We would like to give you an update on what your child has done at the school thus far. As one of the fundaments of The Cottage School every activity is presented free of pressure and sustained by the spirit of play. Great importance is placed on the “learning process” to develop patterns of learning.
Each day has a particular focus:
Thursdays: Focus on English Language Arts and the Fine Arts.
During circle time, the children listen to folktales from various countries, sing songs, nursery rhymes and play rounds. The folktales are either read aloud or told and played out with puppets. The children have opportunities to tell their own stories.
The following folktales have been told in English on Thursdays and Spanish on Fridays:
Children of Wax (Africa)
How Frog Lost His Tail (Africa)
Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky (Egypt)
The Rabbit in the Moon (Egypt)
The Stonecutter (Japan)
The Invisible Pair (Japan)
The Carpenter and Oniroku (Japan)
Six Little Statues (Japan)
The Heavenly Spinning Maid (China)
The Red Maned Horse (China)
The Young Head of the Family (China)
The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts (India)
The Monkey and the Crocodile (India)
How the Raja’s Son Won the Princess Labam (India)
Senor Coyote and the Dogs (Mexico)
The Story of the Sun and the Moon (Mexico)
The Creation of People According to the Popol Vuh (Mexico)
After circle time, the children have playtime until 10:20 am that they start getting ready for transitioning to the next activity: Painting.
Every day before the students start painting or the book work, they are asked to find their names which will be on a label on top of their paper or book. Children paint from 10:30 to 10:50 using water colors or tempera. After painting, it is time to wash hands and set up the tables for lunch. The children count the plates, cups, spoons, etc. according to the number of children seating at each table.
Playtime: Group 1 joins Group 2 for playtime.
Indoors Play: Every day the children play with blocks, handmade and wooden puzzles, handmade dolls, the kitchen set, the water table, silks, instruments, wooden arches, cars and farm animals to inspire imaginative play. The playroom many times becomes a shopping center, the ocean with ships and fish, a doctor’s office, a big building with elevators and many other interesting places and things.
Painting: The group moves to another room for the activity. In the beginning of the year they painted using tempera paint, they are working now with watercolors. The children learn to put their smocks on before start working. They have different colors available for them on the table and they express what colors they would like to use for their work. The children are discovering the colors and testing them on the paper.
Bathroom time: Every child is asked to use the potty and wash hands to get ready for lunch. Children in pull ups are changed and also asked to use the potty during this time.
Lunch is from 11:00 to 11:40 am. The children help setting up the table. Every time there’s a helper who will help pass the food around the table. After lunch, it’s time for getting ready for outdoors playtime. The children help putting their own shoes, coats, hats on.
They play outside until dismissal time at 12:30.
Fridays: Focus on Spanish Language Immersion
At Opening Circle, the children sit just with their classmates on Fridays because it is Spanish day only for this group. Using little blocks, we count up to 20 (sometimes more) in Spanish, tell colors (rojo, azul, amarillo, verde, naranja), sing songs and play rounds. The folk-story is in Spanish as well.
Traditional Games: “Farolera Tropezó,” “Sale el Trencito,” “Arroz con Leche,” “Vibora de la Mar,” “Estaba la Paloma Blanca”, “Achupe”, “Ronda”, “El Florón”.
“Canciones, Romances y Baladas” (Book and CD) compiled by Nelly Pearson and used at the school can be purchased through the school.
Working on books: Every child has a book where songs and poems in Spanish are glued. We start our work by singing every song from the beginning, when we get to the new page the child receives a new song or poem to glue. After they try to copy the words from the poem/song, they receive oil pastels to color.
Baking: The last Friday of the month is our day to celebrate the birthdays of the month. The children collaborate in the making of the cake by adding the ingredients and mixing.
Outdoors Play: Children play with a jump rope, the Cottage House, the sandbox with shovels, buckets and muffin tins. They decorate the tepee and climb on bales of hay in the Fall. They daily use the horse-harness, logs, sticks, and rakes. We also play some organized games such as “What time is it Mr. Wolf”, Hide and Seek, Relay Races and Red Light Green Light.
Outdoors playtime and dismissal.
Special Events:October- Halloween Party:During the parade, the children walked a path with the teachers (set up outside in the playground) and went from one “station” to another. At each station, they said a nursery rhyme or sang a song and received a healthy treat (like an apple or bread). The students visited the miller, the miller, the baker, the candlestick maker, and the wizard.
November- December: Baked cookies and made candles for Holidays.
February- Valentine’s Day: Painted cards and baked cookies.
September- We visited Middle Valley Farms in Mendham, where the children picked pumpkins and played in the corn mazes. Free Workshops for Parents and Friends: November 17: “Day In the Life of a Cottage School Student” - Workshop for parents to see what their children do at school.
December 7: “The Importance of Arts in Education and Painting Holiday Cards” by Laura Soulages
January 14:Casadoce Informational workshop about Spanish language exchange in Argentina
January 20: “The Importance of Arts in Education & Painting Cards” by Laura Soulages
End of the School Year Play:
Our focus this year is on Ancient Cultures. The children will be putting together a play incorporating the social studies curriculum. Our play, “Amanda and George’s Adventure”, will be on June 3rd. It is a play written by the students of group four, individually and collectively. 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. Elementary students initiated their research in the Fall. Then, they started the creative writing process. They learned the editing process and how to revise. The group worked together during many classes to create a cohesive story that includes all members of the school through dialogue, singing, and dancing. All our 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.