Understanding the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)

IB school

At Strelitz International Academy, we take great pride in being an International Baccalaureate (IB®) World School for the Primary Years Programme (PYP). As an IB® World School and one of the best affordable private schools in Norfolk VA, we are committed to providing a challenging and inclusive educational experience that empowers our diverse students to become lifelong learners. Read on to learn the key aspects of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and its significance in shaping well-rounded individuals.

Promoting Student Agency through Inquiry-Based Learning

At the heart of the IB® PYP is an inquiry-based approach to learning. We strongly believe that students learn best when actively engaged in the education process and are free to explore their curiosities. By nurturing student agency, we encourage our young learners to take ownership of their education and pursue knowledge both inside and outside the classroom. This approach allows learners to thrive, fostering critical thinking skills and a genuine passion for academia.

Developing the Whole Child

The IB® PYP is built upon a holistic framework that goes beyond academic excellence. It focuses on evolving the whole child—encompassing advanced knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and actions. The ultimate goal is to instill in students the qualities that make them well-rounded individuals, like openmindedness, empathy, principled behavior, and strong values. By strengthening these attributes, we aim to shape responsible global citizens who contribute positively to society.

Transdisciplinary Themes for Deeper Learning

As a core focus, the IB® PYP incorporates globally significant transdisciplinary themes to guide deeper learning. These themes, such as “Who We Are,” “How the World Works,” and “Sharing the Planet,” enable students to connect different subjects with real-world issues. This interdisciplinary approach allows students to understand the interconnectedness of knowledge and develop a more comprehensive knowledge of the world around them.

Passionate and Dedicated Educators

Our educators are the key communicators in delivering the IB® PYP properly and effectively. They collaborate to provide an integrated learning model across all disciplines, creating a curriculum based on students’ experiences and interests. To ensure the highest quality of education, our faculty participates in professional development and extensive IB training, inspiring them to innovate new learning methods that ignite students’ curiosity and action.

Global Connections and Inspiring Engagement

The IB® PYP is synonymous with global connectedness—pushing us to translate the best practices in the classroom. We encourage students to engage with communities beyond their immediate surroundings, morphing a newfound sense of global awareness and empathy. This exposure enriches their learning experiences and prepares them to be active and kind citizens in an interconnected world.

Parent and Community Involvement

We can’t elevate our students without their parents’ help. The effects of the IB® PYP reach far past the classroom walls, fusing with our students’ everyday lives. We value parent support and welcome their active involvement in their child’s education. That way, students can further learn how their lessons reflect daily life.
Community experts are invited to share their knowledge and experiences with our students, building meaningful connections between the school and the broader community. With invaluable support from parents and the community, our students can be confident as they find their place in the world.

Empowering Students to Take Action

Our IB® primary school knows that there are only results with action. The IB® Programme empowers students to be active citizens within local and global communities by participating in various activities that make a positive impact. From community service initiatives to environmental conservation projects, our students’ experiences both enrich their education and ignite a sense of responsibility to be empathetic to others.
Looking for an “IB® elementary school near me?” Send your child to a school that sets them up for success. Tour Strelitz International Academy today.

International Baccalaureate Program: The Impact on Early Literacy and Numeracy Skills

International Baccalaureate Program: The Impact on Early Literacy and Numeracy Skills

We’ve already covered the International Baccalaureate (IB®) program’s profound (and beneficial) effects on preschoolers and kindergartners, but what about some more specifics? 

It’s a given that such a renowned educational framework that focuses on holistic learning and interconnectedness will nurture and enhance childhood development. In the Primary Years Program (PYP), a core principle of childhood development is early literacy and numeracy skills, crucial to developing foundational skills that aid academic success. 

Early Literacy Skills in the IB® PYP

The IB® PYP strongly emphasizes the manifestation of early literacy skills through a range of inquiry-based activities—such as meaningful and contextual language, communication, and literacy study areas. Let’s break down some of the ways the IB® program promotes early literacy development:

1. Language-Rich Environment

A stimulating classroom environment is critical in fostering advanced communication skills. IB® elementary schools incorporate classrooms with an abundance of books, charts, and print materials to expose students to the language and encourage vocabulary development, reading engagement, and a love for reading.

2. Transdisciplinary Learning

The PYP curriculum integrates different disciplines to help students form connections between literacy and other subject areas. For example, a science lesson could use comprehensive reading skills to understand informational texts, write lab reports, and engage in class discussions. These activities reinforce literacy skills within the chosen subject matter, in this case, for instance, science.

3. Inquiry-Based Approach

IB® encourages students to ask difficult questions, think critically, and actively participate in their learning journey. Through inquiry-based learning, students learn to investigate the details to form meaningful conclusions and develop advanced problem-solving abilities and the ability to pull information from different sources.

4. Reading and Writing Workshop

Participating in reading and writing workshops engages students to become independent and collaborative readers and writers. They serve as an opportunity for students to practice reading comprehension, fine-tune their writing skills, and receive meaningful feedback and critiques from teachers and students.

5. Literacy Across Languages

Multilingualism and cultural awareness are major components in the IB® PYP world, promoting literacy across multiple languages. Helping students recognize diverse linguistic backgrounds creates an empathetic environment, fosters language development, and develops cultural interest.

Numeracy Skills in the IB® PYP

But what about numeracy skills? In the IB® PYP, numeracy and literacy are two sides of the same coin. Mathematics is carefully integrated throughout the curriculum, where students can experience practical mathematical situations. Some of these IB® program methods include:

1. Conceptual Understanding

Anyone can memorize something, but not everyone can fully absorb and understand that information. The IB® program recognizes that and emphasizes conceptual learning through reasoning, number sense, computation, estimation, and real-world applications. For example, using a cake or a pizza can be used to teach fractions in a pie-chart format—using the slices to represent the “pieces” (fractions) of the whole “pie” (number).

2. Mathematical Language and Communication

The IB® math curriculum is a spiraling program that teaches fundamental concepts using manipulatives and hands-on activities. All students are given opportunities to think for themselves and work independently, with partners, in small and large groups. Participating in these formats helps develop confidence in their ability to investigate their choice in a safe environment and heightens clear communication.

3. Mathematizing the World

Mathematics is not confined to textbooks—it’s present in the world around us. Going off of #1 with conceptual understanding, IB® students are encouraged to identify and apply mathematical concepts in everyday situations. Actively making connections to real-world problems fosters a deeper understanding of how math relates to their lives.

4. Diverse Instruction

Teaching one specific method is not beneficial to every child’s academic success. The IB® PYP acknowledges that every student is different and therefore has different learning styles and needs. To give all students a fulfilling experience, IB® teachers employ various strategies, resources, and manipulatives to cater to different learning styles like visual, physical, auditory, verbal, logical/mathematical, social, and solitary areas, as well as make combinations between them. This fusion of learning styles helps students absorb numeracy skills faster and in a more appealing, inclusive way.

5. Tool Proficiency

IB® elementary school students study measurement, data interpretation, and pattern recognition by taking advantage of different tools, techniques, and resources. Calculators and computers are leveraged to learn numeracy efficiently and effectively. Repeated exposure to numeracy concepts and skills is essential for reinforcement and ultimate mastery.

The Benefits of the IB® Program on Early Literacy and Numeracy Skills

The Benefits of the IB® Program on Early Literacy and Numeracy Skills

When discussing the valuable benefits of the IB® program in schools, we name high-level goals like international mindedness, high academic standards, holistic education, university recognition, career preparation, and personal development. 

But by cultivating literacy and numeracy skills, the IB® program helps children lay a solid foundation for a brighter academic future. Students walk out of the classroom with not only enhanced cognitive skills but also social, emotional, and physical excellence. The all-rounded, holistic approach helps students find their unique skills and attributes and foster an overall love for learning.

With the ability to absorb literacy and numeracy lessons in a more quick and fulfilling way, IB® students become lifelong learners. Instilling curiosity and passion for literacy and numeracy equips students for a long academic road ahead, gaining transferable skills that extend beyond the two subjects.

The Strelitz Primary Years Program

The Strelitz International Academy holds a shared initiative: a strong reading program is essential in building an everlasting educational foundation. 

Our kindergarten and first-grade students participate in the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program®– (LiPS®)*. LiPS®* provides students with the necessary literacy skills for decoding, spelling, letter blends, and digraphs to help build a conceptual understanding of the whole language that will follow them into adulthood. As they continue to decipher and add new vocabulary to their reading repertoire, students practice phonemic awareness, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and language development, preparing them to read literature with endless creativity and clarity.

Likewise, our IB® elementary school not only concentrates on competency in numeracy but also stresses problem-solving. Our programs demonstrate all of the IB® numeracy strategies in this blog and more to create a well-rounded, culturally enriched child.

Interested in a Primary Years or Early Years Program in Virginia Beach? Schedule a visit with one of the best private elementary schools today.

The International Baccalaureate Approach to Learning in Preschool and Kindergarten

The International Baccalaureate Approach to Learning in Preschool and Kindergarten

Since 2020, cultivating early childhood education to adapt to a global future has been more critical than ever. After all, how we teach plays a vital role in the child’s development. The International Baccalaureate (IB®) approach has gained worldwide recognition for its comprehensive and holistic framework, which propels students on a brighter path toward adulthood. Let’s explore the benefits of the IB® program in IB® elementary schools and highlight its key principles, application, and strategies for implementing the next generation of world leaders.

Understanding the IB® Approach

The International Baccalaureate program is renowned for its rigorous academic standards and hyperfocus on creating globally-minded individuals. In preschool and kindergarten, the IB® methodology extends these values to young learners, nurturing a love for learning, inquiry-based thinking, and the evolution of a solid skillset.

IB® Principles:

Inquiry-Based Learning

IB® encourages children to participate dynamically in their education through curiosity, asking questions, and embracing special interests. IB® students enforce valuable critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of the world they live in.

Incorporating Play

Play is at the heart of early childhood development, and the IB® program understands this all too well. Preschool and kindergarten classrooms that engage in purposeful play can realize a wealth of opportunities for creativity, social skills, and problem-solving.

Holistic Development

Holistic development involves the child’s cognitive, social, physical, and emotional aspects. It prioritizes the interconnectedness of these areas to model a well-rounded education and healthy well-being.

Transdisciplinary Learning

The IB® curriculum uplifts children to use their knowledge and skills across various subject areas. This means that students can carry the lessons learned from one subject into another discipline, solving problems through transdisciplinary activities, connections, and understanding concepts more clearly.

IB® Benefits For Preschoolers and Kindergartners

Choosing the IB® path versus the conventional model opens the door to a range of possibilities that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. When schools use this model, they create active members of society who contribute to our workforce and lead productive, fulfilling lives.

A Love For Learning

Education can be just as engaging and interesting as it is informative. Through instilling independent thinking and individuality, the IB® program allows children the freedom to love learning. The approach will enable students to find their respective paths and absorb complicated topics in a controlled and easy manner. The result is a positive attitude toward education and the stimulation of all areas of development.

Advanced Critical Thinking Skills

IB® highlights the importance of critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills from an early age. The inquiry-based learning style pushes the potential of the brain to analyze and retain information, ask meaningful questions, and master logical reasoning abilities.

Cultural Awareness and Global Understanding 

John Nicholls of the Bilingual European School in Italy states, “The beauty of the IB® is that it’s a global education community. All schools around the world face the same challenges, enjoy the same benefits, and can connect with one another.” This represents the IB®’s core value, global-mindedness, which realizes the interconnectedness of people within all cultures. The program implements the exploration of different cultures, languages, and perspectives and fosters empathy, tolerance, and appreciation for diversity in every classroom.

Strong Social and Emotional Skills 

Social and emotional intelligence are two sides of the same coin that contribute to developmental success. Preschool and kindergarten learners participate in collaborative activities, use communication tactics, and build positive and fulfilling relationships with their teachers and peers.

How IB® is Implemented in Preschool and Kindergarten Classrooms

Teachers Become Facilitators

With an IB® state of mind, teachers lead in facilitating the classroom. They guide preschoolers and kindergarteners through their unique learning experiences, pose lucrative opportunities and questions, and create an inclusive, supportive environment that encourages experimentation and discovery.

Children Choose Their Paths

Young IB® students take ownership of their self-discovery and learning transformation with their school’s guidance. Teachers can facilitate learning by equipping children with the right resources and advice that appeal to their interests and concerns.

Play-Based Environments

Preschoolers and kindergartners can learn and memorize concepts while developing social and motor skills by experiencing crafts, fun learning activities, and singsongy lessons. Art and gym classes are excellent environments to express creativity and boost physical activity in fun and meaningful ways. Students also deserve a break to unwind and recollect themselves during the school day, like lunch and recess.

Collaborative Learning

IB® classrooms need to focus not only on the individual but also on the collective group. Likewise, a child can only properly metamorphose if participating with other students during learning activities. This can include team exercises like group storytelling, obstacle courses, and building block games.

Alternative Testing

Moving beyond the norm of traditional assessment, IB® classrooms focus on authentic ways to evaluate children’s educational progress. Observation, milestone tracking, and portfolios are all stellar ways to give a detailed overview of the child’s growth, achievements, strengths, and areas of improvement.

Strelitz International Academy: A Premier IB School

Strelitz International Academy (SIA) is not only a top IB® elementary school—it’s an acclaimed Jewish day school in Virginia Beach. We follow suit in IB’s mission to do more than the average curriculum through cultural interconnectedness.  

Our vision is centered on educating the whole child.  Our mission is performed through our dynamic Jewish environment, where we enrich children’s lives and develop compassionate, lifelong learners. By collaborating with our families and the greater community, we promote a social and global consciousness that encompasses a profound respect for all humanity.

The IB® program allows children to forge their own learning paths and find the skills and confidence they need to make a global difference. From the IB®’s word of mouth, it “empowers teachers as the architects of learning excellence, working alongside engaged colleagues in a rewarding career supported by a strong global network. And it brings schools a strong reputation for successful outcomes that uplift the whole community.”

Together we can create a rich and fulfilling learning environment for our kindergartners and preschoolers. Read more about how you can send your child to the IB® program and learn how we shape the leading minds of the next generation. Schedule a visit with us to see how we implement it.

The Pasta-Bilities are Endless in Kindergarten!

The Pasta Bilities are Endless in Kindergarten!

By Ally St. Pierre, Admissions and Marketing Manager

Setting goals and acquiring new skills is the heart of Kindergarten at Strelitz International Academy, the best kindergarten school in Virginia Beach. This year each student in Mrs. Baker’s Kindergarten class set a goal they sought to accomplish with the help of their class community. These goals included baking a Barbie cake, making and launching rockets, and even doing bike tricks on a ramp. Each student reflected on the process of completing their goals, including how and what they needed to get from start to finish. On Friday, May 5th, 2023, students in Mrs. Baker’s kindergarten class helped their classmate Meirav accomplish her goal of making homemade tortellini.

Step One: Roll the Dough

Step One Roll the Dough for Pasta Bilities

The students started by rolling dough. They observed that the ball of dough looked like a lemon at first. Each student took turns rolling the dough. They then stated what they thought the rolled dough resembled. “It looks like a stretchy lemon!” one student exclaimed. Another added, “It looks like a small pizza!” The pizza observation left students wondering, “What if you put tortellini on pizza?” The students were reflecting and thinking about what that might taste like. 

Step Two: Cut the Dough

Cut the Dough for Pasta BilitiesStep Two Cut the Dough for Pasta Bilities

The next step was to cut the dough. The students used cups to make circle-shaped tortellini and knives to make square ones. This required students to activate their prior knowledge of shapes. “It looks like a moon!” a student suggested while pushing the round cup into the dough. Once finished, Mrs. Baker gave each student a fork with ricotta cheese. One student disliked cheese and hesitated to try it on his pasta. Mrs. Baker challenged him to be a risk taker, an important value in the IB® approach. The student demonstrated risk-taking by using cheese in his tortellini. 

Step Three: Check the Cheese

Check the Cheese in Pasta BilitiesStep Three Check the Cheese in Pasta-Bilities

The students even related the activity to their Judaic studies. Mrs. Baker explained that when she went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients, she verified everything was kosher. Mrs. Baker explained that the ricotta cheese she purchased had the letter U in a circle, meaning it was kosher. Additionally, Mrs. Baker told her students that she could not buy the parmesan cheese, as she learned there was a meat product mixed with the cheese, and eating meat and dairy together is not kosher. 

Step Four: Eat!

Eat Pasta BilitiesStep Four Eat Pasta Bilities

After working hard, it was finally time to eat the homemade tortellini. The students were so proud of what they had made. The best part was that all the students collaborated to help Meirav accomplish her goal! It was tortelly awesome!

The Strelitz International Academy is the community’s Jewish Day School and International Baccalaureate® World School for infants through grade 5. For more information on the best kindergarten school, contact Ally St. Pierre, Admissions and Marketing Manager, at 757-424-4327, ext. 4188, or astpierre@strelitzacademy.org.

The Valuable Benefits of the IB® Program in Schools

The Valuable Benefits of the IB Program in Schools

The International Baccalaureate ® (IB) program is a globally esteemed educational framework designed to foster growth in students through cognitive, functional, and behavioral learning. Created to help students adapt to an ever-changing world, the IB® program is offered at all levels of education, from primary to secondary. It is regarded for its rigorous academic standards, focus on critical thinking, and commitment to developing well-rounded, pinnacle global citizens. 

Strelitz International Academy (SIA) is an IB® program elementary school in Virginia Beach devoted to upholding IB values with its stimulating courses to inspire current and future young minds. Let’s explore some of the ways IB is transforming schools everywhere.

Benefits of the IB Program in Schools

1. International Mindfulness

International Mindedness is a core overarching concept in the IB® curriculum related to developing an awareness and appreciation of different cultures and perspectives. Intercultural understanding, global engagement, and multilingualism are all fundamentals learned to recognize the interconnectedness of global issues.

By studying a broad range of subjects and engaging in interdisciplinary projects, IB® students learn to think critically about the world around them and realize how their actions can impact others. This is especially important in today’s globalized society, where cultural sensitivity and intercultural competence are becoming increasingly essential.

2. High Academic Standards

The IB® program is widely recognized for its high academic standards and rigorous criteria. It is designed to prepare students for university-level studies, with varying assessments and final examinations in each subject. IB® students are required to study a broad range of topics, including language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts. Examinations are reviewed by an international board of examiners, who are expertly trained and monitored by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).

Additionally, IB® students are expected to engage in independent research to heighten their critical thinking skills through the analysis and evaluation of information. IB® elementary schools train children to prepare for higher education and the challenges of the modern workforce.

3. Holistic Education

Another key feature and benefit of the IB program is its holistic approach to education. Instead of focusing on the core competencies and “soft skills” of basic subjects, IB® students are encouraged to think outside the box and evolve their personal, social, and emotional skills.

Likewise, students engage in extracurricular activities like sports, arts, clubs, and community service to mature their leadership, teamwork, and social skills. This balanced approach tackles every major aspect from all angles, forming intelligent life perspectives and securing their futures as responsible citizens.

4. University Recognition

In almost every country worldwide, the IB® curriculum is known as excellent preparation for university. Being renowned around the world opens the door for students to explore academic and employment opportunities abroad in the future, as IB® is recognized as a post-16 qualification by employers.

Students who have IB® under their belts maintain the advantage because top universities often prefer them due to their articulate academic preparation and ability to think rationally and independently. Also, they are repeatedly given advanced standing or credit for university-level courses, which propel them to graduate more quickly—saving tuition money in return.

5. Career Preparation

IB® serves as a pathway to employment for students joining the 21st-century workforce. In a world where life places complex demands on graduates seeking work opportunities, the IB® program enables students to become self-confident, skilled, and career-ready learners. 

When children join IB® elementary schools, they become future business leaders, lawyers, scientists, artists, and beyond. Children learn the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing job market and master quick thinking, leadership, careful decision-making, communication, and problem-solving. On top of that, they discover the importance of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, which are all too desirable in today’s economy.

6. Personal Development

Most importantly, implementing the IB® program in schools allows students to be the best version of themselves. It is engineered to focus on the individual’s unique needs, teaching them to become responsible and compassionate members of their communities.  IB® is different because it aims to do more than average curricula. It shapes brilliant minds who hunger for knowledge and excellence. It conceives empathetic people who take action on global issues to make a change for the better.  

This focus on personal development guides IB® students to become more self-aware, confident, and resilient and to establish a strong sense of personal values and ethics. Lastly, it embraces their full potential to become future leaders in a diverse world.

As an IB World School, We Make a Difference.

Strelitz International Academy cultivates a cross-cultural understanding of interconnectedness. With our deep knowledge of global issues, multiple perspectives, and the ability to communicate effectively to all communities, we instill our wisdom in our students to thrive and make a difference. Our IB® elementary school in Virginia Beach, Virginia, prepares children from toddler to primary with a strategic learning path in Judaic studies, developmental skills, technology, and so much more.

Interested to see how our IB® program makes a positive impact? We invite you to tour our campus and unearth why we are one of Virginia’s leading IB® primary schools! Call us at 757-424-4327 to get started.z

SIA STEM Day Takes the Gold!

SIA STEM Day Takes the Gold

By Allena Anglen, Strelitz International Academy Third Grade Teacher

Over the past 25 years, STEM education, which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, has evolved rapidly to keep up with technological advances. With the growth of STEM-based occupations, this innovative program has become more important than ever!

A Day Full of Science, Sports, and Fun

ib elementary school virginia beach

On February 27th, Strelitz students in grades kindergarten through fifth participated in SIA STEM Day. From Bobsledding to Basketball, each event began with learning about the physics involved in the sports. Each event engaged students in hands-on activities that leveraged collaboration and problem-solving. Students drew conclusions about how the sports worked from a scientific perspective and participated in the engineering and design process— replicating the impact of potential and kinetic energy based on speed, distance, gravity, and motion. Students had fun building usable models of bobsleds, basketball hoops, ice hockey rinks, Alpine skiing courses, ski jumps, and a timeline of technology advancements in sports. 

STEM Day incorporated SIA’s IB® Approaches to Learning in the areas of Thinking, Communication, Self-Management, and Research within each STEM station. As students traveled through each station, they were actively engaged, collaborating, talking through solutions, making discoveries, and excitedly engaging in science conversations. Students collaborated with their teams and incorporated new ways of thinking as they navigated through each station. Like the goals of the IB® program, the main curriculum in our elementary school in Virginia Beach, STEM education focuses on resolving problems and creating innovative solutions to proposed challenges.

How Do You Celebrate STEM?

ib elementary school near me virginia

Teachers and students were so excited to have a special day dedicated to STEM! The event fully engaged the students in each STEM activity—the combination of sports and science being a winning combination. Kindergarten teacher Jamie Baker was excited to report: “I have my first group of Kindergarten students who can explain the difference between potential and kinetic energy!” SIA Winter Stem Olympics 2023 definitely took the gold! 

Want to learn more about how Strelitz Academy molds the next generation of STEM minds? Our IB® primary school in Virginia boasts our Primary Years Program, which takes students through various comprehensive classes.  Check it out!

5 Wonderful Reading Suggestions for Preschoolers in 2023

Wonderful Reading Suggestions for Preschoolers

On a scale of one to ten, how much does your child love books? Whether your preschooler is a bookworm or not, studies show reading to children as young as nine months can accelerate childhood development. Finding a book that introduces pre-reading skills like numbers and sounds is one of the best ways to ease children into formal reading instruction.  

From The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Goodnight Moon, there are a few staples we read to children time and time again. Seeking something new and enriching for every kind of reading taste? At Strelitz Academy, one of Virginia’s top IB PYP schools in Norfolk, we list the five best reading suggestions that stimulate learning and growth in 2023. Let’s take a look!

Before We Dive In, Here Are A Few Things To Consider

Choosing the perfect book for your child depends on multiple factors. If your book checks off the following boxes, it’s golden:

  • Is the book engaging? Great characters and a fun, cohesive storyline pique a child’s interest.
  • Does it appeal to my child’s attention span? To attract a child’s attention, it must be child-friendly. Short dialogue and simple word choice help your preschooler travel from cover to cover.
  • Does it match my child’s interests? For example, your basketball-loving child isn’t going to enjoy a book on ballerinas. Choose something you think they will enjoy!

Best New Books for Preschoolers

This year’s top reading selection is more educative and engaging than ever, from catchy rhymes to tall tales.

“Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes,” By James Dean and Eric Litwin

“Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” is a popular book about a cat walking down the street wearing brand-new white shoes. His shoes change from white to all kinds of funky colors and feelings as he steps in different messes along the way. Despite it all, his attitude remains positive while he sings his tune. This singsong story is an excellent way to teach children ages 3 to 7 to experience change with a positive mindset.  

“My First Book of Planets: All About the Solar System for Kids,” By Bruce Betts, PhD

Want to show your child the wonders of astronomy? This is the perfect book for introducing preschoolers to the solar system. Ages 3-5 learn science-driven facts about the eight planets and their size, distance from the sun, surface conditions, moons, and more! The author has a Ph.D. in planetary science but can write in a fun and understandable way for kids.

“Big Preschool,” By School Zone

Looking for practice problems your child can take on during the summer? This workbook contains 320 pages of pre-writing skills, alphabet, colors, shapes, following directions, numbers and early math, and more. This book combines reading comprehension, strategy, and memory retention with easy to advanced concepts, fun illustrations, and an award certificate upon completion. Motivate your preschooler to complete these practice problems during their free time to advance their knowledge and prepare them for school.

“How To Catch A Unicorn,” By Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton

Brought to you by the New York Times Bestselling team, this picture book combines elusive imagery, STEAM concepts, stimulating puzzles, and fun rhymes to delight children, parents, and educators alike. Start your child’s mornings or end the day with this colorful and upbeat book that allows them to use their brains to solve complex, kid-friendly problems. The pages are filled with all kinds of different animals that your child can point at and admire.

“P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever,” By Raj Halder, Chris Carpenter, and Maria Beddia

Don’t judge a book by its cover—this New York Times bestseller teaches the complicated subject of phonetics to children ages 3 to 10. This book brings preschoolers through a “raucous trip through the odd corners of the alphabet” by introducing words with silent letters like “aisle” and “gnat.” This whimsical book demonstrates a comedic take on the English alphabet by listing these more complex words and their pronunciations.

Ready To Kickstart Your Preschooler’s Reading Adventure?

Strelitz International Academy (SIA) is one of Virginia’s best affordable private schools in Chesapeake— setting up children from infant to primary with the education to succeed. With our Early Years Program, children ages 2 to 4 walk through various global, transdisciplinary themes as part of our IB World School curriculum. Our 10 to 12-month comprehensive program explores early reading practices and other learning modalities, development areas, language arts skills, Judaic education, and more.

To learn more about how Strelitz International Academy can help your child grow and excel intellectually, please get in touch with Carin Simon, Admissions Director, at 757 424-4327.

IB: A Community of Resilience

Two girls are playing

Think about the person you were three years ago. The life you had versus now…much different, right? For the IB community, it’s been a metamorphosis of change— turning every hurdle into a learning opportunity and every challenge into a stimulus for growth.  

Strelitz International Academy is an IB elementary school in Virginia Beach that has blossomed into a wealth of knowledge with its individualistic programs. An atmosphere enriched in wisdom strengthened by its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, global conflicts, and local hardships. IB has proven to be a trustworthy curriculum with diverse educators, offering 7,530 worldwide programs to 5,548 schools across 160 countries.  

How Do We Become Resilient?

Hardships build strength and character. But for children, we as parents and IB teachers need to foster their development through crises. They may have feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about their future. They may fear losing their normality and control of their lives. That’s where resilience comes in.

Resilience helps people cope with stress and learn how to use their experience to overcome adversity. While some minds are more naturally resilient than others, it is not always inherited but taught. By nurturing our children to develop resilience over time, we can positively address their fears and move forward mentally more robustly than ever.

Being openly communicative and understanding with your child is the first step towards mental fortitude. It’s vital to allow your child to ask questions and for you to answer all honestly but simply. Validate your child’s concerns and feelings on essential issues to establish a positive emphasis on mental health. When you acknowledge their outlook on the world, you build a healthy foundation of trust. 

Spinning hard times into a chance for positive personal development is a great way to elicit optimistic hope in young people. Encourage creative expression as an emotional outlet (like art, music, writing, or other hobbies) to stimulate mental growth. Give children the space to process their thoughts, and offer support when viable. Most importantly, you must care about your well-being before helping someone else with theirs.


At Strelitz, we are re-imagining education as a whole by pinpointing different processes that go beyond the traditional, cognitive-first approach. We think outside the box to morph “what” and “how” we teach through inventive designs and assessments. This involves our comprehensive IB programs for 16-19-year-olds, which target creativity, leadership, and mental and social enhancement.

With a collaborative environment, the IB community constantly and consistently evolves toward a bigger and brighter future. During these times of change, we are using this progressive mindset to offer an authentic, transformative experience for our students and teachers with digital and cultural advancements. This tie between education and world relevance will provide students with what they need to become resilient and collectively better our thinking in the next 50+ years.


As an IB elementary school in Virginia Beach, Strelitz International Academy stands by its IB framework to empower future student generations to lead the world by example. But how do we expand our horizons and inspire other schools to cut the conservative cord of strict, neurotypical education? The past three years of hardships can answer this question, where more and more people are opening their minds to alternative forms of education. Still, the obstacle remains of harnessing technology to diversify and allow students of all backgrounds to study with us.

That’s why we, with the help of the International Baccalaureate, have engineered the Primary Years Program. This innovative curriculum gives all elementary students from kindergarten to fifth grade a mentally-rich education emphasizing their eclectic mix of ideas, religions, ethnicities, and cultures. Our portfolio ranges from English Language, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, Robotics, Jewish Studies, and much more to provide students with articulate insight on core subjects at an accelerated pace. Only by breaking down the barriers that prevent some children from attending typical schools can we then enact inclusive change.


Teachers are integral to students’ success. Because without teachers, we lack the guidance we need to reach intellectual enlightenment. And being a teacher is more than just a profession; it’s a purpose. It’s a lifelong commitment to mold young minds. Through shared values, IB educators help to build resilience worldwide, in and out of the classroom.  

To elevate students’ education, Strelitz has access to the IB Exchange, which is used as a tool to connect with other IB educators in an interactive, global network. Just one of the many improvements we’ve enacted over the years, our teachers can lean on each other for support in teaching their subject by receiving essential feedback and tapping into thousands of resources. We work to utilize this professional development platform as a core factor in getting stronger together.

Be the Change

Our children are the future. Our responsibility as adults is to give students the push they need to be the change they want to see in the world. Because our current world was built from our thinking— by changing our thinking, we can change the world.

From preschool to primary, Strelitz International Academy stands out as a recognized institution of higher learning. We aim to plant the seed of research, thinking, social, communication, and self-management skills in every child, working in tandem with current and future world events—allowing them to adapt and thrive.

To learn why SIA is one of the best affordable private schools, read about our inquiry-based IB programs on our website, or call us at 757-424-4327.

Kindergartners’ Heartwarming Stories on the Importance of Family Traditions

Kindergartners' Heartwarming Stories on the Importance of Family Traditions:

As we bundle up for the Holiday season, families worldwide are getting ready to share meals, memories, and smiles—as they do every year.  But what sets our holidays apart?  At Strelitz Academy, an IB elementary school in Virginia Beach, our kindergarten students recognize that every family is unique by embracing the special traditions their families celebrate together.

What is a Family Tradition?

A family tradition isn’t just a strict, bullet-listed regime families abide by every year.  It is an essential practice of their culture and individuality—tributed as fluidly or rigidly as they wish.  It is a memorable date or event they hold near and dear to their hearts, intertwined with their lifestyle and identity.  Traditions are one of the many ways we feel connected to our families, nurturing our love for each other as we grow.

Who We Are

Mrs. Baker’s kindergarten students participated in the “Who We Are” unit to identify their favorite family traditions, both new and passed down for generations.  Creating their Family Tree Projects to learn about their ancestral timelines and history, students displayed what “tradition” means to them. 

Rolling through some of our top holidays in calendar order, let’s hear what our IB early school kindergartners say about the traditions that shape their families.  Maybe you’ll want to integrate one of theirs into your family, too!

kindergarten class


Shabbat (alternatively “Sabbath” or “Shabbos”) is the core of Jewish life and has been since the dawn of their creation.  The Talmud cites Shabbat as significant as all other commandments and is celebrated on the seventh day of the week, from Friday sunset to Saturday nightfall.  Observant Jews refrain from driving, working, or using electronics and typically honor the weekly tradition in the synagogue or at home with family and friends.

On this important day of rest, Asher joins his family every Friday to enjoy a delicious meal, pray, and discuss the Torah.  Friday is a special day for him because it’s the day everyone can come together as a family.

Meirav embodies her Judaic pride by lighting the Sabbath candles for her family, and is just one of the many Jewish holidays she looks forward to every year.

Independence Day

On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, splitting America from British rule and making every American a free citizen.  That’s why the Fourth of July goes further than fireworks, family barbeques, and red, white, and blue t-shirts.  It’s the day we highlight our patriotism as Americans and thank our history for bringing us to our families and friends today.

Eliza likes her Fourth to go off with a boom!  Her tradition is to travel all the way to Indiana to marvel at fireworks with her grandma and grandpa.  Just like her mother did when she was a child, this day ingrains a habitual bond with her family.  


In the spirit of family, Thanksgiving is a pivotal time when families unite to count their blessings and cherish what they’re thankful for.  Whether it’s prayers around the dinner table, cutting the turkey, watching the Macy’s Parade, or breaking the wishbone for good luck, Thanksgiving is a November tradition upheld by current and future Americans.

Rooted in rich American history, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to express gratitude for family and friends that you may otherwise take for granted.  Thomas gives thanks to his family by joining his grandparents for Thanksgiving dinner.  He enjoys the fall harvest holiday because he can be surrounded by the people he loves.


It’s the eight-day Festival of Lights, or for some of our IB private school students, their favorite time of the year.  Hanukkah (“Chanukah”), though mentioned as a minor Jewish holiday in the Torah, is anything but, landing on the 25th day of Kisler (between November and December).  During the blustery winter, Jewish families exchange gifts and warmth by the light of the Menorah, eat tasty oil-based foods (latkes, sufganiyot, potato pancakes, etc.), and spin the dreidel.  Fun fact: did you know that Hanukkah was even observed from space?

For Natan, this is the special day when he prepares the Menorah.  He and Meirav found that they have a lot in common because they both love lighting the candles for their families!

What’s Your Family Tradition?  

Though many of our favorite family traditions line up with holidays, inventing your own is an excellent way to turn an ordinary day into something spectacular.  Like the Chinese worship the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Spanish honor their passed loved ones with the Day of the Dead, and the Hindus illuminate the night on Diwali, humans are always finding reasons to create memories with their families.  Who’s to say you can’t make your own?

Dani is a perfect example of this: she has created a family tradition during a date that is important to her, but is not a national holiday—the night before the first day of school.  During this exciting night, she and her brother eat ice cream for dinner.  The cherry on top is starting the school year at Strelitz the following day, the mouthwatering meal serving as a fresh start.

Being a Jewish school, there are some national holidays our children love to share with their families off-campus.  For Haley, that’s Halloween— every October 31st, she loves to sit back and relax by the firepit with her family and friends, watching a spooky movie or two on the outdoor screen in her backyard.  And when December rolls around, Tacari and Jay both slip on their Christmas pajamas and spend fun times with their loved ones, taking family photos all day long.

Welcoming Our Differences

As one of the best private elementary schools Virginia Beach, Strelitz International Academy is a prekindergarten IB World School, IB elementary school, and a Melting Pot of ethnicities and backgrounds.  Through our child-prioritized programs, we are continually merging our culturally-rich diversity with our premier education, every day.  By reading each of these kindergarteners’ love-adorned stories, we hope you hold your child extra tight during this winter season and continue raising smiles for years to come!

For more information on how your child can join our warm community, please call Carin Simon, Admissions Director, at 757.424.4327.

Why Should You Send Your Child to the IB Program?

Send Your Child to the IB Program

Any parent preparing to send their child to school is likely overwhelmed by the various choices available. Should they go to public school? A private school? Home school? What is best for their development? One popular program that parents select is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). This program is designed to form the foundation of your child’s academic, social, and mental development in a transdisciplinary manner. Strelitz International Academy is an IB primary school in Virginia Beach that is dedicated to the lifelong success of your child. We believe that the IB program is beneficial for your child, so let us tell you why. 

What is the IB World School Primary Years Program?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) World School Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a program developed for children between the ages of 3 and 12. This program is related to a specific teaching/learning style meant to create a diverse and inclusive community of students. In the program, students discover agency through an inquiry-based approach to learning. Additionally, students are encouraged to form global connections and appreciate their fellow students and peers. Children develop academically and emotionally through this unique framework of knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and actions. 

Why is the IB World School Primary Years Program Beneficial?

The IB Primary Years Programme is proven to be a challenging yet rewarding program for students to participate in. Many parents want to provide the best education possible for their children, and many choose the program because of its many benefits. With more rigorous academic requirements, artistic outlets, better resources, individualized approaches, and enriching programs, your child is more likely to develop a well-rounded educational foundation. Because of this, children in the PYP learn to be critical thinkers, adequately prepare for higher education, participate in an internationally-recognized program, and experience a holistic approach to childhood development. 

Students Learn to be Critical Thinkers

One of the first things students learn in the IB program is the importance of independence and critical thinking. Because governmental restrictions do not direct the IB Program, students can access various philosophies, ideas, and theories. This process allows them to expand their worldview and think critically about situations and experiences. In addition, students are encouraged to explore their interests and learn about them in a healthy and productive environment. By developing these critical thinking and problem-solving skills early, students have the tools to succeed in later education and the work environment. 

Adequately Prepared for Higher Education

Because of the multicultural and diverse environment of the IB program, students are prepared academically and socially for the next step in education. Students who graduate from the IB PYP program are successful in their middle school, high school, college, and work-life environments because they have access to a broad range of knowledge and skills developed throughout their education. In addition, studies have shown that students who attend an IB PYP school score higher in math, literacy, reading, and writing tests. 

Internationally-Recognized Program

Another benefit of sending your child to the IB program is the internationally-recognized education. The International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme is globally recognized by universities and colleges worldwide. In order to become an International Baccalaureate World School, the school must undergo a rigorous accreditation process. This process and subsequent accreditation ensure parents that their children are receiving a quality education. Similarly, this international recognition opens doors to a host of opportunities that students may otherwise not receive. 

Provides Overall Childhood Development

In addition to the high standard of education, students attending an IB World School are encouraged to participate in other activities in and out of school. This can include sports, the arts, language development, volunteering, etc. So, not only do students thrive in academic environments, but they also thrive in physical, spiritual, and personal spaces. Outside of the classroom, IB schools place more of an emphasis on community engagement and the students’ spiritual and emotional development. Respect and dedication to the overall development of students are rarely found in other schools. For this reason, many students go on to become successful in all areas of their lives once they have completed the Primary Years Programme. 

Strelitz International Academy—An IB Primary School in Virginia Beach

Are you looking for an IB elementary school in Chesapeake, Norfolk, or Virginia Beach? Strelitz International Academy is the solution you have been searching for. Our teachers, staff, and faculty, are dedicated to providing your child with the necessary skills they need to succeed. Plus, our well-rounded curriculum embraces the cultural differences that exist in our world and works to help students form an appreciation of these differences. Through our transdisciplinary approach to learning, our students become successful members of society that think critically and problem-solve. 

Learn more about the IB Primary Years Program at Strelitz International Academy, or speak with the Director of Admissions and schedule a tour today by calling us at 757-424-4327.

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