The Importance of the Arts in Education: A Free Workshop at The Cottage School – November 30th, 2017 6:30pm

Educational Workshops are an integral part of the culture at The Cottage School in Somerset County, New Jersey and are offered monthly to our parents and community at large.  Always free of charge, these inspirational and insightful classes explore current topics in education, parenting, and child development.

The Cottage School is pleased to announce that the November workshop – “The Importance of the Arts in Education” will be held on Thursday,  November 30th from 6:30pm-8:00pm. The workshop with be co-hosted by Liza Scher who holds a degree in Art History and a concentration in German Expressionism, and Laura Soulages who is the Founding Director of The Cottage School.  At the end of our discussion, attendees will be given the opportunity to paint their own holiday cards.

REGISTER NOW 

A core belief at The Cottage School is that art, in all forms, be it visual arts, music, dance, imaginative play or drama, positively influences children in their physical, affective and cognitive development, their desire to learn and their love for school.

The process of creativity and expression is one that should not be oppressed. Creativity is an instinct and a need for all and it is imperative that we allow children the time to create. Art enables children to be critical, innovative thinkers, to problem solve, create, communicate, express and experiment. Art helps children to develop inventive and productive ways to think outside the box, and is an indispensable tool when it comes to developing physical, cognitive and social skills.

Founding Director of the Cottage School, Laura Soulages asks:

“Is it possible to educate in a different way? If education is considered a mere transfer of knowledge, the giving of information about mathematics, geography, history, language and so forth is enough. However, if the purpose of education is to develop children as whole human beings, the arts cannot be isolated. The arts not only enrich children’s lives as they are part of the culture, but they also help them to express themselves. Personal and unique expressions are shaped in paintings, in the sounds of music, in writing, in dance and in every possible type of human expression; and this expression is necessary for life.”

Yes, it is possible to educate in a different way and we are doing so at The Cottage School in Gladstone, New Jersey.  We feel that it is our job, as teachers, to nurture the creative minds of students. At The Cottage School, we integrate the Arts and Academics in all traditional subjects. We honor creativity in all subjects of learning, and, regardless of age, we provide daily free play time that help develop the imagination.

The Arts Education Partnership says that the artistic experiences in young children:

“Increase motivation, skill in symbol manipulation, and enhance skill in building social relationships. The arts develop self-regulation and develop expressive skills. Effective learning at all ages requires a balance between, on one hand, well-learned routines that provide efficiency and, on the other hand, opportunities for innovation that involve play and social interaction, which often allows new insights to emerge.”

Register Now  for “The Importance of the Arts in Education” to learn more.

The Cottage School is a non-selective multicultural learning community that values and fosters the children’s spirit of discovery to sustain their innate abilities and passion for learning. We create a non-competitive environment where creativity and the joy for learning are nurtured. To learn more about The Cottage School visit us at thecottageschool.net.

Nurturing Individualized Learning Paths at The Cottage School

A private school based in Gladstone, New Jersey, The Cottage School develops a love of learning sustained by a spirit of discovery at a pace that accompanies each individual student. Students’ innate abilities and learning interests are nurtured in a non-competitive environment—free from tests, peer pressure, or academic competition. This helps The Cottage School maintain a strong sense of community where creativity and a joy for learning can thrive.

Each student is expected to do his or her best, within a student’s own abilities,—whether the activity is rhythmic writing, math, painting, singing, weaving, or sweeping. This helps each student cultivate a strong sense of integrity and confidence with each endeavor. Children are encouraged to concentrate on their own projects; there are no comparisons made between students or their works. Individualizing expectations allows each child to grow in an educational environment that encourages progress with creative and attainable challenges.

Cooperative skills are developed throughout daily routines—such as circle time and morning song—as well as through unique experiential projects that include gardening, folk dancing, original script writing, and rehearsal for the annual school play. This balance of nurturing individualized expectations in a collaborative environment results in the development of a confident student body that works together in a caring and cohesive manner.

To learn more about the foundations of The Cottage School, please visit us at thecottageschool.net.

The Cottage School is a multicultural non-selective learning community that values and fosters the children’s spirit of discovery to sustain their innate abilities and passion for learning. We create a non-competitive environment where creativity and the joy for learning are nurtured. Learn more at thecottageschool.net

Simplicity & Sweetness Abound at The Cottage School’s Halloween Parade and Harvest Festival

 At the end of every October, The Cottage School hosts its annual Halloween Parade and Harvest Festival for the school children and their families. All ages participate, including our littlest ones who attend our Mommy and Me program. Children are encouraged to wear noncommercial costumes—some of which are found in the school’s handmade “Theatrical Costume Collection” from the children’s annual school plays.

During the Halloween Parade, children walk a path with their teachers through the school yard and into the decorated playground. The children visit “stations,” where they say a nursery rhyme or sing a song and receive a healthy treat, such as an apple or bread. Each harvest station is directed by a parent dressed in costume:

  • The Farmer distributes organic apples from her harvest
  • The Miller shows the children how to mill corn into cornmeal
  • The Baker distributes corn bread
  • The Candlestick Maker hands out natural beeswax candles, which are handmade by the children at school the previous week 
  • The Wizard performs magic tricks and gives each child homemade playdough

After the children visit each station, family members gather with their children and the teachers to enjoy some apple cider. 

Nursery Rhymes Recited and Songs Sung at the Harvest Festival

The Farmer
Ten little apples, up in a tree
five for you and five for me.
Let’s shake that apple tree just so
and all the apples fall below.

The Miller
Blow, wind, blow!
And go, mill go!
That the miller can grind his corn
That the baker may take it,
And into bread make it,
And bring us a loaf in the morn,
And bring us a loaf in the morn.

The Baker
Pat-a cake, Pat-a-cake,
Baker’s man,
Bake me a cake, 
As fast as you can.
Pat it and prick it,
And mark it with B,
Put it in the oven,
For baby and me.

The Candlestick Maker
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick,
Jack jump over the candlestick.

The Wizard
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.


 

The Cottage School is a multicultural learning community that values and fosters the children’s spirit of discovery to sustain their innate abilities and passion for learning. We create a non-competitive environment where creativity and the joy for learning are nurtured. To learn more about The Cottage School visit us at thecottageschool.net.

Raising Emotionally Intelligent and Resilient Children—A Free Educational Workshop at The Cottage School

Educational Workshops are an integral part of the culture at The Cottage School and offered monthly to our parents and community at large. Always free-of-charge, these inspirational and insightful classes explore current topics in education, parenting, and child development.

The Cottage School is pleased to announce that the October workshop—“Raising Emotionally Intelligent and Resilient Children”—will be hosted by noted certified school psychologist  Dr. Jason Rodker . To accommodate different schedules, it is being offered twice this month—both in the evening on Thursday, October 26th from 6:30-8:00pm and in the morning on Monday, October 30th from 9:30 to 11am.

“Emotional intelligence” can be defined in many ways. One way to think about it is to consider qualities—such as self-awareness, empathy, emotional regulation, and interpersonal competence—that allow us to constructively manage our world of emotions so we remain resilient in the face of life’s inevitable challenges. According to Dr. Rodker, “helping children develop these qualities requires that we, as adults, help our children manage their own inner emotional worlds in compassionate and developmentally appropriate ways.” The upcoming workshops at The Cottage School will provide educators and parents with:

  • General guidelines for adopting a parental attitude that will help children naturally explore and befriend their inner worlds
  • Specific strategies to help children develop skills to manage difficult emotions

Register for “Raising Emotionally Intelligent and Resilient Children” today

SIGN UP for Thursday, October 26th 6:30-8:00pm

SIGN UP for Monday, October 30th 9:30- 11:00am

The Cottage School is a multicultural learning community that values and fosters the children’s spirit of discovery to sustain their innate abilities and passion for learning. We create a non-competitive environment where creativity and the joy for learning are nurtured. To learn more about The Cottage School visit us at thecottageschools.net.

About Dr. Rodker: Dr. Jason Rodker earned his Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Rutgers University and his Doctorate in Child-Clinical/School Psychology at Pace University. Throughout his training, he worked with adolescents/young adults who were dealing with anxiety and depression, adjustment to life transitions, gender and sexual identity issues, and relationship difficulties. During his internship and fellowship training at Youth Consultation Service, Dr. Rodker developed specialties in both child therapy and play therapy. He worked with children of all ages who presented with a variety of diagnoses including disruptive behaviors, mood dysregulation, adjustment difficulties, attachment issues, and trauma. As a certified school psychologist after training, Dr. Rodker worked on Child Study Teams in traditional and alternative school environments.

Today, Dr. Rodker is in private practice working with children, adolescents, and adults. All of the work in which Dr. Rodker engages is informed by a core appreciation for child and human development , as well as the key role that relationships play in the developmental process.

Folk Songs: A Morning Tradition at The Cottage School

Regardless of age or grade, the children at The Cottage School start their day together. Teachers and children join up at circle time to greet each morning with a folk song, sung in either English or Spanish.

Folk songs provide a rich opportunity for language development and help set the foundation for bilingualism. Wrapped in melody and rhythm, songs use language in a way that is different from regular speech, enabling children to develop and expand language through the repetition of sounds, alliteration, and rhyme. This way, children intuitively learn new words, absorb meanings, and refine pronunciation. At The Cottage School, children are inspired to learn foreign languages, not only through folk songs, but through a wide variety of play-based experiences, including play-acting, art activities, traditional games, writing and drawing in books, and reading original prose, poetry and folktales out loud.

Folk songs are wonderful for building language; they help to instill confidence, generate multicultural awareness, and are best when shared. Parents are encouraged to sing our morning songs—like the one featured below—at home with their children.

Listen to  Good Morning the Earth :

Good Morning the Earth :
Good Morning the Earth and
Good morning the Sun
Good morning the rocks and the flowers, every one
Good Morning dear beasts and the birds in the trees
Good morning to you, and Good Morning to me!

Listen to Buen Día a la Tierra :

Buen Día a la Tierra :
Buen día a la tierra,
y buen día al sol,
buen día a las piedras, y las flores de todos,
buen día queridas bestias, y los pájaros y árboles,
buen día a tí, y buen día a mí.

The Cottage School is an alternative school focused on play-based learning. We integrate arts, and academics in all the traditional subjects. To learn more about our multicultural learning environment visit us at thecottageschools.net.

The Cottage School Open House – Wednesday, September 27 at 9 AM – 11 AM

Once a month, we host an Open House at The Cottage School. Join us next Wednesday, September 27th from 9am-11am! 

This is a wonderful opportunity for current parents, family members and those of you who are interested in seeing what The Cottage School is all about, to come see the school in action.

You’re invited to our opening morning circle where we sing rounds, tell stories and begin our daily lessons. 

The Cottage School is a multicultural learning community that values and fosters the children’s spirit of discovery to sustain their innate abilities and passion for learning. We create a non-competitive environment where creativity and the joy for learning are nurtured.

RSVP by emailing  liza@thecottageschool.net

To learn more about The Cottage School visit  www.thecottageschools.net

Open House – September 1st, 11am-1pm

Summer is winding down and we’re gearing up for what’s sure to be an amazing year here at The Cottage School.

The first open house of the school year will be September 1st from 11am-1pm. This is a great opportunity for current Cottage School children, families, and community members to come see the school and meet The Cottage School teachers.

The children will have an opportunity to reconnect with and meet new schoolmates in the playroom or outside on the playground.

RSVP by emailing liza@thecottageschool.net. 

To learn more about The Cottage School visit  www.thecottageschools.net

The Cottage School Version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Based on our curriculum for the 2016/2017 school year (Animals and Plants), The Cottage School students wrote and performed The Cottage School version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  for our annual end-of-the year play.

In learning how to read, children are often taught that “reading” is a skill that one develops to decode words, but it is not always offered related to context. One of the fundamentals of The Cottage School is to educate the children to become “life-long readers,” with an appreciation for the literature that they are being read or reading by themselves. In play acting, children not only develop literary skills and a love for literature, but they also develop confidence in expressing themselves through the creative process.

Each year, our elementary school students initiate their research at the beginning of the school year.  Then, they start the creative writing process.  They learn the editing process and how to revise.  The group works together during many classes to create a cohesive story that includes all members of the school through dialogue, singing, and dancing.   All students take part in the production; they are involved in the entire process – from painting scenery and helping with costumes to acting without the script.

The end of the school year play nurtures creativity linked to what they are studying. In addition, the experience of being part of a story, teaches children to appreciate literature by creating an environment in which the literature makes sense to them. By play acting the story, they “re-create it”; they comprehend it, and thereby, unite the learning experience.

To learn more about The Cottage School, an alternative school in Somerset County, New Jersey, visit http://www.thecottageschool.net.

Alternative School Somerset County, NJ

THE COTTAGE SCHOOL RECEIVES GRANT FROM THE GARDEN CLUB OF SOMERSET HILLS FOR $500

Preschool Garden at The Cottage School in New Jersey The Cottage School is pleased to announce it has received a $500 grant from the Garden Club of Somerset Hills Community Grant Program.  These funds will help expand The Cottage School Garden Program.

Students are engaged in caring for the garden through weeding, watering, and harvesting crops, and receive monthly gardening lessons on such topics as composting, seed saving, crop rotation, bee friendly plantings, and other aspects of organic gardening. a drying rack for drying and saving seeds and herbs and a drop irrigation system to maintain the garden during the summer months.

Founding Director of the Cottage School, Laura Soulages explains, “The children benefit immensely from The Cottage School Gardening Program, as it provides an outlet to foster inquiry about the love for the natural world. The program integrates health and wellness education by encouraging students to eat a healthy and balanced diet that incorporates fresh, organically grown fruits, vegetables and herbs. Extra plants are often divided and made available to the students to bring home, encouraging a dialogue about health and wellness between parents and children at home. Children are also taught the beneficial health aspects of good bacteria from the soil and the medicinal used of herbs, and the gardening program has helped the students experience a sense of community as they garden with their classmates.”

The Garden Club of Somerset Hills awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. They provide funding for outstanding projects located in Somerset, Morris, Hunterdon and Essex Counties.  They continue to be committed to helping preserve and protect natural resources, furthering horticulture projects, and encouraging an awareness and appreciation of the natural environment around us. 

For more information about The Cottage School visit, http://www.thecottageschool.net.

The Cottage School Summer Program – Argentina

During week #2 of our Spanish Immersion Summer Program, the children learned about Argentina.

Starting at 9:30am and ending at 12:30 pm, each day is divided into two parts :  1 hr. 30 min for Spanish language immersion, where children learn about the country of study: its geography, people, traditions, food, music, and dances, and 1 hr. 30 min. for art, inspired by that particular country.

One of the highlights this week was making Paper Mache Masks for the Carnivals in Gualeguaychú! And, of course, the children have been loving our early morning Zumba class taught by teacher Juana!

We end each week with a traditional food from the country that we are exploring. This week, we made a sweet Argentinian favorite, Alfajorcitos de maicena and the children LOVED them! Scroll down below the photos and video for our recipe if you’d like to make them at home.

 Here are some photos and videos of the week :
New Jersey Alternative Elementary School

Alfajorcitos de maicena
 
  • 100 grams of unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 egg
  •  1 yolk
  •  3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp. of vanilla
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking soda
  • Dulce de leche
  •  Coconut (optional)
1. Mix the dry and wet ingredients thoroughly.
2. Place dough in plastic wrap/bag and refrigerate for two hours.
3. Roll dough flat and cut into small circles.
4. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
5. Let cookies cool, spread a teaspoon of dulce de leche to flat surface of one cookie and flatten with another cookie to make a “sandwich.”
6. If desired, roll the dulce de leche part of the alfajorcito in coconut
Enjoy!!!

 

To learn more about The Cottage School, visit www.thecottageschool.net