2018/2019 - Handbook/General Policies

Mission Statement:

The Cottage School is a multicultural non-sectarian, non-selective independent 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.

Initial enrollment is offered to all applicants on a first-come, first-served, non-selective basis.

I. What to Bring to School:

  • Plain slippers

  • Pull-Ups (for children not yet toilet trained)

  • Change of clothes in a plastic (Ziploc) bag labeled with the child’s name and outdoor clothing according to weather. Please label all children’s clothing and shoes! The school will not be responsible for the loss of unlabeled clothes.

II. What to Leave at Home:

  • Backpacks

  • Clothing with printed commercial or TV images

  • Flip flops

  • Necklaces

  • Stickers/tattoos

  • Candy

  • Toys

  • Coins or anything that finds its way into pockets

  • Medication, including cough drops (unless staff is notified in writing and the appropriate paperwork is filled out)

In the interest of safety and with respect to the Church groundskeepers, The Cottage School requires that at dismissal time children be escorted directly to their vehicles. For safety reasons, children are not allowed to play on the church grounds, which includes the grass area, walkways, cemetery, and parking lot. We ask that no parents park in the “Borregaard” business lot to the side of the school, as your car may be towed, as per the owner’s words.

III. Arrival:

  • 8:30 am (1st - 8th grades or before care)

  • 9:00 am (Playgroup, Preschool, Young K & K)

We ask that parents drop your child at the entrance of the school and sign him/her in. At that time, a teacher will lead your child to the entry hall to put on his/her slippers and to go to circle time.

If you bring your child earlier than the arrival time, please wait at the entrance until a teacher can assist you. If you bring your child later than the scheduled arrival time (after 8:45 am for elementary and after 9:15 for preschool), please make sure you have your child ready (with slippers on) and sign them in before you walk them to the classroom to transfer your child to the teacher.
Any children arriving after 9:15 a.m. will start their day with an activity in the art/lunch room until circle time is completed. This alleviates the distraction of interruptions to the group already in session.

IV. Dismissal:

  • 11:00 am (playgroup)

  • 12:30 pm (preschool)

  • 1:30 pm (Young Kindergarten/K)

  • 2:30 pm (1st – 8th grades)

Children are dismissed from the playground, weather permitting. At designated dismissal times, teachers will take the kids to the playground for pick-up, if they are not already enjoying Outdoor Playtime. Cones will be set up, indicating the direction cars should follow. One teacher will hand the parent/driver the sign our sheet and the second teacher will send the child(ren) to the care from the playground. Once the child is buckled and the parent/driver has signed the child out, we ask that the family continue around the loop and exit the parking lot. If you need to visit the school prior to picking up your child(ren), we ask that you please park in the designated spaces or on the street side of the parking lot. Playgroup pick up will be at the school entry at 11 am.

In the case of inclement weather, dismissal for all groups will be in the entry hall at designated times. The dismissal teacher will call the child as the parents arrive. Parents should call the school if the child will be picked up after dismissal time to avoid a long wait in the entry hall. The child will be under the supervision of the pick-up person immediately after child is released by the teachers.

Please read the “Policy on the Release of Children” (at the end) for additional information from the NJ Department of Children and Families.

If any person other than parents will pick up your child: list persons authorized by you to pick up your child on any given school day on the form provided by the school and signed by the parent. In addition, we need a note written in the arrival / dismissal book on the day your child will be picked up by someone other than parents.

If the school staff has not met the person, they will ask for an ID.

V. Methods Used to Communicate with Staff and Parents:

The Cottage School uses the following methods of communication in order to notify of general events, workshops, and important upcoming dates:

  • Phone

  • Email

  • Website

  • Facebook

In case of any and all illness, injury, accident, or emergency matter, all parents will be notified via phone. If you have any questions for teachers, please use the Arrival/Dismissal Book in the entry hall; you will most likely receive an answer by dismissal.

If the matter is personal or not conducive to written form, please schedule a conference with the teacher. You may contact us via phone (908) 719-9610 or by email liza@thecottageschool.net.

VI. Special Classes:

Each child will have the opportunity to present his/her own special class to the group each semester. This is an opportunity for each child to research, study, draw and present information to the class about a favorite subject. Although some help from the parents is needed for the research and reading, only children should make the illustrations to show and explain. For preschoolers, the topic may be a recent trip or a favorite animal. Please no toys, commercial things or places, food, or political and religious topics. For Young K and elementary grades, the topic will be assigned by teacher, according to the curriculum.

  • Preschool: Mondays, Wednesday or Thursday

  • Young K and Elementary grades: Friday

VII. Lunch:

Children take turns, working in pairs, set the table, serving food and water, and cleaning up after lunch.

The school offers a variety of food through our food provider and encourages children to taste different meals. We expect the children to taste all offerings, unless there is an allergy issue. They may ask for more of what they prefer. Children are encouraged to try the vegetables first, then main dish and then the fruits. By the end of the servings, the child will have at least 3 or 4 options on his or her plate, sometimes more. We expect the child to try at least one of them. If the child did not eat, the plate will be saved to take home by request. We expect all children to partake in our Lunch Program, unless there is a medical reason.

If the child refuses to try any of the foods or eats just a little bit of the lunch every day, then a parent–teacher conference will be scheduled to work in cooperation with the family. Parents are expected to cooperate with the school to ensure that lunchtime is a positive experience for the child.

Caterer: “Kings” of Bedminster

Price per semester for school year 2018/2019 (including lunch supplies):

  • Five days per week:$625.00

  • Three days per week: $375.00

  • Two days per week: $250.00

Our lunch coordinator is Liza Scher. Please make checks payable to The Cottage School.

Snacks: A full, well-balanced lunch is served at 11:00 a.m., therefore, there are no snacks. However, bottled water is offered to the children throughout the day. Children might be ready for a snack when they arrive at home. Students who stay for aftercare and elementary school can bring a snack (neither nuts nor grapes).

VIII. Field Trips:

Field trips enrich the school’s program and provide your child with an educational experience and parents with a social opportunity. There is approximately one field trip scheduled per semester. Field Trip fees are not included in the tuition.

In the case you are not available to transport your child on a school day that your child is enrolled to attend school and since the school does not provide transportation you can either: drop your child at the field trip site and leave him or her under the teachers’ supervision or bring your child to school. Please let us know in advance what you plan to do and if necessary we will open the school for a regular school day for your child.

IX. Toilet Training:

The school will help in the process of toilet training your child but should not be expected to achieve toilet training. Children are expected to have a turn using the toilet every day. Parents are expected to bring Pull-Ups and elastic waistband pants to make things easier for the child to use the toilet.

All staff members, male and female, will participate in this process. In view of our teaching philosophy and system, parents should be aware that any staff member may assist with their child, and no staff member will be "assigned" to any child. If this policy raises difficulties for a parent, those difficulties should be discussed with the school before the child is enrolled.

Teachers are expected to encourage the child to use the toilet and, if necessary, bring the child to the bathroom with a trained child to serve as a role model. A less-effective Pull-Up might be needed to make the child feel he or she is wet.

If the child refuses to use the toilet or to have his or her Pull-Up changed every day, then a parent–teacher conference will be scheduled to work in cooperation with the family. Parents are expected to cooperate with the school to ensure that toilet training is a positive experience for the child.

X. Birthday Celebrations:

A birthday carrot cake is prepared by the students during school time. We will celebrate birthdays on the last Friday of the month. For children who are not enrolled on Fridays, we will celebrate on the last Tuesday of the month. Parents who wish to join for the celebration can come to the school at 11:30 a.m. on the last Tuesday or Friday of the month of their child’s birthday.

Only cards or presents made by the children will be given at school on a child’s birthday. We request that invitations for your child’s birthday Party be sent through the mail unless all students are invited.

XI. Holiday Celebrations:

We hold our parties at the Fellowship Hall located next to the Sanctuary of the Church. Parents bring a dish to share for lunch time.Only cards made by the children will be given at school on a holiday. Commercial cards and/or candy will not be distributed. Since the education of your child is not dependent on one teacher, we request that you do not give any individual gifts. In the spirit of The Cottage School, gifts of handiwork/handmade presents from the children to the school staff are always appreciated. You may also make a donation to the school.

XII. Parent–Teacher Conferences:
Parent–teacher conferences are held once per semester in November and March; however, you are welcome to request a conference at any time during the school year. The school will be closed for the students, so please make the necessary babysitting arrangements for your child.

XIII. Phone Chain:
Please keep the school updated with any changes in home, cell, or emergency telephone numbers. You don’t need to make calls unless you volunteered to help our phone chain coordinator, Toni Welsh. For school closings, delays, and/or early dismissals, we will follow the Somerset Hills School District’s decisions. In the event of school cancellation, Laura will send an email to all parents and Toni will follow-up with a phone call to anyone who didn’t receive the email. If you would like to help Toni throughout the year, please let us know.

XIV. Policy for the use of Television, Computers, & Video:

The Cottage School does not use television or computers with our students. Occasionally, students watch videos as a supplement to the classroom lesson.

XV. Technology and Social Media Policy:

By signing the Permission to Record Image/Sound, parents have granted The Cottage School staff permission to record the image/voice of their child and grant The Cottage School all rights to use these sound, still, or moving images in any medium for educational, promotional, advertising, or other purposes to support the mission of the school. The Cottage School does not post the names or any other personal information of their students; we ask that families, caregivers, and staff do the same.

XVI. Policy on the Management of Communicable Diseases:

If a child exhibits any of the following symptoms, the child should not attend the center. If such symptoms occur at the center, the child will be removed from the group, and parents will be called to take the child home.

  • Severe pain or discomfort

  • Acute diarrhea

  • Episodes of acute vomiting

  • Elevated oral template of 101.5 degrees Farenheit

  • Lethargy

  • Severe coughing

  • Yellow eyes or jaundiced skin

  • Red eyes with discharge

  • Infected, untreated skin patches

  • Difficult or rapid breathing

  • Skin lesions that are weeping or bleeding

  • Mouth sores with drooling

  • Stiff neck

Once the child is symptom-free, or has a health care provider’s note stating that the child no longer poses a serious health risk to himself/herself or others, the child may return to the center unless contraindicated by local health department or Department of Health.

EXCLUDABLE COMMUNICABLE DISEASES: A child or staff member who contracts an excludable communicable disease may not return to the center without a health care provider’s note stating that the child presents no risk to himself/herself or others.

  1. Respiratory Illnesses

  • Chicken Pox

  • German Measles

  • Hemophilus Influenzae*

  • Measles*

  • Meningococcus*

  • Mumps*

  • Strep Throat

  • Tuberculosis*

  • Whooping Cough*

2. Gastrointestinal Illnesses

  • Giardia Lamblia*

  • Hepatitis A*

  • Salmonella*

  • Shigella*

3. Contact Ilnesses

  • Impetigo

  • Lice

  • Scabies

*Reportable diseases that will be reported to the health department by the center.

XVII. Discipline Policy:

The Cottage School embraces a philosophy of harmony. We believe that gentleness; music, poetry, nature, art and imaginative play support the child’s natural inclination to flourish intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. We use Positive Disciple; redirection and positive reinforcement as a prevention of potential problems, reflection and evaluation through group meetings, offer the child a way to establish balance and harmony for themselves and their friends.

Suspension Policy: It will be left up to the discretion of the teacher and the director whether the behavior of a child will warrant a suspension. This will include but not be limited to behavior that is unruly, disrespectful and the like. The suspension will be discussed with the parent.

XVIII. Reasons for a Child’s Expulsion from the School:

Sometimes our approach may fail and a child may be so disruptive or violent that we cannot allow the child to remain in the school. Sometimes we may find that a child’s parent does not give us the cooperation we need to deal with the behavior issue. In either case, we will have no choice but to have the family withdraw the child from our school.

POLICY ON THE RELEASE OF CHILDREN

As provided by the NJ Department of Children and Families Each child may be released only to the child’s parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s) to take the child from the center and to assume responsibility for the child in an emergency if the parent(s) cannot be reached.

If a non-custodial parent has been denied access, or granted limited access to a child by a court order, the center shall secure documentation to that effect, maintain a copy on file, and comply with the terms of the court order.

If the parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s) fails to pick up a child at the time of the center’s daily closing, the center shall ensure that:

1. The child is supervised at all times.

2. Staff members attempt to contact the parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s); and

3. An hour or more after closing time, and provided that other arrangements for releasing the child to his/her parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s) have failed and the staff member(s) cannot continue to supervise the child at the center, the staff member shall call the 24- hour Child Abuse Hotline 1-877-NJ-ABUSE to seek assistance in caring for the child until the parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the child’s parent(s) is able to pick up the child.

If the parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s) appears to be physically and/or emotionally impaired to the extent that, in the judgment of the director and/or staff member, the child would be placed at risk of harm if released to such an individual, the center shall ensure that:

1. The child may not be released to such an impaired individual;

2. Staff members attempt to contact the child’s other parent or an alternative person(s) authorized by the parent(s); and

3. If the center is unable to make alternative arrangements, a staff member shall call the 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline 1-877-NJ-ABUSE to seek assistance in caring for the child.