Tag: preschoolers

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!

End-Of-The-Year Curriculum, Part 2: Growth

At 86th Street, a class keeps track of what skills each child has mastered (i.e. riding a bike) after reading All By Myself by Mercer Meyer.

After the butterflies have been set free and the life cycle curriculum comes to an end, the classrooms at The International Preschools concentrate their learning on the celebration of growth. The teachers and children reflect and reiterate on how much growth has happened in the nine months of the school year, as well as the growth that has occurred from the day that the children were born (which doesn’t feel like all that long ago, from a parent’s perspective!) to now, as a preschool-aged child.

In a Pre-K class at 76th Street, the classroom theme centered around future occupations, and what the children wanted to be when they grow up. These are jobs that the children chose and wanted to learn more about. Here, two students act out scenes from a nail salon in the dramatic play area.

For some classes, the observations of the children’s development focus on what they can do now as a three, four, or five-year-old, which they could not do as babies or toddlers. In other classes, growth is measured in inches (or in some cases, Unifix cubes!); the children track how tall they’ve gotten over the last nine months using various units of measurement. Many classes have enjoyed seeing photos (submitted by parents) of each student (and some teachers!) as a baby, and have excitedly tried to guess (using clues) what that baby looks like now.

A Green Room at 76th Street played “Guess Who?” where the teacher held up a baby photo and the children guessed who it was. Here, the “answers” to the guesses display their baby photos with pride!

Overall, these celebrations of growth assist in building confidence in our young students. We commemorate how far they’ve come, what they have learned, and how they now have the tools to be successful in kindergarten, in another preschool class, and beyond. Congratulations to all of our IPS students, as they “move up” to new classes and places in September 2021!

Books to Promote Diversity in Young Children: Part 4

The IPS blog will highlight books on diversity that are age-appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners over the next few weeks.   The following post is #4 in the series.

At The International Preschools, celebrating diversity and an awareness of how we are all different, yet we are all alike, is the cornerstone of our play-based learning philosophy.  Children as young as age 2 are able to pick up on differences…and the acceptance and reactions of adults around them.

Books are an instrumental way to foster learning and to use as a springboard for discussions, in even our smallest students.  Here are a few books, appropriate for preschoolers, that promote diversity in a tangible, understandable way.  These books also celebrate traditions and everyday activities that look different, yet alike, in each family’s household.

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Books to Promote Diversity for Young Children: Part 3

The IPS blog will highlight books on diversity that are age-appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners over the next few weeks.   The following post is #3 in the series.

At The International Preschools, celebrating diversity and an awareness of how we are all different, yet we are all alike, is the cornerstone of our play-based learning philosophy.  Children as young as age 2 are able to pick up on differences…and the acceptance and reactions of adults around them.

Books are an instrumental way to foster learning and to use as a springboard for discussions, in even our smallest students.  Here are a few books, appropriate for preschoolers, that promote diversity in a tangible, understandable way.  These books also celebrate traditions and everyday activities that look different, yet alike, in each family’s household.

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IPS Parents’ Interests: “A Train Analogy”

As a parent to a three-and-a-half year old and an eight month old, one of the most difficult concepts to navigate is how to help your child when he/she is upset.  It pains me beyond words when my daughter or son is (seemingly) inconsolable. Adults use distraction techniques to help soothe themselves and avoid having to deal with unwanted feelings.  As an adult, I’ve learned to “compartmentalize” as a coping mechanism; that is, instead of being overwhelmed for weeks about an upcoming event, I’m able to shorten the anticipatory anxiety to occur only just before the experience.

Children, however, need to learn how to handle these difficult feelings not only with the support of their parents or caregivers, but also through the ability to self-soothe.  (This is a technique best learned, in my experience, when you are younger, rather than having to learn it as an adult!) . The only way to learn to self-soothe is to allow your child to experience all of the feelings in the moment:  sadness, despair, hysteria (on occasion), to name a few.  A few years ago, I was aghast when our beloved pediatrician suggested that we leave our (at the time) nine-month-old daughter in her crib, whether she was crying or not, for short amounts of time in order to teach her how to get herself to go to sleep.  After one or two nights of extreme upset (where I actually left the apartment, leaving my husband to hear the brunt of the tears), my daughter magically was able to go to sleep on her own.  Who would’ve thought that could happen?  Not me, even as an experienced teacher, but sure enough, it happened.

I recently read a blog post by Katie McLaughlin called, “The Train Analogy That Will Change How You See Your Crying Child.”  It reminded me of what our pediatrician told us, and how incredibly helpful it was to myself, my husband, and our daughter, despite the pain I may have felt at the time.  I’ve provided the link to the article for you all below, in hopes that it can help other parents and families.

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Preschoolers, Technology, and Its Many Usages

Children at our 76th Street location engaging in movement activities.

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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Life Cycles and Our End-Of-Year Units: How Are They Connected?

 

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Interacting with a baby chick!

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Observing Caterpillars

Spring is an exciting season in play-based curriculum. Following thematic classroom units on the Earth, students at The International Preschools explore life cycles.  Students of all ages are introduced to live caterpillars who are then placed in a “butterfly garden” and observed and recorded closely.  Preschoolers excitedly experience firsthand as caterpillars enter their chrysalises and emerge as butterflies! For a few joyful days, the children enjoy spending time with their new “classmates.”  But soon, the teachers will tell the class that it is time to release the butterflies to live in their natural habitats. There is a bittersweet “ceremony,” where the butterfly gardens are opened and its inhabitants are set free, to live in a local park.

Chicken eggs are introduced at each location in early May by Quiver Farms and are placed in an incubator until they hatch. All of the students (and teachers!) from the entire school spend time visiting and examining the eggs.  Soon, the location is filled with delighted squeals of our preschoolers, as they have a front-row seat to the arrival of baby chicks!  Under careful supervision, the students help to care for, and even pet, these tiny creatures for about a week.  They are then transported back to Quiver Farms to live after a final goodbye and hug from the children.

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A Rooftop Garden at The International Preschools


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A portion of the IPS rooftop garden!

“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”  This meaningful quote from David Brower perfectly describes how The International Preschools’ community feels about taking care of the Earth.  We, as teachers, staff members, and parents, strive to take care of the Earth through modeling for our children and students, so that they too can take care of the Earth for their children.

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Preschoolers + After School Program = An Enriching Addition to Your Child’s Day

Children boost their individual coordination and motor skills while playing together in a large group during Super Soccer Stars.

Although dismissal time signals the end of the school day for some, the fun continues “after hours” at The International Preschools.  Our school provides a wide variety of after school program choices for parents to choose from, all of which build upon the concepts being taught inside the classrooms each day.

  • Language Development:  Children acquire new vocabulary words when playing sports (i.e. “dribble” during Soccer) and learn to process and follow directions when playing games.
  • Social Skills:  Making friends and initiating play is an important concept taught in every IPS classroom.  After school programs allow children to meet fellow students who are not in their everyday class.

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Talking to Children About Difficult Topics

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One of the most entertaining everyday occurrences at The International Preschools are the many “sound bites” that children share with their teachers.  Children provide unique yet innocent insights and observations about the world around them on a daily basis, from a trip that they will be taking with their families to a gaggle of puppies that they saw frolicking in Central Park.  As teachers, parents, caregivers, and friends, we are happy to engage in these little conversations.

Sometimes, with both parents and teachers, these conversations can take on a more serious tone.  Topics such as death, divorce, moving to a new house or school, or even the addition of a new baby can bring up worries and questions in young children.  And, in the world that we live in today, the addition of terrorist attacks close to home can further exacerbate the internal fears within children.

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