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School Supply

Academics &
Learning Environment

In today's digital age, content knowledge is ubiquitous! Just ask Google, Alexa or name a few.

Marva Collins Cottage School reimagines a 21st Century education in which we teach our students how to learn, rather than emphasizing what is learned. 

Children today need to know how to learn, respond, innovate and create rather than become skilled at taking tests and following instructions as many of us did.  An innovation-driven economy cares less about what you know than WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH what you know.  

Students are encouraged to come up with many creative answers, rather than search for 'the' answer. Even in quantitative subjects, such as math, multiple strategies can be used to get to an answer.

MCCS prioritizes the JOY of learning. By placing joy at the forefront of our learning experience, we can encourage students to become great readers and develop a love for the written word. Science is taught experientially. Our students engage in hands-on projects, building things and taking them apart.

Another notable aspect is the inverted 'power structure'-- since adults serve as guide and model rather than 'authority figures', control and decision making shifts to the children. The community shared values become the guideposts for what is an acceptable choice. This power shift allows children to care deeply about their own learning; thus they choose to work hard and hold tight boundaries for each other. 


MCCS engages in the Responsive Classroom approach.  Behavior management focuses on natural consequences, rather than punishment; and restorative justice is the hallmark of conflict resolution.  Empowering the child with the habits to manage their own learning develops agency, the ability to make choices. Children are capable of so much in an environment that dignifies and inspires their minds to learn.

The Marva Collins Cottage School graduate will leave as a self-motivated, creative and resilient problem-solver. As Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith proclaim in their book, Most Likely to Succeed, "Career options for creative problem solvers will become ever more abundant, while options for hoop-jumpers will be dismal."

Academics: Academics

"The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution."

Albert Einstein

Academics: Quote

A Prepared Classroom

Our classroom is set up as a prepared environment, inspired by the 5 learning areas of the Montessori Method:

  1. Sensorial Life

  2. Practical Life

  3. Mathematics

  4. Language

  5. Culture

Shelves are at the appropriate height and organized in a manner that facilitates maximum independent learning and exploration.  Children have access to the right tools at the right time and are encouraged to thoughtfully choose their work according to their interests and work plan.  One of the main goals of the prepared environment is freedom of choice.  Structure and order guide the children as they make sense of the world around them.  To keep the environment inviting for learning, it must be uncluttered and well-maintained.  We believe nature also inspires learning and therefore, we use the outdoors as an extension of our classroom.

Academics: Text

Authentic Learning

Our commitment to authentic learning means that academic content is studied through an interdisciplinary approach.  Students will explore Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, Cultural & Social Studies, World Languages, Computer Science, Movement & Wellness, Music and Visual Art.

Academics: Text
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