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Grange News
Simsbury Grange's Friedland recognized for School Science Lab

By Maureen Scudder, The Cobb School, Montessori -- Hartford Courant (7/19/12)

  JULY 26, 2012 --

Science has always been an integral part of The Cobb School's curricula, but before September 2012, lessons and experiments were conducted in the classroom, in the hallway or on the playground. When Cobb welcomes its students back this fall, its young scientists will have access, for the first time, to a brand new science lab, fully equipped for the school's budding scientific minds. The Cobb School is thrilled to be able to offer a purpose-built space designed for the elementary child and dedicated to the sciences.

The new lab will be adjacent to Cobb's new Upper Elementary classrooms, currently under construction as well. The Upper Elementary, serving grades 4, 5 and 6, is expanding to make room for its rising students and new students eager to join this unique program. In no time in the history of the school have there been so many admissions inquiries for its elementary programs. Last spring The Cobb School's Board of Trustees voted to construct new and better classroom spaces to make room for this growing demand. The science lab is part of their overall plan for growth and school improvement.

Under the direction of Head of School Mary Lou Cobb, Program Coordinator Gerry Leonard and Upper Elementary science teacher Barbara Friedland, the science lab is taking shape this summer.

Friedland has enjoyed a long relationship with the scientific world. Upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in biology, she began work as a researcher for the Dupont Experimental Station, a world-renowned laboratory with a century-old tradition of innovation and discovery. Specifically, she worked on projects on interferon and HIV. After moving to Connecticut, she started a family and spent important years raising her children and volunteering her time, largely offering her services in science, gardening and agriculture at her children's school. Over the past several years Barbara Friedland has not only worked as Cobb's elementary classroom assistant and science teacher, but has also worked at the Community Farm of Simsbury Montessori Experience and Holcomb Farms Summer Programs. Last summer, she studied at the Exploratorium: the Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception in San Francisco. Most recently she has been elected president of the Simsbury Grange, an organization dedicated to preserving and supporting the local agricultural community.

After working in a Montessori classroom for five years, Friedland has a solid understanding of Montessori's big picture approach to the disciplines. "Science," she says, "is perfect for Montessori's interdisciplinary approach." She adds, "science cannot be taught in isolation." She explains how elements of STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - function in relation to one another. Friedland likes to approach science with her students from this interdisciplinary understanding. All of her important work is done in conjunction with the larger Montessori curriculum and in collaboration with the Upper Elementary teachers.

To learn more about The Cobb School, please visit or call 860-658-1144.

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