Parent Testimonial: Jessica Plackis

Alice has a wonderful knowledge of children and their needs. She always has planned activities and field trips the children love.  Alice taught my children good boundaries and respect for others, and she communicates well with parents.

Thanks for all you do Alice! You gave my twin boys, now 16yrs old, a wonderful foundation for their Academic life. You have done so much for the boys and myself.

Thank you,

JESSICA PLACKIS

AUGUST 2014

 

 

Parent Testimonial: Erin Bonski & Matt Evans

When we came to My Special School, we were searching for a small and safe place for our daughter to play, grow and learn.  We were passionate about Montessori, and while we had looked around at other options, we just didn’t feel like anything was the right fit.  I still remember the day we walked into My Special School.  It was so warm and inviting.  Soft music was playing, the room was well-organized, and there was Alice, with a big smile on her face.  We took our shoes off, and after playing with Montessori games and talking with Alice, neither my daughter nor I wanted to leave.

In the two years our daughter was there, she learned so much about peace, community and cooperation, and she came home amazed at the world around her.  Alice has a special knack for cultivating compassion and respect, and she is attune to the needs and learning style of each child.  The specialists she brings in are unsurpassable in their keen ability to work with the preschoolers. From Drama and Music to Yoga and Qigong, from learning to coordinate large and fine motor skills to caring for animals and the earth, there really is no better name for such a wonderful little world of learning.

My Special School has it all, and we feel blessed to have had Alice in our lives.

 

ERIN BONSKI & MATT EVANS

AUGUST 2014

 

 

Parent Testimonial: Susan Torrey

7/2011-Fia Torrey-about to become an Alumni:)PARENTING: A tearful goodbye to the Preschool years

 

by Susan Torrey

Montecito Messenger

July 27, 2011

 

There’s a date on my calendar that’s marked with a big red circle. It’s looming with both dread and excitement. It’s the last day of pre-school for my daughter. The end of the sweet little world she’s been a part of and the beginning of something bigger and new. She started the spring of 2008, barely two years old. She’s now five which means she’s spent more of her life there than not. Unlike a lot of parents we didn’t tour schools. We followed the lead of some close friends and found ourselves at a spot which was perfect for us, My Special School. It’s a small Montessori school, owned and run by the amazing Alice Tropper, who has made her life calling teaching preschool aged children.

She is kind and patient beyond what I think is humanly possible, but day in and day out, she manages the 6 children who follow her every word. They sit patiently and take turns. They respect each other and play nicely. It’s their home away from home which is filled with love, respect and kindness. It’s an idyllic bubble where everyone gets along where there are, no exceptions, and where inclusion is the rule. There are no unkind words spoken because with Miss Alice it’s all about the love. Because of what’s happening at school, Fia has been exposed to more than what we could have imagined. Every month Miss Alice arranges a variety of classes, Creative Movement, Yoga, Qi Gong, Aikido, Music, Drama, and weekly visits to “the grandparents” at Garden Court, a senior residence, for stories and lunch. “Mystery Fridays” consist of a special outing determined by what is happening in town or what the kids want to do. This week, bike riding. Next week? Who knows, but maybe the beach? The butterflies? A park? Every week is full of learning and adventure.

We’ve shared some of Fia’s most important milestones with Miss Alice, because she was the one who has guided us through. Potty training, reading, tying laces on her shoes, riding a two wheel bike and playing her first game of checkers. She’s celebrated her 3rd birthday, her 4th and her 5th at school and with Miss Alice. Almost seems like a lifetime, and in some ways it is. It’s been my daughter’s lifetime.

As she transitions from this sweet little world, where she’s one of 6, to where, she’ll be one of too many, I am sad and excited for her. I know it has to happen, but I want to keep her safe and in a world where there are no mean words exchanged and where love and respect is the norm. In 6 short weeks we walk her across the street to her new kindergarten class. We’ll drop her off and set her free to explore her new world. I know it’s a world that will look and feel a lot different. She’ll learn tough life lessons where not everyone wants to be friends. Where not everyone is as well behaved and where mean words might be exchanged. But it will also be a world where the work which Miss Alice prepared her for will shine. She’ll be kind and make friends. She’ll find her voice in the crowd and hopefully be the example.

Just as I was told, the years have gone too quickly. I remember dropping Fia off the first day at My Special School. I left, got in the car and had tears streaming down my face. And now, as that day on my calendar, which is circled in red approaches, I get tears just thinking of picking her up for the very last time.

*Susan Torrey’s column appears regularly in the Montecito Messenger.

Parent Testimonial: Sofie & Charles Langhorne

Dearest Alice,

I remember vividly the day Danny and I interviewed with you.  It seems like only yesterday.  I remember crying all the way home, feeling so anxious about having a stranger take care of my little boy, was the decision about going back to work the right one?  Three years later you feel like part of our family…our everyday life.  Now I feel anxious and sad that it’s time for Danny to move on.

How can we ever thank you? You took in our son, taught him the values of friends, animals, and our planet.  You taught him more than numbers, ABC’s and “moon-a-gones”. You taught him how to be a good person.  You made our job of parenting that much easier, and we are so proud of the product…little Danny. Thank you!

Sofie & Charles Langhorne

September 1995

Parent Testimonial: Robin Sonner & Randy Tico

Dear Alice,

I am not sure where to start to describe the contribution that you have been in our lives…You have been teacher and friend and confidant and an important partner in the learning and growing process that accompanies raising a child in this day and age.  I have turned to you for guidance and advice and support and laughter.  I have watched your children grow in mind and body and spirit.  I have watched Jenna learn to read and write and work with numbers at a very young age and love every minute of it.

Jenna is now seven years old. I think she was barely three when we first came to My Special School.  There has never been one single day that we were not happy to be going to school.  As you know, I have felt that your influence has been so valuable that I have pulled Jenna out of Kindergarten and First Grade just to spend a day with you…and I look forward to doing the same this year! Being connected to you and your group is important to both Jenna and me.

Alice, always know that you are special and what a gift to this world you are.

We love you, Alice.

Robin Sonner & Randy Tico
September 1997

Parent Testimonial: Kristen & Michael Long

When I first visited Alice’s school on a photography assignment, I was newly married and children were a far-off thought. That day, I was so struck with the magic that she worked with the children, I remember going home afterward and telling my husband, “When we have kids, I want them to go to Alice’s.”

When our first daughter was born, there was no question of where she would go, and two years later there we were at her first day of school at My Special School. Most kids cry the first time you drop them off at school, Alice told us, not to worry — but when we dropped our daughter off, she didn’t even look back, as she was welcomed immediately into a game with the other kids! (We have always been so impressed by the inclusiveness and lack of cliquishness that Alice cultivates in her kids.) No tears. Instead, she cried when we picked her up — she wanted to stay with her new friends and Miss Alice!

Thanks to her year at My Special School, at “almost-3” our daughter has learned her letters and numbers, how to dress herself, how to use the potty, developed excellent manners, learned how to share and how to handle conflict, and has formed strong friendships and a wonderful sense of self. She has also turned into a kind and giving big sister who loves to dote on “her baby”! We can’t imagine a better place for her to be, and recommend Alice many times over.

Kristen & Michael Long
January, 2013

Parent Testimonial: Amy & Matt Zuchowicz

My Special School Preschool offered our daughter Alegra a safe environment to explore and grow due to the small group setting and the individual attention each child received due to their particular needs. Our daughter, who is shy by nature, learned to find a strong voice and to gain confidence in a group setting. As we are educators by trade (Teacher and Principal), we knew how imperative it was for Alegra to have a solid educational foundation in a Preschool. During the time Alegra was with Alice, we were always very pleased by the education she received. Alice was always very kind, loving, and caring, yet she also balanced this with consistent high expectations of the children. We would highly recommend Alice Tropper and My Special School for a strong educational foundation for your preschooler.

Amy and Matt Zuchowicz
August, 2005

Parent Testimonial: Susie & Ruben Lopez

Anna blossomed under your care and guidance and enjoyed every moment of her time with you and the other children in her class. You so firmly but gently ushered her (and us!) through those early years in a way that reassured us all, and made it so the experience and growing pains were as easy and pleasant as possible. Anna learned not only a very solid educational foundation, and had such wonderful tastes of Yoga, Dance, etc. but learned the more important skills of kindness, honesty, patience and to use and trust her voice and feelings. We are all so grateful for the wonderful experiences we had with you Alice, and know that you will always have a special place in our hearts!

Susie and Ruben Lopez
March, 2012

Parent Testimonial: Bonnie Hill

My Daughter’s time at My Special School was not only magical and wonderful, it well prepared us both for the Kindergarten year to come.

Bonnie Hill
August, 2012

Parent Testimonial: Sharon Currie

My daughter attended My Special School from 14 months old all the way to kindergarten. From day one, my daughter was loved, cherished and taken care of in a way at least equal to what we would do at home. The way she was introduced to responsibility, ethics, being a good friend, fairness and adventure were all the building blocks that made her the fine young lady she is today at 12 years old.

Sharon Currie
November, 2012