“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.”
— Emily Vasconez
“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
“My last year at The Cottage School was in 2015…The Cottage School prepared us well for the public school academically. When we first started at the Black River Middle School, it seemed like we were far advanced to the rest of the class. We received good grades and made good friends at The Black River Middle School…I think The Cottage School enabled and encouraged my creativity. It allowed me to learn better than any other school would have.”
— Isabella Welch
“I am a twin who went to The Cottage School from preschool through sixth grade...I think that going to The Cottage School helped me in terms of my grades. I am an honor roll student who gets A-’s, A’s, and A+’s. The Cottage School taught me how to study well, get my homework done faster, and prioritize my work better. All the teachers at the Black River Middle School love me. I think it is how The Cottage School taught me, I have been a kind and enthusiastic student that has always been on top of her work.”
— Tessa Welch
“Our children attended The Cottage School for a number of years. We loved the artistry and the creativity that was given to our children. We were treated like a family; all the teachers truly cared about the development of our children’s talents. We especially enjoyed the language immersion in Spanish and have continued the tradition over the years. Our daughter is now a senior in high school and she loves languages and dance which all began at The Cottage School. All of our children excel in art which began with Laura’s program. She continues to follow the development of our children and really cares about them. The Cottage School is a special place with many caring families. We have lifelong friends from our experiences there.”
— Gwen and Robert Vanvolkenburgh
“Our association with The Cottage School spans over three years now. Our son who started his formal education here at the age of 5 has seen his curricular and extracurricular intellect nurtured exceptionally well. We feel this is due to the unique approach taken at The Cottage School to adopt an organic model of education that takes into account the student's individual needs and strengths, focusing on the holistic development of each student. With a highly favorable student-teacher ratio and an innate passion of the teachers to carry forward a teaching philosophy untainted by the rigid structure of traditional education, our son has continued to thrive and blossom here. The teachers rely on books way beyond media and traditional methods to help toward this goal. Parents are also involved adequately in this process by way of relevant workshops touching a myriad of topics which include art appreciation, poetry, power of play, parenting and so forth.”
— Anagha Badve
“Our daughter comes home each day from school happy as can be…skipping and chatting about the events of the day. She has blossomed into a creative confident child. The Cottage School builds confident children of strong character with life skills for the building blocks of a successful life.”
— Renate Bernard
“I could not imagine a more supportive and nurturing environment than The Cottage School. From the time children enter the preschool throughout the elementary years, the school recognizes each child’s strengths and works to utilize the best methods for allowing them to grow socially, emotionally, and academically. No two children are treated the same at The Cottage School, because the school acknowledges that each child’s educational needs differ. This leads to noncompetitive learning and a deeper understanding of the material, where the students encourage each other and work cooperatively. My children enjoy the process of learning at The Cottage School and, most of the time, do not even realize that they are studying a particularly subject, as the subject matter is integrated and fluid. Our school is truly one of a kind and I enjoy watching my children engage in the learning process and thrive in so many ways that are allowing them to be strong thinkers and problem solvers, as well as good ‘team players’.
When deciding whether to transition from preschool to elementary at The Cottage School, we wanted to make an informed decision and looked at other programs in the areas. After doing our research, it was clear that The Cottage School was the best environment for both of our children. Each child is supported in a respectful and dignified way that is best for their individual educational and emotional needs. Whether they need to be further challenged in some ways or given further support in other ways, they are consistently provided with learning experiences that are custom fit to them. They are forming the foundation for the lifelong pursuit of knowledge in the context of building strong social emotional skills”.
— Toni Welsh
"The Cottage School is our ideal environment for our children. It feels like a natural extension of how we operate at home. They are sensitive to each child's individual needs, and the learning that is accomplished in a play- and art-based environment is second to none. This is the second year in a row that one of our daughters has started to ask midway through the summer when school will start again, and both of our girls are constantly talking about their teachers and how they're their "best friends." We are so thankful for this school and the rich experiences our children are receiving there. I would recommend this school without reservation to anyone looking for a preschool or elementary school for their child."
— Kirby Baldwin
“The school’s curriculum was delivered in a calming climate and, in a predictable and very welcoming manner. I believe we all hope a school’s curriculum will bring out the gifts in our child. Well each child here is recognized for their gifts and individual genius. There is a beauty at Cottage in enlisting the child to bring forth a world from within themselves, through artistic expression in many art forms, through the diversion of the spoken word in poetry, story-telling and theatre, through song and folk dance. Skill development in mathematics, the sciences and language arts is enmeshed throughout this curriculum and naturally becomes more sophisticated in its application as the child works through the grades. When I say work here I mean work in its most satisfying sense, these children sense play as work and work as play, hence learning becomes a joyful experience early in their lives.
I learned not to be concerned about the smaller student body or smaller school environment. The smaller class sizes allow for enhanced individualized attention, always a plus and allow for a closer camaraderie amongst students. The mixed age classes help develop an appreciation of peer support for their younger or their older peers. This is a comforting thing to see and an experience that nurtures kindness and respect for other children as they mature. Bullying does not become part of a Cottage school child’s repertoire.”
"The Cottage School has truly been a gift to our sons spirit. His education at Cottage has not only complemented the joy and curiosity for learning that we try to provide at home, but exposed him to the world in ways we could never have provided. I see everyday the spark in his eyes when he sings the songs from school and acts out the stories he has learned. And now, as he enters Kindergarten, he is creating his own stories and making up his own songs. What more can a parent want for their child than for him or her to have a passion for discovering the world around them and a curiosity for the world in their own heart and mind."
— Erin Kiernan Frigerio
"As the grandfather of a Cottage School student, I enjoyed attending your open house last month. The children were happy, engaged, and enthusiastic. I was fascinated by the high levels of cooperation and good citizenship they exhibited. The teachers were skilled at maintaining control and structure while allowing the children freedom to play, learn and enjoy the exuberance of childhood. A strong rapport between the teachers and their students was very apparent. My visit enabled a firsthand look at why my granddaughter feels that spending time at The Cottage School is one of the best things about being a kid."
— Bill Skerratt
"As with all parents, we were faced with constant decisions regarding the education of our son. Whilst we live in a public school district that has excellent schools, we felt that the educational and social approach was not in line with our own values. We investigated many private school options and found the atmosphere and approach we witnessed at the Cottage School to closely reflect the values we hoped to utilize in educating our son.The decision is never easy, but I can unequivocally state that we have seen an enormous benefit to our son's development through his involvement in the Cottage School. In an educational sense the school has constantly surprised us with its ability to facilitate the children's learning. To hear from my son himself, and from his teachers, how he enjoys taking on challenges in traditional academic topics is both encouraging and a relief (who doesn't dread trying to help a child who hates math with his homework). But our son's development extends well beyond traditional education. His involvement in languages, dance, crafts, music, among other activities, has been encouraged and facilitated by the school, and as such his social skills and confidence have also been nourished. This is an area of great importance to us, as we believe our son's ability to grow is linked very closely to these non-academic areas. To be faced every day with a son who looks forward to school, who enjoys challenging himself through the school's varied activities and whose growth never ceases to amaze, makes us very proud parents, and the contribution the Cottage School has made to this end cannot be overstated."
— Richard Wells
"I am constantly inspired every time I come to the school for events, lectures, teacher conferences. That is what is so amazing about this place - I am constantly learning and yearning to follow the mission that this school employs. They are able to learn not from memorizing but by learning and integrating Music, Arts, Sciences, History, Languages and other cultures all together. It is a beautiful thing to see happen so seamlessly. The kids barely know that they are learning. They love it so much. I asked one of my daughters what she loved to do at school and she said write poems - now remember she is only 6 years old still. How many children say that. She also loves her Calligraphy and writing the Japanese characters - which they have learned at such a young age.
— Andrea Filippone
"The Cottage School has prepared our son for a successful transition to public school. The school's focus on the arts, problem-solving, literature, and creativity has instilled in him a confidence in learning that he has carried with him and demonstrates every day in his studies, with teachers and among friends."
— Wayne and Amy Dietrich
"The Cottage School has been a very special home to our children for the past 5 years and has sparked some wonderful relationships for the entire family. A great emphasis is placed on teaching through art, music, nature and storytelling. Exposing young children to different cultures, multiple languages, baking, drawing with pastels, and painting with watercolors and tempera paints were just some of the reasons the school is so unique. In addition to a rich curriculum, the children are encouraged to play and are given a kind and nurturing atmosphere filled with toys of only natural materials. Our girls certainly came out of the school with a love, excitement and appreciation for learning. Thank you. It has been real gift! "
— Lisa Streger
"The Cottage School has helped our children see the beauty that surrounds them - in music, art, stories and nature. Through the school's philosophy, the children are developing a strong sense of curiosity and the ability to express themselves with creativity and thoughtful response. We especially appreciate the friendships and social environment of The Cottage School, including respect the children learn for each other and the teachers."
— Amy and Wayne Dietrich
"The Cottage School gives a child the space, freedom and confidence to be creative by allowing the natural process of play to happen. My children have always been happy and comfortable at the Cottage School because the experience encourages them to be themselves without constraints. Each child is given time to develop their life skills, language ability, maths, art, science and dance. For some this may take 3 years and for others only a couple of months. Where else can you learn Spanish in the morning, folk dance in the afternoon and be served a balanced lunch while singing a sweet song about how the Earth is good to you? Anyone contemplating sending their child to school should attend our end of the year play where our students create a lavish and inspirational performance with singing, dancing and acting. "
— Sally Flanagan
"Although our son is a very active child who enjoys outdoor activities and keeping on the move, he also enjoys finding time to keep to himself to write stories, poems, draw and do handiwork as a means of expression. He involves himself with all manner of activities without limiting himself and almost seems to consider these forms of expression as one. He took to learning these activities through his own passion, not his parents' direction, and as a parent I feel a lot of joy watching himself develop in this manner without fear.
Yet this development was not just a result of his own individuality, it was clearly guided and encouraged by his teachers at the Cottage School.
The school environment sees our son interact with children of different age groups throughout any given day, creating a natural environment for him to challenge himself by learning from those who are older while continuing to draw on the raw enthusiasm of those who are younger.
Choosing the right school from an environment with many good schools on offer is not an easy task for parents. We spoke with other parents, teachers and the principal, and following their advice enrolled our son at the Cottage School, and are very pleased we have continued to do so."
— Kuniko Wells
"One of our favorite components of the Cottage School curriculum is the "special classes" the children teach. All the pre-schoolers present 2 special classes a school year, and these classes consist of the following:
The children choose a topic of personal interest. Young children often give their first class on family and they bring photographs to share with the class. Examples of other topics are owls, flowers, trains, Africa, science experiments, soccer, etc. The children create, gather, and prepare material (such as songs, photographs, drawings or collections) to present to their peers. Kindergartners are assigned countries or states as their topics. Special classes provide an open and creative opportunity for the children to share their interests with the class in a safe teaching environment. They also allow for children to take their passion to a high educational level. Our children always looked forward to presenting their special classes as well as being excited to attend the classes of their peers.
We also are impressed with the Cottage School productions. Each year the children put on a play. The children participate in many aspects of the production, from painting programs and scenery, to rehearsing lines, songs and dances, to performing in front of an audience. The costumes and props are all hand-crafted or created; it is a real community effort. Our children have been very proud of their class plays and enjoy reading the scripts well after the year is completed."
— Jeff and Debbie
"The Cottage School has been an enriching and wonderful experience for both of our sons. The diverse curriculum and nurturing teaching style have helped our children to grow both intellectually and emotionally. The school's unique educational approach engenders a sense of personal pride and confidence in everything our children do. We are continually surprised by what our children learn and bring home from the Cottage School. The Cottage School has given our boys a wonderful educational foundation from which they will continue to benefit for years to come."
— Felicia & Dave DiSabato / The DiSabato Family
"The other amazing thing that the teachers work on with each child is self confidence. Our girls started at the age of 3 and each semester they have to do a presentation in front of their class or the whole school. It seemed unimaginable at first to assume a child that age would have the confidence to do this. But over the years I have seen this confidence build and build. They learn presentation skills, preparation, doing the research, standing in front of a crowd, answering questions. I just wish my teachers started me at that young an age."
— Andrea Filippone
"Another beautiful program taught at the Cottage school is folk dancing. The 4 and 5-year-olds learn folk dances from many different countries and then give a 30 minute performance in costume for their families. They perform independently and gracefully as they beam with pride in their accomplishment and joy for dance."
— The Steinhorn Family
"We have been thrilled with the exposure to the arts and other cultures that the Cottage School has given to our daughter. Their educational philosophy extends beyond the classroom with helpful workshops for parents."
— Isabel and Cort Corbin
Feel free to add your own testimonial below!