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.
Alice, you have brought a calm and level of comfort that is critical to parents…. This is priceless! I can tell you from experience that 35 years later you will have parents and students walking up to you and telling you how incredible their time was with you, if you are like me… You will be in tears by the time they finish telling you the depth of meaning their time was with you… Things they don’t even know now until they are exposed to the bigger world and then compare, from their experience, how unique and powerful their time with you was! It will last with them for life! (A fact)
Al Keys, M.A.
Montessori Teacher Trainer
Montessori School Director/Owner 20+years
Child Development Specialist
Marriage and Family Therapist
Jenna has grown into a beautiful, aware, compassionate young woman. I’m so very proud of her as she attends Scripps College, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture, and will also be receiving a Dance Degree. You go girl! ♥
In the past year since you took this photo, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Scripps with degrees in Humanities and Dance. In SB, I spent the summer working at Aldo’s and teaching an improvisational dance class, and also participated in AXIS Dance Company’s physically integrated dance intensive in Oakland, CA. In September, I went to Bali to volunteer as an English teacher at Slukat Learning Center, a free after-school educational program for kids in the rural village of Keramas. After that, I worked on a farm in Thailand for 2 weeks before heading back to Bali, where I’ve been working ever since as a nanny.
My son Colby Noakes attended MSS from August 1995 to August 1998. Colby loved going to preschool. Alice would always welcome us each morning with a smile. Alice truly enjoyed seeing Colby every school day. Alice not only taught academics, she also made sure that there were animals around the school. Birds, cats, dogs and a tortoise named Yenta. Yenta is still there! Today Colby is a wonderful, kind and caring person. He always made friends easily and is not afraid to try new things. Colby loves the outdoors, the ocean and our local mountains being two of his favorites. Colby attended Hope School, La Colina Jr. High and Dos Pueblos High School, even giving a speech at graduation. He then moved to the big city of San Francisco to attend SFSU. Colby is now 20 years old and studying to get his degree in Business. Colby thrives in SF. SF is so different from SB. Way bigger and way colder. Colby had to learn the bus system, not only to get to school, but to the store, Laundromat and downtown. During the summer, Colby works at the SB Waterfront Department for our great city. Colby is a wonderful person and we are very proud of him!