Mommy/Daddy & Me Group—Play, Bond and Move With Your Child at The Cottage School

The Cottage School’s popular  Mommy/Daddy & Me Spring Session starts soon!

The Cottage School offers parents and caregivers a simple  interactive group experience for their children—aged 1-24 months. Held in a warm, nurturing environment that’s firmly centered around The Cottage School’s philosophy, the play group offers storytelling, folksongs, talks, and gentle movement in a quiet and calming environment.

If you would like to participate in this wonderful program please send an email to jessica@thecottageschool.net , and please download and fill out the registration form. The suggested donation for each 6-week session is $50.

We encourage you to escape the house, meet new friends and discover the simple creativity that abounds at The Cottage School:

  • Sign up for our Spring session held February 20th through April 10th from 9:30-10:30 AM. (Note: no meetings will be held on March 17th and  April 3rd). 

Why Cottage Elementary School?—What makes our kids so happy to come to school each day? Discover all that The Cottage School has to offer students from Kindergarten through 8th grade

Private School NJ, Private School New Jersey, Art Based School New Jersey, Alternative Education New Jersey, Alternative Elementary School Somerset CountyThe Cottage School will be hosting an informative session for current and prospective parents who are interested in the elementary program for their children on Monday, February 5th from 9:30am to 11:00 AM.

Our students enjoy school and are engaged members of our community because their individual curiosities and creativity are nurtured in a non-competitive environment. The Cottage School emphasizes the learning process, forming patterns of learning in an environment that is free from pressure, which is a unique quality in today’s achievement-obsessed educational culture.

 A private school based in Gladstone, New Jersey, the elementary program at The Cottage School teaches students aged 5 through 14, with its unique, well-rounded academic program, which integrates the traditional subject areas of language arts, literature, foreign languages, mathematics, natural sciences, world studies, and the arts. The Cottage School has developed its own curriculum and materials to exceed academic expectations on many levels using an interdisciplinary approach, while still covering all NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards. This is complemented by a wide variety of after school enrichment programs, including athletics and language immersion classes.

 The Cottage School Difference: In the elementary program, our students develop a love of learning sustained by a spirit of discovery at a pace that accompanies each individual child. Students’ innate abilities and learning interests are nurtured in a cooperative, non-competitive environment—free from tests or academic competition. The emphasis in the elementary program is on the joy of discovery, sustaining academic curiosity, and embracing experiential learning to maximize creative thinking, rather than on the rote memorization and the recitation of isolated facts. We encourage our students to ask questions, think out-of-the-box, take risks, and embrace mistakes, which all aid in building a strong foundation for innovative thinking. Without using textbooks, The Cottage School’s teachers do research and study from original material, which encourages their students to do the same. The result is an engaged, mutual effort to go deeper in knowledge.

 Nurturing Individual Growth: At The Cottage School, academic gifts and interests flourish while academic pursuits grow steadily and confidently. On individual projects, children are encouraged to concentrate on their own projects; there are no comparisons made between students or between student works. Within student’s own abilities, each child is expected to do his or her best—whether the activity is math, painting, singing, or sweeping. Expecting each student’s best from every activity helps cultivate a strong sense of integrity and confidence with every endeavor taken on and accomplished.

Fostering a Collaborative Environment: Cooperative skills are developed throughout daily routines as well as through unique experiential projects that include gardening, folk dancing, original script writing, and play production 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. This helps The Cottage School maintain a strong sense of community where creativity and a joy for learning are nurtured.

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 www.thecottageschools.net.

Discussion Based on the Film “Race to Nowhere”—A Free Parenting Workshop at The Cottage School

“Hours of homework produce unbearable stress; stress produces cheating, cramming to pass tests and then forgetting everything; that false learning then means remediation when they get to college; and, on rare occasions, students kill themselves. In my 35 years of reporting for NPR and PBS, I have covered these issues more times than I care to remember…I promise you that this movie is telling the truth.”John Merrow, correspondent for PBS Newshour, writing for The Huffington Post

The Cottage School is pleased to offer a free workshop discussion on the groundbreaking educational film Race to Nowhere on Monday, January 29th from 9:30 to 11:00 AM.

Register Now!

This grassroots documentary challenges the current approach society takes to “prepare” children for success. With a hyper-focus on over-scheduling, over-testing, and over-performing in everything from academics to athletics, the film examines how our achievement-obsessed culture may not only be dangerous but counterproductive—robbing children of their childhood, love for learning, passion for creativity and intrinsic  motivation, leaving them ill-prepared for a healthy adulthood.

Named as one of “10 Education Documentaries You Don’t Want to Miss”, Race to Nowhere brings us together at The Cottage School to discuss the role and impact of education in an informed and insightful manner. Although viewing the film before the workshop is not necessary for the discussion, Race to Nowhere is available to rent or purchase on You Tube, Amazon Video, iTunes and the Race to Nowhere website.

Register Now  for our Discussion Based on the Film “Race to Nowhere” on Monday, January 29th from 9:30 to 11:00 AM.

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.

Baking (and Eating) Cake Together—A Monthly Birthday Tradition at The Cottage School

A private school based in Gladstone, New Jersey, The Cottage School takes a collaborative approach when celebrating students’ birthdays. Students commemorate this milestone once a month by baking a carrot cake together and enjoying it once it comes out of the oven.

A wonderful example of “learning by doing,” baking brings into play so many different educational concepts in a fun and cooperative manner. The students are required to read the recipe, which is written in both English and Spanish to encourage literary fluency. Each student with a birthday that month gets to crack an egg while other students measure out all of the ingredients exactly, which requires a basic understanding of fractions. Finally, the students bring the ingredients together and watch them “transform” into a cake with the heat of the oven—a delightful way to bring basic chemistry to life. This experiential experience allows students to engage all their senses and use their minds in creative ways to solve the scrumptious problem of turning ten single ingredients into one delicious cake.

Once the cake is out of the oven, the students gather with their teachers and parents to sing the birthday song. The “birthday children” get to decide which language the song will be sung in, choosing from English, Spanish, French, Guarani, Portuguese, German and Mandarin. You will find our 15-year old recipe for Carrot Cake below, and we invite you to try it at home.

Carrot Cake
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded carrots (about 5 medium)

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches. Mix sugar, oil and eggs until blended; beat 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients except carrots; beat 1 minute. Stir in carrots. Pour into pan.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

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.  Learn more at thecottageschools.net

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