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.
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!
The last few weeks of classes at The International Preschools are exciting for our students. Teachers and children begin play-based learning activities to celebrate the end of the school year: classroom parties with parents, end-of-the-year gifts, and memory books.
But after the festivities have concluded, what’s next? The “what’s next,” for some children, can be filled with uncertainty, sadness, or fear. Sometimes, these feelings can result in regressing behaviors, such as difficulty separating from parents or caregivers. This is an opportunity for children to develop life-strategies for transitioning between one set of routines towards another exciting phase in their lives.
The process actually begins in September when teachers spend time helping students acclimate to the routines and expectations of the classroom. This action is crucial in helping the children feel confident and comfortable in their surroundings; toddlers and preschool-age children crave stability in their day-to-day schedules, thriving most when they know “what comes next.” Providing consistency is key to helping children feel safe, secure, and confident.
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.
“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.
Our 45th Street and 86th Street locations are closed this week for spring break, and our 76th Street location will join them next week! In lieu of our usual blog posts, here is a peek into the classrooms at The International Preschools during the months of February and March. More photos to come!
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.
The holiday season has arrived, and with that comes a focus on community outreach programs here at The International Preschools. Every year, the parents, teachers, and children of our school work with several organizations to help those in need, be it here in New York City, elsewhere in the United States, and around the world.
The International Preschools Blog is an opportunity to journey into the school's classrooms. Here you will find information about play-based education, diversity, classroom themes; all the things that make learning joyful and fun at one of the best preschools in New York City.