Our son started going to Building Blocks in September 2003. He went 3 mornings in the Preschool setting and 2 mornings in the Kindergarten setting. This was what was decided by ourselves and the staff members, since our son has special needs and was at the age to attend Kindergarten but was, in certain areas, intellectually at the Preschool level. It was important to us to have our son with his peers, but we still had to acknowledge his delays. The staff at Building Blocks helped in both areas. They adapted the Kindergarten work to his level. He learned his alphabet (both upper and lower case), the sounds that each letter makes, and recognized his numbers to 20, by the end of this school year. He has been included in everything, from daily routines to Christmas and end of school concerts. He has been taught how to be just one of the kids! In order to keep our son’s academics up, we chose to keep him in Building Blocks for the smaller teacher/student ratio, 3 afternoons a week, even though he is attending a public school in the mornings (a decision we made so our son could learn the school routines before starting Grade 1). The staff continues to encourage him to try the difficult tasks, in a non-threatening way. Without Building Blocks, we feel our son would not be as far advanced as he is. We have nothing but praise for the school and all involved. The only thing we want to know is “WHY DON’T YOU TEACH HIGHER GRADES?”!!!
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My husband and I can’t say enough positive things about Building Blocks. Our son Eric is now halfway through his SK year, having been with the school since he was in preschool. Every year we have marvelled at the wonderful teaching staff at this school. All of them genuinely care for the children and work on their development as individuals. When we enrolled Eric in preschool, we were looking for a place where Eric could make friends and develop socially (as an only child, Eric was quite shy with other children). After seeing the quality of the preschool program we then enrolled him into JK, where he started to learn phonics at a rapid rate. Now that he is in SK, our son is able to sound out many three-syllable words and can read books on his own! He has a fantastic academic foundation going into grade school.
More importantly, our son is now an independent and confident child who makes friends easily. This was not an easy process. During JK, our son went through a period of a few months where he was aggressive towards the other children in his class. He has always been big for his age, and he was intimidating the children so much that none of them wanted to play with him anymore. You can imagine as parents how difficult this was for us. We are absolutely convinced that if Eric had been in another school, he would have been labelled the class bully and become isolated. Any teacher in the public school system (with 20+ children in the class) would simply not have had the time or energy to deal with it. Luckily, my son was at Building Blocks. Mrs. Freer, Ms. Kuehni, and all the other teachers and teaching assistants worked patiently with Eric and with us to help him develop his social skills and empathy. They incorporated the concepts of personal space and bullying right into the daily curriculum. At the same time they supported the other children so that everyone could have a positive experience at school. Thanks to the sustained efforts of all the staff, our son made a complete turnaround. We clearly remember the day my husband dropped off Eric at school and heard the other children excitedly calling his name in welcome, wanting him to play with them. What a contrast! We were ecstatic. In SK he has continued to build on his friendships with all the children and enjoys every day that he goes to school.
We will be forever grateful to the teachers at Building Blocks for their dedication, professionalism and care. They have brought out the best in our son. My husband and I highly recommend this school to any parent. Our only regret is that our son will have to go to another school for Grade 1!Sue A.