The Sarasota Learning Cottage Breaks New Grounds: First Preschool in the Nation to Bring Fusion Early Learning Outside the State of California
A local preschool is breaking new grounds as the first preschool in the nation to bring the Fusion Early Learning Curriculum outside the state of California. This multifaceted approach has proven to be widely successful in transitioning students from preschool to grade school, and is drawing in families from all corners of Sarasota and Manatee counties.
When sisters Aimee Muldoon and Ashley Cabe first launched the Sarasota Learning Cottage two months ago, they decided to do things differently. Aimee and Ashley, both experienced as preschool teachers and preschool business managers, witnessed the ins and outs of traditional education first-hand. In building the curriculum for their school, they wanted to bridge the gap between a more independent, freedom with limits approach to early education (such as that taught in Montessori schools) with a thematic learning environment that helps students exceed expectations whether they transition into a homeschooling environment, an arts school or a public elementary school.
Their approach to early education? Fusion Early Learning.
“As mothers, we understand the importance of opening your mind and heart to the individual needs of children. We believe in active listening and building confidence that fosters independence, trust, connectedness and giving. As teachers, we understand the importance of a quality curriculum that encourages creativity and a well-rounded education. At the Sarasota Learning Cottage, we want the quality of the curriculum to be there (which we found in Fusion), with the feeling of home.” explains Aimee.
In 2006, the first Fusion Preschool opened in California. The Fusion approach was designed to overcome major challenges within the early learning industry and excite young students, exposing them to subject matter not typically taught during the preschool years.
To provide some back story on the challenges in more traditional environments, today’s state mandated Common Core Curriculum has left education experts and parents at odds. New government standards instruct teachers what to teach, how to teach, and monitor them to ensure they don’t deter from a particular script. This leaves little room for teachers to express personal style and creativity. Some argue that the Common Core Curriculum desensitizes children, and does very little to stimulate imagination, curiosity, and creativity. Some parents report a sharp decline in the academic work of their children following “core” implementation.
The challenges of traditional education led Aimee and Ashley to research new frameworks for early education. They were both instantly drawn to the unique, successful and highly-acclaimed methods of Fusion Early Learning.
Meghan Hamilton, Owner and Founder of Fusion Early Learning (who also developed the Fusion Early Learning curriculum) shares her excitement regarding the expansion of the program. “We couldn’t be more excited that The Learning Cottage is the first school to pioneer the Fusion Early Learning approach outside of California. When Aimee and Ashley first contacted us, we knew that would be the perfect fit for our methods and curriculum. Their incredible dedication to the early learning industry and desire to educate young children in a manner has truly set them apart!”
The learning environment at the Sarasota Learning Cottage is divided into three classrooms, each focused on specific subjects such as Early Literacy, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics and the Arts, to provide the most comprehensive learning experience possible for young students.
Hamilton continues, “Fusion graduates are equipped with the social, developmental and academic skills needed to have a successful primary school experience. They leave our program with fire in their eyes, ready for the educational adventure ahead of them… We hope that parents in Sarasota will take advantage of this incredible opportunity The Learning Cottage has placed before them and give their children the preschool experience they long for!”
On top of an incredible curriculum and caring approach, the Sarasota Learning Cottage is green-friendly; focused on sustainability and the environment. Only all-natural cleaners are used, Certified Organic snacks are provided, and students enjoy getting their energy out with two outdoor recess periods. Currently, the Sarasota Learning Cottage is one of only two local schools offering all-organic snacks.
Ashley and Aimee’s approach to learning is definitely making major headway throughout Sarasota County. In just 2 months of business, they have increased enrollment from 7 students to 25. Growth has mostly come from word of mouth, due to many satisfied parents.
Allison Morningstar, mother of a Fusion student, shares her first-hand experience with the program.
“I was blown away when my three year old son asked me ‘mommy do you know why bugs glow?’ I replied ‘I’m not sure I do.’ He explained, ‘it’s bioluminescence that makes bugs glow!’ He was proud that he taught his family something at the dinner table that day. I had high expectations but did not expect the level of education to be this exciting and fun for the whole family!”
With 5 dedicated teachers and small class sizes, lessons remain focused and personalized. Toddler classes are focused on helping little ones develop language, motor skills, creativity, good manners and cleanliness. The classes for older students continue to expand their creativity while also expanding their educational repertoire.
Ashley explains that business growth is a major initiative. However, their most important priority is to retain a feeling of “home” without a trace of corporate bureaucracy. “We want to expand and we want there to be more than one Learning Cottage, but we don’t ever want your child to be a number.”
Those interested in learning more about Fusion Early Learning or the Sarasota Learning Cottage may do so on the School’s website, www.sarasotalearningcottage.com.