Frequently Asked Questions


  • How do Tessa educators deal with misbehavior?

Children’s behavior is an important factor that directly affects their learning. When dealing with student misbehavior, it’s important we first understand the meaning behind the behavior. Once the root of the behavior is identified the cause can be removed or the emotions healed. This way the behaviors rarely resurface. The focus is on positive behavior intervention strategies. Expectations are clear and consistently adhered to. Children often test the limits, but giving attention to positive behaviors instead of negative, children quickly learn that there’s a better way to communicate. A simple strategy is redirection. This is a powerful and positive way to replace a misbehavior with a positive behavior. Provide the child with a positive alternative. Kids that hear the word “no” or “don’t do that” eventually tune out. Positive behavioral interventions help to build trust and relationships and greatly diminish negative behaviors. Tessa also uses a green bean bag as a calming area so that children can take a break and re-enter the play and work space when they feel ready.

  • What is Tessa’s approach to technology?

Technology can be used in the classroom to enhance learning. Experience with and exposure to technology is essential for 21st century learning and integrating it into the curriculum will help meet the diverse learning needs of the students. The learning is personalized for students and they will have an opportunity to work and excel at their own level and pace. Integrating and using various forms of technology also promotes increased collaboration among students and their peers and helps them stay engaged and interested in what they are learning.

  • How do you adapt to individual students’ needs?

Differentiated instruction is simply a method of teaching that involves teachers gaining a complete understanding, both social and emotional, and academic, of their students so thay can provide teaching and learning experiences that enhance learning. Differentiation is an ongoing process where teachers continually respond to the various needs of students through content (meeting with small groups to reteach or extend learning, presenting in both auditory and visual ways), process (learning centers, hands-on learning support, student personal agendas), products (encouraging students to create with options of how to express themselves), and the learning environment (culturally diverse materials, routines, understanding that some students like to move around and others sit quietly).

  • What is the difference between Tessa and Montessori schools?

Well, the first one is bilingualism, which is a key feature of Tessa’s curriculum. The benefits of acquiring a second language early to develop the child’s cognitive and social skills are quite remarkable. Other differences reside in the fact that Montessori schools combine ages, children ages 3, 4 and 5 all being in the same room, or later 6, 7 and 9, and children are given more latitude on how and in what order they work through their days. At Tessa, we adopt a progressive (teaching children to learn how to learn, giving them skills not information) and classical way of teaching (teacher facilitated) with classes segmented by age, focusing more on the maturity of each age group, with more structure in our school day.

There is no one best way to learn or to teach, or one best school system. Thinking about what you want for your child and what works for your whole family is key.

  • What about manipulatives? Montessori schools use them a lot.

We share the Montessori belief that learning by doing is an essential component to a child’s education. At Tessa International School, manipulatives and experiential learning opportunities are integral to our curriculum. Manipulatives are physical objects that are used as teaching tools to engage students in the hands-on learning. They can be used to introduce, practice, or remediate a concept.

Tessa International School values the use of manipulatives in teaching and learning. Manipulatives allow children to construct their own cognitive models for abstract ideas and processes. Manipulatives engage students which increases both interest in and enjoyment of learning. Increased interest results in increased ability.

  • Why is preschool important?

Preschool sets the foundation for children’s success in future schooling by addressing providing an essential base skills. Research and studies have shown that children who attend a high-quality preschool demonstrate increased achievement in math and reading in primary school compared with children who do not attend a preschool program. The National Research Council states that a high-quality preschool program improves children’s non-cognitive skills, such as persistence and self-control, which have long-term implications for future success in school and in life.

  • Toilet trained or not?

For children entering our Nursery (ages 2.5-3), 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 to make the change as stress-free and comfortable as possible while your child transitions between diapers and using the bathroom. For children entering our Pre-K classrooms (ages 3-4) the expectation is that they are fully potty-trained.

  • Why 80% in the target language and 20% English?

Research has shown this bilingual 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.

  • Special Needs?

Tessa International School believes in providing a rigorous bilingual education for children. Although we do not have services for children with extensive “special needs” services, we do take pride in offering individualized learning that helps all learners demonstrate success. Specific ways we can support children is using picture schedules which support language delays so they can easily follow daily routines. Adaptive resources are another way to help children with fine-motor delays. Tessa International School also uses technology to ensure all children are able to fully participate in the routines and activities which may include specialized equipment for vision or hearing challenges.



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