Tag: thematic units

End-Of-Year Curriculum, Part One: Life Cycles

A three-year-old class at 86th Street sets their butterflies free!

During the month of May, classrooms at The International Preschools focus their curriculum on growth and transitions. We use several topics to assist the children in understanding the idea of growth and “moving on” (in terms of changing classrooms or schools, or transitioning into summer vacation and/or camp).

The Pre-K 1 class at 76th Street observes their caterpillars in the chrysalides stage.

One of these themes is studying life cycles of plants and animals. There is a correlation between the children “growing” and the plants/animals “growing”: for a time period (the school year), the children learn and grow in their classroom, much like the caterpillars, ladybugs, and plants do. The children are taken care of by their teachers; the caterpillars, ladybugs, and plants are taken care of by the children. Finally, when they are ready, the animals are “set free” to go out into nature and the plants are “sent home” with the children; the children, meanwhile, are also “set free” from their current classrooms, to go forth into summer vacation, summer camp, and the upcoming school year.

86th Street children add soil to their planting pots.

During April and May, IPS students will plant lima beans, grass seeds, and flower seeds. They will learn about the parts of a plant and/or flower, and learn what plants need in order to grow (i.e. water, food, air, sunlight). By participating in play-based, hands-on learning through caring for their plants, the children really share in the growth of their plants.

A Pre-K 3 student holds a butterfly before it flies away!

Continuing with the life cycles theme…all of the IPS students bear witness to the life cycle(s) of caterpillars and/or ladybug larvae. The process is similar to that of the plants: the children learn the specific parts of the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly (i.e. egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly) and observe the changes that occur each day. The children also take care of the butterflies, once hatched, by feeding them fruit and sugar water. Once the butterflies are ready to move on to the outside world, classes will travel to the school playground or a nearby park to release the butterflies into nature. For the ladybugs, once they are mature, children will guide the ladybugs onto outdoor plants for them to create their new homes.

Butterflies go free at Carl Schurz Park in New York City!

Next week, the blog will showcase the next part of IPS’ end-of-year curriculum: the growth of the children from babies to “big kids,” and how each class goes about its learning in different ways.

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online today!

Observing (And Learning!) About The World Around Us

Red Room children use magnifying glasses to closely observe the parts of a flower.

The changing of seasons helps children embark on a learning adventure by employing their five senses. From the Red Room (2s) to the Junior Kindergarten (4s/5s), the children in every classroom are asked questions about what they see, feel, hear, smell, and taste when introducing a new season.

At our 86th Street location, some classes have started learning about the caterpillar-to-butterfly life cycle! Here, a child observes the caterpillars, as well as a life cycle chart.

Now that the spring season has arrived, the students are applying their senses to learn about what changes have occurred. How does the weather feel when you go outside? Do you need a heavy coat, or a light jacket? What do the trees look like? Are there leaves on the trees? What else do you see (flowers, animals, green grass)? What do you hear when you are outside (i.e. birds chirping)? Thinking about, and utilizing, the five senses helps children make connections between the world around them and the themes that they are learning about in the classroom.

In the Green Room, students observe the life cycle of plants by using a special translucent container. This way, the changes underneath the soil’s surface, such as the forming of roots, can be seen.

The next time you are out and about with your child, be sure to ask them some questions about what they are seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. It will open up a world of learning, as well as provide a prompt for meaningful conversation!

Want to learn more about The International Preschools? Take a look inside an IPS classroom on our website.

Ready to join the IPS community? Apply online today!

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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The (Updated) iPad/Technology Program at The International Preschools

A child working on an app during IPS’ iPad/Technology class.

The International Preschools created and instituted an iPad/Technology program for our Green Rooms (3s), Pre-Kindergarten (4s), and Junior Kindergarten (4s/5s) classes several years ago.  The 2018-19 school year will bring about some changes to the curriculum, led and instituted by our Technology teacher, Ms. Nikki.  While some aspects of the program will remain the same, other parts of the curriculum will include new learning topics and a larger focus on concepts such as coding.

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Earth Day is Every Day at The International Preschools!

Children working on the 45th Street rooftop garden.
Children working on the 45th Street rooftop garden.

At The International Preschools, every day is a day to take care of the Earth!  During the month of April, the classroom themes center around Earth Day; sub-topics include ways to keep our Earth clean and safe for animals and people, including recycling and gardening.  The goal is to teach the children small things that we can do to care for our Earth during April, that ultimately we can carry out year-round!

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Author Study Curriculum at The International Preschools

"Crazy Sock Day" in honor of Dr. Seuss' Fox in Socks.
“Crazy Sock Day” in honor of Dr. Seuss’ Fox in Socks.

Jan Brett, Dr. Seuss, Andrea Beaty, Leo Lionni, Eric Carle, Karma Wilson, Todd Parr, Mo Willems…what do all of these authors have in common?  They have all been featured author study subjects at The International Preschools as part of its play-based learning curriculum.

Each year, students at The International Preschools embark on an author study during the months of February and March.  The curriculum is approached in different ways, based upon the children’s age level.  In the Red Rooms (2s) and Green Rooms (3s), one author is chosen, and a variety of his/her books are read.  In the Pre-K (4s) and Junior K (4s/5s), a chapter book is selected by the teachers, and a chapter is read every day in class by parent volunteers.

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How Toddlers (Two Year Olds) Learn About Fall: November Classroom Themes

creche-fall-2016-ips
Children in 45 Creche (1.5s-2s) sat as a whole group to sing songs, using fall props such as pumpkins and leaves.

At The International Preschools, play-based learning is used to help students acquire a love of learning.  This week, we will take a look at how our youngest students in the Crèche (1.5-2-year olds) and Red Rooms (2-year olds) explore the season of fall via thematic units and play-based learning.

Children at 45th Street learn about the inside and outside of a pumpkin by observing its seeds. They also learned a new vocabulary word - jack o'lantern - which is a pumpkin that has a face!
45th Street children learned about the inside and outside of a pumpkin by observing its seeds. They also learned a new vocabulary word – jack o’lantern – which is a pumpkin that has a face!

Songs and books are an effective way to explore classroom themes and expose young children to new vocabulary. The classes at 76th Street used real pumpkins to act out the story of the “five little pumpkins.”  Here, the children practiced counting with correspondence and provided another visual cue for storytelling.  Some fall books that were read in the classrooms were Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills, Five Little Pumpkins by Iris Von Rynback, Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell, and Clifford’s First Halloween by Norman Bridwell.

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“All About Me”: September Classroom Themes at The International Preschools

all-about-me
Exploring our “flags” (the countries that we are from) is an important activity during our “All About Me” unit.

At The International Preschools, a different theme is assigned to every month of the school year.  Teachers incorporate this theme into every classroom center, from the sensory table to the discovery center to the songs that are sung and books that are read.

A common unit for the month of September is called “All About Me,” where children learn and share information about themselves and their families with each other.  Last year, many classrooms incorporated this unit into the month of September and into all of their classroom centers.  Each classroom and age level explored this topic in a variety of ways.  Listed below are some highlights from the classrooms across the three locations:

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