The Winter Solstice is observed each year at The International Preschools during the month of December. The Winter Solstice is the day with the shortest amount of daylight/longest amount of darkness. Because many of the international holidays during this time of year celebrate the concept of light, the commemoration of the Winter Solstice at our school acts as a way to collectively celebrate many family and holiday traditions.
This week’s blog post was written by an IPS parent on choosing a pre-kindergarten class for her child. The post originally appeared in our blog during the 2017-2018 school year.
Our daughter attended The International Preschools for two years: in the Red (2s) and Green (3s) Rooms. We chose to send her to Universal Pre-K (UPK) after that because of the cost and because we knew she would ultimately be attending public kindergarten. I offered to share what our experience was to help IPS in marketing itself and to assist other families grappling with this decision. UPK programs do vary, so I emphasize that this was just our experience.
Sharing and celebrating each other’s family traditions and cultures is an important part of the curriculum at The International Preschools. Our mission statement expresses that “at The International Preschools, where English language learners are welcomed and supported, children and families from New York City and all over the world share their cultures and gain a sense of international awareness through mutual understanding and respect.” This objective is achieved via a variety of events and activities that occur throughout the school year.
This week’s blog post was written by Heather Miller, an IPS alum who is the Director of LePage-Miller, Inc., an education firm based in New York City. A graduate of MIT, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Heather has developed and delivered educational programs for children for over twenty years. As a researcher on children’s interactions with educational technology, she has worked in China, France, India, and in the United States. She has written over 30 plays for children and lives in Manhattan with her family. Heather recently spoke to parents at IPS about her new book, Prime Time Parenting
A few words about my IPS experience—from a Class of 1976 preschooler:
“I attended IPG, as it was then called, in the mid-1970s at its midtown location on First Avenue. I vividly remember the warm, creative and welcoming atmosphere. It seemed to me that we were constantly painting at easels; I remember the feel of the paint under my paintbrush. The smell of the paint and the look of the paint bottles are some of my keenest and earliest sensory memories.
Having our flags in front of each of us at lunch made a big impression on my four-year-old self. I understood that these flags represented our countries, where our parents were from. In that respect, having a teacher place my two little flags in front of me at lunch each day told me that the school saw me as an individual. That felt wonderful. Some of us, myself included, had two flags. I remember looking around the lunch table, taking in the colors and patterns of the flags and looking from the flags to the faces they belonged to. Even though each of our flags were personal to us and our families, taken together, they were a celebration of our school’s glorious diversity. It provoked a wonder in the wider world, in all the faraway places our flags represented. I could connect our little flags at our lunch table to the huge flags that hung outside the UN Secretariat that I passed each day on the bus to school.
I remember being happy, busy, and engaged at IPS—and never being rushed. I remember
being read lots of wonderful stories and having lots of time for imaginative play. I greatly
enjoyed playing house in our outdoor playhouse and dreaming up stories and adventures with my friends. It was a place where a young child’s imagination could flourish. Many of my IPS classmates joined me in kindergarten at UNIS and two years later, when I moved to Convent of the Sacred Heart, I found several of my other IPS classmates there, too. IPS was a joyful environment, in the words of my father ‘a magical place’ that truly understood the developmental needs and potential of its young students. The school’s creativity, warmth and friendliness made a lifelong impression.”
—Heather Miller, S.M. MIT, Ed.M. Harvard
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 year, The International Preschools invites parents to a fun and educational Curriculum Night during the early fall. 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. This year, on Wednesday, October 17th, parents at our 45th Street, 76th Street, and 86th Street locations will visit their child(ren)’s classrooms to learn about the school day from two points of view: the teachers and the students!
Welcome back to school! Here at The International Preschools, the teachers and staff are preparing for the children’s arrival. Our hallways are being decorated with posters and “welcome back” decor, and the classrooms are filled with play-based centers for the children to explore.
This time of year brings about a variety of feelings amongst children and parents. Some children might feel excitement over returning to a familiar setting and routine and seeing old friends, while others might feel nervous about entering a new classroom with new teachers. Both parents and children might grapple with the idea of separation, particularly if this is a child’s first time in a school setting.
Happily, there are some things that parents can do to help ease the transition from summertime to school time. Here’s a list of activities that you might want to try with your child in the days leading up to the first day of school:
- Stick to a regular daily routine. Small children crave the structure of a schedule; it gives them a feeling of control over their environment by allowing them to know what activity/transition comes next during the day. At The International Preschools, the daily schedule is used as a visual cue for students to know what will happen during school that day. There is always a picture of “arrival time” and “dismissal time,” to remind children that someone always comes back at the end of the day to pick them up. This small action helps to comfort children who are uneasy about returning to school.
- Engage in pretend-play with your child. Role-playing is a wonderful way for children to test out social interactions, solve problems, and recreate situations that they observe in real life. Taking on the roles of “student” and “teacher” can help your child become comfortable with classroom life. Often, it can bring up questions that your child might have about school, and will give you the opportunity to answer them in a fun setting.
- Establish “school day bedtimes” several days before the start of school. Allow bedtime to be a relaxing time for your child (i.e. bath, story, etc.) and begin to transition back slowly into “school day bedtimes,” which most likely are earlier than the more laid-back routines of summer.
- Read books to your child about returning to school. According to the Scholastic Books website, “Picture books offer your young child the chance to answer her never-ending questions about the world” around him/her. The stories below provide a forum for asking and answering questions to gain comfort and confidence when encountering common social situations:
Sometimes You Get What You Want by Meredith Gary
My Preschool by Anne Rockwell
Will I Have A Friend? by Miriam Cohen
Do You Want To Be My Friend? by Eric Carle
Mommy Always Comes Back by Penny Schnee-Bosch
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
Otto Goes to School by Todd Parr
Best, Best Friends by Anne Rockwell
Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins
I Can Share by Karen Katz
Spot Goes to School by Eric Hill
You Go Away by Dorothy Corey
My First Day at Nursery School by Becky Edwards
We are looking forward to a wonderful 2018-2019 school year!
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Congratulations to this year’s Elizabeth Patrick Leadership Award Winner: 76th Street Head Teacher, Alyssa Wisoff.
In 2015, The International Preschools’ Board of Trustees established the Elizabeth Patrick Leadership Fund in appreciation of Ms. Patrick’s leadership as the Board Chair. The Fund was established to support professional development and educational advancement for faculty as well as provide for an annual award to a faculty member who has made a notable contribution to living out and promoting the mission of the school by taking initiative within the school community.
This year, the school had five nominees of highly qualified and deserving faculty members. Nominations were made by peer teachers and location directors. A committee consisting of a Board member, two faculty members, and four staff members reviewed the nominees and selected the winner.
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The International Preschools ends the 2016-2017 school year on Wednesday, June 7th…and what a wonderful year of play-based learning it has been! Here’s a look back on some of the fabulous events of the past school year…
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.