wow, never seen these before! String cheese? Absolutely!

I write this post, on this topic, in hopes of sharing my toddler’s food journey with you, as I’m sure there are many families out there who have struggled, worried, and battled this topic in their homes. Simply put, my little man wanted to do what his friends were doing, and as a result, he began eating more and trying new foods. It will happen for your family, too! (Even if it doesn’t seem like it.)

86th Street Summer Camp: Three cheers for ice pops!

In next week’s blog post, I will cover the topic of snack and lunch at school and some helpful hints when packing your child’s lunch for preschool. Many families will have children making the switch to eating lunch at school in September, and I hope these posts will help your child make this transition smooth and easy!

Ready to sign your child up for a full day of preschool at one of New York City’s best? Apply online on our website today!

Fostering Friendships in Young Children

Friends work together during IPS Summer Camp’s three-legged race at our 86th Street location.

Making friends, reading social cues, and initiating play are necessary lifelong skills. Children begin to learn the nuances of creating connections with their peers at a very early age. A baby as young as six months old will get excited when he/she sees another baby!

The strengthening of these types of social skills is a priority in preschools and other early childhood education settings. Teachers model behaviors for young children; this can include role-playing different social situations (i.e. wanting to join a group of children playing in the block area) and/or providing the necessary for the child to express what he/she wants or needs (i.e. a toy that another child is playing with).

Here are two great articles about how to cultivate your child’s friendship-making skills:

Scholastic: How To Help Your Child’s First Friendships Grow

PBS Kids for Parents: Growing Early Friendships

Interested in learning more about The International Preschools, and how our play-based learning philosophy supports social, emotional, and cognitive growth? Read about our curriculum on our website.

Know all you need to know about The International Preschools, and want to become a member of the community? Apply online on our website!

IPS Summer Camp: Three Weeks of Memories

Summer camp at The International Preschools was a blast! We recreated the Summer Olympics 2021 in our very own school, and enjoyed (virtual) visits with the Chickenshed NYC and musician Lou Gallo. We celebrated special days like Crazy Sock Day and the Teddy Bear Picnic. Everyone had a great time!

Here are some photos from the camp season for you to enjoy:

Interested in joining the IPS community? Learn more about our play-based curriculum by clicking here.

IPS Summer Camp 2021: Theme Days and Specialty Classes

The Goldfish group at 76th Street designed their own hats on “Crazy Hat Day.”

There’s lots of fun things happening at IPS Summer Camp every day! Although our overall camp theme for summer is the upcoming Summer Olympics, the children are participating in additional special days and specialty classes that are engaging and exciting!

On “Favorite Sports Team Day,” children in the Little Dolphins Group at 76th Street colored in sports-themed pictures during Choice Time.

The “special days” at summer camp will require parent participation from home! For “Crazy Hat Day,” each child will wear a hat or headband selected from home to show to his/her fellow campers. On Red, White, and Blue Day, the children are encouraged to find red, white, and/or blue items to wear to camp. Activities such as these build a strong “home-to-school” connection; that is, when an activity for school is included or done, in part, at home, and vice versa). It is a great way to help children cultivate positive feelings towards learning, and allows parents to be actively involved in the child’s learning as well.

Campers at 86th Street participate in the Chickenshed NYC show via Zoom.

In addition to special days, IPS Summer Camp also has specialty classes! These classes are different from our school year specialty classes and are with different instructors. They are also brought in via Zoom…and are a huge hit at both locations! On Tuesdays, the children participate in activities with the Chickenshed, an inclusive and interactive children’s theatre. The Chickenshed actors use songs and puppets to bring laughs and entertainment to our campers! On Thursdays, Lou Gallo visits our IPS campers with his catchy, lively music and entertaining songs for kids (and teachers!). Some song favorites include “My Shoes Light Up!” and “No, Molly!”

Both Lou and the Chickenshed visited IPS’ 76th Street location in early 2020, before school was closed due to COVID-19. We are happy to have Lou and the Chickenshed back at IPS this summer!

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online on our website today!

Summer Camp at The International Preschools: Olympics 2021

Egg-on-a-spoon individual event at the 86th Street Olympics!

Our camp season was derailed in summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but The International Preschools is back for three weeks of summer camp in 2021!

Lighting the Olympic torch from the Olympic cauldron at 76th Street!

The theme for this year’s summer camp season is the Olympics, in honor of the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympics are a perfect theme for IPS Summer Camp, as it not only puts gross motor skills to the forefront, but also embraces countries and cultures from all around the world coming together, which is the founding principle of The International Preschools.

Individual event focusing on balancing at 86th Street!

To open up the 2021 camp season, our two IPS locations celebrated the Olympics with some fun activities. At 86th Street, campers participated in individual events in the gym such as egg-on-a-spoon and other balancing activities. At 76th Street, the campers welcomed the season with a torch lighting ceremony, where the children practiced lighting the Olympic torch from the Olympic cauldron. Then, they had a turn to march around the room as the Olympic theme played in the background. The Goldfish at 76th Street also made their own flags out of stickers, as part of the groups’ “Parade of Nations” (similar to what takes place during the actual Olympics).

Marching with our Olympic torches at 76th Street!

Be sure to return to the blog next week for more IPS Summer Camp fun!

Want to learn more about IPS Summer Camp? Though it’s only open to current and incoming students, you can read about our program on our website.

Ready for your child(ren) to become an incoming student? It’s easy! Apply online here.

End-Of-Year Memories from The International Preschools

Last week’s blog spoke about the end-of-the-year celebrations that were occurring (or about to occur) at The International Preschools. Many classrooms initiated the first (and only!) in-person celebrations to happen all year long, all of which took place outdoors at nearby Central Park or Carl Schurz Park. Please enjoy some photos from the end-of-school festivities!

Thank you for a great year!

Be sure to visit the blog in the coming weeks for more IPS fun, including a look at IPS Summer Camp!

Wishing your child was a member of the IPS community? He/she can be! Apply online today!

Celebrating the 2020-2021 School Year

What a year! Nine months ago, in September 2020, the teachers, students, and administration of The International Preschools entered the school year with a mixture of feelings, from hope to excitement to uncertainty. A lengthy list of protocols allowed for our school to remain open five days a week, for the entire school year.

The 76th Street Red Room’s “butterflies” enjoy some time together in Central Park before “flying off” to the Green Room!

And what a success it has been! With copious amounts of hand washing, sanitizing of materials, and the wearing of masks, IPS students were able to come to school safely to play, learn, and socialize. With support and trust from the IPS parent community, we were able to remain open during an uncertain time. With hard work and dedication from the IPS teachers and staff, an environment as similar as possible to the one that IPS children had known pre-pandemic came to be.

The Junior Kindergarten class at 86th Street strolls through nearby Carl Schurz Park, enjoying the time together…and the great outdoors of NYC!

As the last days of school come and go, many classes are commemorating the end of school with something that hasn’t happened all year: an in-person picnic for families, students, and teachers at Central Park (for the West 76th Street location) and Carl Schurz Park (for the East 86th Street location). For other classes, “Zoom parties” have been scheduled, so that parents, families, teachers, and students can come together to mark the end of a wonderful (albeit different) school year.

Thank you to all of the members of the IPS community for your dedication and support of our school!

Interested in learning more about the IPS community? Read about our play-based learning curriculum on the IPS website.

Already know everything you need to know about IPS? Apply online today!