Frequently Asked Questions
At what age can my children start at Cottage School?
- Cottage School offers a Pre Kinder on Mondays from 9am – 12 noon. This group is suitable for 4 year old children.
What is the average number of children per class?
- Our classes are grouped in the following way: Pre-Kinder, Kinder, Littlies Prep, Middlies 1/2, Middlies 3/4, Biggies 5/6.
- The Kinder intake each year is usually 10 with a maximum of 12, and this is the same for Pre-Kinder.
- The average size for the stand-alone Prep class is 10 with a maximum of 12.
- The average and optimum class size for the composite classes is around 20 students, although from time to time this may vary either way by one or two students.
What curriculum does the Cottage School use?
- In line with the registration requirements, the Australian Curriculum guides us. However, the way in which the Australian Curriculum is delivered is by integrating components into meaningful, relevant units of work, which embody the Cottage School ethos.
Is there a Physical Education Programme in the curriculum?
- Yes, the Health/PE curriculum is delivered in a multi faceted way. A specialist Health/PE teacher works across the school, two days each week. Sometimes this is to work on site with the children, and sometimes the children are taken off site for sporting clinics. All children from Prep – Year 6 engage in two weeks of swimming instruction each year. Teachers lead their own classes for daily PE, and each Thursday morning before school a teacher leads Jump Start; a whole of school physical activity with a twist! Environment Days and Bike Days are held each term and develop physical fitness, stamina and specific skills. Our health program includes working with external providers to deliver lessons in protective behaviours, a Growing Up program, and First Aid.
Can the children become involved in team sports?
- Yes, from time to time the small independent schools organise their own sporting competitions, although not on a regular basis. Cottage School children attend many of the local sporting clubs and institutions, wherever their interests take them.
Does the school provide after school care?
- Not at the Cottage School site itself, but children from here go to the after school programme at nearby Bellerive Primary School.
Is it compulsory to attend Committee Meetings?
- Positions on the Committee are elected at the AGM. However, everyone is welcome to attend the monthly Committee meetings as an observer or to speak to an agenda item that they have submitted and to which their input provides an advantage.
Are parent jobs and responsibilities onerous?
- No, our family jobs usually average about 20 minutes per week. A Working Bee is held three times a year to which each family is required to provide 4 hours of work (1 person 4 hours, 2 people x 2 hours). We also ask each family to be involved in our annual fair, which is our major fundraiser for the year.
How do you assist children who have specific learning needs?
- Students who have specific learning needs as diagnosed by a professional, will receive appropriate support from teachers and Teacher Assistants. In the majority of cases, this support will be articulated through the development of an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) in consultation with relevant external professional providers, the family and the student.
What happens to children who leave after Year 6?
- Children attend a wide range of high schools dependant on geographical location, opportunities offered at the school, philosophical beliefs and financial considerations. There is no particular trend or preference. One thing you can be sure of is that our students leave with a high level of confidence, independence and a readiness to embrace the next leg of their educational journey.
Do the children stay in the same peer group throughout their schooling?
- Coming to Cottage School is best described as a journey. Children who start in Kinder will continue through primary school with the same peer group. During Kinder and Prep they will be a stand alone group as they receive a curriculum that is quite different from the following years. Once they reach Year 1, they will form part of a combined year group which allows for an extended classroom peer group and opportunities to work in different groups as the need arises.
How do students manage to transition to larger high schools?
- The feedback from teachers in high schools and the students themselves, is that they present as confident, articulate and prepared to continue their educational journey in their chosen high school. Ability to relate to adults is a feature of our students that is regularly fed back to us.
What opportunities are there for my child to learn leadership skills?
- Each class provides opportunities and encouragement for individuals and groups to learn about and demonstrate their leadership qualities. Our children constantly amaze us with their willingness to take on leadership in a respectful way.
- Each year our Year 5 and 6 students attend a leadership conference for students. Our Year 5 students are apprentices; school leaders in the making, and our Year 6 students take on the mantle of school leaders. This responsibility is taken seriously and covers many aspects of the school’s operation.
- Specific programs through the year as well as the regular outdoor components of the Cottage School Curriculum allow development and application of leadership qualities in our Year 6 group.
Can the school cater for children with special needs?
- As a small independent school, Cottage School does not have the capacity to employ on their staff psychologists, student councillors and specific Teacher Assistants designated to a single student.
- However, each classroom teacher is supported by a full time general Teacher Assistant who provides support to individuals and groups of children across the class.
- Cottage School provides limited financial support to enrolled students who require the services of external professionals. The reports and recommendations from the chosen professional form part of the learning plan for individual students.
My child is very bright – can he be extended?
- All children are supported to move their learning forward from their current level of understanding. Individuals and groups working at their own level is a feature of our small class numbers.
What is your behaviour management policy?
- Cottage School has a comprehensive Supportive School Environment Policy which can be found on the website. This policy provides a supportive framework for students, staff and parents in terms of desired behaviours.
Is it hard to get in?
- Cottage School is committed to maintaining class numbers at a size that allows the teacher and Teacher assistant the opportunities to interact with students on a frequent and regular basis. For this reason, it may be difficult for a child to be placed in any of the year groups.
- The majority of our students start with Cottage School at Kinder or even Pre-Kinder and continue their journey through to Year 6. This is the preferred enrolment as children become a part of the school culture and the development of the whole child is optimised.
- Children may be enrolled in any year group where a place is available, and the suitability of an enrolment is taken on a case by case basis.
Why don’t you have school uniforms?
- Uniforms are a component of the industrial style of education, which serve to take away the individual expression of children. At Cottage School, one of the delights is to see children wearing something that they feel comfortable in, that expresses the way that they might feel on that day, that allows them to play freely without fear of damaging an expensive uniform, and which promotes their creativity.
- We ask that clothing does not prominently display brand logos, and for this reason there is no competition or pressure to succumb to popular media advertising amongst the children. In fact it’s quite the opposite.