The Early Years Benefits of Sandbox Play

Two girls are playing sandbox paly

Sandbox play is more than just a childhood pastime—it’s a catalyst for multifaceted growth in young learners. At Strelitz International Academy, we’ve witnessed the strong impact of this timeless activity on our Early Years students. In our new sandbox, children engage in collaborative play that fosters essential social skills. They negotiate, communicate, and cooperate as they build together, laying the groundwork for future interactions and relationships both in and out of the classroom.

Moreover, the sandbox serves as a place for imagination to flourish. Within its confines, children become architects of their own worlds, shaping landscapes and narratives with boundless creativity. This unstructured play environment encourages experimentation and problem-solving, nurturing cognitive development in a way that structured activities cannot. As they explore the possibilities of the sandbox, our Early Years students expand their imaginative horizons and develop the resilience to overcome challenges—an essential skill for navigating the complexities of the world around them.

Beyond its cognitive and social benefits, sandbox play offers a sensory-rich experience that is integral to holistic development. The tactile sensation of sand under their fingers, the warmth of the sun on their skin, and the sounds of laughter fill their sensory landscape, enhancing their sensory processing skills and overall sensory awareness. Through the simple act of playing in the sandbox, children profoundly engage with the world, cultivating empathy, self-expression, and a deeper understanding of themselves and others. Contact SIA today and schedule a visit.  Call us at 757-424-4327 or email at astpierre@strelitzacademy.org for a learning journey unlike any other.

Exploring the Difference Between IB® School and Regular School

Class room with benches and board

As a parent, do you often find yourselves at a crossroads trying to determine the best academic path for your child? From private to public schools, your chosen institution will have a lasting effect on your child’s development and future. 

Beyond the typical private school, modern parents have been deciding whether to enroll their child in an International Baccalaureate (IB®) primary school instead of a traditional school. But what’s the difference?

IB® Schools

International Baccalaureate (IB®) schools revolve around a New Age way of teaching. These schools naturally employ the IB® curriculum, which isn’t solely focused on good grades as a performance metric. It’s about developing the whole child, becoming curious learners for life. The IB® philosophy strongly cares about academics and just as much about critical thinking, global interconnectedness, and making a societal impact.

Virginia Beach private schools like Strelitz International Academy use the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to build the foundation for learning. Instead of solely memorizing information, this program encourages kids to ask meaningful questions and explore the world around them. They learn that all subjects are an intricate web of information, genuinely digesting how academic lessons relate to the real world.

Conventional Schools

Let’s talk about “regular schools”—the kind most of us grew up with. They take a more traditional approach to teaching. These schools usually follow the curriculum set by their local education sectors, and their main focus is on core subjects like Math, Science, History, and English. While regular schools definitely give a solid academic start, they might not put as much emphasis on growing in outside-the-box ways or understanding the world globally as IB® schools do.

The Differences Between the Two

1. How They Teach

IB® schools want students to be curious and ask questions. They let kids explore topics that interest them and realize their interconnected nature. Regular schools usually stick to a set curriculum decided by local education boards.

2. Seeing the World

IB® elementary schools near Norfolk, VA, want students to think about the whole world. They teach about different cultures and ideas to help students become open-minded and empathetic leaders. Regular schools might not spend as much time on this global perspective—a trait that should be more important than ever.

3. How You Learn

IB® schools focus on teaching you how to think critically and solve problems independently. Regular schools might spend more time making you memorize facts and taking standardized tests. The information may not “stick” when students are expected to score well.

4. Complete Growth

IB® schools encourage growth in every single aspect. They care about your emotions, how you get along with others, and your values—all the essential interworkings of a person. Without the in-depth, transdisciplinary curricula of the IB®, regular schools are more surface-level; they mainly focus on academic performance.

5. Subjects and Connections

In IB® schools, different subjects come together like puzzle pieces. You see how science can connect with history, for example. In regular schools, topics are often taught separately.

Learn with Strelitz International Baccalaureate Academy

The IB® PYP framework extends its influence outside the classroom setting. As students embrace their roles as inquirers, our budding scholars understand that what they learn in the classroom mirrors the world. With strong support and dedication from the broader community, our students cultivate their passions and talents, nurturing a strong self-assurance as they explore their role in the global landscape. 

To see why Strelitz is one of the best private elementary schools near Chesapeake,mail us csimon@strelitzacademy.org or call us at 757-424-4327  to schedule your tour.

 

Strelitz International Academy Fifth Graders Give Back

Fifth-grade student Yael Haas presents her research on Tzedakah.

By Rashi Brashevitzky

The intersection of learning and action is a beautiful place.

Research, learning, and action were all displayed at SIA’s Fifth Grade Exhibition on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. As an IB® World School, the fifth graders document their learning, research, and action, presenting it at the Primary Years Programme Exhibition.

Using Chumash (Torah text study) and science as a springboard, the fifth graders jumped into the study of Tzedakah (charity) and food insecurity—forming inquiries into how to help hungry people in Hampton Roads.

The fifth graders began their journey by conversing with a community member who grew up food insecure. After hearing about this person’s experience, the students met with another community expert who discussed the different ways they could demonstrate the teachings of Tzedakah. From there, the students jumped into action.

Putting their science lessons to good use, the fifth graders visited the garden at the Fred Heutte Center in Norfolk. They learned about the garden and how they grow thousands of pounds of produce, which they donate to the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia. The class helped the master gardeners with weeding and planting. Students harvested some of the produce to take back to school to prepare Thanksgiving dishes for a Jewish Family Services family.

Students continued their study of Tzedakah and food insecurity, looking for more ways to help the local community. When studying the different food blessings, they donated a chopped salad for the ForKids in South Norfolk organization. Also, the fifth graders delivered the salads and toured the ForKids family shelter. After learning about the great need to feed families and the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables, they felt inspired to do even more!

The fifth graders created a slideshow about food deserts, food insecurity, and ForKids, and presented it to students in Early Years 4 to fourth grade. The SIA community then donated fresh fruits and vegetables to the Produce Drive. ForKids was very grateful when the fifth graders dropped off more than 650 pieces of fresh produce!

Being on a shared campus with Jewish Family Services, the fifth graders were eager to help while close to home. They met with Debbie Mayer and Jody Laibstain and learned about the food pantry program, offering their help.

The fifth graders have visited the food pantry numerous times throughout the school year to help sort through donations and stock shelves, as well as to help food pantry customers shop. They also noted which items were running low and organized a food and supply drive to encourage classes to each bring a different type of food or supply. The food drive buckets were filled to the top more than once! The fifth-grade class also took donor funds given to JFS and shopped for two cartfuls of food, paper goods, and hygiene products.

As the end of the school year neared, these students wished to help out one more time. They held a lemonade and bake sale, raising over $500 in just one day! The money raised was used to purchase bread, peanut butter, jelly, bananas, and potato chips for needy people.

At the Fifth Grade Exhibition, the students presented posters on their research and learning and shared their journey with Primary Years students, parents, and visitors. After visiting the different presentations, participants were invited to help make lunches for people in need. Each class had a different job in the process. The result? One hundred lunches were made and donated to Ghent Area Ministry for the many people they serve.

Fifth-grade student Yael Haas presents her research on Tzedakah.

Fifth-grade student Yael Haas presents her research on Tzedakah.
Fifth grade student Adielle Uduaghan with ForKids chef Teresa Licato.

Fifth grade student Adielle Uduaghan with ForKids chef Teresa Licato.
First grade students Gianna Eaglin and Elijah Perry participate in making bagged lunches for Ghent Area Ministry.

First grade students Gianna Eaglin and Elijah Perry participate in making bagged lunches for Ghent Area Ministry.

Indeed, the intersection of learning and action is a beautiful place.

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

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.

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.

Importance of Enrichment and After School Activities

Importance of Enrichment and After school Activities

When your child is done with the school day, you don’t want them to just plop in front of the TV or play video games for hours on end. Your child will benefit greatly from enriching programs that keep minds engaged and foster fitness.

At Strelitz International Academy, we share this philosophy. We believe that young children need enrichment and after-school activities that keep them active in healthy ways. After all, healthy students are better learners.

By providing physical activity opportunities for our students during and after school, as well as offering enrichment activities in music, art, and more, we feel we are addressing the whole child and helping each student become a well-rounded, confident, and empowered individual.

Benefits of After-School Activities

Every parent wants their children to not only do well at school, but also discover interests that feed their mental, physical, social, spiritual, and emotional sides. Educators at Strelitz want the same, and this is why we offer a range of enrichment and after-school activities kids enjoy so much they don’t even realize they’re learning.

The benefits of young students participating in age-appropriate, inclusive after-school activities are many. They include:

  • Better attention span in the classroom
  • Improved cognitive skills
  • Opportunities for students to explore their potential and expand their minds
  • Increased social and emotional learning
  • Improved academic performance
  • Greater learning opportunities in a safe, supportive environment

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benefits of school-based physical activity include less risk of developing depression, improved mood, better heart health, and healthier weight levels.

Enrichment activities can make learning more fun. They reinforce what the educators are teaching throughout the week.

 Many enrichment and after-school activities can also serve as an outlet for kids with a genuine need to expend more energy, try new things, spend more time with peers, or have the freedom to discover at their own pace.

With caring, supportive staff overseeing these enrichment programs, young students have the guidance they need in a safe environment that invites them to explore the world they live in.

Activities for Younger School-Age Children at the Academy

Here at Strelitz, we offer a number of activities children can participate in to help them feel more confident and capable wherever they go, including in the classroom, at home, and in the community.

Enrichment activities are provided to young students enrolled in our program.  These are some of the enrichment and after-school activities we offer.

Fitness

  • Aquatics: Weekly swimming activities during the school day help kids stay fit while developing coordination and motor skills.  Individual swimming lessons are also offered after school on campus through the Simon Family JCC.
  • Physical activity: Our teams know how to make exercising fun for youngsters by adding variety and turning fitness into playtime.  Students have access to our state of the art Gym and expansive outdoor playground.
  • Outside play: Students have the opportunity to run and play in a safe, supervised environment, either outside in age-appropriate playgrounds or indoors in our gym.

Activities

After School Activities - Crayons

  • Music: A local professional musician regularly leads music circles for our students. Our music program helps children build their language skills and develop improved memory.
  • Library time: We love books, and we share this love of reading with our students through visits to our school library, which helps build strong literacy in readers and pre-readers alike.
  • Specialty activities: Our resource teachers create themed learning enrichment experiences that are exciting and educational.
  • Art: We help children explore and understand the world around them through a variety of art projects that help them tap into their creativity.
  • Cooking: Age-appropriate kitchen tasks teach children how to prepare snacks that are tasty and healthy in our school cooking center.  Many of the recipes are made using ingredients from our school garden.
  • Hebrew language enrichment:All are welcome at our school, and we love sharing our school’s cultural heritage through Hebrew language enrichment activities.
  • Science exploration:Young children have so many questions, and they love to learn how the world works. Through age-appropriate science exploration activities, we help them study, observe, and learn via scientific methods.

We also partner with JCC afterschool activities for additional fitness and enrichment opportunities, such as yoga and self-defense, which rotate seasonally.

Learn More

Be sure to explore everything Strelitz International Academy has to offer for your child and your family, particularly if you’ve been asking yourself, “What are the best private elementary schools near me?” We believe that when you visit us, you will see a high level of quality in all we do.

Our educators are experienced in working effectively with young children, and they know how to make learning fun and engaging for different ages and attention spans.

As a private IB elementary school, Strelitz offers expanded opportunities for students who are ready for a more challenging learning experience. Ask us about what we offer as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.

7 Activities and Play Ideas for Kindergarten Students

Play Ideas for Kindergarten Students

Activities and play are essential for the growth and development of a child. With fun play, children create the foundation for their educational development. These fun play ideas for kindergarten classes are designed to coincide with their developmental stage and help them gain new skills. At Strelitz International Academy, we offer our kindergarten students the opportunity to direct their own play and learn at their own pace. This learning experience helps set the stage for success in our IB PYP School near Norfolk and any further educational exploits.

How Play Helps with Childhood Development

Children are naturally motivated to play and explore new things. As they play, children use their senses to explore their environment, learn new things, communicate their feelings, and gain new skills. It is for this reason that play-based learning is incredibly important to the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. By playing, children develop a sense of things around them through inquiry, exploration, interaction, and problem-solving. To help encourage this development, learning environments should be geared towards a student-led, teacher-supported approach that predominantly occurs through play-based learning.

Different Play Ideas for Kindergarten Students

In order to help encourage play-based learning, we have put together a list of some fun play ideas for kindergarten students. These ideas are geared towards developing their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs.

Pretend Play

Playing pretend can help to build a child’s sense of abstract thinking. By developing imaginative situations and scenarios, children can develop a sense of abstract subjects such as numbers, symbols, and language. You can encourage play by setting up stations where children can dress up, pretend to cook, play as a vet, and more. A shopping store station can also encourage the use of numbers, writing, and more.

Explore Something New

Exploring a new object, thing, or area is a wonderful way to help children understand the world around them and how it works. This can be as simple as playing outside, burying toys in a sandbox, setting up a sensory box, or putting out a pool. These activities encourage children to discover hidden things, play around in different environments, and learn cause and effect. This helps to develop their cognitive skills as well as their general and fine motor skills. 

Playdough Activities for Kindergarten

As we mentioned above, sensory objects, toys, and bins are a key way to get children talking and communicating their feelings. Playdough is a fun, relatively, mess-free activity that stimulates the senses. Molding, cutting, squishing, and pulling also help children strengthen their hand muscles and develop fine motor skills. 

Read Together

Reading is another way children learn language, symbols, and comprehension skills. Books can even take on an instructional role—teaching children their ABC’s or numbers in a fun and unique way. By reading out loud, children get to experience the book in a fun and engaging way, while also learning communication and language skills.

Drawing/Painting

Similar to playdough activities for kindergartners, drawing and painting activities help introduce creativity and abstract thinking to their lives. By mixing colors, using pencils, paintbrushes, and pens, children develop various skills that are useful in later educational topics.

Blocks/Puzzles

Building with blocks and using puzzles are a great way for children to learn and recognize shapes, sizes, and colors. These types of games help children with their spatial awareness, logical thinking, and organization skills. All of which are needed in scientific, technological, and mathematical classes later in life. 

Music/Singing/Dancing

Another engaging way to encourage language development is through music. Whether your child is introduced to an instrument, learning a song, or dancing to a beat, they are developing mathematical skills in a creative way. Plus, fun songs can be a great way to introduce concepts such as counting, rhyming, and literacy.

Prepare for the Next Stage of Schooling

In addition to helping with development, play-based learning helps children prepare for the next stage of their schooling career. Developing fine motor skills helps children to be prepared to use pencils, pens, and other materials in the classroom. Mathematical and language skills set up the foundation for reading, writing, and basic math. Playing pretend helps children regulate their emotions and express them, while also encouraging them to interact with other children and developing social skills. All of these activities that are seemingly just play, are actually incredibly beneficial for setting your child up for success in their later education. 

IB Primary Years Program (PYP) Schools near Norfolk

Are you interested in enrolling your child in a child-directed, teacher-supported environment? Consider sending your child to Strelitz International Academy. We offer a kindergarten environment that sets them up for success in a way that is developmentally appropriate. Our kindergarten graduates learn and develop in a way that sets them up for later success in our IB program elementary school in Norfolk, VA. Discover how the IB program works and learn more about our kindergarten program by visiting our website. 

Are you ready to increase your child’s long-term success? Speak with the Director of Admissions and schedule a tour today by calling us at 757-424-4327.

How Private Kindergarten Programs Have Changed In Past 10 Years

Kindergarten students sitting on the floor listening to teacher

The private kindergarten school system has come a long way over the past ten years in developing a teaching curriculum that works for children. As the world shifts to a more child-focused teaching environment, private schools are leading the charge. In this article, Strelitz International Academy, a private kindergarten near Chesapeake, VA , reviews the ways that kindergarten has changed over the past ten years.

Kindergarten 10 Years Ago

Within the past ten years, school programs and curriculums have evolved to meet the needs of childhood development. As with many psychological discoveries, new information and techniques are learned every day. Because of this, teachers and administrators are constantly changing school curriculums to meet the needs of their students.

Public Kindergarten

In the public school system, we have seen this develop through the switch from the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) to the new Every Student Succeeds Act (2015). Up until recently, it was standard for kindergarten students to be pushed hard academically. Students were expected to leave kindergarten with enough knowledge to succeed in first grade. This rigorous academic expectation was made at the detriment of the child’s development of inquiry, social skills, and imagination. While this academic approach was effective, it was not the most effective approach.

Private Kindergarten Program

In the private school system, the development of learning objectives and curriculums has followed a similar path. In more recent years, a 2018 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics demonstrates that students learn best through hands-on, inquiry-based learning. This shift towards a more student-centered learning environment has been fully implemented in the private kindergarten program at Strelitz International Academy.

Private Kindergarten Program Now

Unlike public schools, private schools are not directed to teach a specific curriculum by the state. Because of this, private schools are able to stay on top of the most recent childhood development research, and implement it into our learning environment. This has allowed us to switch much faster to a student-led learning environment and perfect this style of teaching much quicker.

Private schools are able to offer student-led learning activities instead of relying on memorization techniques. Similarly, students are not required to meet standardized testing measures and are instead encouraged to learn and explore things that interest them. This provides an opportunity for children to learn basic motor skills in kindergarten without relying on outdated methods of teaching.

International Baccalaureate

One of the ways that private kindergarten programs have created this environment is through the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. This program uses the inquiry-based learning approach and encourages kindergartners to explore, play, and learn in a way that suits them. This teaching style has proven to be effective in developing well-rounded, high-achieving, global citizens that exceed inside and outside the classroom.

Your child’s success story starts in the classroom, you want to set them up for success with the right balance of values and academics. International Baccalaureate students are in an environment where their interests and strengths are fostered. This allows them to realize what they learn in the classroom is a reflection of the world around them.

Private Kindergarten in Virginia Beach

Are you looking for a private kindergarten in Virginia Beach that offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program? Strelitz International Academy is the private school for your child! Our team of teachers, administrators, and staff are dedicated to cultivating an environment when your little one can thrive. Our goal is to set them up for success. Not only for their goals as a student, but also for their goals as an individual.

You can read more about our Primary Years Program on our website and discover how your child can thrive. We are currently enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year and would love to see your kindergartner walking our halls.

To find out more and schedule a campus tour, please call 757-424-4327.

6 Reasons Why Crafts Are a MUST in Kindergarten

Children are playing

Is your refrigerator filling up with your kindergartener’s masterpieces? Have you started an archive of drawings and projects to save and smile over for years to come? Preserving memories is one of the best parts of being a parent, but have you ever considered how a private kindergarten school like Strelitz International Academy(SIA) uses art projects to help child development?

Here are six reasons why craft activities, especially crafts for kindergarten, are essential for kindergarteners, both at home and in the classroom:

Improves hand-eye coordination and strengthens fine-motor skills

To create art, kindergarteners learn how to hold art materials such as pencils, pastels, brushes, as well as work with materials like clay, sand, and mud. Handling safety scissors to practice cutting straight lines, filling in a coloring book page, or learning how to draw circles are other excellent ways for your child to develop the hand and finger muscles that strengthen and support fine-motor skills. Arts and crafts also improve a child’s hand-eye coordination.

Allows for self-expression

Young children sometimes don’t know how to communicate clearly about their feelings. Arts and crafts are a way for them to explore their emotions as well as provide a safe space where they can express their difficulties and their dreams. There’s a reason why art therapy is so effective – creating something all by yourself builds healthy self-esteem.

Provides a way to socialize

Art and crafts activities can bring together children, spark friendships, and help them develop an appreciation for each other. They also build communication skills by sharing and talking about their creations with their peers.

Develops decision making

Creating art and craft involves a lot of simple and complex decisions, and also can require problem-solving. Some examples are deciding what colors to use, what tools are best for the project, or how much clay will they need.

Expands vocabulary

Art can make learning new words fun. Absorbing the names of different shapes, colors, and materials as part of craft activities doesn’t feel like a lesson.

Offers an alternative to screens

Using paper, clay, sand, or other materials gives children a way to learn, experiment, and stay occupied that is much more hands-on, not to mention causes less eye strain, than a phone or tablet. Kindergarten arts and crafts keep children engaged in a healthy way.

The invaluable skills learned through art activities for kindergarten will not only give your child a head start in school, but they’ll also help them throughout their lives.

Children are more likely to learn listening skills and absorb how to follow multi-step directions if what they’re doing is fun and engaging. At SIA Kindergarten, craft projects are as much a part of every student’s day as practicing handwriting and other fine motor skills. These activities are usually based on the lessons taught through stories combined with character-building discussions.

For example, our kindergarteners learn how to tell stories themselves by first hearing a story, making puppets based on some of the characters, creating a schedule from the story, and finally, putting all of the events together into a sequence.

Our kindergarten students also learn the Hebrew letters by learning a vocabulary word associated with each letter. Coloring and decorating each letter lesson helps with mastery.

Are you looking for a private kindergarten near Chesapeake or in Virginia Beach for your child?

Strelitz International Academy is well known in southeastern Virginia for providing a stellar private school education program within a warm and nurturing environment. As you can see, arts and crafts activities are an essential part of our unique curriculum, as well as our team of exemplary teachers, staff, and administrators.

We are currently enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year, and would love to welcome your child to SIA. To find out more and schedule a campus tour, please call 757-424-4327. Find out what other parents have to say about SIA here.

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