6 Reasons Why Crafts Are a MUST in Kindergarten

3 kindergarteners doing craft activities

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 6 reasons why craft activities 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. Arts and crafts keep kindergarteners engaged in a healthy way.

The invaluable skills learned through arts and crafts activities will not only give your child a head start in school, 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.

Fall Fun at Strelitz International Academy

fun fall activities at strelitz international academy

One of the endearing qualities about preschoolers is that everything, including the changing seasons, is still a new experience. This is an age when it’s easy to get children outside where they can appreciate the wonders of nature. Encourage your child’s curiosity and creativity with hands-on activities that celebrate the beauty of fall.

We created a variety of fun options for our students to explore, from playing in piles of leaves to investigating the pumpkin patch to making new friends in the petting zoo. Other encouraging activities included cornhole games, pounding pegs into pumpkins, making leaf rubbings, and of course, eating fall snacks!

This is only one of the special experiences that are part of our Early Years Families Program, where we concentrate on helping children flourish. We’d love to have your child join our school community. Enrollment is now open for our 2022-23 school year. Click here to find out more.

While you might not have a pumpkin patch or a petting zoo at your disposal, there are lots of options for celebrating autumn at home. In southeastern Virginia, we’re fortunate to be in a part of the country that usually offers a full spectrum of leaf colors in October and November.

Playing in a pile of them never gets old (see above) but there are even more fun activities that start with a leaf hunt, and end with your little ones getting creative with whatever they find.

Sticky Leaf Tree

What You’ll Need: fall leaves, contact paper, markers, tape.

Peel the back off of a long piece of contact paper and place it sticky side up on the table. Draw the outline of a tree with markers, then tape it to the wall. Your preschooler can then fill in the tree by sticking on the treasures they’ve found outside.

Leaf Rubbings

What You’ll Need: fall leaves, white paper, a white crayon, watercolor paints, and brushes.

Place the leaves under a white piece of paper and give your child a white crayon to scribble over the paper. This creates a rubbing. When your little one paints the rubbing with watercolors, the leaves are revealed.

Leaf Confetti

What You’ll Need: fall leaves, hole punch, glue stick, white paper.

Who knew confetti could be both pretty and biodegradable? This activity couldn’t be simpler and helps practice fine motor skills. Give your preschooler a hole punch to make confetti by hole-punching the leaves. Both the leaves and the confetti can be glued down to make some fabulous fall art. Another option is to crush up the leaves and glue them down on a tree template.

Leaf Memory Game

What You’ll Need: fall leaves, clear contact paper, card stock.

For this activity, make sure you have at least two of each leaf you gather. Cut the cardstock into rectangles large enough to fit your leaves, then do the same with the contact paper. Place a leaf on each piece of cardstock. You might want to use a small piece of tape or a glue stick to make sure it doesn’t move around. Then, place the contact paper carefully over each card. Once you’ve made all of your pairs of cards, turn them over and shuffle them around. Then have your child flip over two cards at a time to find a match.

Are you looking for a private Virginia Beach preschool for your 2 or 3-Year-old?

Strelitz International Academy is known for providing some of the best private school education in Hampton Roads within a warm and nurturing environment. We believe your child will flourish in a smaller class with a unique curriculum. Our exemplary teachers, staff, and administrators are all committed to putting your child on the path to a lifelong love of learning and educational excellence. To find out what other parents have to say about SIA, click here. Please give us a call at 757-424-4327 to find out more, or to schedule a visit to our campus.

Helpful Transition Tips for Early Years Students

Some kids are doing coloring activities

We were so excited to see so many smiling faces greeting us on the first day of school. This can be such an exciting time for many of us, either joining the school community for the first time or transitioning to a new age level and a group of friends and teachers. This can also be a challenging transition for some, as many of our early learners have built a trust and comfort level with their teachers from last year. Additionally, several of our students have been away from the school setting for the summer and are reacclimating to our environment.

That being said, what can we all do to help make this transition as smooth as

– Little things from home can sometimes make our children feel more comfortable: a blanket, a stuffed animal, or for infants and toddlers, a scarf or shirt with mommy’s smell. Photographs also help. Many of our teachers have a family board with pictures to help bridge school and home.
– Establish Rituals and Routines. Young children thrive on routine and consistency, and developing these is key in making sure they feel safe in new environments. Developing a quick, simple way to say “good-bye” and reassuring your children that you will return will help separation go more smoothly.
– Be Positive. Our children are incredibly intuitive. They sense and feed off of our anxiety and hesitation. Present school as a safe place where your child will learn new things and make friends. Continue to bridge the home/school connection by talking with your child about their teachers and use our newsletters to show you are excited about what they are doing in school.
– Lastly, feel free to reach out to your child’s teachers or administrator about the day. We want both you and your children to have a great day after drop off, and if you need a little reassurance as to how the day is going, just give us a call or send a quick message.

Adapting to their new environment and overcoming separation anxiety takes time for some of us, both young and old. Worked through correctly, these can be great learning opportunities for our children and us.

At Strelitz International Academy, our Early Years program cultivates students for the day when they will be responsible, compassionate citizens and leaders. As the first official Primary Years IB Programme in Hampton Roads, SIA’s Early Years curriculum emphasizes the development of the whole child, including social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth. The IB® World School aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Each classroom incorporates SIA’s values of respect, community, repairing the world, love of learning into the daily routine and provides opportunities to talk about and practice these values. The student’s experience is designed with opportunities to develop independence and self-confidence. As children grow as learners in the Early Years Program, we work to instill a sense of joy and confidence in all they do. Teachers and students work together to develop learning activities that further develop readiness skills in a variety of content areas including language arts, math, science, and social studies.

To learn more about Strelitz International Academy and our Early Years Program, please call 757.424.4327.

Here’s to a great new year and more smile-filled days!

Summer Fun for Toddlers

Two toddlers playing with magnet pins

Adventures in Science Week Led us to Many New Discoveries!

Science offers so many exciting ways to engage young students. Our Adventures in Science Week was a fun-filled five days of activities and experiments we hope might start our early learners on the path to a life-long love of science.

Toddler Class

Magnets are pretty magical, even if you understand the properties behind them. For our magnetism activity, we learned how to use a magnetic block to push and pull paper clips through a plastic bag, watching as a trail of clips lengthened as we swirled it on top of the bag. The children also built with the magnet blocks, quickly figuring out that they only attached when they were placed in the right direction.

During our playground time, we traveled into another area of science and scooped up a cicada to examine. Our children were very curious to look at this bug! We taught the concept of evaporation by wetting down boxes and having the children “water paint” them as they dried.

For our weather unit, we created our own clouds and rainbows in a container using common household ingredients. The children were fascinated as they watched shaving cream puff up into clouds. Dripping watercolors over the clouds created a mesmerizing rainbow as the colors seeped through. The students were so entranced that we found another colorful science project involving the properties of oil and water.

Infant Class

Our adorable infant class also had a fun week, beginning our regular outside water play. The babies saw some older toddler friends in the opposite playground and had a good time interacting with them. What a great organic way to learn about being a part of a larger community, and the roles we all play within that community!

The class continued working on sitting up and tummy time. At Strelitz International Academy, we spend a lot of time focusing on strengthening core and neck strength in our wee ones, all through play activities. This is essential to helping them move up to the next level of their gross motor development.

You can recreate a simple sensory activity at home that was a big hit with both the babies and teachers. All you have to do is pour a handful of baby soap into a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer or whisk to stir it up, adding a little bit of water to loosen it up. Voila! You’ve made soapy foam bubbles!

Our Adventures in Science Week activities are just a few examples of the many ways to keep your young ones engaged and creative during the summer months. At Strelitz International Academy, our lively educational games keep your children active and learning all year long. Since the early years are crucial to healthy brain development, we encourage inquiry through play, singing, early literacy, and verbal acquisition at all developmental stages.

Searching for a “top private school near me”? We are a top private school serving Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake with a proven track record of exceptional education. Strelitz’s International Academy’s IB Primary Years Program offers an integrated curriculum of core subject areas, supported by our specialty classes. Our culturally enriched curriculum benefits students in a variety of ways.

Our Infant/Toddler Program is for children six weeks to two years old. We’d love to welcome your child into this stimulating, supportive environment. There are still a few spots open for the 2021-2022 school year! For more information or to schedule a tour of one of the best private elementary schools in Virginia Beach, please contact Carin Simon, Admissions Director at 757-424-4327 or email.csimon@strelitzacademy.org. We look forward to hearing from you.

Advantages of Preschool for Toddlers

Three girls studying and doing there daily chores

As your sweet baby grows into a more independent child, you may be thinking about preschool. Even though it might be hard to send your little one off to school for the first time, providing your child with a quality private preschool education sets your son or daughter up for success.

The emotional skills and understanding of the world that children develop while very young will help them become constructive members of society throughout their lives. Research shows that preschool graduates are better prepared for school and eventually, earn more money as adults.

Here are some important reasons why private preschool is so important for toddlers:

Preschool Teaches Children How to Learn

Young children are constantly soaking up experiences like a sponge through playing and observing the world around them. Acclimating them to a school setting while toddlers is a great way for children to learn in ways that interest them, and instill the idea that learning, and school, is fun.

Preschool Develops Social Skills

Preschool is probably the first place where a child will spend long periods of time with other children and adults outside the family. This new environment provides the chance to learn essential interpersonal skills, such as how to pay attention, listen, cooperate, make friends, and learn the basics of conversation.

Preschool Teaches Children How to Self-Regulate

Inevitably, any time children play and engage in activities together, conflicts arise. Those times of frustration and anger are opportunities for teachers to provide “teachable moments,” where they can encourage children to notice the effect their behavior has on others and start practicing how to resolve conflict. These emotional skills will be vital to preschool graduates throughout their entire lives.

Preschool Boosts Pre-Literacy Skills

A big part of every preschool day are the variety of games and activities that help children build pre-literacy skills. These can include singing alphabet songs, learning rhymes to help distinguish between sounds, listening to stories read by their teacher, and playing with magnetic alphabet letters. An early positive association with reading often leads to a lifetime love of it.

Preschool teachers help children develop language capabilities by introducing new vocabulary and asking thought-provoking questions.

Preschool Gets Children Ready for Math

Along with reading, preschool builds the foundations for future success in math through calendar time, guided play and fun activities like sorting, matching, or counting games. Certain board games are also useful at helping young students develop an understanding of categories and numbers.

Preschool Nurtures Children’s Curiosity and Creativity

Young children have lively imaginations. It’s important to nurture their active minds to fuel learning and creativity. Preschool environments are set up to encourage and stimulate exploration. A good preschool teacher will encourage children to be curious and develop their own ideas and thoughts. They will ask questions and listen to children’s ideas rather than pushing “correct” answers.

Preschool Teaches Children How to Be Responsible

Preschool children are often given chances to practice how to be responsible. These include washing their hands, keeping personal belongings in cubbies, and putting toys back in their proper spots. In addition to self-care, preschoolers learn how to take care of others by helping other children learn skills they’re more competent at or by helping out in the classroom.

Preschool Helps Children Develop Cognitive and Motor Skills

Children build cognitive skills by engaging in activities that challenge them to try new things, ask questions, solve problems, and be more aware of the world around them. Preschool is centered around these types of activities, so children are able to learn more.

But the mind isn’t the only important part of your child’s development. In addition to outside play time, many preschool activities help children develop fine motor skills and physical coordination. For example they might be given projects that involve drawing, threading beads, even cutting with scissors.

Preschool Prepares Children for Kindergarten!

Over the years, kindergarten has become increasingly academic. A high-quality preschool education program will offer children the skills development they’ll need to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.

After having learned basic social and communication skills, they’ll be more comfortable cooperating and asking for help. With strong pre-literacy, cognition, and math foundation skills, they’re less likely to struggle.

The Best Private Preschool in Hampton Roads

Are you looking for a private preschool in Virginia Beach for your 3 year old? The best preschools help children develop a drive to learn that they will take with them throughout their time in school and throughout their lives.

At Strelitz International Academy, our staff, administration, and teachers believe in inquiry-based education rather than the standardized curriculums used in public school. Our Early Years Programme follows the guidelines of developmentally appropriate practice promoted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children(NAEYC).

The Strelitz International Academy is an International Baccalaureate® World School for students between the ages of 3 and 12 (kindergarten through 5th grade).

A private preschool might just be the perfect choice for your toddler. We invite you to come join us, learn more about our curriculum and our dedication to helping children learn so we can get their journey started. Click here to find out more, or please give us a call at 757-424-4327.

Are Private Schools A Good Investment For Your Child’s Education?

Child Studying at Private School

When considering whether to enroll your child in a private school versus sending them to a public institution, there are a number of factors that may help you decide. For one, most private schools have a significantly lower ratio of teachers to students, so your child can receive more individualized instruction and additional help if needed. For another, private schools are not bound by standardized curriculums or teaching methods, so students often learn different ways of learning that can better prepare them for the future and navigate the world around them.

In fact, because of the quality of education received at a private school, graduates are better equipped to deal with college life and go on to graduate. Data published by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and Gallup suggests private school graduates have better long-term outcomes when going on to college. Some of their finding show:

  • – Eighty-five percent of NAIS graduates enrolled in college immediately following high school, compared with 69% of public-school graduates.
  • – Almost 100 percent of NAIS graduates went on to college, with more than 50 percent of them attending some of the most selective schools in the United States.
  • – NAIS graduates outperform public school graduates in seeking out experiential learning and extracurricular activities, including:
  • ~ Participating in research with a faculty member
  • ~ Holding a leadership position in a club or organization
  • ~ Participating in intramural sports
  • ~ Being a member of a fraternity or sorority
  • ~ Working on projects lasting more than one semester

At Strelitz International Academy, our curriculum and teaching methods are based on the International Baccalaureate (IB®) program. IB schools provide an inquiry-based agenda versus a standardized curriculum found in most public schools. Private IB® schools that serve Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and other surrounding areas seek to develop the student as a whole, both in academics and personal development, creating more well-rounded, globally conscious individuals who are ready to take on the world.

Strelitz International Academy provides the IB® Primary Years Programme (PYP) to our 3- to 12-year-old elementary school students. We believe our smaller class sizes, unique curriculum, and exemplary teacher, staff, and administrators will put your child on the path to a lifelong love of learning and pursuit of educational excellence.

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