Tag: social skills

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!

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!

Helping Your Child Manage BIG Emotions

There’s been a lot of changes for kids and adults alike over the last fourteen months! From being in “lockdown” during the height of the pandemic, to social distancing, to being apart from friends and family…to schools being completely remote, then hybrid, and now, for many children, going back to full-time, in-person learning…it’s been a wild ride!

Our Green 1 children display their “happy” emotion during snack (and a mask break!) at the 76th Street location.

My daughter returned to in-person learning in March, and she has been so happy going back to school. Much of her first year in elementary school has been filled with stops and starts (including a fourteen-day quarantine in the fall due to COVID exposure). Yet, despite the excitement and happiness about being in school, the love she has for her amazing teachers, and playing in-person with her friends, the return to full-time learning has been hard on her. She doesn’t have the stamina she had in previous years of being in school to last a six hour day, and meltdowns have occurred. Her kindergarten teacher assured me that this was normal, and that every child in the class has reacted to the full-time, in-person learning in different ways. Some are clingier to parents than they once were; others are frustrated easily; some are completely wiped out from the longer day; and others are just overwhelmed with starting anew…again…in March, no less, after doing this a mere six months ago in September.

We can’t see their (whole) faces, but we can guess that the Pre-K Room at 86th Street is feeling happy while on a trip to Carl Schurz Park!

In my travels and research for IPS curriculum, I’ve come across several interesting articles with effective options that I’d like to share with you. I hope you find them helpful! Additionally, our Developmental Specialist, Jaya Misra, recently wrote a fantastic newsletter on limit setting, the concept of which goes hand-in-hand with children sharing big emotions. If you are a member of the IPS community, be sure to read that newsletter as well!

Managing Emotions (from PBS Kids for Parents)

Parents.com – Handling Emotions

Teaching Children About Emotions (from the Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation)

Interested in becoming a member of the IPS community? Apply online by visiting our website. We are still accepting students for the 2021-2022 school year!

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 + 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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The Importance of Parent/Teacher Conferences

Our youngest students hard at work! The children here are bolstering a variety of skills while at the play dough table: strengthening their hands for future writing activities; learning to share tools; engaging in both parallel and cooperative play; and working on expressive and receptive language skills...just to name a few!
Our youngest students hard at work! The children here are bolstering a variety of skills while at the play dough table: strengthening their hands for future writing activities; learning to share tools; engaging in both parallel and cooperative play; and working on expressive and receptive language skills…just to name a few!

A friend of mine recently attended the parent/teacher conference for his eighteen-month-old son.  Prior to the meeting, he questioned the importance of attending a conference for a child so young.  What would the teachers possibly have to say about his son, he asked?  After attending the conference, he had an answer: a lot!

At The International Preschools, parent/teacher conferences are held twice a year:  once in the fall and once in the spring.  Parents have the opportunity to speak directly with their child’s teachers about the child’s school experience. Whether your child is two-years-old and just starting school, or five-years-old and heading to kindergarten next year (or beyond), there is important information to be learned at every level.  Here are some of the many topics you can expect to (or ask to) hear about at your child’s conference:

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