Back to Highland Preschools

Building Blocks Preschool

340 Harvey Lake Rd. M59 E. of Milford Rd.
Highland, MI 48356

(248) 889-2727


2 parents took the survey TAKE THE SURVEY

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Welcome to our school. For those of you who know us, we have a strong foundation in Early childhood education. We have taken those roots and incorporated current research to build our programs. Our programs are inspired by the "Reggio Emilia" approach to education. News week magazine named the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy as one of the top ten schools in the world. We are dedicated to enriching and celebrating the joy of the early childhood experience. We have researched the latest developments in the field of Early Childhood Education to ensure a welcoming and stimulating environment. We believe children are lovers of learning and we create an environment to encourage and support this desire. Our learning environment is provided by skilled and caring teachers. They create opportunities for children to interact, as well as use their creative thinking, exploration and problem-solving skills. As you visit our center, you will note that this learning environment takes place both indoors and outdoors. Building Blocks School is a warm and nurturing atmosphere, a 'security zone' where our children can explore and hone their life-long skills and love for learning. We consider it a privilege and honor to join with families supporting the cognitive, social-emotional, physical development of their children. For any questions, or to schedule a tour of our facility, please don't hesitate to contact me at 248.889.2727 or send an email to In service to children, Emily G. Senese, BS/FCC Director of Early Childhood Education

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

More Information

  • Puzzles
Time & space more

More Information

  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

More Information

  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

More Information

  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

More Information

  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

More Information

  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught Nature Curriculum Thank you for your interest in our nature based early childhood school. Our program caters to parents seeking an alternative to home daycare or typical preschool program. We believe the first years of a child's life create the foundation for all later learning. With this in mind, we as teachers, parents, and community members, must nurture children by allowing their "roots" to grow in an environment that best suits the natural ways of the Earth. Studies show that, almost to a person, conservationists or any adults with environmental awareness had some transcendent experience in nature when they were children.

From the Director:

Reggio Emilia International attention has focused on the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy since they were selected by NEWS WEEK as "the best early childhood institute in the world." In the Reggio approach the curriculum builds upon the interests of the children. Projects are in-depth explorations of topics that are motivated by the excitement and curiosity of young children. The method of in-depth study of topics in projects is through observation, experimentation, books and technology. We believe in the 100 Languages of a child. Children "represent" the topic through "language" such as music, drama, story, construction, sculpture, paint and drawing. The teacher's written observations of the children's questions and conversations serve to guide the project. Collaboration is key. Children are encouraged to communicate, critique, negotiate, hypothesize and problem solve as they work in small groups. Teachers are researchers with the children, as they guide, lend their expertise and document the children's learning. We document your child and support it with portfolio assessment. Each class in Building Blocks School is staffed with two teachers: however, in the Reggio Emilia approach the environment is considered the "third teacher." The classroom is set up to inspire, nurture and encourage discovery. Every corner of every space has an identity and purpose, and provides opportunities from learning. The outside playground/classroom for the children offers an additional space for exploration: there is a sand area, picnic tables, climbing tire, gardens, stage, water tables, kitchen area for dramatic play, art area, and lots of tot riders. The design takes into account the developmental characteristics and learning style of each child. We at Building Blocks School believe that our vision for early childhood education is reinforced by the Reggio Emilia Approach.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Our teaching staff is amazing. We build strong relationship with you and your child. Our parents comment on the authentic relationships that we have with their child.
Our lead teachers have their degrees in early childhood or elementary education and/or have over 10-20 years of experience. Our assistant teachers have or working towards their associates degree. Our Leadership and Vision for this school shows in the quality we do every day. Our parents whose children have graduated from our program highly recommend us and are so pleased with how their child is doing in their elementary education.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"We focus on the learning that goes on in a quality early childhood program. Our belief is that children
learn through hands-on experiences that allow them to explore, manipulate and create. Play
oriented approach to education offers children the opportunity to explore new ideas, practice making
choices, feel competent and in control, interact with others and fine tune new skills. For a young
child, learning something new is often the result of interaction between their thoughts and
experiences, and the surrounding environment. The value of play cannot be overstated. It is
through play that children develop curiosity and imagination, learning to concentrate and made
confident decisions
Mission Statement

Building Blocks is passionate about the need to assist children in their early childhood development with a stable, enriching and loving environment. The
overall goal of our approach is to instill a “love for learning” in each child. This is accomplished by emphasizing all areas of a child’s development, (emotional, physical, intellectual, creative, social and practical life skills – “the whole child”).
Building Blocks understands that children naturally desire to learn and explore at a very young age. We strive to enhance this curiosity while encouraging the children to develop a strong sense of pride and achievement.

Our curriculum is designed to foster the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical
needs of the children we serve, and is based on the belief that young children need to be actively involved in learning through play. Play gives opportunities to
explore, experience and succeed, as well as on widely accepted theories and principles of child growth and development.

Driven by our goal, together we pledge to add value to the services we provide to ensure that our children’s parents can achieve the ultimate goal –


A Typical Day

"Full time Preschool
6:30-9:00 Breakfast/kitchen Free play/Stations
9:00-9:30 Big room-Learning Center Time: Art, Math/Manipulatives, Science,
House Area, Computer, ABC writing station, Library/books, Art, Math
/Manipulatives, Sensory Table
9:30-10:00 Circle time-Literacy room
10:00-10:30 Snack time
10:30-11:20 Learning stations
11:20-11:30 Clean up- get ready for outside
11:30-12:00 Outside recess
12:00-12:30 Lunchtime
12:30-2:00 Rest time/Quiet time
2:00-3:00 Learning stations
3:00-3:30 Snack time
3:30- 4:00 Blocks, large motor skills
4:00- 5:00 Outside time
5:00-5:30 Circle time- Talk about the day activities and story time
5:30-6:00 Story

Half-Day preschool AM
Daily Schedule
9:00-9:30 Learning stations
9:30-10:00 Circle time
10:00-10:30 Kitchen- snack time
10:30-11:20 Learning stations
11:20-11:30 Clean up- get ready for outside
11:30-12:00 Outside recess
Excerpted from the preschool's website

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

How does documentation help to enhance the relationships among children,
educators and families?
Among many other things, documentation is also about leaving traces, about giving visibility to actions, and about being committed to openness to dialogue and sharing. Families can see what their child is doing and what other children, learning in collaboration with their child, is doing, as well. If and when the parents become curious and interested they become more skillful in posing questions, seeking answers and beginning to give answers themselves. I believe that if and when this process takes place with the support of educators all feel part of a community of learners that build a sense of belonging to the experience and to the context where these experiences take place: the school.

Making Learning Visible is a type of process documentation that emerged from the work in
Reggio Emilia school district in Italy where documentation is considered the "second skin" of
the schools. Harvard's Project Zero and the educators from Reggio have worked collaboratively to bring this important work to the U.S.

Example of Building Blocks Preschool Learning Story

The following is an example of a daily Learning Story from our Full-Day Preschool Program. Learning Stories are emailed home to parents daily. Learning Stories tell the story of your child’s educational experiences throughout the day while at school. What often looks like child’s play is in fact a very valuable learning experience. Learning Stories give descriptions of activities and the learning benefits behind them. Photos are always included along with direct quotes from the children. These daily Learning Stories offer families a spring board for discussions at home about their child’s day at school. Families will sit down with their children and review the Learning Stories together at the end of the day. This type of daily communication about your child’s daily school experiences is just one of the benefits of our high quality program.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on