The Cottage School is based on Laura Soulages’ philosophy on education. Laura Soulages, an educator for the past 30 years, founded The Cottage School in New Jersey in 2002. Her experience ranges from early childhood to college level and has taught in Argentina and in the United States. Her vision for The Cottage School “is the continuation of my life-long mission to guide children to develop and keep alive a desire of learning that will, in turn, last them a lifetime.”
Born and raised in Argentina, South America, Ms. Soulages grew up with a rich diversity of cultures and was influenced by the European traditions handed down by her grandparents, who were from Spain and France. Laura did folk-dancing since age one, immersing herself in the music and the cores of different cultures from a very young age. Her parents, both scientists and artists, showed Laura the importance and pleasures of a good education; this joy of learning is an important aspect of The Cottage School’s philosophy. “I grew up in a house that had a chemistry laboratory in one room and, in the other rooms, books, a piano, paints, papers, and paintbrushes,” says Soulages, "Music and dance were part of our family life as well… I was nurtured from an environment where the academics/science and the arts were truly in a daily communion.” The Cottage School is based on Soulages’ education received at home, as well as her three decades of experience as a teacher, Waldorf and Montessori training that she received in the US, and at the Argentinean teachers college known as Instituto Superior Roberto Themis Speroni, of which Ms. Soulages is a graduate. This institute offers training in education with an emphasis on experiential learning and on the creative experience in all the fields of art.
“At The Cottage School, teachers are committed to doing research and studying from original material, thus inspiring students to do the same and go deeper in knowledge. Great importance is placed on the learning process to develop patterns of learning, free of pressure and sustained by a spirit of discovery. When adults are too concentrated on results, children and teachers alike lose the joy of learning and teaching,” says Laura Soulages regarding the school’s emphasis on organic learning in a play and discovery-based environment.