Primary Division

Tessa International School Primary Division recognizes the criticality of the early years in fostering a lifelong love of learning. Our thoughtfully designed curriculum, grounded in the International Baccalaureate and French frameworks, fosters intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and essential values. This comprehensive approach, extending beyond traditional academics, equips students with the foundational skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in an interconnected world, while upholding the highest standards of academic excellence.

At a Glance

Grade 1 to 5

Dual-Language Program

(50% English, 50% Target Language)

Choose from Spanish, French or Mandarin tracks

Approach to Learning


At Tessa International School, our bilingual program is crafted to ensure students acquire oral and written proficiency in both English and their chosen target language (French, Mandarin, or Spanish). In Primary School, students spend an equal amount of time with their English teacher and their target language teacher, fostering seamless collaboration and streamlined learning.

Academic Excellence

Tessa International School’s dynamic and goal-oriented program fosters academic success in core subjects like Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Math. Rooted in the inquiry-based framework of the International Baccalaureate (IB), our program not only imparts knowledge but also actively cultivates vital skills such as critical thinking, research, communication, conceptual understanding, self-management, and social-emotional development. With a structured curriculum drawing from both the French Ministry of National Education and US Standards, we establish a strong foundation for future success in middle school and beyond.

Acquiring Foundations of Life-long Learning

Our program is structured to encourage and facilitate critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We engage students in discovery, inquiry, and exploration, constantly and positively challenging them to reach their full potential. Our small teacher-to-student ratio allows for differentiation and individualization, ensuring each student receives tailored support while fostering a lifelong love of learning.

Overview of the Curriculum by Grade

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a curriculum framework which centers around a series of transdisciplinary themes that address human commonalities. The students are exposed to units of learning that integrate all subject areas and provide meaningful learning experiences for students. With a structured curriculum drawing from both the French Ministry of National Education and US Standards, we establish a robust foundation in core subjects such as Science, Social Studies, Language & Literacy, and Math, all the while fostering vital competencies, including critical thinking, research, communication, conceptual understanding, self-management, and social & emotional development. The knowledge is achieved both in English and in the chosen target language (French, Mandarin or Spanish).

Units of Inquiry:

  • Who We Are: Building Together: Fostering Communities of Belonging
  • Where We Are in Place and Time: Evolving Innovations: The Journey of Products
  • How We Express Ourselves: Tales and Discoveries: The Art of Storytelling
  • How the World Works: The Power of Movement: Discovering the Forces that Shape Our World
  • How We Organize Ourselves: Mapping Our World: The Language of Maps and Planning
  • Sharing the Planet: The Essence of Life: Understanding Water and Its Conservation



  • Phonics and Word Recognition: Emphasis on mastering the sounds of each letter and the ability to decode simple words.
  • Fluency: Read aloud with appropriate speed and accuracy.
  • Comprehension: Understanding basic story elements like characters and setting, and recalling key details from texts.


  • Sentence Structure: Writing simple sentences with subject-verb agreement.
  • Grammar and Usage: Introduction to basic parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives).
  • Writing for Different Purposes: Writing simple narratives and descriptions based on prompts.

Listening & Speaking

  • Participating in class discussions and learning to listen to others.
  • Sharing ideas and asking questions related to classroom topics.

Vocabulary Development

  • Learning basic sight words and everyday vocabulary.
  • Engaging in simple word play and word learning activities.

Viewing and Presenting

  • Recognizing and understanding basic visual elements in various media, such as pictures in books and classroom materials.
  • Making simple connections between visual information and verbal or written stories.
  • Using drawings, simple storyboards, or digital tools to share their own stories, ideas, or experiences.
  • Practicing speaking clearly and confidently in front of the class, learning to take turns and listen to others.
  • Participating in classroom discussions and activities to build confidence in expressing their ideas in a group.


  • Number Sense: Understanding numbers up to 100, counting, and number patterns.
  • Addition and Subtraction: Basic addition and subtraction within 20, using various methods like counting on, making ten, etc.
  • Shapes and Space: Recognizing and naming basic 2D and 3D shapes, understanding spatial relationships.
  • Measurement: Understanding and using non-standard units to measure length and mass.
  • Time: Telling time to the hour and half-hour.
  • Simple Graphs: Reading and interpreting picture graphs.
  • Introduction to Place Value: Understanding tens and ones.


Tessa Primary Divisions supplements its rigorous core curriculum with a multifaceted program of “Specials” classes, fostering holistic student development. These specialized courses provide students with opportunities to delve deeper into specific domains beyond the traditional academic subjects.

  • STEM: 2 hours/week
  • Physical Education (PE): 3×1 hour/week
  • Library: 1 hour/week
  • Music: 1 hour/week


At Tessa International School’s Primary Division, students can expand their horizons and explore their interests beyond the classroom through our engaging afterschool clubs, offered free of charge until 4:00 PM. These clubs delve deeper into various subjects like science, literacy, arts, and more, fostering a joyful learning experience through interactive and engaging activities. Whether your child is a budding scientist, a creative artist, or a bookworm, they can discover their passions and expand their knowledge in a supportive and enriching environment.


At Tessa International School, we believe in holistically-designed, developmentally appropriate assessments. Our goal is to communicate students’ strengths and areas for improvement to both students and parents, while fostering a schoolwide culture focused on enhancing learning outcomes and instructional processes. We align our assessments with the Phases of Learning in the Primary Years Program and The French National Curriculum, as well as best practices in immersion language teaching, aiding teachers in adjusting instruction and reteaching as necessary. We are committed to building a schoolwide assessment culture that focuses on improving learning outcomes for students and instructional processes. View our full assessment policy here.

Start Your Journey With Us

Tessa International School

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