It is hard to work full-time and raise a child. That's why there is nothing more important than knowing that the people who care for your child are loving, committed, dependable, and trustworthy. My son has thrived in this great learning environment! He is so excited every day to go to school. The staff are professional, but they go so far beyond the call of duty. Always, the children come first. When the hospital decided to close Happy Cubs, too, I and several other parents fought for the new school. That's because we knew that there was nowhere else in Sarasota that would offer our children what Michelle Ireland and her staff do. They develop the individual child and celebrate what is great and unique about each child. They learn friendship, cooperation, reading, sharing, manners/hygiene, skills and education at beginning that will carry them all throughout life. I wish every child had the opportunity to grow in an environment like The Cottages - the world would be a better place for it.
-Kristen, Mother of Grant, Age 2


Emily has been with the same set of teachers for 5 years. I can not say enough good things about this group of ladies. They are all so supportive of the kids and they really take the time to listen to the parents. I have recommended so many parents to this program. Amazing is the only word that can even come close to describing them.
-Crystal, Mother of Emily, Age 5
I am extremely comfortable with the staff at The Cottages. My daughter and now my son have both enjoyed the school and their teachers. The communication between staff and parents is wonderful. My son is almost 2 now and has already learned so much. I highly recommend The Cottages, not only for the instructional activities, but also for the amazing people that work there.
-Kym, Mother of Tanner, Age 1
I have my daughter in The Cottages which we transitioned from Happy Cubs, too. We love it here! My daughter is very happy and there are times that she doesn't want to leave! The teachers as well as Michelle are very dedicated in teaching and educating our children through play and structured activities. They are all very compassionate caring individuals who strive to see our children succeed. There is a lot of potential for growth at The Cottages and as a parent I look forward to seeing the possibilities come to life. When I was looking to put my daughter in child care I actually felt at peace and comfortable and I knew that she would get the attention she needed from the director and all of the wonderful teachers. About The Cottages, there is just so much that I could say, but it would have to be a book. This is a great place to be!
-Stephanie, Mother of Sophia, Age 3
Our son has been with the teachers/staff of The Cottages at Michaels Learning Center since he was 3 months old, and we have always been very comfortable & confident in their care. They are an outstanding, kind, caring group of people in an excellent facility who are committed to the pretense "early education". We have never referred to them as a "day care" but rather as a school because they really are a top notch educational institution.
-Tammy & Jason, Parents of Jake, Age 3
As first time parents that have the luxury of family babysitting our son for the first year we were very picky as to who we chose to care for him. The first day as we took the tour of the facility we knew this was the right place for us. Thank you for taking such great care of our son!
-Melissa & Jason, Parents of Gavin, Age 1
I am very satisfied and happy with the job they are doing with Ambar. I am a full time working single mom and I feel the teachers are helping me to raise my child in ways I couldn't do better myself. She has learned a lot and looks forward to going to school every morning.
-Clara, Mother of Ambar, Age 4
Dear Cottages Staff,
I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much our family appreciates the Cottages! Our daughter, Raleigh has blossomed since beginning your program. We’ve been coming for nearly a year and she’s learned so much!! My husband works as a social worker in child protective services and your program was recommended to us by two of his coworkers; high praise from people that see facilities throughout the county. Since joining The Cottages, we have not been disappointed and while our former school/daycare was more convenient, the extra time it takes to bring Raleigh to you is well worth it. Even as a young toddler, Raleigh is always coming home with artwork and singing new songs, even taking what she’s learned and improvising. A new favorite is the “This is –insert a sea creature here- swimming in the ocean” song that she’s adapted from a song learned in circle time. It was so heartwarming to see her make the connection from the color fish song that is part of circle time and use it to sing about other animals. I love that there’s a focus on making learning fun and feel that Raleigh is attending a school versus just a daycare. Her vocabulary is amazing for a 21 month old and she really loves her teachers and other students. As someone who cares deeply for our environment, I love that there is a focus on being “green”. I also appreciate the immediate communication and attention the staff gives when there is the occasional concern or mishap. I can’t imagine a better place for Raleigh to spend her early years. Thank you for all you do!
-Sincerely,
Gretchen Lovewell, Sarasota, FL

The first day I asked my 4 year old 'how was school?'
He said 'this is the best school ever!'
I had looked at 12 preschools before deciding on The Cottages. The staff is warm, the classrooms are very clean and I love that they encourage plenty of hand washing!
We are very happy we found The Cottages.
-Kellie Grant, Sarasota, FL
I chose The Cottages at Michaels Learning Center because it was highly recommended to me by another mom that I trusted.  I was looking for something that was highly rated, had an engaging curriculum, and a caring staff that I could feel comfortable leaving my 2 year old with.  I also love that The Cottages is a "Green" school, not only for the health of our environment and children, but also to teach our kids at a very early age how to take care of the earth as much as we can.   For instance, each classroom has their own garden box for the kids to plant, water and watch their garden grow.  I am very happy with our decision in enrolling our son here, but more importantly, my son loves everything about the school and we would both recommend this program to others!
-Angie Gianulis, Sarasota, FL
 1. Why did you choose our program? I did a lot of research on line and saw that other parents were happy with the school and that it was a 5 star school. I visited 5 or 6 places and knew when I came to The Cottages, that it was the right place for my son. I was very picky because he had stayed at home for the first 3 years of his life w his grandma.
2. What is your favorite thing about our program? The teachers.
3. How has our program changed your child’s and/or your family's life? I see my son gaining learning skills and socializing with his peers and it makes me very happy. He is doing very well and is thriving thanks to the program at the school.
4. What is something funny or heart-warming that your child has said because of our program? I was sitting at the computer the other day and my son came to me and said, mommy, pay my school first (he knows that I pay most of our bills on line). That was so cute, your school is a top priority for him!
5. What do you like most about the teachers and staff? The teachers sincerely love and care for the children. I love the fact that the staff is international although that was probably not intentional. I am happy that my son has interactions with teachers who have different backgrounds, Greek-American, Cuban-American, German-American. I feel that is a big plus in the global village we live in today.
6. What do you like about our curriculum and educational approach? I do not have any other program to compare ours to as this has been the only place my son has been but I can say that I am impressed that at 4 years old he is really into books and trying to read and loves learning. The Cottages gave him a quest for knowledge. This is also evident in the fact that all children who applied for the advanced programme last year at Tatum Ridge Elementary (The Eagle Academy) who were in his class the year prior made it in. I hope he does too.
7. Would you recommend our program to others? Yes!
8. Additional Comments: I want to thank Michelle and her staff and teachers for all they do to make this a very special place. I want to also mention that I have had the pleasure of getting to know a lot the children's parents and they are all great!!!!!! Thanks to all who make The Cottages a special place.
-Jessika Arman-Valdivia, Sarasota, FL
We have had two children at The Cottages- one is now a graduate.  My husband and I have been extremely pleased with the top-notch curriculum, as well as the friendly and caring staff.  The school's commitment to environmental stewardship and healthy living is an added and welcome bonus!  It's not a coincidence that nearly every child in my son's graduating pre-k class tested into the "advanced work" kindergarten class at his/her respective elementary school.  The Pre-K program is phenomenal!  But it starts even younger than that- my children have been well-prepared for each level beginning at age 1.  My children have always looked forward to school and have adored every teacher they've had.   We came from an excellent Montessori School, so I have high standards and expectations.  The Cottages has exceeded my expectations on so many levels.  We have nothing but great things to say about The Cottages and recommend the school without hesitation to anyone we can! 
-Trudy, Sarasota, FL
My husband & I are huge fans of The Cottages. My daughter Haven just started kindergarten this year after being at The Cottages from opening day. We couldn't be more pleased with how The Cottages prepared her academically & socially. Our 8 mo old Gatlin is now attending The Cottages & we are thrilled to have him here. When I drop him off in the morning I feel like I am leaving him with a family member. Thank you so much to all of the great teaches here at The Cottages. We wouldn't know what we would do without you.
Thanks again,
-Terra & Paul Wilson, Myakka, FL
We cannot say enough wonderful things about The Cottages and the staff. Everyone has been so warm and caring. We decided on The Cottages after having numerous problems with another daycare center and it has been the BEST decision we have ever made. They were more than willing to work with our requests and help with our sons special needs. The cottages are always kept clean which is important because it helps keep the children healthy. The children are always very happy and my son has learned so much since he has been there. It is not a “daycare” it is a school where your child is learning, interacting, being encouraged, experiencing new things, playing and being taught to be an individual. Parents are treated like an equal and they encourage parents to be involved and that is a rare thing to find. They will always go above and beyond to make sure your child is developing and thriving all the while keeping them extremely happy and safe.
We would recommend them over and over!
-Cara and Lee, Sarasota, FL
My son has been attending The Cottages since the very beginning and prior to that, attended Happy Cubs, too where Michelle was the co-director. Our daughter had also attended Happy Cubs, too from the ages of 2-5. We felt extremely confident in Michelle and very grateful when she decided to open her own facility.
We live in North Port and both my husband and I work in Sarasota, and although we contemplated finding a pre-school in North Port, we realized that we were comfortable with the staff and the curriculum at The Cottages. Tanner is now 4, in the VPK program and has already learned so much. We appreciate everything that they do and have no hesitation in recommending them for a variety of reasons. We are especially fond of Ms. Maria and Ms. Lesley as they complement each other.
-Kym, North Port, FL
I can’t imagine a more loving, nurturing, or positive environment for my daughter.  The first time I toured the facility I immediately felt at ease. The rooms were clean, organized, cheerful and most importantly the children seemed happy and healthy.  The peace of mind that The Cottages has provided me is priceless, and I would recommend them to my family and friends without hesitation.
-Colleen, Venice, FL
 1. Why did you choose our program? Recommendations from friends. I was immediately impressed with the campus tour, Michelle, and the individualized, creative learning environment that The Cottages offered.
2. What is your favorite thing about our program? Only one? Not possible! The staff is beyond amazing! The classrooms are well-equipped, teachers are prepared and nurturing, the curriculum is well-defined, the campus has an open-door policy so I was able to observe and participate, and I love that the school is a “green” school.
3. How has our program changed your child’s and/or your family's life? It really helped prepare my son (and me) for kindergarten. Not just being in a group environment, but being on a regular schedule. He was given the freedom to explore his individual creativity, but was structured enough to participate and thrive in group settings.
4. Is there a story about our program that has touched your heart? There are so many, but the one that still gets me teary-eyed is the “One Small Voice” song that the kids sang at graduation. All of those sweet little voices singing and doing sign language along with it was incredible! My son still plays The Cottages music CD and sings the song and still remembers the signs too! It is one of the most adorable things to watch!
5. What is something funny or heart-warming that your child has said because of our program? Because The Cottages is a green school, my son became pretty environmentally conscious throughout the year, which is most definitely something I’m grateful for. But, I had left a light on in the bedroom one day (I was going right back in – I swear!) and my son yelled at me, “Mommy! You are wasting electricity!” and turned the light off. Then, he gave me a small lecture on taking care of our planet.
6. What do you like most about the teachers and staff? I love everything about the teachers and staff! Liz, Judy and Michelle are super friendly, very involved, very hands-on and very interactive with not only the kids, but the parents too. I was always made to feel welcome and so was my son. I cannot say enough about Ms. Claudia and the incredible positive influence she had with my son. She was so patient, kind, and made each day fun. She was the best and I truly believe that she had a huge influence on my son’s positive attitude towards school.
7. What do you like about our curriculum and educational approach?
Like? Love it! I love the variety, the one-on-one learning and guidance, the wide array of projects that I thought wouldn’t take place until kindergarten! Amazing! My son was like a little sponge – absorbing every moment and was so excited every day to tell me what he did in school. Actually, there were numerous times that he cried when it was time to go home because he didn’t want to leave his friends!
8. Would you recommend our program to others? Absolutely! I have many times and will again and again. In talking with other parents (whose kids went to other PreK schools), I have yet to hear anyone brag like I do about their school like I do with The Cottages.
9. Additional Comments:
This was the best experience I ever could have dreamed of for my son’s first experience with school. It was so difficult to say goodbye after graduation. The Cottages made us feel like not just friends, but family. My son and I made some terrific bonds at The Cottages and will always treasure our memories from there.
- Renn Nichols (Brayden’s Mom), Sarasota, FL
My boys, ages 5 and 2 1/2 absolutely LOVE going to school at The Cottages! When they first started at the school, they were 3 1/2 and 1. I was worried that it may be a difficult transition but they had a wonderful first day and every day that I pick them up they tell me how much fun they had at school! Every person working at The Cottages genuinely cares about EVERY child. They are the most friendly and loving group of people. I feel very confident as I drop my boys off in the morning that they will be in the best hands and they will be happy and safe.
- Krissy, Sarasota, Fl
I can't say enough about the excellent care and education my son has gotten at The Cottages. My son is 3 years old and has attended The Cottages since he was one. It is never easy for a parent to leave their child in the care of others, but from the second I met the staff and took a tour of the facility, I knew he was in good hands. He tells me all the time how much he loves his teachers and looks forward to going to school every day. I want to give my children the best education possible but at such a young age I want them to be able to just be kids and have fun as well. At The Cottages they make learning fun so it's the best of both worlds. His language skills have improved tremendously and each day I look forward to hearing him tell me all the things he has learned that day. I'm now getting ready to go back to work and my 3 month old will be starting full time in the infant room. It's not an easy thing for me to do but knowing how well she will be cared for and the love she will receive every day makes it much easier. It is also important to me that they are  "a green school". They have made many changes to ensure that the school is safe for our children by not exposing them to many of the harsh chemicals in our environment and by using as many organic materials as possible. I strongly recommend The Cottages to any parents looking for a loving, caring, safe, learning environment for their children.
- Melissa Kubisiak, Sarasota, Fl
Our son has been with the teachers/staff of The Cottages at Michaels Learning Center since he was 3 months old, and we have always been very comfortable & confident in their care. They are an outstanding, kind, caring group of people in an excellent facility who are committed to the pretense of “early education”. We have never referred to them as a “daycare” but rather as a school because they really are a top notch educational institution.
- Jason & Tammy, Sarasota, FL
I have my daughter in The Cottages which we transitioned from Happy Cubs, too. We love it here! My daughter is very happy and there are times she doesn’t want to leave! The teachers as well as Michelle are very dedicated in teaching and educating our children through play and structured activities. They are all very compassionate caring individuals who strive to see our children succeed. There is a lot of potential for growth at The Cottages and as a parent I look forward to seeing the possibilities come to life. When I was looking to put my daughter in child care I actually felt at peace and comfortable and I knew that she would get the attention she needed from the director all the way down to all of the wonderful teachers. At The Cottages, there is just so much that I could say, but it would be a book. This is a great place to be!
- Stephanie, Nokomis, FL
Emily has been with the same set of teachers for 5 years. I can not say enough good things about this group of ladies. They all are so supportive of the kids and they really take the time to listen to the parents. I have recommended so many parents to this program. Amazing is the only word that can even come close to describing them.
- Crystal, Myakka, Fl