Tag: New Year

Celebrating the New Year at The International Preschools

86th Street children dance with scarves to honor the Lunar New Year.

Throughout the school year, the children at The International Preschools celebrate holidays from around the world.  Each child’s family is invited to visit IPS and teach about a special tradition or family that he/she participates in at home.  As a result, IPS children acquire a lot of information about world holidays and festivals!

One universal commemoration is the arrival of the new year.  IPS students learned that there are several common themes among the new year celebrations around the world:  eating certain foods, wearing new or specific types of clothing, and making noise via fireworks and noisemakers to scare away “evil spirits” to ensure a good year.  This month, children at both IPS locations became well-versed on how we honor the new year here in our home of New York City, as well as how the Lunar New Year is observed both here and around the world.

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Winter Solstice at The International Preschools

Pre-K students working on a collaborative moon project in honor of the Winter Solstice.

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

Exploring outer space in Pre-K!

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 Winter Solstice 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.

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IPS Culture Shares and Family Traditions

One of our Pre-K classes celebrated World Children’s Day on November 20th, which honors children’s rights around the world.  The class wore blue (the official color of WCD) and identified children’s rights in discussion and in representational drawings.

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!

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