THE Cottage School, located in the heart of Bellerive Village, will celebrate its 40th anniversary in October this year.
Founded in the early 1970s by a group of like-minded parents led by Sally Sorell, the independent school of 80 students was officially opened in 1975 with the support of a Commonwealth Innovation Grant.
Its aim was to provide a different model of education that involved all parents and operated outside of normal school hours.
The school focuses on a philosophy that each student can successfully “tread their own pathway through the building blocks of learning” in a supportive, educational environment.
The Cottage School teacher Kath Windfeld Petersen said she identified strongly with the school’s ethos.
“When I first came across The Cottage School I saw the respect the teachers had for their students,” she said.
“There was a considered way in which the children interacted with their peers and teachers alike.
“I realised that I had found the school that I always imagined I would send my children to.”
As the school grew in numbers throughout the 1980-90s, so did the need for classrooms to accommodate its students.
Families donated vast amounts of time and energy to the school, helping to source capital grants to purchase two additional cottages in Queen Street, Bellerive and to acquire of the vacant lot between the cottages, which is the school’s main play space today.
Parents also donated their time to offer architectural, drafting, building, planting and landscaping skills.
This involvement continues in the school today with parents donating their time and resources to assisting in the management of the school, maintaining the school grounds and buildings, and helping in and outside the classroom through literacy and cooking programs, gardening, environment days and regular camps.
During its 40-year history, many of The Cottage School’s former and current teachers, including Ms Windfeld Petersen, have enrolled their own children in the school.
With a strong focus on the development of the “whole child,” The Cottage School delivers programs that foster confidence, resilience and consideration in the individual to equip the child with a resourceful toolkit for life.
For more information about The Cottage School’s 40th anniversary celebrations, visit www.cottageschool.tas.edu.au