We regret choosing Second Street. It is play-based and the children play and have fun and enjoy their time. They do not feel stressed and are happy to go each day. But they are not prepared for success in academics in elementary school. There is no curriculum, research-based or otherwise. Two years ago my husband was transferred to another state. When my two children applied to the top public elementary school (G1 left SSCS last year and K still there when we left) they were not accepted. They were too far behind. The neighborhood public school, second-tier, said my older child had to repeat G1. We have had to go to expensive private schools where they are getting individual attention and remedial instruction. Second Street may be good for Tucson public schools (what is the data on their success rate?) but not if you have to move to a state with high standards. I also heard from other parents that Second Street students struggle at St.Michaels and the International School. To the boosters who who will complain about me and my post, Second Street is good for play. But so is Himmel Park. However, it is not a school, and it is not preparation for high quality elementary programs.
We love Second Street! My two children currently attend, and my oldest is currently in her fourth and last year there. The way her loving teachers have helped her grow emotionally and socially has been amazing to watch. I have no doubt that she is well prepared to move on into first grade next year. Children are free to explore their interests with the guidance of the teachers, developing skills like creativity, love of discovery, and a sense of community and cooperation, which will help them succeed in academics (and social life!) in elementary school. The classrooms and beautiful, and the yard is a wonderful place to run barefoot and make discoveries. The director is kind, loving, and involved, and knows all the children and families. The afternoon program is fantastic! We will be so sad when our years there are over.
Second Street is a wonderful, safe, fun environment for a child to be a child. The focus on play, creativity and social interaction is exactly what a pre-school child needs. The teachers and staff are truly focused on helping the children (and the parents) learn and grow. The school and play yard are not filled with bright colored plastic toys, nor is the building new and shiny. But the substance is certainly there. Which is more important?
Second Street offers an environment where children are encouraged to take risks and develop social emotional skills through play. If you are looking for a traditional teaching style which focuses on memorization Second Street is not the place for you. In preschool the focus should not be to perform on command. The teachers at Second Street are thoughtful in their interactions with children and creative in their approach to teaching. Children are nurtured to become creative critical thinkers and embrace play as a tool for learning.
This is a true oasis where children can take risks in a safe environment and they learn through play. It is a small school which may be why some have the impression only the elite are admitted. My son was admitted after we had lived here for only 2 years (we were not part of any elite!). The teachers are gentle, nurturing, and engaged with the children. The art is amazing. The administration is exceptional-they treat every family individually and with great care and respect . The sense of community is incredibly strong. The school has become our home away from home. Re:previous comments about academics...my 6 year old left 2nd St. to enter 1st grade at a public school. At that time he could not read. He was also the happiest and most confident that I have ever seen him. It took him very little time to learn to read.
The traditional home of the Tucson elite and 'belonging' is very important. Families are handpicked by the owner, and the waitlist just keeps a supply of applicants since 'acceptable' families do not have to go on to it but can start rigthaway. Mrs. Butler is very open about this, talking about a 'Second Street kind of family.' This has an obvious effect on diversity. There isn't any. However, if you do get in, the program is very good and our daughter had a great time. But be aware that academics and academic preparation are not a part of the program. Most students go on to local public school so this may not be important to those families, but we are now at a top private school in LA County and she to had to do a lot of catchup. It is not a bad school, but social connections are important here.
This school is everything a pre-school should be. Our daughter has been here for two years and loves it. She complains when I pick her up because she loves it here so much she wants to stay. The teachers have created a nurturing and creative environment, where all the kids feel loved and acknowledged. I do not know how the kindergarten class is, but the pre-k classes are exceptional. The previous comment sounds like perhaps a parent who didn't get in? The enrollment process is frustrating, but the school is amazing and diverse.
Sadly this school is not what it was, perhaps because of founder Julia Butler's retirement. The preferred choice of Tucson's elite who prefer their kids to mix only with their kids, the program has lost focus and is academically weak. The building and facilities are shabby and the school gets away with many substandard practices and facilities because they are grandfathered or because of Julia's reputation. Sadly, most parents are so excited at being part of the in-group they overlook the weaknesses of the school/ Students come from educated and privileged backgrounds and would do well anywhere, and Second St gets credit where it is not really due. I am sure I will be attacked for these comments, but not even the school's greatest fans can excuse away their K students being behind K students in other programs.
I have had two kids at Second Street for the past five years between the two of them. It is a wonderful place for kids to learn and grow. Julia Butler, the Director, is amazingly intuitive with kids. All children should have a place like Second Street to play, learn, grow and develop skills in negotiation, problem-solving and conflict resolution in a supportive environment where the children are treated like important people.