Why We Celebrate United Nations Day at The International Preschools

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Families celebrating United Nations Day at The International Preschools.

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.

Green 2 student playing a flag matching game with her class.
A student in a 3s class playing a flag matching game in honor of United Nations Day.

In the days and weeks leading up to United Nations Day, classrooms participate in a variety of age-appropriate activities.  Most classes combine their learning about United Nations Day with a September “All About Me” unit.  At IPS, children learn that flags represent countries, and that each child has a flag or flags that represent where his/her family came from.  The students associate that information as part of the completed study of themselves; at IPS, their “flags” are as much a recognizable characteristic of themselves as their favorite color or number of siblings.  In some classrooms, students will learn that the United Nations is a place where all the countries of the world come together and take care of each other.  Classes at the 45th Street location, because of their proximity to the United Nations, often walk over to the United Nations itself to observe the flags and sculptures outside of the building.  At all three locations, the teachers will use this holiday as an opportunity to expose children to books and activities promoting tolerance of differences, teaching the children that we are “all different, but all the same.”

Pre-K students participating in a United Nations Day sing-along inside their classroom.
Pre-K students participating in a United Nations Day sing-along inside their classroom.

On or near United Nations Day, each class will host its own classroom celebration of the holiday.  Parents and families will contribute to a potluck breakfast or lunch, bringing in international foods to share with each other.  Many groups of students will participate in a sing-along of international songs, practiced during music class and during meeting time in the individual classrooms.  Families are invited to work on a international-themed parent/child activity in the classroom during the party to take home that day. All of these activities help instill the importance of multiculturalism, acceptance, and friendship that the United Nations (and The International Preschools) represent.

Junior Kindergarten classroom working on a United Nations Day project at their celebration.
Junior Kindergarten classroom working on a United Nations Day project at their celebration.

Next week’s blog post will elaborate on the special activities occurring in each classroom in preparation for United Nations Day.

For more information on the history of The International Preschools, click here.

Interested in applying to our school?  Learn more about the admissions process by clicking here.


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