Elementary Years

A first contact with structured learning

Elementary school is a pivotal time in a child’s life. It is the child’s first contact with structured learning. This experience will be a deciding factor as to whether or not a child enjoys school and finds the learning process rewarding. Our program focuses on both academic learning and socialization skills, introducing children to the broad range of knowledge, skill, and behavioral adjustment they need to succeed and become life-long learners.

At a Glance

Grade 1 to 5

50% immersion in the language

Choose from Spanish, French or Mandarin tracks


Acquiring foundations of life-long learning

The curriculum of the elementary school relies on the traditional essentials of reading, writing, and mathematics. Because our children come from many nations, we stress social studies and the concept that we are all citizens of one world. We also emphasize traditional preparation for further education such as work and study habits, neatness, intellectual discipline and respect for the environment in general.

A Bilingual Program

Students are not taught a language but rather IN a language. Daily exposure to various languages builds confidence and communication skills, and prepares our students to become bilingual, adaptable, and active citizens.

A World-Class Education

Guided by the International Baccalaureate and European standards, our program provides a “roadmap” for students to travel, with options for detours when their curiosity is peaked or the need for student-initiated action occurs. Each Unit of Inquiry allows students to deeply engage in Transdisciplinary Learning: Literacy, Math, The Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Personal, Social & Physical Education are all interconnected. The curriculum has been built on the principal of incorporating some of the world’s best practices in education such as Singapore Math, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and the Mission Laique Française.

Academic challenge

Our program is structured so that it encourages and facilitates creative and critical thinking skills, while engaging students in discovery, inquiry, and problem-solving. They are constantly and positively challenged, so that they are used to and enjoy giving their best.

The IB Primary Years Program (PYP) is a curriculum framework which centers around a series of transdisciplinary themes that address human commonalities. The Program of Inquiry  reflects our philosophy, our knowledge and experience, and the requirements of the NJ Department of Education as well as of the French Curriculum. We review and revise it annually, keeping it relevant, challenging and engaging for our students.

The students are exposed to units of learning that promote inquiry, exploration, and investigation. These units integrate all subject areas and provide meaningful learning experiences for students. The goal is to connect the students’ learning to the real world, both locally and globally. We want our students to develop a deep  understanding of the concepts and topics being studied.

Grade 1

Language / Literacy: In Grade 1 we focus on reading and writing readiness, for which they have prepared throughout PreK and Kindergarten. As the child develops, skills in composition are added and students begin to read and comprehend complex literary or informational texts. They can copy sentences in cursive and in script. We stress phonetic awareness and the understanding of structure in writing. Creative projects, drama, poems, texts, are some of the activities that complete our students’ ability to understand literature.

Math: Math is taught using both French and American materials and programs, combining the best of both worlds. Using strategies inspired by Singapore Math, students will learn the numbers up to 100 and beyond, addition in columns with carrying, linear subtraction and multiplication tables up to 2×2. In geometry, they will practice measurement using standard units of measurement: length, mass, capacity, and temperature, use a ruler to draw segments and compare lengths. They will learn to describe and label 2D and 3D shapes, and to organize and represent data.

Grade 2

Language / Literacy: Students will strengthen the skills acquired in Grade 1. As they read with sufficient accuracy and fluency, they will focus more on the meaning of texts, story structures and ideas. Students will participate in collaborative conversations about various topics, and start to demonstrate an understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings. They will begin to use familiar aspects of written language with increasing confidence and accuracy, and demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. They will master cursive handwriting performed with increasing speed.

Math: Grade 2 goals are the mastery of the main elements of numeration and calculation, problem solving and mental math. They start working with two digit numbers, begin to model equivalent fractions and learn the multiplication tables by 2, 3, 4 and 5. Students will begin to use the language of fractions, of shape and space. They learn to collect, display and interpret data using simple graphs, and to understand the logic of probability.


  • Daily formative assessments (rubrics, checklists, anecdotal assessments, exit tickets, etc.)
  • Periodical assessments: Twice a year, we assess our students on various attributes, including academic skills as well as creativity, collaborative planning, and innovation. The scores are recorded and shared with parents. The goal of these assessments is to look at the growth of our students over time, from when they began studying at Tessa, to the moment that they graduate.
  • MAP tests by NWEA: these include math, language, and a reading assessment.
  •  Twice per year, we administer a survey related to your child’s relationship with his or her teacher, to make sure that we are doing our absolute best to care for our students.

Sample of Daily Schedule

7.30am - 8.30amBefore Care
8.30amStart of the Day
8.45am - 9amCircle Time / Group Meeting
9am - 9.45amUnit of Inquiry
(Social Studies, Sciences, Math, Literacy, Arts and Movements)
9.45am - 10.30amSnack & Recess
10.30am - 11amUnit of Inquiry
11am - 12pmSpecials
12pm - 1pmLunch & Recess
1pm - 2.30pmUnit of Inquiry
2.30pm - 3pmLearning Centers
3pm - 3.15pmPack-up / Departure
3.15pm - 7pmAfter Care

Tessa International School

Office: (201) 755-5585 | Location: 702 Monroe St. Hoboken, NJ 07030