Two students happily smiles

An Education Based on Happiness

The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human aspiration, demonstrably linked to positive life outcomes. Beyond subjective well-being, research increasingly reveals a causal connection between happiness and cognitive function, academic achievement, and social engagement. Happiness plays a key role in how well students learn and a child’s emotional well-being is the strongest predictor of adult life satisfaction. 

Any great school needs to foster a deep-seated love of learning. At Tessa, happiness is one of the three pillars of our school mission. Ensuring the well-being and happiness of our students is at the heart of everything we do. 

Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient or EQ, is the ability to perceive and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. This ability is essential for preparing students for real-world interactions and becoming happy and effective global citizens. 

Emotionally intelligent individuals often cultivate fulfilling relationships that contributes to happiness.

Our school employs RULER, the renowned methods of the Yale Center for Social and Emotional Intelligence (YCEI), to guide students towards enhanced emotional awareness and interpersonal skills. RULER is an acronym for the five skills of emotional intelligence: 

  1. Recognizing emotions in oneself and others
  2. Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions
  3. Labeling emotions with a nuanced vocabulary
  4. Expressing emotions in accordance with cultural norms and social context
  5. Regulating emotions with helpful strategies

Research on the impact of RULER shows that emotional intelligence can benefit youth development by modeling people’s behaviors and maintaining positive school climates. Implementing RULER can also improve leader, educator, and student outcomes in schools serving PreK to 12 students. Specific outcomes include: 

  • Development of emotion skills
  • Fewer attention and learning problems
  • Greater social and leadership skills
  • Less anxiety and depression
  • Less stress and burnout
  • Better performance in school

Creating a Positive Learning Environment

 A healthy physical school environment promotes learning by ensuring the safety of students and staff. Additionally, researchers found that school facilities, such as lighting and space, can also affect students’ degree of happiness. 

Located on three floors of the Monroe Center, our facility has been designed to offer our students a modern, bright and warm space. The architectural features are designed to promote healthy learning, enhance students’ focus, and encourage a positive attitude. Through bright classrooms and purpose-built facilities, our community’s well-being is our priority.

A bright and warm classroom at Tessa International School

Classrooms at Tessa are designed for a positive learning experience.

Take a virtual tour of Tessa International School here.

Providing Community Support

Beyond the walls of the classroom, Tessa boasts a vibrant parent organization (PTO), which plays a vital role in Tessa’s community-building efforts. It is the School’s and PTO’s joint mission to build a cohesive, global-minded community and work together to make a difference in every child. Our active and close-knit community provides a strong support system for families, fostering friendships and a sense of belonging. 

Parent Organization organized Back to School Events to raise students' happiness.

Parent involvement can help students make social connections.

A sense of community is vital to help students feel engaged and connected to the learning process. By organizing events such as United Nation Days Celebration and Career Week, parents and teachers can foster social connections with students inside or outside the school. This can be especially important for children to practice their social skills, including learning the rules of conversation and age-appropriate behavior. 


To ensure that our education fosters happiness, we provide concrete support psychologically, physically, and interpersonally for students to thrive in this fast-changing world. We believe that happiness is a fundamental need – a key priority in our educational aims. It is one of the most important assets in fueling children’s life-long success and the achievement of many other goals. 


Do you want to explore education provided by one of the top Hoboken private schools?

Contact Tessa International School to learn more!

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social Emotional Learning! What is it?

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a very important piece of a child’s education and directly impacts their success in learning. CASL has identified five essential skills linked with Social Emotional Learning. Using these skills Tessa International School has selected a program that helps to promote a balance of high academic achievement and strong social emotional skills.

Process? The first step is to help children recognize their own emotions and thoughts. Next, we focus on self-management skills so children learn to regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations. The third step is to help children develop empathy and understanding that others perspectives may not be the same as theirs. Fourth, we focus on maintaining positive relationships with others. Important elements in the fourth step include active listening, communicating clearly and appropriately, and cooperating with others. The final step is preparing children to be responsible decision makers. The will learn to make thoughtful choices that promote positive social interactions, evaluate the consequences of actions, and be empathetic of the well-being of others.

Why is this important? A good Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program not only increases children’s prosocial behaviors such as demonstrating kindness, sharing and empathy, but it also has strong links to increased achievement in school.

How do we do it? The first step is identifying a research-based method that has authentic data that proves it has an impact on both the social and academic growth in children. After selecting the program classroom teachers are carefully trained to synchronize their classrooms and the system becomes not only a school-wide effort, but it extends to the family and community. This way expectations can be taught and modeled in and out of school allowing children to practice and refine their skills in a variety of environments.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is taught through clear lessons and integrating the lessons in content areas such as math or language so children are provided opportunities to practice in real situations.  Teachers are provided the necessary resources and training to develop positive relationships between children and their peers and with children and adults.

The method of teaching and reinforcing Social Emotional Learning skills can be done in numerous ways. Children can be asked to demonstrate their learning through role-play or other activities. We believe in the importance of scaffolding which means taking progressive steps to build upon what children already know (their schema). This means learning the key vocabulary of emotions and learning new skills. Another useful way is through books read to children and have them make connections with the feelings of characters to themselves. Through clear modeling and expectations children will be provided the tools in how best to express their emotions. This can be accomplished again through role-play activities. It’s extremely important that the expression of feelings and emotions in children are validated and children are encouraged to express their feelings. Reflection is a key aspect of a good Social Emotional Learning program. Young children must be guided towards reflecting about actions and events that happen in their lives. They can be asked questions such as “Why did Mary cry when Tommy took her toy?”
Tessa International School believes that in preparing children to become world citizens, prepared to embark on their learning journey that will possibly take them across the world, it must have clear policies and procedures to ensure children receive the very best.

Best Plan? There are numerous programs, but which is the best. The answer can be quite subjective and biased depending upon who you ask and which programs they have tried. We at Tessa International School have worked extensively weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each program. We have looked carefully at the research data of the various programs and have found a system which we strongly believe will help children develop the skills necessary to become truly internationally-minded world citizens.

Start Your Journey With Us

Tessa International School

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