Tag: play-based learning

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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Thanksgiving Curriculum at The International Preschools

The students, faculty, and administration at The International Preschools recognizes and celebrates holidays from all over the world throughout our play-based curriculum.  Thanksgiving is especially festive here in New York City, as both an American holiday as well as providing a cherished tradition:  the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  On the Upper West Side near our 76th Street location, the giant parade balloons are inflated just blocks from our school.  At both of our schools, children in all IPS classes explored Thanksgiving in an age-appropriate manner.  Continue reading to learn about and view examples of the Thanksgiving curriculum in action!

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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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Celebrating Diwali at The International Preschools

Green Room celebrates Diwali, in traditional clothing!

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.

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Halloween 2019 at IPS!

86th Street students pose in their Halloween costumes!

The fall season at The International Preschools is filled with many different events, from Curriculum Night to United Nations Day to Thanksgiving, not to mention Parent/Teacher Conferences, Diwali, Thanksgiving…the list goes on!  Of course, the year would not be complete without celebrating a holiday that the children (and teachers) look forward to all year…Halloween!

Here at IPS, our 76th Street and 86th Street locations commemorated Halloween in a variety of ways.  Keep reading to learn about our Halloween curriculum and view photos from Halloween 2019!

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United Nations Day at The International Preschools

Green Room children play “Flag Bingo” in preparation for United Nations Day.

In late October, The International Preschools commemorates United Nations Day with a school-wide celebration.  United Nations Day is special to The International Preschools because more than 50 years ago, our school was created in order to assist families who were affiliated with the United Nations.  IPS (back then, known as IPG, The International Play Group) gave families who were new to the United States a place to come together, to make friends, and to acclimate to a new culture.  Today, IPS honors our roots by hosting a multi-lingual sing-along for families and children, as well as an international potluck.

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Curriculum Night 2019 at The International Preschools

Working with math manipulative toys in the classroom.

On Wednesday, October 16th, The International Preschools will host its annual Curriculum Night for the families of our students.  The purpose of this evening is to teach parents the important aspects of the school day, including IPS teaching philosophies, topics of study, daily schedules and routines, and upcoming events throughout the school year, as well as answer any questions that parents have about their child’s school day.  On Curriculum Night, the 76th Street and 86th Street locations will allow visiting families to take a look at their  child(ren)’s classrooms from two points of view:  the teachers’ and the students’!

The curriculum of The International Preschools centers around the philosophy of play-based learning.  Play-based learning allows for children to organize and make sense of their social worlds.  It supports a child’s ability to acquire cognitive skills (i.e. number/shape/letter/color recognition), increase motor skills (used for writing, climbing, running, etc.), boost language development (the ability to converse with teachers and peers, and express needs and wants), and assist with problem-solving.  Teachers facilitate learning by sitting with and observing the children when engaged in independent or small group play, answering questions or providing guidelines.  During whole group activities, teachers prompt the children with verbal and visual directions which allow the children to complete tasks at hand.

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Preschoolers and Technology: How To Use It Wisely

The following blog post originally ran in September 2018.  Continue reading for the pros and cons of technology for young children, including how it affects a child’s ability to self-soothe…and what we can do to help them!

Children engaging in sensory-based activities in Pre-K.

If you’re like me, you’re one of the many parents who are amazed at how quickly toddlers and preschoolers work their way around an iPad or an iPhone.  Scrolling and clicking on various apps seem to be second-nature to young children these days.  With technology being an ever-prominent aspect of day-to-day life, it’s a wonder that activities such as drawing, building with blocks, and movement or dancing  haven’t fallen completely by the wayside.

Unfortunately, a reliance on technology to entertain young children is apparent everywhere you go.  I’m always surprised by the amount of toddlers clutching an iPhone instead of playing with a favorite toy or looking at a book while riding in a stroller.  In restaurants, it’s not abnormal to see children watching videos on an iPad instead of engaging in conversations with their parents or siblings.

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After School Programs at The International Preschools

Mr. Doug leads a music class at our 86th Street location. You can join Mr. Doug in two after school programs this fall: Mr. Doug Music Academy and Chibikko Karate.

On Monday, September 16th, the after school programs at The International Preschools welcomed excited children into a variety of engaging classes. Enrolling your child in after school programs allows him/her to make new friends, practice transitioning between classes, and most of all, learn a new skill while having fun!

If you haven’t signed up already, there’s still time to join us!  Read on to see what we offer, why you should register your child for one (or more) of the classes, and finally, how to enroll!

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Back-to-School Jitters: Separation Anxiety

Pre-K children during their first days of school at IPS.

Separation anxiety (and the separation process) can be one of the most difficult times of the year for children and parents alike!  At The International Preschools, we take separation seriously and strive to provide the most productive and nurturing route for our students.  Click below for a blog post on separation anxiety and how to deal with it, which I run every year in September.  Happy first days of school!

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