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 Alumni Profiles – Isabella and Tessa

The Cottage School elementary school Alumni ProfileWe are so proud that the children who attend The Cottage School transition well into other educational settings and look back fondly on their time at our school.

Twin sisters, Isabella and Tessa, attended The Cottage School through 6th grade. We asked each girl to write a bit about their experience. Here’s what they had to say.

Isabella 
Hi, my name is Isabella and I used to go to The Cottage School. My last year at The Cottage School was in 2015. I was in 6th grade with my twin sister Tessa, and my friend Emily.

The Cottage School prepared us well for the public school academically. When we first started at our new school, it seemed like we were far advanced compared to the rest of the class. We received good grades and made good friends at our new school.

I am now in 8th grade, and my teachers are getting me ready for high school. I’m glad I am now in a public school, but I think The Cottage School enabled and encouraged my creativity. It allowed me to learn better than any other school would have. 

Tessa 
Hello, my name is Tessa and I am a twin who went to The Cottage School from preschool through sixth grade. I went there for a long time and learned a lot and did many plays with the school.

I think that going to The Cottage School helped me in terms of my grades. I am a honor roll student who gets A-’s, A’s, and A+’s. The Cottage School taught me how to study well, get my homework done faster, and prioritize my work better.

All the teachers at my new school love me. I think it is how The Cottage school taught me, I have been a kind and enthusiastic student that has always been on top of her work.

What did you like about The Cottage School?

I like that we didn’t have very much homework so that we could do a good job on the homework that we did get and that we could do some other stuff and not do as much homework. – Tessa

How did The Cottage School help you to do well at your current school?

The Cottage School helped me do well in school academically. – Isabella

The Cottage School helped me because they taught us well and if there was something that we didn’t get, then we could go to the teacher and she would help us and focus on that for the day. Also, we did all of the homework and there was not as much stress to get things right. – Tessa

3- What’s the best memory of TCS you have?

Making great friends. – Isabella

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

A Day in the Life of The Cottage School Students – Thursday, March 23rd 7:30pm-9:00pm

New Jersey Private School This Thursday evening we’ll be hosting “A Day in the Life of The Cottage School Students.”

Come back to school to catch a glimpse of what the children here do, including opening circle (which includes story time, songs and rounds​), math, language arts, and Spanish class.

We have so many unique teaching tools here at the school and this is your opportunity to experience them  hands-on.

This event is great for current Cottage School parents to come see what their children are up to as well as families who are considering the school to gain a better understanding of our teaching methods and atmosphere .

Bring slippers if you want to get the full experience.

A Day in the Life of The Cottage School Students  – Thursday, March 23rd 7:30pm-9:00pm

RSVP: cottageguglielmino@gmail.com or 908-719-9610

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

Mondays on Education – Positive Discipline – March 20th 9:30am-10:30am (recording below)

Once a month, The Cottage School hosts Mondays on Education. It’s an opportunity for the parents of children who attend the school as well as members of the community to come together and discuss important topics on education.

This month we will be discussing distinguished psychologist, educator, and mother of seven, Jane Nelsen’s book, “Positive Discipline.”  In it, she tells us that “The key to positive discipline is not punishment, but mutual respect.”

An approach to discipline based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs, Positive Discipline is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful and resourceful members of their communities, and teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults.

 For those of you who missed this , you can view a recording of our discussion below. 

In addition, you can view the powerpoint that we referenced here.

And a useful Mistaken Goals Chart here.

You can see a short video clip of Jane Nelsen here, where she explains the Five Criteria for Positive Discipline.

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

Weaving at The Cottage School 

Weaving at The Cottage School in Gladstone, New Jersey

One of our unique teaching tools here at The Cottage School is our weaving looms. 

About fifteen years ago, at the early stage of the school, Laura, the founder of The Cottage School’s, brother Jose was visiting from Oklahoma, and made our very first Cottage School Start Looms. Even though Jose is not a carpenter (he is actually a scientist), he was able to assemble them in a short period of time with a staple gun and big nails to hold the yarn. Laura says, “If Jose made them, anyone can make them!” 

The art of weaving is not only rewarding to the soul, but it is also educational. As early as the New Stone Age, people have been weaving fibers from the flax plant to make clothing. Weaving at The Cottage School starts as early as four years old. We offer these young students the opportunity to weave and only expect them to do “their best” (as with any other activity we do at the school).Neurological research shows that mobility and dexterity in the fine motor muscles, especially in the hand, stimulates cellular development in the brain, and so strengthens thinking.

Though there are looms that are sold commercially, they don’t usually hold the warp as well, making the activity a little bit frustrating for young children. (Warp is the yarn wound onto the loom in preparation for weaving.)  The big nails on The Cottage School Start Looms, allow the activity to be less frustrating by holding the warp very well.

If you have the time and some simple materials, (Some wood, big nails, and a staple gun), building your child a loom instead of buying it can be fun, diminishes consumerism and helps children understand that things can be made. 

We make weaving even simpler for beginners by letting the children use their fingers! Holding the Weft (yarn or fabric strips) with their fingers, they move it over and under each warp thread in one row and then under and over those threads in the next row. For beating the weft into place, beginners use their fingers instead of a comb.

The simpler the setup the more involvement children will experience and the more rewarding the activity will be!

Once the students have used these Cottage School Start Looms for one or two years, they move to a regular lap loom and later on to a vertical loom. 

Weaving builds self-esteem and brings joy to children and adults alike. 

DIY Cottage School Start Loom  (pictured on right)

Weaving at The Cottage School

Materials

Directions To build the Loom

  • Cut dowel into 2 pieces measuring 11 inches and 2 pieces measuring 8 inches
  • Create a rectangle frame with cut pieces and attach with wood glue
  • reenforce with a staple gun, two staples in each corner
  • evenly space 7 nails on either of the short sides and hammer into place

Preparing the Loom

  • Using your warp yarn, start by creating a slip knot looping it over an end nail
  • weave the string back and forth zigzagging from side to side
  • tie off the string at the last screw

  • Your child can now begin using their fingers to weave colored yarn or fabric strips over and under each warp thread in one row and then under and over those threads in the next row. For beating the weft into place, beginners use their fingers instead of a comb.

Enjoy!

To learn more visit www.thecottageschools.net

Photography is this post by Anne Katherine Photography

Weaving at The Cottage School

Weaving at The Cottage School

Weaving at The Cottage School

The Cottage School Open House – Wednesday, March 8th from 9am -11am

Once a month, we host an Open House at The Cottage School. Our next Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, March 8th 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. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet the teachers and ask questions about The Cottage School.

This is a great opportunity to see first hand  how activities at The Cottage School  are presented free of pressure and sustained by the spirit of play.

RSVP by emailing cottageguglielmino@gmail.com

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

The Cottage School 2017 Summer Program

We are pleased to announce The Cottage School 2017 Summer Program schedule.  Throughout the month of June, we will be offering three separate language and art immersion sessions for children ages 2 yrs -14yrs. 

Week I (Tuesday, June 6 to Friday, June 9)  : Costa Rica (Spanish/Art Immersion)

Week II (Tuesday, June 13 to Friday, June 16)  : Argentina (Spanish/Art Immersion)

Week III  (Tuesday, June 20 to Friday, June 23) : Peru (Spanish/Art Immersion)

Starting at 9:30am and ending at 12:30 pm, each day will be 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.

The children will be immersed in Spanish by singing folk songs, play-acting, art activities, traditional games, writing and drawing in books and reading aloud original prose, poetry and folktales. The teacher speaks only in the foreign language in much the same way a mother would at home. This natural approach to learning also helps students master other foreign languages later in life.

In addition to our Spanish and Art Immersion Program, we will be offering an optional Children’s Zumba class daily from 8:45am – 9:30am and an optional Spanish Language Enrichment Class from 12:30pm-2:00pm.  

We’re looking forward to a wonderful summer season at The Cottage School and we hope you will join us! 

You can download our registration form HERE. 

For questions and for more information, email us at cottageguglielmino@gmail.com.

The Cottage Elementary School Informational Meeting – Thursday, February 16th at 9:30 am

Elementary students at The Cottage School work on painting scenery for the end of the year school play.

We will be hosting a discussion on Thursday, February 16th at 9:30am for parents who are curious about The Cottage School elementary program.

Update:  Below is a live recording of our discussion for those that weren’t able to attend.

Our elementary school teaches children ages 5 through 14, with its unique, well-rounded academic program integrating traditional subject areas of language arts, literature, foreign languages, mathematics, natural sciences, world  studies, physical education and the fine arts, in a cooperative- not competitive environment.

Using the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards as its foundation, The Cottage School has developed its own curriculum and materials to exceed expectations on many levels.

The students gain knowledge and understanding using an interdisciplinary approach, where they explore these concepts both in real-world contexts in the social and natural sciences, as well as through original literature from around the world (prose and poetry), visual art, music, dance and drama. The emphasis is on the joy of discovery and creative thinking while learning, rather than on the recitation of isolated facts.

Andrea Fillippone, whose daughters stayed at The Cottage School through 6th grade, will be attending so that she may offer her thoughts and experiences in keeping her daughters through elementary school.

Toni Welsh, who has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Seton Hall University,  will be discussing the benefits of small multiage classes on socialization and building meaningful relationships at school. The depth of relationships formed in this setting has positive implications, not only for children’s sense of belonging, but also for their classroom performance. She will be presenting research in this area and its application to The Cottage School will be discussed.

Toni Welsh is a Licensed Psychologist and works as a Neuropsychologist at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. She has experience working therapeutically with children in various clinical settings and schools.

The Cottage School Alumni Profile – Emily Vasconez

We are so proud that the children who attend The Cottage School go on to become strong students and leaders amongst their peers.

Emily was enrolled at The Cottage School since she was 2 1/2 years old, so she was able to take advantage of all that we offer here – beginning with the playgroup, transitioning to the preschool and finally through the elementary school.

Emily completed 6th grade at The Cottage School, transferred to a public school in 7th grade, and was able to easily adjust to a different system of education. Not only is she thriving academically, testing above her grade level in reading, she is also very helpful with her classmates and has begun tutoring younger students.

As a bilingual student, whose home language is Spanish, she was able to speak up for other students who were not fluent in English when they couldn’t understand why they were being teased. 

We asked her to write a bit about her experiences here at The Cottage School and she gave us permission to share here.

Here’s what she had to say:

“The Cottage School is wonderful and I had an amazing learning experience there. At The Cottage School, you experience this whole other dimension of creativity that no other schools have. I ,for one, have experienced this and I have done things that I thought were impossible to do. With the help of amazing teachers and the bolster they gave me and the wonderful creativity of the school, I was able to write a play.  Then, with the help of my classmates and teachers, we made the play come to life.

I also learned during the years that I was at the school, that creativity has no limit and if you have the proper tools and imagination, you can create anything. During these years, I watched how our classmates helped each other out and how we cared for one another.

This school has taught me to never let anything stop me from being creative and to care for others and to have a fun learning experience.

Thank you, The Cottage School, for letting me be in a amazing place of creativity and fun learning.  This is a school that I will never forget being in and experiencing the fun I had every day.” – Emily Vasconez , 13yrs old

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

Mondays on Education – The Benefits of Bilingualism

Kids learning at a bilingual school in New Jersey Once a month, The Cottage School hosts Mondays on Education. It’s an opportunity for the parents of children who attend the school as well as members of the community to come together and discuss important topics on education.

In February, we will be discussing The Benefits of Bilingualism. We will be offering this workshop onThursday, February 23rd from 6:30pm to 7:30pm and again on  Monday, February 27th, from 9:30am to 10:30am .

The workshop will be presented by Juana Guglielmino, who wrote an honors thesis at New York University about bilingualism and the benefits of living with multiple languages.

Bilingual education is not only about learning more than one language, it has shown to increase functioning in various areas of healthy brain development. Learning multiple language requires being able to switch between them; this process consists of paying attention and inhibiting one of the languages. In bilingual education, students highly develop attention and focus, as well as self-regulation skills.

At The Cottage School, the story of the week is told in both English and in Spanish. We sing songs in various languages and dedicate one day per week to solely Spanish. At The Cottage School’s sister school in Argentina, casadoce, we focus on teaching foreign languages through immersion in a bilingual education setting.

There are numerous benefits of bilingual education and we’re looking forward to lively discussion at our next workshop!

RSVP below or email : cottageguglielmino@gmail.com or 908-719-9610

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