As Resilient As Ever: IB® Students Are Ready To Take On 2024

Year 2024

As we bid farewell to 2023 and welcome the new year, our IB® students are as resilient as ever. Think back to the challenges in previous years— the labyrinth of academic rigors, the myriad of extracurricular demands, and the uncharted waters of pandemic-era learning. Our IB® students conquered these hurdles with grace and grit, transforming them into stepping stones towards their goals.

In a statement, Mr. Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director-General of the IB®, said, “It is imperative to remember that in simply getting to this point, IB® students have had to show incredible resilience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

The IB® program curriculum and the infusion of IB® values into art activities for elementary students, classroom tasks, and educational activities have strengthened their learning, setting a good foundation for the journey ahead. As we stand on the threshold of a promising new year, our resilient IB® students are prepared and primed to sail into 2024, ready to seize every opportunity that comes their way.

What SIA IB® Students Learned in 2023

Creativity: “The Bear Hunt”

Imagine a bear hunt right in the heart of our school! That’s precisely what our Early Years 3 students embarked on in November, bringing the story “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen to life. Equipped with their handcrafted binoculars and maps, our young explorers navigated through tall, wavy grass and a big river, simulated elegantly with green and blue streamers. Their curiosity and critical thinking skills were piqued as they sorted through a sensory table filled with “mud” to find and count bears, integrating their math skills into the adventure. The thrill of discovery is shown when they finally find stuffed bears in a “dark cave,” just like in the story. This innovative, hands-on lesson exemplifies our ethos at Strelitz International Academy and the IB®— to go beyond the book and foster engaging, educational activities for elementary students.
READ NOW: Early Years 3 Goes On A Bear Hunt

Multiple Intelligences: “Who We Are”

The Primary Years General Studies at Strelitz International Academy is more than just a curriculum; it’s an exciting journey of discovery, innovation, and learning. Through the story of Who We Are, our Primary Years scholars have had the opportunity to participate in unique initiatives like Innovation Celebrations and Tiger Games, which let them delve into areas like understanding by design and mechanics. This year, our students have designed marble runs, crafted boats from recycled materials, and contributed to creating an outdoor learning space. Adopting Project Based Learning principles, we encourage inquiry-based learning, fostering critical thinking, creativity, and independence in our classroom activities for students.
READ NOW: Who We Are Today In The Primary Years General Studies?

Charity: “Giving Back”

At SIA, we believe that the intersection of learning and action is a profound space where young minds can grow. In May, our fifth graders exemplified this by participating in their Primary Years Programme Exhibition, focusing on Tzedakah (charity) and food insecurity. They visited gardens, helped in food pantries, held fundraisers, and even prepared meals for people in need. The experience culminated in creating one hundred lunches donated to Ghent Area Ministry, a testament to our students’ spirit of giving back to the community.
READ NOW: Strelitz International Academy Fifth Graders Give Back

Learning Through Fun: Pasta-Making Class

Setting goals and learning new skills lies at the heart of the kindergarten program at Strelitz International Academy. Take, for instance, the time in May when our kindergarten students helped their classmates accomplish the goal of making homemade tortellini. From rolling and cutting the dough to ensuring the ingredients were kosher, the students were engaged in every step of the process, learning about shapes, engaging their fine motor skills, and even understanding dietary guidelines. They’re more than ready to take on the “past abilities” of 2024!
READ NOW: The Pasta-Bilities Are Endless In Kindergarten!

As we stride into 2024, we are confident that these wide-ranging lessons and extracurricular activities, underpinned by the IB® curriculum and values, have prepared our students to take on the new year resiliently. Why not schedule a visit and see for yourself?

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.

 

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.

Essentials of Placing Your Child in a Preschool Program

Preschool Program taught to small students

As a parent, you want to set your child up for success in the best way possible. An excellent educational program is one of the ways you can do that. Learning and development begin from the moment we are born. In order to ensure your child develops properly, a quality preschool program can help. Strelitz International Academy is one of the best affordable private schools in Virginia Beach. We offer preschool classes that are dedicated to ensuring your child’s successful development and transition into elementary school.

Learning and Development in Preschool

It has long been determined that the early years of childhood development are essential for the long-term success of the child. According to a report from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, early experiences create a foundation for lifelong learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health. A strong foundation in the early years increases the probability of positive outcomes.

Outside of the home, preschool and early education programs have the largest impact on the child’s overall development. According to a report created by The Society for Research in Childhood Development, “Higher-quality preschool programs have larger impacts on children’s development while children are enrolled in the program and are more likely to create gains that are sustained after the child leaves preschool.”

Overall, there are numerous studies that demonstrate the positive impact a high-quality preschool (such as Strelitz’s IB PYP School Program) can have on your child’s overall development and success.

The Essentials Your Child Should Learn in Preschool

At the age of 3 and 4, your child is at an important stage of development. In order to ensure they are offered a high-quality preschool program, it is important to understand what they should be learning. In general, your child should be developing socially and emotionally, cognitively, academically, and physically. These key areas of development are essential for their long-term success. With these factors properly developed, your child can continue to be successful. The many preschool students who graduate from Strelitz International Academy go on to be successful in our IB elementary school program.

Social/Emotional Development

The social/emotional development of your preschooler refers to their ability to have meaningful interactions with others and form relationships with their peers and adults. To encourage their social/emotional development, teacher/student interactions are essential. A well-trained teacher will be able to engage with each of their students, ensuring they feel respected, listened to, comforted, and appreciated.

These interactions with teachers and peers allow them to be able to recognize facial expressions, regulate their emotions, understand social interactions, and develop necessary social skills. In the classroom, this will look like participating in group activities, following directions, communicating their needs, learning to share, and more.

What to Look For:

– Teachers interacting with students on their level
– Children feeling comfortable with teachers (hugging, hand-holding, etc.)
– Teachers responding to the emotions of children (expressing understanding of their anger/sadness)
– Teachers helping children solve disagreements (sharing toys)

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development in your preschooler takes the form of learning how to play pretend, remember information, solve problems, ask questions, and impulse control. In the classroom, this takes the form of providing new and interesting toys/objects to explore, asking children questions, and encouraging playtime and imaginative thinking.

What to Look For:

– Blocks
– Age-appropriate books (counting numbers, learning shapes, animals, etc.)
– Dress-up/costumes
– Play areas (kitchen, dolls, cars)
– Art supplies (paints, play-doh, puzzles)

Language and Literacy Development

Language and literacy development refers to the child’s ability to communicate effectively through language and to understand other forms of communication. This can include reading, writing, talking, and listening. In preschool, this may include learning letters, understanding emotions, and listening to stories.

What to Look For:

– Age-appropriate books (counting numbers, learning shapes, animals, etc.)
– Teachers reading stories to children
– Children learning songs
– Pointing to letters/words while reading to the child
– Providing materials that encourage children to write/draw

Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning

Mathematical and scientific reasoning skills refer to a child’s reasoning skills, spatial awareness, discovery skills, and exploration skills. In preschool, this can include introducing new ideas and topics to children, encouraging them to ask questions, counting/clapping to the beat of a song, and providing them materials to measure or count with.

What to Look For:

– Playing with blocks and counting
– Puzzles
– Activities outside the classroom (Pond, School Garden, Playground)
– New topics of learning (watching caterpillars turn into butterflies)
– Setting out materials for children to explore

Physical Development

Finally, physical development is another key area that children are developing in. This includes a range of skills that refer to a child’s ability to move their bodies, including gross motor skills and fine motor skills. In preschool, the development of gross motor skills includes providing children with time to run, jump, skip, roll, crawl, and climb. The development of fine motor skills includes offering children opportunities to draw, paint, cut with scissors, and grasp small objects.

What to Look For:

– Art supplies (paint, pencils, crayons)
– Outside time with a playground or toys

The Best Affordable Private School in Virginia Beach

Finding a preschool that provides your child with all the tools they need for development can be difficult. However, it is important to try and find the best solution for your child as it can be crucial to their overall success as a student and an adult. Strelitz International Academy is an IB PYP school in Virginia Beach. We offer a preschool program that focuses on providing your child with an environment that allows them to properly develop. Our preschoolers have access to a wide variety of toys, materials, and activities that encourage their social/emotional, cognitive, academic, and physical development.

Interested in learning more about the daily life of a Strelitz preschool student? Check out our Day in the Life page, or call 757.424.4327 to schedule a tour of our preschool classroom.

Reasons Why Private Schools Are The Best Choice For Education

School girl making diy robot in a private school

When it comes time to select a school for your child, you likely want to ensure they get the best of the best. In terms of a well-rounded education, private schools are the best choice. Private schools focus on the educational, spiritual, and emotional development of the child and prepare them for success. In this blog, Strelitz International Academy – one of the best private elementary schools in Virginia Beach – discusses the reasons why private schools are the best choice for your child’s education.

Better Educational Foundation

One of the main reasons parents choose to send their children to private schools over public schools is the better educational foundation they receive in private schools. With more rigorous academic requirements, artistic requirements, better resources, individualized approach and enriching programs, your child is more likely to develop a well-rounded educational foundation.

Rigorous Academic Requirements

Private schools have notoriously rigorous curriculums that their students are required to complete. A study by the CollegeBoard discovered that college-bound seniors who attended private or religiously-affiliated schools scored higher on standardized tests. This is due to the high expectations and requirements students have at private schools.

Artistic Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements, students who attend a private school are more likely to become well-rounded individuals due to the artistic requirements. Unlike public schools, private schools place more emphasis on enrichment activities including music, dance, art, theater, and language classes. Studies have shown that artistic endeavors increase test scores, strengthen community, improve engagement, and develop learning skills.

Better Resources

While public schools depend on state funding to purchase new resources or improve current resources, the tuition requirement at a private school ensures that new and improved resources are always available. Students learn with the latest technology, up-to-date textbooks, most effective teaching strategies, and unique extracurricular opportunities.

These offerings allow students to explore the studies and interests they are passionate about, thus fostering a sense of self-confidence and independence. At the best affordable private school in Virginia Beach, Strelitz International Academy offers students a range of activities and resources to enrich their lives.

Smaller Classes

In public schools, the student-to-teacher ratio averages 16 students per teacher. In private schools, the average student-to-teacher ratio is 11:1. With smaller class sizes, teachers have the ability to spend more one-on-one time with each student. This individualized teaching approach allows students to learn and grow at their own pace.

Enriching Programs

Similarly, private schools often have enriching programs that allow students to specialize in a certain topic or take more rigorous courses. Examples of this include Advanced Placement courses, the International Baccalaureate Program, and gifted programs. Strelitz International Academy is an IB PYP school in Virginia Beach.

Community Engagement

Outside of the classroom, private schools place more of an emphasis on community engagement and the students’ spiritual and emotional development. Many private schools have a religious affiliation that aligns with their family’s values.

For example, one of the best private elementary schools in Virginia Beach area is Strelitz International Academy which focuses on developing an appreciation for Jewish heritage and beliefs. In addition, private schools value communication with the parents or guardians of the child. Parental involvement is an important aspect of the child’s education and private schools foster this relationship.

The International Baccalaureate Program

The International Baccalaureate (IB) World School is a program that aims to help students become individual thinkers that respect and remain open-minded to international dilemmas. This challenging curriculum creates well-rounded students and develops intercultural competence and respect. In each aspect of their education, students learn empathy and compassion and discover a love of learning.

Best Affordable Private Schools in Virginia Beach

Strelitz International Academy is an IB PYP school in Virginia Beach that focuses on educational rigor, emotional development, and community engagement. Students that attend SIA go on to attend rigorous programs in high school and beyond. Our well-rounded curriculum embraces the cultural differences that exist in our world and works to help students form an appreciation of these differences. Are you ready to increase your child’s potential? Speak with the Director of Admissions and schedule a tour today by calling us on 757-424-4327.

The Importance of Community at SIA

Different community childrens listening to teacher

A strong sense of community is an essential value in the Jewish culture. At Strelitz International Academy (SIA), we foster this sense of community in all of our students. Through the core values we teach and the examples we set, students learn the importance of community. With the help of Strelitz International Academy, your child can understand their connection to the local and global community.

Teaching Jewish Values-SIA’s Core Values

At Strelitz International Academy, we believe that your child should have a strong foundation of faith, education, and community. Because of this, we chose to incorporate the Jewish values of Kavod, Tikkun Olam, Torah v’Lishma, and Kehillah into our core values. These core values are Respect, Community, Repairing the World, and Love of Learning. Through the lessons we teach and the example we set, our students learn the importance of these core values.

Fostering Philanthropy and Charity

At Strelitz International Academy, students learn to repair the world through charity and philanthropy. Within the Jewish culture, tzedakah (charity) is translated as the moral obligation to give to others. Students in the primary years program learn the importance of giving and how it can help the community and their own spiritual growth. They participate in activities relating to the act of giving charitably and learn how this can repair the world. Similarly, students at SIA discover how to act philanthropically by understanding how much, where, and why they should give. Through these projects and lessons, SIA fosters a core value of repairing the world through charity.

Creating a Community of Respect-Locally and Globally

In addition to repairing the world, students learn the importance of respect and community. This sense of community is set through the examples of their peers and mentors. With organized community events such as the SIA Family Pasta Dinner, Fall Festival, Hanukkah celebration, families are able to connect and build relationships beyond the classroom. Similarly, Strelitz International Academy works with a number of outreach programs to foster a sense of community in the local area. Students participate in projects such as restocking the Jewish Family Service food pantry and providing Hanukkah gifts to children in need. These projects foster a sense of responsibility to the local community and reinforce the value of Tikkun Olam.

In addition, students are encouraged to explore the global community and learn respect for others. Students discover how to read and write in conversational Hebrew and biblical Hebrew. This connects them to their Israeli culture and heritage. With a rich knowledge of Jewish history, these students can feel a connection to their faith and the global community.

How SIA Teaches the Importance of Community

At Strelitz International Academy, our students learn the importance of community through the International Baccalaureate® program. Students are introduced to the global community within the primary years program and understand their place within it. Through inquiry-based learning, students are encouraged to explore areas of interest and develop respect for democratic ideals. Students develop the knowledge, critical thinking skills, and tools to form their own opinions and take the initiative within each subject. With this program, students learn that their personal actions can have long-lasting effects that make a difference.

Join the SIA Community

Strelitz International Academy is the best private elementary school in the Tidewater area. We take the time to imbue each of our classes with the core values we are dedicated to. With the inquiry-based learning approach provided by the International Baccalaureate® program, our graduates learn respect, community, repairing the world, and love of learning.

Are you interested in learning more? Check out our website to see how you can join our community. We are enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year and would love to welcome your family with open arms.

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

The Ethics of a Successful Private Preschool in Virginia Beach

Preschoolers playing with teacher in the classroom

In many public schools, underfunding, lack of resources, and strict lesson plans can prevent your child from being successful. This can lead to an ethical dilemma for parents who are looking to set their children up for success. In this article, Strelitz International Academy, a private school with a preschool program in Virginia Beach, discusses the ethics of sending your child to a private preschool program.

Pre K Private School

As their children grow, many parents are concerned about setting their children up for success. In order to get ahead of the curve, these parents enroll their children in pre-school. Pre-school acts as a way for students to learn motor skills while also playing and having fun. However, as later education (elementary school) becomes more intense, so too do the pre-schools. Instead of allowing 3 or 4-year-olds to be children, many pre-schools are moving to a stricter, academic environment.

However, unlike public schools, private preschools are able to provide balance. They can adjust these new academic expectations to fit the child’s needs. This shift towards a more academic environment has led many parents to an ethical dilemma. They want to set their child up for success, but they also want them to be a kid. This leaves them with one question in mind—should I send my child to private preschool?

Ethics to Consider of Private Preschool for 3-Year-Olds

Many parents are turning to private schools in order to better meet their child’s needs. Let us consider the ethics of sending your child to a private school. With a private preschool education, your child will have the resources, teaching style, schedule, foundation, and support system to succeed in middle and high school.

Resources

In private preschools, children are able to benefit from the abundance of resources that private schools provide. This can include physical resources such as up-to-date textbooks, advanced technology, or class space. It can also include intangible resources such as after-school programs, disability resources, liberal arts courses, or even highly-qualified teachers.

Different Learning Styles

Different children have different learning styles. As discussed in the International Baccalaureate Approach the best way to blend these styles is through hands-on learning. The hands-on learning style is a blend of visual and auditory learning, thus it works for almost every child.

When your child goes to a private preschool, they are introduced to an inquiry-based learning program. Because private schools do not rely on government funding they are able to adapt lessons. This allows them to spend more time with each child. Thus ensuring they learn in a way that is best for them.

Adjust the Schedule

Private preschools are able to adjust their schedule according to the needs of their community. Instead of relying on government-mandated school closures, the private school system operates independently and forms its own schedule. This allows them to close/open based on weather conditions, religious holidays, or even illness/COVID.

Strong Knowledge Foundation

One of the main goals of preschool is to prepare children for the lessons they will receive in later years. With a private preschool, they are able to continue with a strong foundation which will support them through middle and high school. With a private primary school/preschool experience your child is set up to thrive as a student and as an individual.

Lifelong Friendships

With a private school education, students are set up to have lifelong friendships with people who hold similar values. In preschool, students form a foundation of values and beliefs that persist throughout their adult lives. This set of values is a large part of student life in a private school. As they progress through the grades these values follow them and remain an important part of their education. Because of this, students grow and develop with children who share their values and belief systems, creating a supportive community of like-minded individuals.

Private Preschools Set Your Child Up For Success

As you can see, there are a variety of benefits to sending your child to a private preschool. With private preschool, your child has the resources, qualified teachers, and adequate funding they need. And they can learn and develop the building blocks of knowledge at their own pace. A Pre-K private school is able to focus on your child’s individual success. This ensures they are ready to move on to the next level.

With the International Baccalaureate approach to learning, your child learns the curriculum. But they also learn communication and social skills that set them up to be successful adults.

Private Preschools in Virginia Beach

Are you looking for a private preschool in Virginia Beach? Strelitz International Academy is the place for you! Our preschool curriculum fosters the natural curiosity/imagination of your child and funnels it into productive, academic learning. Teachers develop learning activities centered around student’s interests. Because of this, your child is set up to be a successful student and global citizen.

Interested in learning more? Visit our Early Years Program page to see a detailed “day in the life” of our private preschool in Virginia Beach. Like what you see? We are currently enrolling for the 2022-2023 academic year. We would love to schedule a campus tour with you! Reach out to us at 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 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 in streliz 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!

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