Camp Riverbend Beach Party Open House

Choosing a summer camp?  Come in from the cold…to Camp Riverbend’s Beach Party Open House!  Saturday January 20, 10 am – 12 noon for prospective campers of all ages (3-14).  Riverbend counselors will be leading tropical games, crafts and cooking activities for kids and parents.  Meet our directors and tour the camp grounds.  Please email [email protected] or call 908-580-CAMP to reserve your space.   Camp Riverbend is 30 minutes from downtown Jersey City.  Daily summer bus service included.

The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ

 

An Interview with Jean-François, Center Director, The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ

The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ is located in downtown Jersey City and walking distance from Grove Street Path Station. The French American Academy opened in the former St Mary High School. Their charming 3-story building, offers 30 classrooms with bright light, warm colors and ample space. We were warmly greeted by their faculty and students. A special thank you to their center director, Jean-François, for giving us his time.

When did The French American Academy of Jersey City open it’s doors:

This school is part of a group of schools called the French American Academy founded 10 years ago. The French American Academy first opened three Pre-K classes in September 2007 in Dumont, NJ. The school has grown ever since.

We moved to a bigger campus in New Milford in Bergen County in July 2010 and shortly after  opened a second campus in Morris Plains in Morris County in September 2010. The Jersey City campus opened its doors in 2012.

The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ

What kind of curriculum do you follow & how is it different from other schools in the area:

The French American Academy of Jersey City is a private bilingual school. We offer an early-start, gradual immersion, dual language (French and English) education to students from Pre-K2 through 4th grade. From Sep 2017, we are expanding to 5th grade.

In Sep 2018 we will open the Middle school in Jersey City with 6th, 7th and 8th grades with French, American & Spanish tracks. We will be accepting students from various international backgrounds and communities.


There is more emphasis on the French language in the early years (Pre-K-Kindergarten) to set up the foundations. From 1st grade, instruction in English gradually increases and by 5th grade children are spending about 60% in French and 40% in English.

Bilingualism is at the core of our curriculum and in some classes like in science, students are taught in both languages with both an American and a French teacher present in the classrooms. It’s a demanding bilingual curriculum with an emphasis on projects and investigation. In our community, we welcome children from families whether these families speak French at home, or English or another language.

Our school is accredited by both, Middle School Association on College and Schools, and the National French Ministry of Education, and is a member of New Jersey Association of Independent School.

The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJWhat is the student/teacher ratio in your school: 
5:1 in Pre-K (the legal requirement is 6:1)
8:1 in Pre-K for three year old (the legal requirement is 10:1)
10:1 in Pre-K for four year old (the legal requirement is 12:1)
12:1 in Kindergarten (the legal requirement is 15:1)
16:1 in First Grade (there is no more legal obligation but the public school ratio is usually 25:1)
18:1 in Second Grade and up (there is no more legal obligation but the public school ratio is usually 25:1)

The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJDo you have early drop off and after care options available:

The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ school day runs from 8.30am -3.15pm. Before-school-care opens at 7:30am.
After-school-care starts at 3.15pm and ends at 6:30pm.
A bus from Bus4us company brings the students from Weehawken / Hoboken to Jersey City in the morning and take them back in the afternoon.

Do you provide an option for catered lunch:

In Jersey City we partner with Simply Gourmet. You can easily order your child’s lunch online with them or send your child with a lunch box. Their meals are nutritious, delicious, and kid friendly. Our other campuses have their own catering company. We have this planned for Jersey City too in the future.

The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJWhat extracurricular activities do you offer:

Enrichment classes typically run from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Offerings may include:
Art, Sports (Soccer, Tennis and Team Games), Hip-Hop, Music (Guitar and Piano private lessons), Chess, Cooking, Woodworking, Programming
Our Enrichment Program offers every day at least two different classes: one for older children and one for younger children.

Students also enjoy a huge inhouse  gymnasium for physical education or indoor recess.

Do you offer Summer Camp programs:

The French American Academy, Jersey City’s Summer Camp program runs for 8 weeks (end June – mid August)

We also offer mini camps in February and over Spring break.

What would you like to say to our families:

Everyone is welcomein The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ! We also have Financial Aid budgets for qualifying families.
The French American Academy is a school of excellence and we hope you will give this gift to your child.

Final Camp Riverbend Open House May 6

Choosing a camp for this summer?

Join us at our final spring Open House Saturday May 6, 11 am – 2 pm.  Last day to catch our early bird enrollment discount!  Games, crafts, and cooking for children and parents.  You can meet some of our amazing counselors and tour the camp site. Free!  RSVP required to [email protected] or 908-580-CAMP.

Camp Riverbend is 30 minutes from downtown Jersey City; daily summer bus service included.

Camp Riverbend “Wild West” Open House Saturday April 8

Choosing a camp for this summer?
Join us at our Open House Saturday April 8, 10 am – 12 noon. We’re rounding up cowpokes and buckaroos to join us for some rootin’-tootin’ “Wild West” games, crafts, and cooking for children and parents. You can meet some of our amazing counselors and tour the camp site. Free! RSVP required to [email protected] or 908-580-CAMP.
Camp Riverbend is 30 minutes from downtown JC; daily summer bus service included

Camp Riverbend “Alien Invasion” Open House

 

Choosing a summer camp?

Come sample Camp Riverbend’s awesome summer activities this winter at our “Alien Invasion” Open House Saturday February 25, 10 am – 12 noon.  We will have lots of fun Riverbend activities for kids and parents, run by our amazing counselors, including out of this world games, crafts and cooking.  Take a tour of the camp site with our directors.  Free!  RSVP required to [email protected] or 908-580-CAMP.

Camp Riverbend is 30 minutes from downtown Jersey City; daily summer bus service included

Camp Riverbend Open House, Sunday Jan 22

Choosing a camp for this summer?

Come sample Camp Riverbend’s awesome summer activities this winter at our “Secret Agent Training” session.  We will have lots of fun Riverbend activities for kids and parents, run by our amazing counselors, including  spy games, undercover crafts and secret-ingredient cooking.  Take a tour of the camp site with our directors.  Free!  RSVP required to [email protected] or 908-580-CAMP.

Camp Riverbend is 30 minutes from downtown JC and Hoboken; daily summer bus service included.camp-riverbend-jan-17-open-house

How to Host a Playdate: 10 Tips

First time hosting a play date? Never fear – it’s easier than you think. Here are a few tips to help your play day go off without a hitch.

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1. Provide snacks. Choose healthy snacks like apple slices or everyone’s favorite goldfish. If you’re not sure about the dietary concerns of your guests, feel free to ask the other parents before they arrive. Send a simple text, “Does Sasha have food allergies?”

2. Put your pets away. Since we’re on the topic of allergies, some parents and even adults have allergies to animals that you may not be aware of. In addition, while your child loves your dog, the other child might have limited experiences with animals, and your dog’s excitement could terrify your guest.

3. Offer your guest a drink as soon as possible. Coffee, tea, water, or soda are good options to start with. You might even offer to have a glass of wine together. Let’s put it this way: if you’re willing t o have a glass of wine in the middle of the day, maybe she is too. It doesn’t hurt to throw it out there. (Hint: If you invite me over, I like red.)

IMG_22284. Prepare your child for the play date. If there are any special toys that your child then not want to share, have your child to put those toys away before the play day begins. Having that conversation ahead of time will help with some of the stress of sharing those coveted toys.

5.  Do not turn on the TV. The kids are there to play. Let them do that.

6. Turn on the music. To that point, sometimes too much silence is off-putting. Put some light music on in the background. Let your home be inviting.

7. Tidy up before your play date. Not during. Again, let the kids play. (Note: If you’re the guest, help clean up before you go. Even if the host says, “Oh you don’t have to do that.” You do. She’s just being nice.)

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8. Be clear about the parking or stoller situation. As we live in a very dense area, sometimes it is difficult to figure out what to do with your car or your stroller. Let your guest know where you typically park, or where you leave your stroller. If you have a parking spot in your garage, maybe you can move your car into the street before she gets there so she can park in your spot.

9. Do not hover over the kids. Spend some time getting to know your guest. Compare bedtime routines and dinner menus. Laugh a little. Friends are everything.

10. Connect. The best part of a play date is spending time with other adults. Learn more about the ways other people run their households. Try to be open and honest with other moms about what works for you and what doesn’t. Be willing to hear advice and offer yours.

Mel Kozakiewicz blogs at www.urdoingitright.com.

Bucket and Bay: Jen Kavlakov & Boris Kavlakov

Bucket and Bay in Jersey City

JCFamilies: Tell me about your business.

Jen: Bucket & Bay has been open a year and a half now. In the very beginning, it started out as my project.

Boris: But it’s hard to do something like this and not have the other person involved to some degree. You just share an idea and then that idea goes somewhere.

Jen: So ultimately Boris became a full-time, hands-on participant.

Boris: But I was always involved.

Jen: He’s always been our website and branding guy.

JCFamilies: What are some of the challenges?

Boris:  Running a business is a lot about prioritization and the list of things you have to do as a single proprietor is crazy, and you never get to do everything. Even the list of flavors that we want to create, we have had some ideas, like Old Fashioned Oatmeal, that have been on the docket since…

Jen: …since before we opened… and i has been “coming soon” for a while!

Bucket and Bay in Jersey CityBoris: And other things too – like we have a program where we provide our neighbors with 100% grass fed milk, fresh from the farm. We have wanted to expand that for a long time, but it wasn’t a priority. It was summer and summer is ice cream season.

Jen: My focus has always been in the kitchen and operational things that customers don’t always see but take a lot time, like organizing the team schedule.

Boris: We don’t have time to discuss everything.

JCFamilies: And you have kids too, right?

Jen: Yes, and that really adds a lot to the time pressures. We have two girls. They’re five and six, kindergarten and first grade. Mornings are whirlwinds of trying to get out of the house on time.

Boris: Morning are crazy, but very often both of us are there.

Jen: Which is extremely helpful.

Boris: We do a lot extracurricular activities, which is a luxury, because it takes time. There are not a lot of jobs that allow you to leave work and take your kids to ice-skating.

Jen: Or to a performance at the school. The last one started at 5:00. There are a lot of families where both parents cannot attend a performance at that hour.

Boris: While there are advantages to being a part of the corporate world, it’s organized and predictable, being a business owner gives us flexibility.

JCFamilies: I love the way it looks in here. It’s warm and inviting.

Boris: Thank you! We wanted our place to be warm and inviting like a Bucket and Bay in Jersey Citycoffee shop, not like a typical ice cream store.

Jen: Most ice cream shops are typical scoop shops – they feel cold – not a place where you want to hang out. And we feel that ice cream is very social in nature, we want people to relax and enjoy it.

Boris: So it feels like a coffee shop, but our core focus is still gelato!  And we do our gelato with passion and completely from scratch. Jen’s interest in ice cream started as a kid.

Jen: I grew up visiting my grandparents. My grandfather had an old wooden ice cream bucket that I’d find sitting in the middle of the garage churning away ice cream  – always vanilla

JCFamilies: What makes your ice cream special?

Boris: We start with the milk. We use the most amazing milk in the world – it’s grass fed milk – 100% grass fed. When cows eat exclusively grass, they produce less milk but it’s richer. That’s why it’s a bit more expensive too. But you can totally feel the difference in the way our gelato tastes.

Jen: And our gelato is not typically Italian, it is more modern American, made from scratch, with inspiration from all around the world. Our flavors are creative but also very elegant, they open up gradually as you eat them, often revealing multiple layers.

JCFamilies: Do you get time as a couple? Do you go on dates?

Jen: We do. But not very often.

Boris: Jen just gave me a present for my birthday. It was a handmade book of “tickets” that I can redeem for things like going out to a movie, a date night…

Jen: We do most things as a family, with the kids – which gives us time to be together and talk. But even when we’re out on dates, we still talk about the gelato and the cafe. We haven’t been able to draw that imaginary line that differentiates “this is for work” and “this is for us.”

JCFamilies: How do you decompress?

Jen: We were supposed to go sailing together. As we used to…

Boris: I teach sailing at the Manhattan Sailing Club, but we did find time to go out together on a boat in 2016.

JCFamilies: Do you watch Netflix?

Boris: We don’t binge watch the series. We watch movies.

Jen: Yeah. We recently watched that one movie – remember?

Boris: Yeah. (He doesn’t.)

Jen: I used to want to watch every single movie that was up for an award.

Boris: Yes… We used to host an Oscar’s party!

Bucket and Bay in Jersey CityJen: But now I enjoy coming to work every day.  People tell you, and it’s true – when you have your own business, it’s 24/7. We’re lucky because our business is a place where I would want to come and hang out

Boris: It does get a bit intense. Marrying someone and being in a business with someone is totally different.

Jen: Communication is key. Only we don’t have the same communication style. While we always have the same end goal in mind, the details and the strategy – which direction we’re coming from – is always very different. It helps to take a step back, and look at the whole picture. It’s something we don’t do nearly enough.

Boris: Last year we were on the beach for vacation, and we had a mini business meeting, thinking about all the different moving parts. We wrote them on a piece of cardboard that we found. We still have it. (Looks for it.)

Jen: Boris doesn’t like lists. I love lists.

Boris: (Finds it!) Tea was part of the plan. And look! It materialized!

JCFamilies: How do the kids fit in?

Boris: The kids have priority. That’s where our movie time went. From homework to extracurricular activities, all these things take time. Growing up with your parents having an ice cream shop – the kids are fully aware of it.

Jen: Sometimes they don’t like the ice cream shop.

Boris: Last year was challenging. We spent even more time at the cafe. Partly because we couldn’t afford to have as much help and we were not as organized – so we’d take turns. The kids knew when it was either mommy night or daddy night.

Jen: The kids requested more family nights. So we have that now.

Bucket and Bay in Jersey City

JCFamilies: Do you have advice for other couples in business together?

Jen: I’d definitely say: Communicate! You’ve got to have thick skin. You’ve got to let things go. Get over the small stuff.

Boris: And establish priorities. The fact that we have agreed that our kids are the top priority, helps us move smoothly through the day. Whatever happens, the kids have to get the attention they deserve.