It seems so unstructured – is there any structure?

We provide an “unseen structure” in the way we set up the environment for play and exploration.  We have a curriculum that guides the daily design of our environment in the form of reading nooks, arts and crafts tables, sensory exploration stations, and open areas for more physical play (to name a few). 

The children decide how to play and what to do with the materials available to them. 

Nonetheless, we have a number of routines throughout the day that provide consistency: group time each morning, shared snack time, and an all-inclusive music time and ‘goodbye’ song to end the school day.

How do you handle conflict?

First and foremost we believe that conflict is a developmentally appropriate and necessary part of the preschool experience.  In responding to conflict in the classroom, we always anticipate and interrupt any unsafe situation. 

We model empathy, treat each child involved with respect, and help children resolve conflict through communication. 

We serve as coaches assisting children in verbalizing their feelings to each other about what occurred, thereby incrementally building this important life skill.

How do the children do when they go on to kindergarten?

Great!  We have found that providing children with an environment in which they can develop socially and emotionally builds their foundation and prepares them for anything in the world. 

Our alumni families frequently report that their kids are thriving in a variety of kindergarten environments. 

Our alumni children have gone on to attend public, private, and charter schools.

Does your curriculum include any academics?

We don’t drill the children and there are no worksheets! We incorporate phonics, numbers, and ABC’s through books, conversation, songs, and in the Rainforest class through Writer’s Workshop. 

This writing through story-telling method is brought to us by an alumni parent educator at Pasadena Story Lab.

But what do I actually *do* in the classroom?

At Cottage, our motto is "Where parents and children learn together through play."

Our curriculum is always child-led, so you may find yourself engaged in a pretend restaurant making mud pies, climbing through the jungle on our play structure, reading stories, or mediating conflict.

At the end of each class, you will have the chance to debrief about the day with your fellow parent teacher and our lead teachers. What did you learn? What did you find challenging? What worked?  What didn’t?

Our parents find these sessions invaluable as they provide an opportunity for meaningful reflections and continued learning.

My mom/brother/nanny watches my child. Can they work in the classroom for me?

Unfortunately, no. 

As an important part of building our tight-knit community, we limit working in the classroom to parents only.  This allows the children to get to know each other’s parents well and provides consistency and familiarity. 

We believe this creates the strong parent-to-parent and child-to-parent relationships between families that forms the cornerstone of a co-op.  

Can I bring my baby/younger child with me when I am working in the yard?

We ask that you arrange childcare for siblings when you are scheduled to work in the yard as this allows you to fully engage in your classroom duties and have fun!  If you have a nursing infant, they can remain close-by with a caregiver upstairs in our parent room where you can nurse or pump as needed. 

There is also flexibility in scheduling your shifts throughout the year to accommodate new babies, family visits, work obligations, vacations, etc.

What do you serve for snack? My child has allergies.

Our school is peanut free.  We also maintain a list of food allergies and preferences for all children.  Parents are more than welcome to bring an alternative snack to serve their child if they so desire (e.g. dairy free yogurt or almond milk).

Our snack menu varies by season. It is vegetarian and includes a protein, a fruit and/or vegetable, and a carbohydrate. We also try to make sure varied textures are offered. Some recent examples include:

  • Lentils, bruschetta and whole grain pita chips

  • Cantaloupe, cottage cheese and akmak crackers

  • Miso soup, tofu, dried seaweed

Believe me, our kids have wider palates after their years at Cottage!

I would like to add my child to the waitlist. How can I do that?

We do maintain a waitlist of applicants who have completed the application process each season. This waitlist does not roll over from year to year. Occasionally, a space will become available mid-year that we are unable to fill from our waitlist. At that time, we will review applications and offer tours to families who could potentially be a great fit for the class and school. There is no fee to complete part 1 of our application. You may contact our admissions team for more information. It is not possible to guarantee your child a spot by registering them at a young age.

I would like to set up a tour. How can I do that?

Our tours are typically held January through March, during our admission season. However, if you are sincerely interested, please fill our part 1 of our application and we will contact you to set up a tour, should a space become available. You may contact the admission team for more information.

What are your class schedules and tuition?

Check our Class Descriptions / Programs page