End of the Year Play - The Cottage School Version of Mr. Popper's Penguins

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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.

With this in mind, the children have been hard at work preparing for our annual school play.  Based on our Natural Science curriculum for this school year (Ecosystems), the elementary students wrote The Cottage School version of Mr. Popper’s Penguins that we will perform on June 7 at 9:45 am. The narrative of the play takes the characters to various ecosystems around the world: The Amazon Rainforest, The Sahara Desert, The Arctic Tundra, where they encounter many different creatures: coral Reef, fish, parrots, penguins, etc. As their adventure continues, they discover so much about the natural world!

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.

Check out some photos below of the children creating the scenery for this year’s play. 

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

Open House on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019, 9 - 11 am

We welcome friends and families to attend our Open House event, Wednesday May 15th, 2019 from 9am - 11am!

Families are invited to our Opening Circle, tour the school, and enjoy an informal conversation with Laura Soulages, Director of The Cottage School.  Please contact us here to RSVP.

If you are searching for a wonderful school in Somerset County that nurtures the whole child, come see what a typical day is like at The Cottage School.

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 thecottageschool.net

A Meeting with Tom O'Leary: Understanding Special Education Law on May 6th, 9:30 - 11:00 AM

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Join us on May 6th, from 9:30 to 11:00 AM, for our Meeting with Tom O’Leary: Understanding Special Education Law. Tom, attorney and parent of a child at The Cottage School, will be providing an overview of New Jersey law as it relates to the rights of parents and the legal responsibilities of school district with respect to children who are in private school placements. Tom practices in the areas of complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on construction law, bad faith litigation, and special education law. A substantial focus of his practice concerns the legal rights of disabled individuals, including special education, the American with Disabilities Act, and accommodations for “high stakes” testing including licensing examinations. Tom advises parents regarding eligibility, evaluations and the preparation of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and assists them in obtaining accommodations for their children under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act. 

To RSVP, please sign up here.

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 thecottageschool.net

Spanish & Art Immersion —Registration for our Summer Program is Still Open!

The Cottage School is pleased to offer three weeks of Spanish & Art 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 3 weeks of camp:

Week I (Monday, June 10 to Thursday, June 13): Nicaragua (Spanish/Art Immersion)

Week II (Monday, June 17 to Thursday, June 20): Bolivia (Spanish/Art Immersion)

Week III (Monday, June 24 to Thursday, June 27): Mexico (Spanish/Art Immersion)

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.

To register, please print the attached document and return the form to the school or mail it to PO Box 275, Gladstone, NJ 07934.   A 10% discount will be offered to families signing up for three weeks of camp by April 15, 2019. 

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 thecottageschool.net

Positive Discipline with Dr. Jason Rodker and Laura Soulages, April 1st and April 8th, 2019 - 9:30 -11:00 am

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Join us for Mondays on Education, A Positive Discipline workshop with Dr. Jason Rodker and The Cottage School’s Director, Laura Soulages, on April 1st, and April 8th, 9:30 - 11:00 am. These are both free workshops for adults and we encourage friends and parents to bring their friends!

We will be discussing distinguished licensed Marriage, Family and Child Counselor, 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.

To RSVP, please sign up here.

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 thecottageschool.net

Educational Workshop for Adults on 'Occupational Therapy For Every Child' April 11th, 2019 - 7:00 - 8:00pm

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Join us on Thursday, April 11th, 7:00 - 8:00pm to learn about the positive impacts occupational therapy (OT) can have for every child's’ cognitive, social, and physical well being. This workshop, facilitated by three occupational therapy graduate students, will promote the health benefits of receiving occupational therapy services, discuss strategies that can be used at home and in the community, and address common misconceptions about occupational therapy.

Juana Guglielmino, Arielle Leva, and Isabel Iwachiw are second-year occupational therapy graduate students from Kean University.

Juana helped with The Cottage School’s summer program for many years and then taught preschool and elementary for a year before entering the graduate program. She found occupational therapy because of her love for working with children and she believes that OT is for everyone.   

Arielle found occupational therapy as a second career. She comes from a background in environmental studies and believes that connection to nature is essential for health and well-being. Her interests lie in integrating the natural world and occupational therapy to promote healthy development and an invaluable sense of wonder.

As a former athlete, Isabel values and appreciates the benefits of physical activity and the positive outcomes it can yield with respect to emotional, social, cognitive, and physical well-being. Her occupational therapy graduate school experience, coupled with being a lifelong athlete, has guided her interest in child development and the positive benefits of play and physical activity.

To RSVP, please sign up here.

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 thecottageschool.net

Open House on Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 - 9 am - 11 am

We welcome friends and families to attend our Open House event, Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 from 9am - 11am!

Families are invited to our Opening Circle, tour the school with Kirby Baldwin, and enjoy an informal conversation with Laura Soulages, Director of The Cottage School.  Please contact us here to RSVP.

If you are searching for a wonderful school in Somerset County that nurtures the whole child, come see what a typical day is like at The Cottage School.

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 thecottageschool.net

Choosing a Young K / Kindergarten Program for Your Child

Choosing a young kindergarten or kindergarten program for your child is an important decision, and there are many different options to navigate. When doing your research, it’s vital to understand what makes a high-quality program.

While many parents’ primary concerns are around their kindergartener’s academic skills (i.e., reading, writing, and mathematics), it is also critical to consider the social, emotional, and physical aspects of childhood development. Research has shown that the elements of a classroom’s climate that support early learning include:

  • Close relationships between teachers and children

  • Opportunities to learn socially from peers

  • Classroom materials that invite open-ended play and exploration

  • Classroom schedules that give children adequate time to complete their work

  • Activities that combine learning standards (e.g., math and language simultaneously) (Christakis)

The importance of ample time for play in a young k/kindergarten program cannot be overstated, and high-quality programs acknowledge and reflect the research that play is the fundamental building block of cognitive, emotional, and social development.

Benefits of play include:

  • Improved memory

  • Better mathematical skills

  • Higher test scores

  • Decreased mental fatigue

  • Greater impulse regulation

  • More complex language skills

Here are some signs to look for when seeking out a high-quality young k or kindergarten program:

✔Small student-teacher ratio and class size

✔ Individualized learning plans to honor different learning styles and needs

✔ Child-centered environment

✔ Emphasis on social-emotional development

✔ Play-based, experiential learning

✔ Ample daily outdoor and free play

✔ Cross-disciplinary approach to learning that integrates the arts, foreign languages, and movement

✔ Positive approach to discipline

✔ Holistic portfolio assessment to assess students’ progress, rather than traditional tests

✔ Pace that supports a child’s natural development and interests

✔ Strong connection and communication between home and school

✔ Meets and exceeds New Jersey Core Curriculum standards

✔ Healthy lunch program

The Cottage School Young K / Kindergarten Curriculum

We believe in the organic education of our students and consider all aspects of the child’s development to be important. We integrate the arts and academics in all traditional subjects, and honor creativity in all subjects of learning, building confidence in students by allowing mistakes as a valid way to learn.

How Do We Teach Reading & Writing?

Language Arts

The Cottage School places great importance on the learning process to develop patterns of learning. Literary skills are developed not just to decode words for reading and writing but to foster comprehension, sequence, vocabulary, creative thinking, memory skills, and an appreciation of literature. All literature chosen is in its original unabridged format.

  • Reading, copying text in print and cursive, illustrating and familiarization of poems and stories

  • Language games

  • Playacting: drama and recitation

  • Storytelling

Rhythmic Writing

Rhythmic writing is a musical approach to writing that helps develop handwriting, hand-eye coordination, concentration, spatial sense, and focus. Children experience writing with their bodies, not just with intellect, understanding how individual parts of their scribble relate to the whole.

How Do We Teach Mathematics?

Children are introduced to math creatively and authentically through rhythm, movement, games, puzzles, blocks, and counting pebbles, seeds and shells. They measure when baking, playing with water and sand, and gardening. Origami, jump rope, hopscotch, knitting, weaving, and beanbag counting games develop math concepts. These activities improve coordination, concentration, and counting abilities. Certain concepts are learned using concrete elements and games. Geometry is absorbed and spatial sense is developed by practical experiences such as origami, painting, dancing, rounds, and playing with blocks and wooden forms.

  • Counting: ascending and descending scales

  • Estimation and comparison

  • Addition and subtraction

  • Introduction to time, money and measurement

  • Fractions

  • Writing numbers and simple operations in blank books

  • Math games

  • Daily mental calculations

  • Mazes

  • Board games

  • Simple origami and collage (geometry)

Foreign Languages

Spanish and French are learned through immersion by singing folk songs, play-acting, traditional games, reading aloud (original prose, poetry, and folktales) and speaking to the children as a parent would at home. This natural approach helps the students master other foreign languages later in life.

Natural Sciences & Social Studies 

The teachers sustain a permanent attitude of “discovery” and experiential thinking during the class. Great importance is placed on the quality of materials.

  • Hands-on experiments

  • Gardening

  • Geography

  • Cultures

  • Weather and seasons

  • Plants

  • Animals

  • The Universe

In addition, once per semester, the students are assigned a natural science topic to research, study, and create an oral presentation to give to their peers, which allows them not only to learn in-depth about the topic, guided by their areas of natural curiosity, but also to develop self-confidence and comfort with public speaking.

The Arts & Music

  • Painting and drawing

  • Weaving

  • Felting

  • Finger knitting

  • Recorder

  • Daily singing

Physical Education & Movement

  • Folkdancing

  • Traditional games

  • Creative movement

  • Outdoor play

  • Yoga

Special Activities

  • Baking: Breads, cookies, cakes, rolls and pizza

  • Festivities

  • Guest speakers

  • Field trips

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 thecottageschool.net

Why Cottage School Elementary?

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The Cottage School will be hosting an informative educational session for parents who are interested in the elementary program for their children on Monday, February 11th from 9:30am to 11:00AM.

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.

This workshop is specifically designed for parents to understand our pedagogy and curriculum. In addition, our elementary school parents will share their thoughts on Why Cottage School Elementary?

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. Please refer to our interviews from alumni Emily Vasconez and Francisco Guglielmino and their experiences at The Cottage School.

If you’re interested in attending this workshop, please RSVP here, or email  liza@thecottageschool.net or call 908-719-9610.

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 thecottageschool.net

The Cottage School Alumni Profile and Interview – Emily Vasconez

We are so proud that the children who attend The Cottage School go on to become socially confident students and strong leaders amongst their peers.  We’re also thrilled when we hear that they look back fondly on their time here at The Cottage School. 

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Emily Vasconez 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. She comes back to visit The Cottage School often and during her last visit,  we asked her to tell us a bit about her experiences transitioning to a public school setting after leaving The Cottage School.

During this impromptu interview, Emily talks here about her experience tutoring other students, how she easily made friends when she changed schools, her experience transitioning to a test taking education model and how she is passionate about her studies, especially math!  She also discusses how The Cottage School helped to foster her creativity and how it is apparent in her current school work. 

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. 

For parents that have questions about how the children develop in a small alternative school setting and transition later on, this is a great way to hear first hand from a Cottage School student!

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

You can listen to the whole interview on the right.

Open House at The Cottage School - Wednesday, January, 16 2019 - 9 am - 11 am

We welcome friends and families to attend our Open House event, Wednesday January 16, 2019 from 9am - 11am!

If you are searching for a wonderful school in Somerset County that nurtures the whole child, come see what a typical day is like at The Cottage School.

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 thecottageschool.net

Mondays on Education Free Workshop: The Power of Play, December 3rd, 9:30am-11:00am

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Monday, December 3rd from 9:30 to 11:00 am, The Cottage School will be hosting "Mondays on Education: The Power of Play," a free discussion led by Dr. Jason Rodker.

Play is fun. As adults we seek play as a respite from daily life stress. Adults generally think of play as a frivolous activity to engage in only if/when the more serious matters of the day are attended to. However, to children play is serious business and it is essential that they prioritize play each day. Play is the work of childhood. Children use play as a primary means of communicating, learning, and connecting. When adults support a child's natural inclination toward play, the child comes to know his/herself in a deep way. The self knowledge that results from this serves as a foundation for resilience and inner security throughout life. This workshop will emphasize how we as adults can utilize play to connect with our children in ways that promote optimal development.

Dr. Jason Rodker earned his undergraduate degree, as well as a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, from Rutgers University. During his training he worked in a therapeutic school for children and adolescents at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ. While earning his doctorate in Child-Clinical/School Psychology at Pace University, he continued his training by working with adolescents and young adults 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 child and play therapy. He has worked with children of all ages and with a variety of presenting issues, including disruptive behaviors, mood dysregulation, adjustment difficulties, attachment issues, and trauma. As a certified school psychologist, Dr. Rodker has worked on Child Study Teams in traditional and alternative school environments. Dr. Rodker currently works in private practice with children, adolescents, and adults, working with individuals and families.

If you’re interested in attending this free workshop, please RSVP online, email liza@thecottageschool.net, or contact us directly at (908) 719-9610.

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 thecottageschool.net

Open House at The Cottage School - Wednesday, November 28, 2018 9 am - 11 am

We welcome friends and families to attend our Open House event, Wednesday November 28th, from 9am - 11am!

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.

If you are searching for a wonderful school in Somerset County that nurtures the whole child, come see what a typical day is like at The Cottage School.



Handmade Materials at The Cottage School

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Empowering students and teachers is one of the main components of The Cottage School's Organic Education. Throughout the year, teachers (and some parents, too) prepare handmade toys, materials and games for the students to play and learn with. In this way, our community embodies the concept that “things” can be custom made, and repaired when necessary.

During playtime, our students have the opportunity to use handmade toys and dolls made either at school or around the world. When a teacher is crocheting a dress for one of the dolls while the children play, there is a great learning experience taking place in the playroom. Children feel the full satisfaction of the organic process of having seen the dress being made that it is now ready to use with the doll. Children feel that toys can be made, and in fact, very soon start making their own at home as well. They come to the realization (perhaps not conscious at the beginning) that there is no need to go to the store to buy everything.

 I remember one time, when one of the alumni mothers told me that she was looking for post-it notes to mark paragraphs on a book, but couldn’t find any. Soon after, her son said: “Don’t worry Mom, I’ll make them for you!” And so he did! This approach in education empowers the student by fostering self-sustaining, problem solving, and creative thinking skills.

 In addition, creating our own materials allows for a genuine integration of arts and academics in all the traditional subjects. At The Cottage School, teachers design the curriculum and make play-based customized teaching materials. There is no textbook in sight. Commercial textbooks are created for a mass of students for massive curriculums that don’t take into account the needs of the particular class/student. By using their own self-made materials, our teachers create a flexible and dynamic class for an organic learning process. 

They produce a range of materials which include jigsaw puzzles, bingo, word-to-image and memory games, all of which provide benefits to the students' overall physical, social-affective, and cognitive development. There are also specific health benefits associated with using hands-on materials. For instance, working on and solving jigsaw puzzles increases concentration, improves attentiveness, and expands creativity. When students focus on the same image for longer periods, it becomes a meditative process. Since the mind is focused on visualizing images, it concentrates on this alone in exclusion of everything else. By participating in such practices, students experience reduced heart rate and blood pressure.

The Cottage School 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. While the internet and other educational resources provide teachers with an endless supply of materials, at The Cottage School teachers receive a lot of joy from "doing it themselves" and, as a result, intrinsically motivate their students to be independent creators, as well!

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 thecottageschool.net


The Cottage School Holiday Fundraiser 2018

The holidays are coming soon! The Cottage School is offering five special gift ideas this year as a part of our annual fundraising efforts. Pairs of tall candles ($15), school aprons ($30), school magnets ($10), tote bags ($25), and song books & CDs ($20) are available for purchase.

These items will make a memorable and long-lasting gift for the special people in the life of your child. We hope you will take advantage of these items, enjoy them in your own home, or enjoy giving them as gifts!

Please submit all orders by November 30th. Click here to order.

Thank you for supporting The Cottage School!

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 thecottageschool.net

A Free Workshop on The Importance of Being Little

What Do Children Really Need from Grown Ups?

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On Monday, October 22nd, as part of our "Mondays on Education" workshop series, Laura Soulages and Kirby Baldwin will lead a discussion on Erika Christakis’ book, The Importance of Being Little: What Children Really Need from Grown Ups. The workshop will take place at The Cottage School from 9:30 to 11:00 AM. Free and open to the public, the workshop will explore Christakis’ research and how it applies to current state of education, as well as to what we do here at The Cottage School.

If you would like to read Christakis’ book prior to the workshop, you can purchase it on Amazon. It is also available via Audible.

Mondays on Education: The Importance of Being Little - Monday, October 22nd, 9:30am-11:00am.

Please RSVP online, email liza@thecottageschool.net or contact us at 908-719-9610.

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 thecottageschool.net

Candle making: An Autumn Cottage School Tradition

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A favorite autumn tradition at The Cottage School is candle making! Each student at The Cottage School gets the opportunity to make their own candles using sheets of beeswax, wick string, and ribbon for a decorative touch. The students enjoy the process, which requires no heat, no hot wax, no dirty tools, no slow-cooker, no dipping, and no fuss! Additionally, the candles are a great way for little ones to practice fine motor skills: pressing the wick into the wax and tightly rolling the candle.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut a sheet of beeswax in half to make a standard-size taper candle. 

  2. Measure the wick "string" against a cut (halved) sheet of beeswax, making sure there's an additional 1" of wick at the very top of the candle. Use scissors to cut the wick. 

  3. Press the wick into the beeswax sheet. Remember, there should be about 1" of wick "overflowing" at the top. 

  4. Tightly fold the beeswax sheet over the wick to secure the wick in place, then continue rolling the sheet to make a candle. 

  5. Repeat the steps above to make multiple candles. One sheet of halved beeswax will make two candles. 

  6. Once rolled, the candle is ready to use.

  7. Light and burn the candle as you would with any taper candle. The tighter the candle is rolled, the slower it will burn.

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 thecottageschool.net

The Cottage School Playdough Recipe

At The Cottage School, we make our own playdough every week. Children of all ages love to play with it!

Not only is playdough calming, but it gives our students an opportunity for an open ended activity where they can create what they wish.

Playdough gives tactile pleasure and sensory integration: children can touch it, see it, smell it and even taste it sometimes! At The Cottage School, we believe the more senses children can use and the more involved they get in the activity, the greater the learning experience is. Children need to use all senses and need opportunities to create, playdough brings a perfect combination!

Here is a tried and true simple recipe that we’ve been using for years…

You’ll need:
2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup salt
1 cup of water
1 cup maizena (cornstarch)
food coloring (optional)

Directions
Mix the flour, salt and maizena in a large mixing bowl
Add oil and food coloring to the water then into the dry ingredients
Mix continuously adding the liquid
Knead some and let your child do the rest!

*If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until just right (not too sticky and not too dry). You can keep it in the refrigerator for a week; add a little more flour each time you take it out to use.

*For a wonderful natural dye, try boiling beets and using the leftover water in this recipe.

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 thecottageschool.net

Day in the Life of a Cottage School Student

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Have you ever asked your child, “What did you do at school today?” Come to this week’s workshop, A Day in Life of Cottage School Student, and be mystified no more!

This is such a fun workshop to attend. It brings to life The Cottage School’s play-based curriculum and is a great look into our school’s effective and unique approach to education that uses developmentally appropriate activities to teach without traditional tests, grades, or textbooks. Come see the flexible and dynamic interactions our children are lucky to have every day.

I typically shudder when math is mentioned (don’t tell my children) but found myself laughing and having fun during the “math class” part of this workshop while playing a multiplication game with dominoes. In a non-competitive environment that nurtures creativity and each individual child’s innate abilities, a joy and passion for learning are natural byproducts.

I’m grateful for our school’s commitment to keeping parents and the community informed on best practices on education that are backed by experience, research, and training. These workshops help solidify the bond between home and school, and are a wonderful look into this special learning community.

To RSVP, please click here or email liza@thecottageschool.net or call 908-719-9610.

 

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 thecottageschool.net




Open House at The Cottage School - Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

We welcome friends and families to attend our Open House event, Wednesday October 17th, from 9am - 11am!

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.

If you are searching for a wonderful school in Somerset County that nurtures the whole child, come see what a typical day is like at The Cottage School.

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