Spanish & Art Immersion—Registration for The Cottage School Summer Program is Now Open

New Jersey Alternative Elementary SchoolThe Cottage School is pleased to offer four weeks of Spanish Immersion throughout the month of June. Each week will focus on a specific Latin American country where children—ages 2 to 12 years—will be immersed in both the Spanish Language and the arts.  Teachers speak only in Spanish throughout the day.

A 10% discount will be offered to families signing up for either 3 or 4 weeks of camp:

Week I (Tuesday, June 5 to Friday, June 8): Paraguay (Spanish/Art Immersion)

Week II (Tuesday, June 12 to Friday, June 15): Chile (Spanish/Art Immersion)

Week III (Tuesday, June 19 to Friday, June 22): Puerto Rico (Spanish/Art Immersion)

Week IV (Tuesday, June 26 to Friday, June 29): Cuba (Spanish/Art Immersion)

Please download and fill out the registration form and email to

Summer program schedule:

Program  runs from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Each day is divided into two parts: 

  • 1 hr. 30 min for Spanish language immersion where children learn Spanish through folk singing, play-acting, traditional games, and reading poetry/folktales out loud. Children also learn about the country of study: its geography, people, traditions, food, music, and dances.
  • 1 hr. 30 min. for art inspired by the Latin American country studied throughout the week.

Additional summer programs: In addition to our Spanish & Art Immersion Program , we will be offering Zumba for Kids from 8:45 am – 9:30 am and Spanish Language Enrichment from 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm before and after each day of camp.

The Cottage School is a multicultural non-sectarian, 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

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 , 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

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

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

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

To learn more about The Cottage School visit

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 

To learn more about The Cottage School visit

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

Alternative School Somerset County, NJ

Poetry Workshop – Thursday, April 13th 7pm – 8:30pm

As part of our ongoing series of workshops for The Cottage School parents and community members,  our adult-ed poetry instructor, Phil Rosenbach, will lead a poetry class beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 13. No experience  is necessary and all are welcome!

Poetry enthusiasts and newbies alike will look at short, understandable, well-written poems. We will also look at some poorly written poems to try to determine what makes a poem good or bad.

Participants will discuss  their own view as to what makes a poem good or bad, interesting or boring, fun or tedious,  or that there there may be no way to determine the difference.

If you have a favorite poem, bring it to the class for reading and discussion. Poems written in English are preferred, but we will do the best we can with poems written in other languages.

This workshop is open to the public so feel free to bring a friend!

RSVP: or (908) 719-9610