A student in the international baccalaureate at TESSA working at a table

What Is the IB Primary Years Programme?

If you’re exploring educational options for your child, you’ve likely heard of the international baccalaureate. What Is the IB Primary Years Programme? Rooted in the belief that education should go beyond the confines of traditional classroom learning, an IB education aims to nurture well-rounded leaders equipped with the skills, knowledge, and mindset to thrive in an interconnected world. Today, we’ll explore the philosophy at the heart of the IB Primary Years Programme, its benefits, and why you should choose the program at Tessa International School.

What Is the IB Primary Years Programme?

What does the international baccalaureate mean? The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an internationally recognized educational program that provides a comprehensive and holistic approach to learning. Specifically, the IB Primary Years Programme is a transdisciplinary, inquiry-based, and learner-centered educational framework. The curriculum is meant to be engaging, significant, challenging, and tailored to suit the individual learning levels and developmental needs of students.

A student in the international baccalaureate program waving two flags

The international baccalaureate program at Tessa is an intellectually enriching environment.

With a focus on international-mindedness, the IB organization encourages students to appreciate different cultures, follow their natural curiosity, and develop a sense of social responsibility – all values we cherish at Tessa International School.

The IB Primary Years Programme offers a challenging and rigorous curriculum based on constructivist and social-constructivist learning theories. Under the constructivism learning theory,  students construct a knowledge of themselves and their community. The PYP curriculum emphasizes collaborative inquiry, agency, voice, and the student’s involvement in their learning. Students are encouraged to engage their sense of personal agency and self-efficacy to take positive action within the school environment and throughout their lives.

Graduates of the IB Primary Years Programme are poised to move on to the next level of their IB education. Ultimately, they will lead fulfilling lives and positively contribute to the global community. Now that you know the initial question: what is the IB primary years programme? It’s time to explore the benefits waiting in store.

Benefits of the IB Diploma Program

So, what benefits can you expect for your child? Here at Tessa, we understand the advantages of introducing children to IB teachings early on. Academic advantages include:

  • Global Recognition: The international baccalaureate program is recognized and respected worldwide, opening doors to higher education institutions and career opportunities globally. Universities often value IB graduates for their well-rounded skill set and commitment to community service.
  • Critical Thinking Skills: The program’s emphasis on agency, self-directed learning, collective inquiry, and curiosity equips students with skills beyond memorization. These skills are essential for success in any educational endeavor and the professional world.
  • Producing Well-Rounded, Confident  Leaders: By incorporating agency, student-centered learning, IB PYP students develop a strong self-concept and awareness of their community. As a result, they become academically capable, socially responsible, culturally aware, and ready to lead.
A student in the international baccalaureate program working with a teacher at a desk

The international baccalaureate program at Tessa offers students a solid foundation for success.

Why Choose the IB Primary Years Programme at Tessa?

At Tessa International School, we are committed to providing an exceptional IB education through our accredited Primary Years Programme. Our dedicated and highly qualified faculty are passionate about fostering a love of learning and guiding students through the intellectual challenges of this rigorous program. Their expertise ensures that students receive the support they need to excel in their studies.

Many opportunities for our students to participate in skill-based extracurricular activities allow them to fulfill the requirements of the curriculum while exploring their passions and interests. The IB Diploma Program at Tessa International School empowers young leaders by fostering critical thinking, global awareness, and social responsibility. The earlier students are introduced to these benefits, the better. Start exploring a bright educational future for your child now!

FAQs

Q: What does the international baccalaureate mean? 

A: The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an internationally recognized educational program that provides a comprehensive and holistic approach to learning.

Q: What does having an IB diploma do?

A: The international baccalaureate offers students a broader range of benefits and opportunities, such as Global Recognition and various skills.

 

Are you ready to explore Hoboken private schools?

Contact Tessa International School to learn more!

A class of primary students at Tessa International School holding up a poster of the earth written in Spanish.

4 Benefits of an International Education: A World of Opportunity

In an increasingly interconnected world, providing your child with an international education is a vital investment in their future. Beyond the traditional classroom setting, international education offers many advantages beyond academic achievement. At Tessa International School, our students benefit from four key aspects of international schooling that contribute to the holistic development of young minds. They carry these benefits well into their adulthood. Keep reading to discover them!

1. Cultural Competence Is One of the Benefits of International Education

What are the most important benefits of having international students in a school? One of the most significant advantages of an international education is the cultivation of cultural competence. Exposing young children to diverse cultures from an early age fosters an understanding and appreciation for global perspectives.

Through interaction with peers from various backgrounds, children learn to navigate and embrace differences, developing a sense of open-mindedness and empathy. This cultural competence becomes a lifelong asset, preparing them to thrive in an interconnected world where collaboration and understanding across borders are essential.

2. Students at Tessa Benefit From Improved Language Proficiency 

An international education involves exposure to multiple languages. Little minds are like sponges, absorbing linguistic nuances with ease. At Tessa, we take advantage of this optimal window of opportunity by providing a multilingual environment where our students soak up Spanish, French, and Mandarin lessons.

A class of Tessa International School primary students presenting a concert on multiculturalism.

Multilingualism is a benefit of international school that improves development.

Multilingualism enhances cognitive abilities and provides a solid foundation for future language acquisition. Proficiency in multiple languages facilitates effective communication and opens up opportunities in an increasingly globalized job market. Moreover, it fosters a deep appreciation for language as a tool for connecting with others and understanding different cultures. Multilingualism is one of the most unifying benefits of international education.

3. Students Develop a Global Perspective and Strong Critical Thinking Skills

International education fosters a global perspective, encouraging little ones to think beyond geographical boundaries. Exposure to diverse curricula (we offer international baccalaureate and kindergarten programs accredited by the French Ministry of Education) and teaching methods challenges children to think critically, analyze situations from multiple angles, and develop problem-solving skills.

This broader worldview is a unique benefit of international education that equips children to navigate the complexities of our interconnected world. These critical thinking skills are invaluable, empowering young learners to approach challenges with creativity and adaptability, which are essential for success in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

Two young Tessa International school students in class raising their hands.

Students at our international school develop cognitive solid and learning abilities.

4. Network Building and Future Opportunities

The friendships and connections formed during an international education can last a lifetime and extend across the globe. Building a network of friends from different countries provides a unique support system and rich cultural insights. As our friends at Tessa grow into adults, these global connections can open doors to exciting opportunities in various fields. Navigating diverse social and professional environments becomes a distinct advantage, setting the stage for a bright future.

Why is international school important for students? In an increasingly interconnected world, providing your child with an international education is a smart investment in their future. What is the impact of international education? This educational approach equips students with the necessary tools by fostering cultural competence, language proficiency, global perspective, and network building. As we look ahead, providing our children with an international education is a commitment to preparing our little ones for the challenges and opportunities of a world without borders.

Are you ready to enroll your child in our international school?

Contact Tessa to learn more!

End of Unit Projects in the IB PYP

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) promotes the holistic development of children. In addition to academic skills, the focus is on character building and social, physical and emotional development. Many lessons include problem-solving tasks and projects that encourage students’ creativity. Our students are regularly encouraged to choose creative ways of solving problems, also when presenting what they have learned at the end of a teaching unit. Each End of Unit is concluded by a celebration and/or a project. 

 

End of Unit Project

 

Last week, all of our primary students met to work on a project together, to conclude their unit of inquiry. At Tessa International School, we have three dual-language tracks: French, Mandarin and Spanish. Students from the different tracks love to interact with each other, sharing the language but also different concepts they studied independently in their classrooms. 

Their Unit of Inquiry, Who we Are, focused on the central idea that as responsible citizens, we contribute to our community.

They learned about: 

  • What a citizen is.
  • Rights and responsibilities of citizens.
  • Community helpers and their role in the wellbeing of our community.

 

For this project, they explored the use of community buildings, and the duties of community helpers.

Divided into small groups, they were given a problem: how could they reuse a big pile of cardboard (that they collected in a previous project) and make it into something useful to the community? They came up with the idea to build a city: they needed a hospital, a school, housing, a fire station… 

This project allowed them to put into practice various skills such as problem solving, team collaboration, geometry, civic education, literacy and arts- a true transdisciplinary activity!

 

The Leadership Idea in PYP

The PYP Unit of Inquiry strongly promotes ownership by empowering students to take action at the end of a teaching unit based on what they have learned. During their projects, PYP students are inspired to think about themselves and their world and to solve problems. 

The Remarkable Advantages of Social Emotional Learning: A Case Study

Educational paradigms are currently undergoing a profound and fundamental change. As we learn more about how children’s brains develop, educators are increasingly shifting away from a narrow focus on content, punctuated by occasional standalone lessons on social and emotional development, and into a new mode of instruction in which these formerly separate realms are integrated into one holistic curriculum. A recent case study demonstrates the success of these principles put into action.

CASEL, SEAD, and SEL

In order to understand the significance of the case study, we must first understand the principles of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has developed a coordinating framework to be utilized by educators, families, and communities to promote intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive competencies in students. To that end, CASEL has developed a framework of 5 Core Competencies.

  • self-awareness
  • self-management
  • social awareness
  • relationship skills
  • responsible decision-making

The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD) works closely with educators, community leaders, families, employers, and partners like CASEL to fully integrate this approach into K-12 academic curriculum. The goal of SEAD is to compile and release a Report From the Nation, which will outline specific actions intended to usher in a new era of education. This model will support the full development of students, providing them with the skills and emotional maturity to excel not only in academics, but into adulthood.

Case Study: Capital City Public Charter School

SEAD’s first report in the series is a case study of a Washington, D.C. charter school. Capital City provides an innovative learning environment for its 1,000 K-12 students by being part of the Expeditionary Learning network, which emphasizes mastery of academics, production of high-quality work, and development of character.

In practice, this results in “learning expeditions”, such as when 3rd and 4th grade classes compared Washington’s temperate forests with tropical rainforests, incorporating trips to a local park and the National Zoo into the lesson plan. Another example is when 9th graders studied the ecology of local fish, with an emphasis on habitat preservation/restoration and the impact of human activity on fish populations.

This holistic and engaging approach to education makes Capital City fertile ground for the integration of Social Emotional Learning. SEAD’s case study demonstrates this by zeroing in on teacher Samantha Clark’s 6th grade math class. In this lesson, students have been learning geometric concepts by working, alone and in groups, on blueprints depicting their city. Clark calls a volunteer (Brandon) to the overhead projector to display a tightly scripted “peer critique” protocol for the feedback process.

  • First, Brandon describes exactly what he is working on and mentions problems he is having completing his portion of the project.
  • Next, Clark asks “clarifying questions” to fully understand Brandon’s concerns.
  • Then she provides specific feedback, leading with positive comments and following up with helpful guidance.
  • Brandon is then given a chance to respond before returning to his group to put into practice what they have just learned.

This process keeps students engaged, on task, and working together harmoniously. “I don’t see social and academic skills separately at all,” Clark says. “I don’t think first about designing a lesson and then think next about how to develop students’ social-emotional skills. It’s all one.”

To ensure high-quality instruction such as that provided by Clark, Capital City teachers are supported by instructional coaches, given dedicated time to create lesson plans, and frequently meet with other teachers across all grade levels to discuss overarching concerns and goals.

As a result, this charter school outpaces its overall district in growth of student proficiency (as measured by PARCC), and 100% of Capital City’s graduates go on to enroll in college. Despite these impressive achievements, head of school Karen Dresden is always striving to improve. “Our job is much broader than preparing kids for a test;” she says, “we’re preparing kids to do well in college, in careers, and in life. We want to make sure that they have all those skills.”

Other Examples

Also included in the case study are four other examples of successfully implemented SEL approaches.

  • San Francisco Unified School District – The pre-K – 12 math curriculum is taught using principles of “growth mindset,” in which students are taught to expect and embrace mistakes as learning opportunities. This approach focuses on enhancing conceptual thinking, problem-solving skills, and procedural fluency, avoiding the strict right/wrong binary that has led so many students to believe they are “bad” at math.
  • Facing History and Ourselves – This non-profit organization engages students in an examination of social justice issues throughout history with the goal of encouraging students to engage in and understand their role in an active democracy.
  • New Tech Network (NTN) – The NTN focuses on project-based learning, integrating content knowledge with critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and student responsibility.
  • Center for the Collaborative Classroom – This non-profit provides continuous learning for teachers to support the academic, ethical, and social development of children.

Integrating SEL into academic curriculum is clearly beneficial for not only students, but for teachers, parents, and communities as well. By utilizing these principles we can raise the next generation to be socially conscious problem solvers, effective communicators, and well-rounded humans, leading to a better future for all of us.

For more information on innovative approaches to learning, contact us!

Why Do Children Learn Languages Faster than Adults?

 

It’s a well-known fact that children pick up languages more easily than adults, and research supports this claim. But why is this the case? In this blog, we’ll explore the various factors that explain why children are better and faster at learning languages than adults.

The Environmental Advantages Children Have When Learning Languages

 

 Children have certain environmental advantages when it comes to learning languages that most adults don’t have. Unlike older children and adults, children aren’t formally instructed in language. Instead, they learn by being immersed in multilingual environments and passively “absorbing” the language through contact. For adults, immersion can be effective but costly. Children, on the other hand, have more time and energy to devote to language learning, and aren’t inhibited by anxiety or self-doubt, they learn much faster through immersion.

In addition, children aren’t judged as harshly as adults when it comes to language competence. They’re also less likely to be tested and feel less pressure to perform. This allows the learning process to be more natural and playful.

The Cognitive Advantages Children Have When Learning Languages

Children also have a cognitive advantage when it comes to learning languages. Babies and children form neural connections at a rapid pace, which makes learning new languages easier. As the brain develops, it becomes more specialized and reinforces the neural pathways that are regularly used. This is why those who learn a language at a very young age have the accent of a native speaker. Later in life, the brain’s neural shortcuts force us to fall back on the sounds and phonemes of languages we already know.

It is because of the brain’s elasticity and rapid neural formation that babies and young children are able to learn languages at a faster rate. This is sometimes referred to as the “critical period”. It is theorized that if a child does not learn any language, including non-verbal languages, during this time period that they may never be able to learn any language, because the necessary neural foundation for it has been permanently damaged. We can’t know the answer to this question because testing it would be inhumane.

The Critical Period of Language Learning

It’s difficult to determine which factors contribute the most to children’s superior language learning abilities. However, we do know that the earlier a child is exposed to language, the better. It’s theorized that if a child doesn’t learn any language during their “critical period,” they may never be able to learn a language effectively and easily in the later years of their development, because the necessary neural foundation for it has been permanently damaged.


At Tessa International School in Hoboken, we offer fully immersive bilingual environments that allow children to learn languages naturally. Don’t miss the critical years for language learning – visit us today to learn more!

Family Home Learning Tips: Online Educational Resources for Early Childhood Learning

Family Home Learning Tips: Online Educational Resources for Early Childhood Learning

While everyone is adapting to the current social distancing norm for health and safety, many parents are struggling with how to keep their families occupied and focused on learning while simultaneously juggling adult responsibilities. To say it’s been challenging would be an understatement, but as parents, we are resilient and will find a way to make it work because, well, that’s our job as parents.

If you feel like you’re ready to pull out your hair if you have to juggle being the parent, the teacher (seriously, how do they do it?), and an employee/employer all at the same time for one more day, rest assured, you’re not alone. Parents across the globe are facing the same dynamics right now, and our communities are stepping up to lend a hand everywhere. To help, we’ve compiled a list of some highly educational fun and free activities being offered to families right now that can be done in the comforts of home.

The Indianapolis Children’s Museum

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive online learning experience geared toward children, check out the “Museum at Home” feature of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum website. While being closed due to the COVID-19 social distancing phase, the museum is offering free educational sessions that include exhibit tours, story time, science experiments, sports coaching for physical activity and new daily behind-the-scenes sessions are added as well.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

For some educational animal fun while staying indoors, check out the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s “Home Safari” feature. Every day at 3:00 p.m., the zoo shares a new live video feed of a different animal in their facilities. The videos feature various care takers who speak with online guests, answer questions about the animals, and share insight into how each animal lives. Previous videos are available to view online any time as well.

COSI Connects: Digital Doorway

The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) is offering a “Digital Doorway” program for children which features several online activities, videos, and virtual tours of their facilities. There are informative video clips on topics such as the COVID-19 virus as well as various activities like making chocolate crystals and other at-home science experiments. Children can also take a virtual tour of their dinosaur exhibit and learn about excavation and paleontology studies.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

If you’re dealing with limited space or trying to avoid play dates and the park, but still want to get in some physical activity for your littles, try checking out some online yoga classes geared towards children. Cosmic Yoga is offering a free 2-week trial for new families looking to add a bit of healthy activity to their child’s home quarantine routine.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Met Kids Site

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Met Kids site is uniquely tailored to the interests and mindsets of young children. This site is free to the public and features a map that allows them to explore the museum on their own as well as a “time machine” that can search by various eras for further educational resources.

Art for Kids Hub

If you’re looking for some free online arts and crafts tutorials for kids, check out Art for Kids Hub. This site offers countless videos that teach children different techniques for drawing, painting, and even some sculpting and origami tricks as well.

Improving Your Child's Language and Literacy Skills

Improving Your Child’s Language and Literacy Skills

Few things are as critical to a child’s educational success as a firm grasp on language and literacy skills. The ability to communicate effectively crosses over into every area of study your child will embark upon in their lifetime. This fact alone makes these skills crucial to their future ability to grasp complex subjects.

The Importance of Language and Literacy Skills

Being proficient in one or more languages has unparalleled benefits that will be seen across the board in your child’s education. Since language is the basis for all teaching efforts (and also the key to communicating effectively overall), it’s understandable why it’s such an important skill to hone.

The importance of language and literacy skills go well beyond the communication aspect, however. Students who focus on deepening their language base will find themselves gaining proficiencies in their other studies as well.

According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), students who excel in language and literacy show:

  • Greater test scores on standard tests
  • Higher levels of focus and understanding
  • Increased ability to grasp scientific hypotheses
  • Higher ACT and SAT scores
  • Greater problem-solving capabilities

These are just a few of the ways in which language and linguistics will lend to the greater overall educational success of your child. Since language development requires children to hone their focusing skills, they will then be able to apply the same level of focus to their other studies.

Literacy Learning Techniques

Whether your child is focusing on one language or multilingual studies, they will have set coursework within their classroom. It’s certainly no surprise that teachers have lesson plans for their students, but you may be surprised to learn how much things have changed since your days in the classroom.

Evidence has shown students respond well to teaching methods that incorporate several different learning aids. Some of these include items that can be used as visual props while others could use online programs and themed learning (animal week, gardening week, etc.).

The key to language learning in the classroom, however, is a focus on interactive conversational opportunities. It’s less about learning grammar rules and more about learning to actually communicate.

“The primary purpose of language is communication – grammar is important, but there’s a bigger picture. Language is no longer seen as being learned through mechanical exercises, it’s developed through students interacting and engaging,” explains Huw Jarvis, a professor at the University of Salford’s School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science.

According to Jarvis, motivation is the most critical component to driving a student’s interest in language learning. Since students tend to learn faster through immersion in situations which require them to find ways to communicate, allowing them to choose their own medium gives way to a greater desire to learn.

Developing a Desire to Learn at Home

In order to truly give your child the full-on immersion experience, it’s critical to continue the language and literacy learning experience outside of the classroom as well. Most parents understand that a child’s educational success is a multi-faceted experience that involves both home life and school life.

So how do we go about providing our children with enriching language learning experiences at home? Engage them and motivate them – it’s as simple (or as complex) as that.

“The best method is the method you like… Languages cannot be taught, they can only be learned,” explains Language Consultant, Luca Lampariello.

Finding out what motivates your child to learn at home involves a basic trial and error process. Unless you’ve already figured out how to motivate your child (and if so, kudos!), you may need to engage in some simple activities with them to see what they like. Find out what drives them to want to learn more.

Finding Out What Motivates Your Child

One of the simplest ways you can help your child nurture a desire to learn and excel with language and literacy is by different communicative experiences at home. Talk to them. Sing to them. Create stories with them involved. Allow your child to “read” you a story by telling you what’s going on in the sequential pictures. There are endless ways to involve them in language learning at home.

The National Center on Improving Literacy explains that by simple daily communication efforts at home, parents can help their child improve their language learning immensely. Daily communications can be as simple as a pointed discussion about their day (asking specific questions to get them to think and give detailed answers), or as thorough as labeling items at home for a language visual.

“Engage in joint reading, drawing, singing, storytelling, reciting, game playing, and rhyming. When joint reading, you and your child take turns reading parts of a book. When reading, ask her to connect the story… Give positive feedback and ask open-ended questions during joint reading to boost her interest and critical thinking skills.” – ImprovingLiteracy.org

By including daily language activities such as reading and storytelling, you’ll gain insight into what interests your child the most. Find stories that inspire them and pique their curiosity – this will help give them a stronger drive to learn more. Asking pointed questions on the topic will encourage them to focus on the task and go deeper for a greater understanding. No matter the topic, that will give way to an overall improved language and literacy experience.

A More Complete Learning Experience

If you want to apply a more direct learning approach at home, speak with your child’s teacher to discuss what methods are utilized in the classroom. Educators are usually more than willing to speak with parents about their teaching methods and how they can be enhanced at home.

You can also take a closer look in their bookbags to gain some insight into what they’re focusing on in the classroom. If you see they have a themed week at school, try continuing the theme at home. As examples, if they have a color theme for a week, use corresponding color foods in dinner plans, colored bath water, or planned outfits for school to bring up topics later.

They key to continuing language and literacy learning at home is to simply communicate. Communicate with your children about their days or share a good story with them. Communicate with their teachers to learn any tips or subject ideas to coordinate home learning themes and techniques with classroom learning. Above all, the most important thing you can do to help your child develop their language skills is to continue to engage them in communication. Talk with your kids and talk often – it’s that simple!

Language Spotlight Series: French - Boosting Your Child's Future Opportunities

Language Spotlight Series: French – Boosting Your Child’s Future Opportunities

For the final segment of our Language Spotlight Series, we are taking a look at the benefits of choosing French as a bilingual study program for early education. While we’ve thoroughly covered the immense benefits of bilingual learning in previous sections of the series, for this portion we will be focused solely on the advantages of introducing your little one to French.

If you’re considering enrolling your child into French lessons, you’re not alone. With over 220 million French-speaking individuals across the globe (according to diplomatic policy resources), it’s quite evident that French is much more than just a beautiful romance language.

Spotlight on French

Diplomatie.gouv.fr states France is “the world’s fifth biggest economy and a leading destination for foreign investment.” As such, learning the language of such an economic powerhouse is certainly a valuable skill to acquire – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here is a look at five of the most important benefits to adding French to your child’s educational curriculum:

1 – French Economic Investment

As mentioned previously, France is a major player in world economic development and investment as well as endless other areas. You may think of France as a place for delicious food and romance, (and you’d be right, for sure), but it’s much more than that. The companies and interests rooted in French industry are major players in the world economic picture, so it goes without saying that learning the language is a huge plus for future economic opportunities.

2 – Rich Cultural Experience

If you’re looking for your child to gain more than simply a linguistic advantage, few languages open more cultural doors than French. French culture is deeply rooted in the arts, cooking, and theater – all of which offer immensely enriching experiences for those who open themselves to it.

“French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theater, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs.” – Diplomatie.gouv.fr.

3 – It Opens Doors Linguistically

Another major benefit of studying French is the linguistic similarities it shares with other languages. While it’s certainly not an exact translation, there are many benefits to picking up the similarities between English and French. In other words, learning how the two languages have developed and share certain key components helps to understand other languages even more. In short, by picking up French, it helps students learn even more languages later in life with ease due to the ability to recognize those base components and transfer them to other cultures.

“The knowledge you gain about your own language equips you with a plethora of tools you can use to learn further languages, and if you choose to learn another romance language – Portuguese, Spanish or Italian, for example – then you’ll recognize a host of grammatical and lexical similarities.” – Babbel.com.

4 – International Connections

The United Nations recognizes French as both a “working language and an official language” (diplomatie.gouv.fr). As such, its presence can be found worldwide in organizations such as the Red Cross, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), global embassies, and even the Olympic committee. What does this mean for your child? Well, it means it’s opening up a world of fascinating opportunities in practically every avenue of adult life.

5 – The World’s Top Travel Destination

It’s hard to consider French language and culture without considering the immense travel and tourism attached to it. According to French statistics, “France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 87 million visitors a year” (diplomatie.gouv.fr).

By introducing French to your child, you’re opening doors to not only economic and career opportunities, but opportunities for travel, higher education, and culture as well. Speak with educators to discover even more benefits to adding French to your child’s curriculum!

Language Spotlight Series: Spanish - Giving Your Child a Career Advantage

Language Spotlight Series: Spanish – Giving Your Child a Career Advantage

More and more evidence has come to light in recent years in support of adding a second (or third) language to your child’s curriculum. While many parents may be apprehensive about introducing additional language learning to their child at a young age, research has shown early education is a fantastic time to begin bilingual teaching.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, studies have shown that the most important learning process of early education involves language and literacy development. These two skills, which are intertwined, form the basic foundation for all other learning processes your child will encounter the rest of their lives.

“The primary goal of early schooling is to establish the foundational skills upon which children will build their educational futures. The most important of these abilities are the language and literacy competence.” – The U.S. National Library of Medicine.

It goes without saying then, that a focus on language learning is the key to the best academic potential for children. In fact, adding dual language learning to their academia during early education years, serves to boost their comprehension skills even further, according to recent research by the National Institute of Health (NIH).

As the NIH reports, the Lindholm-Leary study, conducted in 2014, showed “…children in the bilingual program outperform(ed) the English-only instruction group in both English and Spanish test scores by the end of second grade.”

The research results leave us with compelling evidence in support of introducing bilingual learning at a young age. Which in turn, begs the question, “how do we choose which language is best?” Our Language Spotlight Series is going to take a look at two of the top ranked languages chosen for children around the world: Spanish and French. This month we will be focusing our articles on discovering the benefits of each language option, beginning with Spanish.

Spotlight on Spanish

According to international census results, conducted by Swedish educational group, Nationalencyklopedin.com, in 2010 there were 405 million Spanish speakers throughout the world. These census results showed there are nearly 50 million more people globally who speak Spanish than there are who speak English – and that was 9 years ago. The numbers are only increasing with each year.

What does this mean? Well, to put it simply, there are more opportunities for your child if they speak Spanish than there are if they speak English. Imagine the possibilities if they were bilingual and able to speak both.

“In the United States alone there are over 50 million people who speak Spanish as their native or second language. So even if you don’t fancy yourself a globetrotter, Spanish is probably the most useful language to learn…” – Babbel.com.

If you base your decision on numbers, Spanish is a likely front-runner for bilingual education options for your child, but it’s so much more than just a popular choice. Here are five of the top benefits to consider when choosing Spanish as a second language for your child’s early educational curriculum:

1 – Opportunities

When you choose a language that is the second most spoken language across the globe, you’re choosing so much more than just a language voted most likely to succeed or most popular in the annual polls. You’re choosing opportunities for your child.

With so many people speaking Spanish – both in the United States and around the world – learning the more common language seems a no-brainer. By learning to communicate with a larger base of the global population, you will be giving your child the tools to close gaps between cultures and open up lines of communication with endless individuals and multi-lingual opportunities.

“Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world. The opportunities for Spanish speakers across the globe are endless!” – Leapfrog.com.

2 – Stronger Linguistic Core

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages to consider when signing your child up for Spanish language instruction, lies in the foundational work. While you may be afraid your child will be confused by using multiple languages in the early years, the contrary is actually true – particularly when learning Spanish.

English and Spanish share many commonalities in their core linguistics. In fact, both have strong Latin roots and have multiple words that are so similar they are basically the same (or literally, are the same) – and easily understood.

“Studying Spanish increases children’s understanding of the English language and how different languages evolve, which can also help with learning English vocabulary.” – Leapfrog.com.

Going back to the study findings listed above from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, language and linguistic learning is the most critical piece of your child’s early education. By extension then, choosing a course of study that helps boost your child’s ability to understand and develop these foundational linguistic skills makes perfect sense.

3 – Ease of Understanding

In a related benefit, since Spanish and English share so many commonalities, it also makes it a fairly simple language for young minds to pick up. There are literally thousands of words in the Spanish language that share a base with English words. Actually, there are several thousand that share an exact same spelling and meaning in both languages.

Words like capital, editorial, federal, hospital, manual, normal, and thousands more share the same meaning and spelling, just to give an example. English and Spanish are highly relatable and easily understood, so it goes without saying that the earlier you begin bilingual studies, the easier it is to pick up. With so many similarities, children will be able to pick up Spanish as a second language in no time.

4 – Breaking Barriers

Because learning a second language is more than just opening opportunities, it’s important to consider the bilateral advantages. While your child will certainly be picking up fantastic core linguistic lessons and opening doors to communicating with a larger portion of the global population, there is more to the picture.

According to Babbel Magazine, there are actually more Spanish speaking individuals in the United States than there are in Spain. The Spanish-speaking population in the United States is second in size only to that of Mexico – giving an even greater opportunity for immersion learning.

With a language as vastly used as Spanish, becoming fluent does more than just open communication lines – it breaks down communication barriers. When the language barriers are taken down, cultural learning and enrichment are open and available for even greater impacts on our children.

“Dual language programs show students a broader world-view, whatever the native language of the student, and lead to greater opportunities for collaborative learning.” – Huffington Post.

5 – Increased Fluency

When you consider all of the factors above, it makes sense to deduce that Spanish as a second language comes with an increased chance for fluency later in life when introduced at an early age. Combining the fact that the two languages share so many similarities, with the fact that they increase linguistic foundations overall, it’s easy to understand how your child will be building a strong potential for continuing their learning later in life.

“It generally takes five to seven years to be proficient in a second language… In other words, U.S. students should be introduced to a second language at a young age in order to be fluent by adulthood.” – Huffington Post.

Overall, when choosing a second language for early childhood education, a vast majority of parents have chosen Spanish for a multitude of reasons. With the increasing Spanish-speaking population and wide-spread use of Spanish across the globe, it’s certainly the most popular choice. It also shares a root in Latin-based linguistics, giving it so many similarities to English and making it an easy-learn for young minds.

Whatever your reason, introducing Spanish to early education students has unparalleled benefits across the board. Speak with bilingual educational professionals near you to learn even more advantages to Spanish instruction!

Will Technology Ruin Your Child's Development?

Will Technology Ruin Your Child’s Development?

Whether it’s screen time or surfing the web, the majority of parents today have questioned the effects of technology on their children. Many have been left feeling rather confused with the immense amount of data on both sides of the debate. Is the internet going to melt the brains of our kiddos by destroying their ability to focus? Or is it going to open up endless possibilities and prepare them for an ultra-successful future?

Since technology led by the internet age is still, in essence, in its own childhood phase, we have limited resources for determining the full effect on developing minds. We don’t have the ability to examine historical patterns nor do we know how fast things will continue to expand. Nevertheless, there is plenty of data out there to help parents make a fully-educated decision.

The fact is, technology is empirically unavoidable today. There are technological devices and influences in virtually every aspect of our lives, and our children are no exception. Technology influences extend much further than video games and cell phones anymore. In fact, many classrooms are well-equipped with laptops, tablets, whiteboards and other devices to supplement their learning experience.

So how do we determine if these devices are helping – or hurting – the development of our children? According to the US National Library of Medicine’s National Institution of Health (NIH), technology has offered us a wide array of both productive and counter-productive outcomes in terms of the effects on developing minds.

In layman’s terms? Technology is both good and bad for our kids and basically, it’s up to us to weed them out. Before you get discouraged, there are methods that will help you sift through the digital drudge, as well as research to back up which methods are helpful and which ones are – well – not so much.

Technology Brain Food

As the NIH explains, if you think of technology’s effects on your child’s development in terms of “nutrition”, it can help you to gain a better perspective on how to sort it out. We know our children need well-balanced daily meals in order to grow physically healthy and strong, right? You wouldn’t feed your kiddos junk food and sweets every day and expect them to be fit as a fiddle. By the same token, technology is full of “nutritious” and “junk food” influences that will affect your child’s cognitive development.

The Junk Food

“Technology conditions the brain to pay attention to information very differently than reading,” says Dr. Jim Taylor, psychologist and professor at the University of San Francisco. According to his article in Psychology Today, the key to weeding out the “junk food” technology lies in monitoring methods that do not require a deep focus. What does this mean? In comparison with reading, surfing the internet for research is basically giving developing minds too much information too fast. In other words, it keeps kids from focusing on one specific concept. Doing so causes an undeveloped sense of understanding children could otherwise grasp from concentrating on a book.

Anything requiring little to no thought to complete (internet surfing, non-educational video games and television programs, etc.) will have a negative impact on the way brain connections are made. In fact, according to Taylor, influences such as the internet will adversely affect the way our children learn. These mediums bypass the need to focus and leave children “only able to focus fleetingly.”

The Vitamins and Minerals

On the flip side, there are many ways in which technology mediums have a profoundly positive impact on developing minds. These ways, which we’ll call the “vitamins and minerals” of technology, have the ability to improve overall development.

Perhaps the most important aspect to consider is to keep in mind that their futures will be filled with technology. This generation is one that will be engulfed in technology in pretty much every aspect of life, so including it from the beginning is giving them the tools they’ll need for a future filled with technological advancements. Think of digital learning tools as preparing your kids for their digital-filled futures.

According to the NIH, content is the most important thing to consider when filtering the vitamins from the junk food. Content, more than the type of device, is the key to finding what your children will benefit from the most. Ensuring whatever outlet they use (tablets, laptops, mobile phones, and yes, even video games), is used wisely, is the key to keeping their cognitive development healthy. Using nourishing content such as educational games, read-along programs, and digital media like interactive whiteboards to promote a learning experience is the difference between a nutritional digital experience and a junk food one.

Tessa International School

Office: (201) 755-5585 | Location: 720 Monroe St. Hoboken, NJ 07030