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: How to Choose a Second Language for Your Child

Language Spotlight Series: How to Choose a Second Language for Your Child

Language Spotlight Series: How to Choose a Second Language for Your Child

So, you’ve done your research and you’ve seen the benefits of bilingual education for children… now what? If you’re not already a bilingual household, deciding which second language your child should begin learning can be a difficult decision.

Chances are, you have decided to expand your child’s language learning because you’ve seen the immeasurable benefits that come along with it. And because of this, you now want to ensure your child is not only getting the best bilingual education, but firstly, chooses the right bilingual education option.

Understanding that there really is no “wrong” choice here, deciding which language to introduce to your child boils down to essentially what’s right for them. As such, there are a plethora of options and factors to consider before making a final decision. When you’re trying to choose which language is best for your child to begin learning, you’ll want to weigh the following:

Common Languages

One of the biggest considerations is to take a look at what languages are the most common and the most widely-used. While there’s (unfortunately) no way to predict what career path your child will follow when they become adults, you can try to equip them with the broadest set of language skills, or you can choose a more specific and isolated language.

According to USNews.com, “the three most commonly spoken (foreign) languages are Mandarin (898 million), Spanish (437 million), and Arabic (295 million).” Based on this alone, you may choose to select a language that is widely used across the globe to give them a greater opportunity to utilize their language knowledge later in life.

What if, however, you live in an area dense in French or Chinese culture and an education in those languages would be highly useful locally? In these cases, you may choose to select a language that may not be one of the most widely used but would give your child a huge communication benefit in your own community.

Marketability

If your main concern for teaching your child a second language is to give them a leg-up on the job market competition upon college graduation, then you need to take a look at marketability demands. What does this mean? Essentially, it’s researching what languages are behind the most successful career trends and basing your decision on what would give your child the greatest “marketability” later in life.

It’s no surprise that learning a second language improves a child’s prospects for their career advancements. That in mind, teaching them the most in-demand languages can help them even more, according to Readers Digest at RD.com.

“Proficiency in a second language opens the door to new markets for businesses and allows them to create new relationships with prospective partners,” they explain.

What’s trending? Well, if you go by RD, they suggest introducing your child to either French, German or Mandarin as a second language. Those three are the top choices for what is expected to give the greatest growth opportunities in the foreseeable future.

Cultural Aspects

On the flip side, you may not be looking to groom your child to be the next CEO of a multi-national corporation. Perhaps your reason for adding a second language is closer to home.

Many parents choose to incorporate a language that has cultural or familial meaning to them. Some households may even have the added benefit of teaching through immersion language learning if they are already a multilingual home. The beauty of learning a second language is that it’s highly versatile and multifaceted. Being a melting pot of nationalities and heritages, many in the U.S. choose to embrace their cultural beliefs and extend the teachings to new generations.

While adding a second language certainly gives children an advantage they can carry over into the career world, it isn’t the only reason parents choose to incorporate bilingualism. No matter what your reasoning may be, your child will surely benefit from (and have fun learning) whatever second (or third!) language is chosen!

Can Bullying Affect a Child's Development?

Can Bullying Affect a Child’s Development?

By: Jamie Kreps

Can Bullying Affect a Child's Development?

It probably comes as no surprise, but bullying has been linked to an enormous amount of developmental issues in children – both in those who have been bullied and those who have bullied others. In fact, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), bullying has a lifelong impact on the social and emotional development of children that puts them at risk for everything from severe mental health issues to stunted professional growth later in life.

According to the NICHD, children who are involved in bullying experiences (on either side of the situation) are at an increased risk of developing issues such as:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Low self-esteem and personal drive
  • Trouble focusing and falling grades
  • Behavioral problems
  • Social and relationship issues
  • Substance abuse later in life
  • Self-harming behaviors

Bullying can also affect other children who witness the acts – even if they aren’t directly involved – by leaving them feeling insecure in their environments and fearing they could be next. The long-term effects of bullying go well beyond the initial instances and the people at the center of it and can often stay with a person for the remainder of their life. Since bullying can essentially destroy a child’s self-esteem, it can manifest itself in ways that will jeopardize future opportunities for years to come.

How It Manifests

As explained by ViolencePreventionWorks.org, “Nearly one in five students in an average classroom is experiencing bullying in some way,” but the effects are not limited to those involved directly. While it may seem obvious that those who are bullied have a higher risk of developing developmental issues, what’s less obvious is that bullying also affects the on-lookers.

Bullying brings negative affects to everyone who witnesses the act by way of creating what feels like an unsafe environment. It can make children feel as though they are helpless, planting a deep seed of insecurity and disdain for their classroom (and classmates) as a whole. Bullying also makes kids feel as though they can’t be protected by those they trust (teachers, aides, parents, etc.) which can lead to withdrawal and a failure to thrive.

Often times it is this withdrawal that is the first and most obvious sign that bullying is taking place, apart from actually seeing the incident in person. Over time, if bullying continues, those who witness it will likely begin to show other signs such as attention issues, fear of participating in normal activities, and acting out or other behavioral problems such as vandalism or destroying toys or objects.

The Long-Term Effects of Bullying

The effects of bullying are so debilitating, in fact, that researchers have linked it to a lower rate of success and quality of life decades later. According to Psychology Today, the low self-esteem and attention issues of youths who had been bullied translated to lower incomes and a greater risk for becoming involved in criminal acts as adults.

Research showed that individuals who had been “involved in bullying had poorer educational attainment and less income than adults who had not been involved in bullying,” the Psychology Today report explained. Not only do children involved in bullying suffer from mental and behavioral issues throughout childhood, but the research shows it deeply affects their cognitive and emotional development in ways that long outlast the actual incident.

How to Stop It

Thankfully, bullying prevention has been put in the spotlight in recent years and has gained momentum in educational facilities across the country. Many schools and childcare providers now implement some variation of an anti-bullying policy, which has had a major impact on developing minds everywhere.

Most anti-bullying policies include tips such as keeping a watchful eye, utilizing activities that encourage kids to speak up about their experiences, and keeping an open line of communication with youngsters to ensure they are comfortable with sharing any unwanted behaviors by others. If you’re in need of some tips on implementing an anti-bullying policy in your facility, check out the US Department of Health and Human Services website, StopBullying.gov for more information.

5 Destinations for Vegans In and Around Hudson County

A good vegan place can be hard to find. But if you’re committed to eliminating animal products from your diet, it’s an essential! When you find a vegan-friendly restaurant, bakery, or cafe that serves up appetizing fare, it’s a reason to jump for joy. Fortunately, health-conscious, meat-free fare is on the rise. Whether you adopt a plant-based diet out of a love for animals or as part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s becoming easier than ever to find vegan favorites when you’re dining out. These vegan destinations in Hudson County will have you licking your plate!

Subia’s Organic Cafe

506 Jersey Ave, Jersey City
This eatery is nestled inside an organic market offering vegan-friendly fare. The menu serves up American-style favorites that won’t make you miss the meat. Try the California Dreamin’ burger made with a textured plant protein patty and topped with avocado, vegan mayo, sprouts, special sauce, and more. Try it with a signature smoothie or house-made juice blend, and you’ll see why locals say Subia’s serves the best vegan food in town.

Mundo Vegan

20 Church St, Montclair
If you’re craving a sit-down meal rather than Subia’s sandwiches and burgers, go to Mundo. The food is vegan, all organic, and free from GMOs. You’ll even find plenty of gluten-free options on the menu as well. The globally-inspired dishes range from vegan lasagna to chorizo picadillo. Customers say that even meat-eaters will find something to love here—and they might not believe that what they’re eating is “just plants.” The space is small but cozy, and outdoor seating is available during the warmer months.

Koro Koro

201 Washington St, Hoboken
Japanese cuisine offers a plethora of vegan-friendly options, and Koro Koro is proof of that. Onigiri, or sticky rice balls stuffed with savory fillings, are the main event here. The fusion-style menu isn’t fully vegan, but with meatless fillings like Indian chickpea curry and Moroccan vegetable, you’ll hardly notice. Koro Koro regularly makes top-ten lists for affordable eats, vegan eats, and all-around favorite spots in Jersey City.

Veganized

9 Spring St, New Brunswick
This New Brunswick favorite offers an eclectic mix. Veganized‘s organic menu finds ways to turn favorite comfort foods into vegan-friendly dishes, from Philly-style mushroom wraps to a “mackin cheeze” made with sweet potato cashew cream. The vegan mac alone is enough to make Veganized a favorite place to eat. And that’s not all! They also offer a vegan brunch on the weekends. Stop by on Saturday or Sunday for a “no buttermilk biscuit” or an “unscramble” made with tofu and shiitake mushrooms.

Sweet Avenue Bake Shop

153 Park Ave, Rutherford
It’s not easy to make a vegan dessert without tasting the difference, but Sweet Avenue nails it every time. They’re an award-winning bakery that’s been in business for over 10 years. You’d never guess that their trendy cupcakes, round cakes, cookies, and more are made with no milk, no butter, and no eggs! They also offer plenty of gluten-free, soy-free, and/or nut-free options to cover every dietary restriction or allergen, so everyone can enjoy their treats. With rave reviews and unique flavors like S’mores and Strawberry Cheesecake, you’re sure to come back for more.

These vegan eateries offer something that anyone and everyone can enjoy, whether you’re a lifelong vegan, trying to eat more plant-based foods, or just curious about what an animal product-free diet is like. Organic, plant-based meals are a healthy choice for the whole family.

Good nutrition provides a solid foundation for children to learn and grow. A healthy body helps develop a healthy mind. At Tessa International School, we provide a world-class education that lets children flourish. We encourage cultural awareness and social development alongside academic challenges. Contact us for more information.

Check out our other Hoboken & Hudson County lists:

Four Gyms with Great Childcare in and Around Hoboken

5 Great Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Jersey City

10 Great Family Activities in Hoboken

Restaurant Patios to Enjoy in Nice Weather in and Around Hoboken, NJ

The spring and summer fly by so quickly in Hoboken. When the weather is nice, you’ll want to take advantage of all of the great eateries with patios, gardens, and outdoor seating. Going to a biergarten with friends? Planning a fancy date night? A day out with the family? There are plenty of opportunities to be outside enjoying the nice weather at any time of day, for any occasion, with any company, and feasting on any kind of cuisine. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:

Anthony David’s

http://anthonydavids.com/
953 Bloomfield St, Hoboken
Brunch, Merenda, and Dinner (Everyday)

This traditional Italian spot is a little upscale, but with the BYOB option, it’s an affordable date night. It’s a perfect spot for outdoor brunching any day of the week. Their small, but charming, sidewalk patio is on a neighborhood corner. Anthony David’s offers all-day options including salads, sandwiches, antipasto, and pastas.

Cafe Matisse

http://cafematisse.com/
167 Park Ave, Rutherford
Dinner (Wed – Sun, Closed Mon & Tues)

This upscale cafe is quite a treat, especially when the weather is nice. Their gourmet entrees look like a work of art, and draw inspiration from many world cuisines. The back garden, filled with greenery and colorful decor, will make you feel like you’ve been transported to another country. It’s even BYOB!

Elysian Cafe

http://elysiancafe.com/
1001 Washington St, Hoboken
Brunch, Lunch, Dinner (Everyday)

This modern French bistro with New American inspirations is there for you whenever the weather is nice. It’s a popular spot, however, so show up early to get a seat on their wrap-around sidewalk patio. The decorative fence and flower boxes make the patio feel more private, while still giving you a view of the charming neighborhood.

The Cuban

http://www.thecubannj.com/
333 Washington St, Hoboken
Lunch & Dinner (Everyday)
Brunch (Sat & Sun)

This warmly decorated restaurant is great spot to visit during the warmer weather. They have a comfortable sidewalk patio, and a great happy hour with small bites. It’s perfect for a relaxing sunny afternoon. The Cuban offers traditional Cuban cuisine like steak, plantains, and yuca mash.

City Bistro

http://www.citybistrohobokennj.com/
56 14th St, Hoboken
Brunch (Sat & Sun)
Lunch & Dinner (Everyday)

This late-night spot is as much a bar as a restaurant, and an excellent outdoor venue for both. Party with live music under a canopy of stars and lights on hot summer nights on their sizable rooftop patio. Before venturing up, enjoy some delicious Italian-American fare like crostinis, pizza, and sandwiches.

Pier 13

https://pier13hoboken.com/
1301 Sinatra Dr N, Hoboken
Open Everyday (Food Trucks Vary)

You can spend a whole day at Pier 13, enjoying the nice weather, drinking beer, kayaking, listening to live music, and taking in the incredible view of the skyline. This family friendly atmosphere hosts tons of regular and visiting food trucks, offering many cuisines, drinks, snacks, and deserts.

Hoboken Hot House

200 Monroe St, Hoboken
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This neighborhood corner cafe has a nice casual laid-back atmosphere. They serve paninis, sandwiches, quiche, as well as coffee and espresso drinks. The backyard patio and garden is a perfect place to spend a morning after a jog or an afternoon working on a laptop. It’s a large space, for the area, and isn’t out on the sidewalk like many of the local patios.

Pilsener Haus & Biergarten

http://www.pilsenerhaus.com/
1422 Grand St, Hoboken
Brunch (Sat & Sun)
Dinner (Everyday)

This biergarten has everything you need for a day of family and friends. The large communal tables make for a lively, sociable atmosphere. But the giant beer list isn’t the only attraction. They also offer delicious Austro-Hungarian fare like sausages, schnitzel, and strudel. The large outdoor patio is the place to be on a nice day.

Are you a local Hoboken parent with a preschool-age child? At Tessa International School, we love seeing local families out during the nice weather. That’s why outdoor exercise is a part of our curriculum. Learn more about our summer camp here.  

Check out our other Hoboken & Hudson County lists:

Four Gyms with Great Childcare in and Around Hoboken

5 Great Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Jersey City

10 Great Family Activities in Hoboken

 

Bilingual Language Programs Benefit Brain Development!

It’s an age old question: does learning a foreign language have visible effects on your brain? With advances in modern technology, scientists now possess the equipment to study parts of the brain during language learning. Medical machinery, like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), make it possible for doctors to dive deep down into the cortex and gain a better understanding of how learning a new language affects brain development at any age.

Cerebral Language Processing

It was once thought only certain regions of the brain, such as Broca’s and Wernicke’s area, were capable of cerebral language processing. But with brain-imaging methods, like fMRI, scientists now know every major lobe plays a part in our ability to process language.

The four lobes:

  1. Frontal lobe (Broca’s area)
  2. Parietal lobe (Wernicke’s area)
  3. Temporal lobe (Wernicke’s area)
  4. Occipital lobe

What Happens to the Brain When Learning Language?

In 2012, the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy measured brain function between a group of language recruits and a group of science students. The study design was simple: the recruits underwent an intense three-month language course and the control group diligently studied something other than language, both for three-months. Scientists took fMRIs of students before they began their three-months of intense study and after they completed three-months of intense study and compared the results between groups. What they found fascinated them!  

Brain Growth Varies Among Student Performance

Swedish scientists proved on brain scans what researchers and educators have believed for decades: learning a foreign language positively impacts brain growth. Brain-imaging visibly demonstrated that bilingual education benefits brain development. In fact, researchers were pleasantly surprised to learn that different parts of the brain developed at different degrees depending on how much effort a student had put into their own language learning. In other words, the more effort a student put into their own learning, the more they cognitively benefited.

fMRI demonstrated greater growth in the following areas:

  • Hippocampus ~ This structure is a part of your limbic system and plays a role in memory, learning, and emotion. Deep within your temporal lobe is a portion of your hippocampus.
  • Superior temporal gyrus ~ This structure contains your primary auditory cortex and is responsible for processing sounds. It’s understandable how perceiving sounds would affect your ability to process language.
  • Middle frontal gyrus ~ This brain bump takes up about a third of your frontal lobe and is responsible for re-orienting attention and perceptual processing.

Bilingual Education Benefits Brain Development

The Swedish study finally confirmed that learning foreign languages foster brain growth and development.

For educators, doctors, and clinical researchers, this data has potential to shift the direction of education and medicine to benefit children of all ages, including those with dyslexia or autism. Imagine educators and researchers using fMRI scans to help tailor bilingual education programs to each individual child’s cognitive ability. If your child is struggling to correctly pronounce some words or observe linguistic patterns and syntax, brain imaging could help to develop phonetic software and language apps that match their unique brain circuitry.

Learning Languages Keeps the Brain Fit  

Linguistic research continues to unravel more cognitive abilities that lie deep within our brains. In fact, learning languages doesn’t only benefit children, but also adults! Like aerobic exercise keeps your heart healthy, learning another language keeps your brain fit. It can help buffer your brain against the effects of aging and delay the onset of dementia!

If you’re in New Jersey and wish to enhance your child’s language learning and development, schedule a private tour to visit Tessa International School today!

Four Gyms with Great Childcare In and Around Hoboken

by Tori Galatro

Working out relieves stress, promotes health, and keeps you energized throughout the day, all facets of self-care that are hard to keep up with when you’re looking after a child. Luckily, many gyms offer childcare for a small fee, so you, and your child too, can get the benefits of a great workout. Here are some of the best gyms in and around Hoboken, New Jersey with safe, accommodating, and attentive childcare options.

Local Barre

Hoboken Uptown: 1180 Maxwell Lane, Hoboken, NJ

Hoboken WEST: 720 Monroe Street C300, Hoboken, NJ

If you’re a fan of yoga, pilates, and dance, the barre classes at Local Barre offer a unique way to get fit in a positive, fun, fabulous, and confidence-building environment. This proudly high-end establishment is women focussed (although anyone is welcome), safe, and child-friendly. Known as Monkey Barre, Local Barre offers BYOBaby classes for younger than 6 months, and separate childcare for older than 6 months. Children need to be registered for classes, and parents are encouraged to bring a supportive seat for children who can’t sit independently. Toys, books, puzzles, videos, and music are available in the playroom, where parents can drop their children off for supervised free play while they enjoy a barre class. Childcare is $5 per child and allows nut-free snacks and drinks. Child and adult classes are available throughout the week for convenient scheduling in two Hoboken locations. Memberships range from $149 per month to $249 per month.

Hamilton Health & Fitness

161 Erie Street, Jersey City, NJ

This classic high-end gym is spotlessly clean, which is great considering they boast a pool, a steam room, and a sauna. A jungle gym and children’s room are devoted to childcare every morning, early afternoon, and some evenings, for children between 3 and 7 years old. Childcare at Hamilton is $10 per child with a membership, but they can stay for the impressively long span of 2 hours, and are visible from a TV in the workout spaces. Adults can take classes in pilates, yoga, martial arts, and even swimming. Children can enjoy swimming at this facility too, with classes from infants to preteens. Memberships are $90 per month with a $125 enrollment fee.

 

Prime Cycle

70 Hudson St, Hoboken, NJ

With rhythmic beats and lights, these spin classes feel more like going to a dance club than going to the gym. Incorporating full body choreographed workouts, Prime Cycle offers full-sensory spin classes that are sure to get you sweating, and even keep track of your stats so you can beat your own record. The facility is very clean and comfortable, with multiple showers. Parents can register in advance for $5 Mini Prime babysitting during classes throughout the week. There are typically 1-3 babysitting times per day. Prime Cycle also offers kids yoga, for ages 4 to 6, and family yoga, for all ages. Plans include a 5 Class Pass for $95, Unlimited Classes for $170, and many more deals and packages.

Work it Out

603 Willow Ave, Hoboken, NJ

5 Marine View Plaza, Hoboken, NJ

This gym is all about confident, strong, empowered women. The classes are diverse and unique, including influences of spin, zumba, barre, boxing, yoga, dance, and more. Work it Out has options to keep children occupied from newborns to teens. In Bite Size Barre, women do barre exercises with their children, up to 18 months, beside them, strapped to them, or still in their tummies. In Kids Gap (Gymnastics and Play), moms can drop their children off at childcare while they take a class for $10, with discounts available. Children are entertained by the staff with age-appropriate exercise, games, and arts and crafts. Work it Out also hosts its own kids gymnastics program running from age 2 to age 14. Memberships range from $145 per month to $189 per month, with packages available for $22 per class.

At Tessa International School in Hoboken, we know free play and exercise is an essential part of PreSchool education. We even offer Summer Camps!

Check out our other Hoboken & Hudson County lists:

5 Great Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Jersey City

10 Great Family Activities in Hoboken

10 Awesome Activities in Hoboken to Keep the Kids Busy After-School

Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?

by Tori Galatro

The typical age children enter preschool is 3 or 4 years old to prepare them for kindergarten at age 5. Many parents worry that their child may not have reached the appropriate developmental milestones for preschool, and don’t know when the right moment is. Deciding on the readiness of your child for preschool is not an exact science. No child enters preschool perfectly developed in all areas, and they shouldn’t be. Preschool should challenge them and help them to develop skills they don’t already have. So if they don’t check all of the skill boxes, don’t panic, and you don’t necessarily need to wait either.

However, there will be certain elements your child will have to deal with in preschool. They will be separated from you for multiple hours, asked to follow a routine, and follow simple instructions. In some cases, they may be expected to be potty trained. If they feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or alienated by these demands, that won’t help them to develop those skills any faster. Feeling calm and confident is important to social and emotional development, which helps with every other life skill. If your child is excited to be at preschool, and feels positively about the environment, they are more likely to learn and develop in that environment. It’s totally normal for children to experience separation anxiety and feel overwhelmed or upset, but preschool should not feel consistently scary and negative for long periods of time.

Pay attention to your child’s development and wait for the moment where they reach the happy medium, where the demands of preschool are fun and challenging at the same time. If you’re not sure if they are ready, remember that you can always start helping them to develop these skills at home. They can also begin by going part-time, and increase to full-time at a later date.

Potty Training

Some preschools don’t require that children be potty trained, while others are very strict about it. Either way, it’s a great skill to focus on with your child at home to help them learn other important skills like communicating their needs, personal hygiene, and using self control. Make sure your child understands that hand washing is part of the same activity, no matter where they are or who they’re with.

Concentration, Independence, & Communication

Unlike potty training, these “soft” skills will help your child to participate in activities, have their needs met, and learn from the lessons being taught to them. Help your child to practice doing designated activities for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, do simple chores by themselves, and express themselves verbally, even if they aren’t using complete sentences. Get them to be around other children, even if they aren’t directly interacting yet.

Emotional Coping

Most children need to be eased into being away from their parents for an extended period of time. Few children can be expected to adapt to this right away without a little practice first. Leaving your child with a babysitter of family member is also great practice for you if you’re feeling just as apprehensive as them about the separation.

Energy Levels

Preschool requires some serious energy and the ability to follow a routine. If your child is taking long mid-morning naps and isn’t used to a schedule, a great way to get them ready for preschool is to mimic the routine of preschool at home. Also, making sure they get good quality sleep at night starting at a reasonable hour in the evening, and exercise during the day, will help them stay energized and healthy overall.

The quality of the preschool you choose is just as important to their development as the age they start. At home and at school, your child will learn and grow best if the people around them are showing them care and attention, listening to them, and paying attention to their needs. Again, don’t worry too much that their age match the exact average for their class.

It’s always possible that they could skip a grade later if they are placed in the correct developmental age group now. And remember that if you’re concerned about your child’s development in any way, you should always talk to their doctor. Addressing concerns about their development now, even if that means holding them back, will help them in the future.

 

At Tessa International School, a nurturing, caring and challenging environment is who we are. Potty training is not required for the younger ages. We’re committed to creating a partnership between home and school environments. To find out more, feel free to contact us at 201 755 5585.

5 Great Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Jersey City

If you’re thinking about going out to eat in Jersey City, you might think there are no restaurants that cater to families with children. Luckily, there are plenty of places in Jersey City that regularly host families. Below are some great options for restaurants you and your children can enjoy together, where children are welcomed and catered to.

The Brownstone Diner

Most diners are family-friendly, and the Brownstone Diner in Jersey City is one of the best around. Located on Jersey Ave, this diner is known for its pancakes, which your children are sure to love. And pancakes are available all day, so you can even have breakfast for dinner. Any time you are looking for an affordable, easy meal out, this is a great option for everyone in the family.

The Beechwood Cafe 

This restaurant is a great breakfast spot, perfect when you want to meet up with other parents and their children. There’s plenty of room on the inside, and high-chairs are available if you need one. You can even sit outside if the weather is nice. They serve a combination of healthy, American, non-American, and comfort foods. Although there is not an official children’s menu, small side dishes and pastries are available. You can find their website here for more information.

The Hamilton Inn

If you’re looking for a great place to grab brunch the Hamilton Inn has you covered. Here you’ll find some great happy hour specials, a good children’s menu, and a relaxed atmosphere. If you take the kids here during the day, you are only a short walk from Hamilton Park, so you can get some fresh air afterwards, the children can play, and you can all enjoy the day.

Gino’s Pizzeria

Sometimes you just want to sit down and enjoy a slice of pizza with the family. When you do, consider Gino’s Pizzeria. This family-owned restaurant located on Central Ave has a very casual atmosphere, making it perfect for people who want to dine with their kids. Everyone loves a good slice of pizza, especially children, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Gino’s.

City Diner

Lastly, we close out with another diner. City Diner is one of the best in Jersey City, offering all day breakfast, drink specials, and a casual setting. As with many diners, the restaurant is perfect for families. You’ll rarely be the only family in the place. Once you’re done enjoying your meal, City Diner is only a short walk from the water, so you and your family can go take a stroll along the Hudson, and look at the New York City skyline.

So Many Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Jersey City!

As you can see, there are plenty of options when it comes to dining with your children in Jersey City. The above options all have food your children are sure to like, enough space to move around, and a relaxed atmosphere, but they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to kid-friendly restaurants in Jersey City. There are so many options to explore.

For more, check out our list of great family restaurants in Hoboken!

Tessa International School is a foreign language preschool serving families in and around Jersey City. We love our community, and are proud to provide a fun-filled, caring atmosphere for children. Contact us for more information.

Fine and Gross Motor Skills of Preschoolers: What Parents Can Expect as Children Grow

As the parent of a preschooler, you will want to compare your child’s motor skills to the average developmental skill level to gauge their growth and development. Motor skills are the motions that occur as a result of a child’s brain, nervous system, and muscles working together. Although each child develops different skills at different rates, it’s helpful to get a basic idea of the milestones they should be reaching at each stage. Since motor skills are supported by many areas of the body, they are a helpful guide for parents to access their child’s development early on. It’s also a great way to tell if your child in naturally inclined towards any physical skills, so you can encourage them to develop their unique talents.

Here’s what you need to know about fine and gross motor skills for young children and the average ages these skills start to develop.  

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills involve using smaller muscles and movements, such as grasping small items or holding utensils. It’s important that small children develop fine motor skills, so the small muscles of their hands, fingers and toes can become strong and dexterous. These skills also include the small muscles of the tongue and lips necessary for language. As fine motor skills in preschoolers improve, young children are able to do simple tasks, such as feed themselves.

Fine Motor Skills: Milestones for Children from Ages 2-3

  • Creating things, using their hands, such as building towers using wooden or plastic blocks.
  • Scribbling with crayons.
  • Molding Playdough or clay into simple shapes.
  • Inserting shapes into matching holes, such as placing round pegs into round holes.
  • Preferring one hand over the other one, which can signify if a child is right or left handed.

Fine Motor Skills: Milestones for Children from Ages 3-4

  • Showing more independence in trying to dress or undress themselves.
  • Manipulating zippers, snaps and other garment fasteners.
  • Starting to use round-edged or blunt scissors.
  • Using spoons and forks.
  • Being able to use large crayons, markers and other types of thicker writing tools.
  • Twisting off lids from jars.
  • Opening and closing doors by turning door knobs and pulling handles.

Fine Motor Skills: Milestones for Children from Ages 4-5

  • Continued refinement of fine motor skills, such as being able to unbutton or button clothing without help.
  • Improved artistic abilities, such as drawing simple shapes and stick figures.
  • Drawing large letters.

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills don’t require as much precision as fine motor skills do. Besides involving movement, gross motor skills entail arm and leg coordination, in addition to moving other large parts of the body, such as crawling, running and swimming.

Gross Motor Skills: Milestones for Children from Ages 2-3

  • Running, hopping and jumping, which typically occurs after toddlers start to walk smoother, faster, and with more confidence.
  • Throwing and catching large balls.
  • Using the feet for pushing themselves when maneuvering a toy car.

Gross Motor Skills: Milestones for Children from Ages 3-4

  • Improved upper body mobility, which enables children to catch and throw large balls.
  • Hitting a stationary ball from a tee.
  • The onset of stair climbing, although somewhat awkward—At this age, climbing stairs is usually done cautiously, in which both feet land on a step together before proceeding to the next step. Parents need to assist their kids in stair climbing to prevent falls. They should especially be on hand when their kids descend stairs
  • Hopping and jumping higher because of stronger leg muscles with some children being able to hop on a single foot.
  • Starting to ride a tricycle due to the improvement of overall body coordination.

Gross Motor Skills: Milestones for Children from Ages 4-5

  • Ascending and descending stairs without assistance.
  • Skipping.
  • Spinning the body when throwing a ball.
  • Riding tricycles or even bikes with better control at faster speeds.
  • Running faster and smoother.

Considerations and Warnings

  • Toddling, which is a movement, which pertains to a wide-legged posture that resembles robot-like motions, can be a clue that walking will soon begin.
  • Before most young children start kindergarten, they’re able to totally dress and undress themselves without assistance even though it can take a while.
  • As parents, you can help your preschoolers develop their fine motor skills at home, such as showing them how to cut and paste, use a zipper, clap their hands, build with blocks, do simple puzzles and manipulate crayons and pencils.
  • Once young children learn how to twist off lids, it’s critical that parents keep containers containing harmful substance out of reach.

Do you have a child who will soon be old enough for preschool? Maybe you’re a new mom. If so, it’s not too soon to start thinking about preschool and giving your son or daughter a quality early childhood education. Besides helping preschoolers with basic motor skills and developing their cognitive and social abilities, at Tessa International School we also introduce them to other cultures and languages, which can prepare them to be leaders of the 21st century. Please contact us and learn more about our exceptional preschool in Hoboken, New Jersey.