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.

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

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.

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

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 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.