Tessa International School is the only international school and the only bilingual preschool in Hoboken. Our school seeks to be accredited from the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) which is recognized worldwide as the mark of high quality education. We also have a low ratio of 1 adult for six children. The result is an exceptional, enriching, and happy learning experience for students.
Why a bilingual school?
Research demonstrates that bilingualism has numerous benefits. Bilingual children exhibit better literacy, math, and multi-tasking abilities and they are also more adaptable, confident, and empathetic. They have the opportunity to participate in the global community, learn more about people from other cultures and their brains are very active and flexible.
The languages offered by Tessa International School are some of the most spoken worldwide.
What does language immersion look like in the classrooms?
The preschool and KG grades are immersed 80% in the target language with 20% English throughout the day. For Grade 1 and beyond the immersion is 50/50. School days for these grades alternate in English and the target language.
Why 80% in the target language and 20% English in Preschool?
Research has shown this full-immersion model to be more effective than a 50/50 split. The reason being the target language gets stronger while the level of English remains the same, whereas a 50/50 model has shown the target language to be weaker and the English remain the same.
What is the teacher-to-student ratio?
Our Adult to Child Ratios do not exceed 1:5 in Nursery, 1:7 in Preschool, 1:10 in Kindergarten and Primary. The class size does not exceed 16 students (currently 10 to follow COVID regulations). Staff Teams include a Classroom Lead Teacher and Teaching Assistant(s) to maintain the ratio.
What accreditation(s) does Tessa hold?
We are a candidate school with the International Baccalaureate (PYP Program), as well as NCA CASI, NWAC, and SACS CASI (US Accreditation) and the French Ministry of Education.
What are the qualifications and experiences of the teaching staff?
All of our teachers have teaching certifications from their own home country. We also provide IB and PYP training for all of our teachers here at Tessa.
When will you announce the teacher for the next school year?
Typically, you can expect to know next year’s teacher by the beginning of the summer.
What is your calendar based upon?
Our school year starts the week after Labor Day and ends shortly before the end of June. We follow the usual calendar holidays and have a few days break in the middle of each term as well. With working parents in mind, we offer vacation care during these breaks. We offer 9 to 10 more effective school days during the school year – a full two weeks – than most other prominent independent schools in the area.
How do students learn?
We have an inquiry-based curriculum that is highly engaging. Learning happens through play for the younger grades and for grades 2 and up there is a transition from “play” to “research”. Regardless, both are still led by inquiry.
How do you discipline the students?
We view mistakes as learning opportunities and young children are expected to make mistakes. Students make choices and are responsible for their decisions. We address situations as they arise and on an individual basis. Our goal is to help the students develop self-control and make positive choices for the right reasons. We have a strong social-emotional program in place, which continuously helps guide students in this area so they learn to manage their feelings and behaviors at school and beyond.
Are there “Specials”? Who teaches them?
In the 2019-20 school year, we work with The Liberty Science Center(Science) and Tone Academy (Music – Suzuki method)to bring enrichment programs to our students weekly. These additional programs, carefully customized to Tessa International School’s learning objectives and curriculum, provide opportunities for our students to express themselves, problem solve, and work in collaboration with their peers.
How much time do children spend outdoors?
Since children benefit tremendously from fresh air, exercise, and gross-motor play, the students play outdoors each day, during all seasons, except in the case of extreme temperatures. We look at the outdoors as an extension of our classrooms, and are very lucky to have our own playground, which is rare for city institutions.
Can you explain how lunch works at your school?
We have 2 options:
Students bring their own snack/ lunch from home. Each classroom is equipped with a microwave and refrigerator to store and heat up food.
Daily Delicious is the catering service that we work with. Lunches are roughly $6-8 per meal and they are delivered to the school each day. You can get more information, as well as their menu here: https://dailydeliciousmeals.com/index.html
Can you provide your policy on vaccinations? Do you require all children to be vaccinated?
The majority of our community is vaccinated, we do allow for religious exemption, but have very few students, if any, in this category.
Do you celebrate holidays?
We believe that celebrations can enrich classroom experiences. All families are encouraged to share their unique traditions and customs with the classrooms. And opportunities to bring in local or global customs/celebrations are planned for students and teachers throughout the year.
Does your school have opportunities for parents to get involved?
Absolutely! We have a Parent-Teacher Organization as well as many opportunities for parents to volunteer for various activities and events throughout the year (field trips, career week, end of unit celebrations, etc).
At what age can my child begin school?
Children must be 2 years old to enroll in the Nursery program. Our cutoff date is December 31st for January admissions, and August 31st for the full year.
Applicants to grades 1 and above are assessed based on the last year of completed school. However, applicants are encouraged to apply for the grade to which they are eligible based on the August 31 birthday cutoff.
Does my child have to be toilet-trained to attend?
For children entering our Nursery and PreK3 (ages 2-3), it is not a requirement of Tessa’s for them to be toilet trained. We will work on the process in partnership with you as parents to make the change as stress-free and comfortable as possible while your child transitions between pull-ups and using the bathroom. For children entering our Pre-K4 classrooms (ages 3.5-4) the expectation is that they are fully potty-trained.
Can an applicant Reapply?
Applicants are welcome to reapply for the next admissions year.
Can I meet the teacher before we enroll our child(ren)?
To be respectful of everyone’s time we generally don’t ask teachers to meet with parents or students who haven’t yet enrolled, however we will provide parents with a bio about the teacher so you can learn more about them.
TUITION & FINANCIAL AID
Does Tessa offer a sibling discount?
Yes, Tessa offers a 10% sibling discount on the school year.
How does Tessa determine my eligibility to Financial Aid?
We encourage all families to consider an education from Tessa International School regardless of their financial situation, as we are committed to providing financial support to families with demonstrated financial need. We use a third party, TADS, to evaluate the financial ability of each applicant. Financial need is estimated based on a combination of factors, including income, family size, and adjustment for cost of living in the tri-state area. There is a $39 application fee.
What is the language immersion for the summer camp?
Tessa “Fun, Friends, and Discoveries” Summer Camps are thoroughly enjoyable language immersion programs in the language of your choice: Spanish, French or Mandarin!
How many students are in a group?
For Summer Camp, there are as many as 18 campers per group.
AFTERCARE & AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS
What is the difference between after care and after-school programs?
The aftercare program is a childcare service we provide to our Tessa families from 3:30pm to 7pm.
For the afterschool program, we are offering a wide range of activities from languages to music, crafts and sports. Language and culture classes are opened to students not enrolled with Tessa International School. For those students, we offer a walking pick-up service from some Hoboken schools and daycares.
We are also offering afterschool packages to Hoboken families, including one After School activity taught by a qualified teacher per day, pickup from a school or a day care, and access to after care until 7 PM.
What afterschool programs do you offer?
We offer a wide range of activities from languages to sport, music and crafts. Activities may vary from a semester to another; here is a list of our recurrent programs:
TessaPrep Spanish, French & Mandarin
Jazzing it Up (Dance)
Would it be possible to sign up for After Care occasionally?
Aftercare and Before Care are open to our Tessa families only. You can register yearly, monthly or for one day only.
Do you provide vacation care?
We provide vacation care to our Tessa students during most breaks and holidays. You can find the schedule here.
How much does after care cost?
You will find our rates here. Yearly aftercare / before care registration can also be included to your school tuition.