Open House on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019 - 9 am - 11 am

We welcome friends and families to attend our Open House event, Wednesday April 10th, 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


Robotics Program at The Cottage School!

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We're excited to introduce a new six week Robotics Program to our Elementary students, with the help of the Peapack-Gladstone Library. Our first session was on Monday, March 25th, and the students were thrilled throughout their initial encounters with the robots.


Below are some details on the program:

  • Each class will be approximately 45 minutes

  • They will start by learning basic movements forward and backward, left and right. 

  • They will progress by teaching the robot how to do multiple sequences of maneuvers. 

  • Overtime they will teach the robot to navigate through the story map. The story map will be based on our school play. They will program the robot to navigate a map that visits the different ecosystems: the Antarctic, the Sahara desert, the rain forest and, a coral reef. 

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

Open House on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 9 am - 11 am

We welcome friends and families to attend our Open House event, Wednesday February 27th, 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


Alumni Profile and Interview for Francisco Guglielmino: The First Cottage School Student

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Francisco and his friends are the founding students of The Cottage School, which started as a playgroup with five children seventeen years ago.  In 2004, Francisco and classmates graduated from preschool to kindergarten, and they ended the year putting on “The Wizard of Oz” as a play.

During this interview, Francisco shares some of his memories from The Cottage School and talks about the importance of his early childhood education and what he is passionate about today. Francisco recalls moments during morning circle when students would play with wooden blocks:

“We would all make such different things and it's so cool because it all came out of a basket just full of tiny little colored wooden cubes, and that was it, but we all brought our own imagination, brought ourselves into it, and were able to make so much art out of something so simple.”

For the full interview, listen to the audio recording.

We can now say that our graduates have not only transitioned out of The Cottage School with ease, but have excelled in institutions that followed. Looking back at what Francisco’s AP Biology High School teacher wrote:

“Francisco’s most outstanding characteristics are his exceptional creativity, intelligence, work ethic, focus, optimism, perseverance, personality and intellectual analysis. His work was timely and done with creativity, attention to task and care. Francisco designed and presented a three-dimensional pop-up book, worthy of publication, that illustrated the functions of seven major plant hormones.”

Francisco is now a sophomore at Emerson College in Boston in the Honors Program of the School of Communication. He is also the Creative Director of Index Magazine and the Art Director of Raiz, a bilingual magazine at Emerson.

Francisco is a well-rounded young man. He is very social, kind and intelligent. He likes to take challenges and passionately immerses himself in projects he loves. Francisco has a variety of interests in music, sciences, foreign languages, photography, filming, drawing, designing, reading and spending time with friends and family.

He built a great foundation at The Cottage School not only academically, but also creatively and innovatively. In his own words, he explains, “I think ultimately The Cottage School taught me to question myself, but in the best ways possible. It taught me to ask questions, the how’s and why’s, to solve issues and elaborate on my own ideas to give me confidence to create my own projects and think okay, how am I going to do this when I only had the idea about how it's going to get done. How can I bring other people into it and make it a collaborative experience, whereas this isn't like asking questions to doubt myself, it’s the opposite. Its asking questions to empower ideas and then make them a reality. I think there’s something invaluable in that, telling a child that their idea can come to fruition and their dream can become a reality.” - Francisco Guglielmino, 19 years old

Francisco wrote his first play script at the age of five.  He continued writing stories throughout his childhood, and he wrote several scripts between the ages of six and twelve that were brought to life at The Cottage School. He has always helped at the school mentoring and teaching younger students in his free time. In addition, this past summer he designed our new logo and helped build our new website! Thank you, Francisco!

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.

A Day in the Life of a Cottage School Student

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On Thursday, February 7 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, The Cottage School will be hosting “A Day in the Life of a Cottage School Student.” 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 .

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. This is your opportunity to experience our unique teaching tools hands-on. Bring slippers if you want to get the full experience!

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

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

Folk Songs: A Morning Tradition at The Cottage School

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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 la Tierra :

Buen Día la Tierra :
Buen día la tierra,
y buen día el sol,
buen día 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 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.



Simplicity & Sweetness Abound at The Cottage School’s Halloween Harvest Festival

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At the end of every October, The Cottage School hosts its annual Halloween 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.

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

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.

Name *
Name

Simplicity & Sweetness Abound at The Cottage School’s Halloween Parade and Harvest Festival

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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.