our Mission Statement

Founded in 2012, Downtown Community School Inc. is a progressive educational, non-profit institution, located in Historic Barrio Viejo in downtown Tucson, Arizona. The school operates on the central tenets of mindfulness, attachment theories, empathy, community, kindness and RISKY PLAY. Our framework is founded in contemporary neuroscience and developmentally appropriate curricula, providing an optimal environment for early childhood development. A physical environment where open-ended risk taking is encouraged and creativity and collaboration is paramount. We believe that all artwork should be process. As such, we offer a child-centered environment where children feel deeply connected to their peers, teachers (facilitators) and are active leaders in their environment. Rooms are rich with opportunities for experimentation and exploration. We are an inclusive community where both children and their families are celebrated and honored for their uniqueness and valued as authentic contributors to this world.  At Downtown Community School our spotlight is on children thriving and families feeling supported and engaged in their child’s development and learning.


“While at DCS, we have witnessed our daughter develop confidence and skills to negotiate her way through play and conflict with other kids. We have learned how to better communicate and support her emotional well-being. It is amazing to see the transformation from when she started at 3 years old to now.”
— Former parents Dana and Paul

What makes dcs so special



  • A sensory and intentional indoor/outdoor play environment.

  • A whole-child approach to learning.

  • Small class sizes, and individualized attention.

  • A nurturing, home like environment.

  • A progressive developmentally appropriate curriculum, with a special emphasis on emotional intelligence.


  • Creative art invitations offered multiple times a day.

  • A community center dedicated to supporting children, parents and educators.

Our daughter attended DCS from age 2 1/2 through 5. From the moment I first spoke with Emily, I could tell it was the right place for my smart, outgoing, intense daughter. At DCS, the teachers met my daughter’s individual needs, allowing her creativity and kindness to shine while also helping her figure out how to work through the big feelings of early childhood. I always knew that my child was not simply watched over, but that she and her peers were genuinely loved by the the DCS teachers. Additionally, in DCS we found a beautiful community of diverse parents with similar approaches to parenting, and I felt welcomed and supported by that community. Saying goodbye to DCS when we moved away from Tucson was one of the hardest goodbyes we said.

Downtown Community School’s social and emotional focus prepared my daughter for her transition to kindergarten. At our first parent-teacher conference, her teachers told us that she is notably adept at communicating with her peers, that she is able to talk through any conflicts she had with other students to find a mutually agreeable solution, and that she is always able to articulate how she is feeling. While our daughter has always been an articulate communicator, I credit the DCS curriculum with her ease in conflict resolution and emotional intelligence. On top of that, she has adjusted easily to the more rigorous academic curriculum of her new school. DCS provided an outstanding foundation for her social, emotional, and academic success.
— Former Parent Jennifer Haley-Brown