Growing and Learning Together, Since 1972


Our Philosophy: Learning Through Play

Play is the most important aspect of a young child’s day. Play is direct, spontaneous exploration and how children first experience many aspects of the world around them. Play is why small children can learn so much and so rapidly at the earliest stage of life.

Curriculum Overview

We have developed a comprehensive, research-based curriculum which features play - exploration and discovery - as the primary means of learning. Learning through play allows children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical-thinking skills. Our program uses this curriculum year round to adapt to children’s needs as they grow. We provide monthly calendars with a schedule of Studies on different topics.
We communicate daily with families when they drop off and pick up their children and any time it is deemed necessary in the course of each day. Personalized written reports are provided for children under age 31 months. A daily activity journal is posted for preschool.

Infants, Toddlers, and Twos

In our Infant and Toddler sections much time is spent nurturing and caring for each individual child. The infant day is planned to coincide with parent instructions for important routines like feeding and sleeping. Toddler children participate in activities that encourage development in all areas from fine motor to language.
Your child will learn and grow through everyday discoveries and routines. This allows time for teacher and child interaction to enrich curiosity and development. The program encourages teachers to be intentional about the experiences they provide. We provide monthly activities you can do at home with your child that reinforce activities at the center.


With the creative curriculum for preschool, learning happens through Studies. These Studies span several weeks and are in-depth project-based investigations of topics that are part of a child’s everyday life. Different topics are explored throughout the year. Children raise questions about the topic and find answers by exploring, experimenting and investigating in a hands-on way, through activities that take place in the classroom and outdoors.
Our classrooms include large motor, small motor, science, water table, literacy, dramatic play/housekeeping, blocks and manipulatives. Your child will learn important math, literacy, science and other skills. Families are invited to participate in activities in the classroom.

Goals of the Program

  • Meet each child's developmental needs as they grow
  • Facilitate social and emotional learning through interaction and community
  • Provide enriching, engaging, fun experiences
  • Reflect and respect diversity of culture
  • Communicate frequently with family and forge a positive child/teacher relationship
  • Model positive problem solving and conflict resolution for children and encourage them to reflect these skills in interactions with others

Class Size and Adult / Child Ratios

All classrooms meet or exceed the guidelines set forth by the State of Michigan Department of Human Services regarding the number of children in each classroom, number of staff, and adult / child ratios.
  • Infants up to 30 months — one adult to four children
  • Children 30 months to 3 years — one adult to eight children
  • Children 3 years to 4 years of age — one adult to 10 children
  • Children 4 years and up — one adult to 12 children
Children remain in their assigned classroom until their age and availability in the receiving classroom indicate that it is appropriate to transition the child. Transitions from one classroom to another are done thoughtfully and slowly so that the child has ample time to adjust and to form a relationship with new caregivers.
Primary caregivers are assigned to each child in our program. Our goal is always to provide a nurturing environment in which children feel secure. Our program is developed to promote the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and creative development of your child.

Daily Schedule

Regular routines are essential for a child’s health and happiness.

The comfort and trust formed by the reliance on routine instills confidence and a sense of well-being from the earliest stages of development.
We rely on a time-tested approach to scheduling the day at our centers. Your child will be provided with the reliability of a regular routine they can quickly adopt and feel confident and secure to learn and grow.

A typical daily schedule at Happy Elephant

5:30–6:45 am
Activity Choice Time, Greet early risers
6:45–7:15 am
Morning Snack
7:15–8:35 am
Activity Choice Time
8:35–8:50 am
Read Aloud – read and discuss book related to current Study topic
8:50–9:35 am
Bathroom Break
9:35–10:20 am
Outside Time (weather permitting), or Music and Movement activity
10:20–10:40 am
Circle Time with primary caregiver. This is our primary recurring daily activity, which always features:
  • Welcome Song
  • Attendance
  • Job Chart
  • Children share news
  • Date and upcoming events
  • Weather
  • Question of the Day / Shared Writing
  • Song / Finger Play
  • Study topic activity
  • Alphabet
10:40–11:20 am
Free Activity Choice Time – teachers assist children in selecting activities according to their interest, and observe and interact to encourage learning through play.
11:20–11:30 am
Clean up Song / Mighty Minutes
11:30–11:50 am
Small Group – introducing new concepts and skills development
11:50 am–12:45
Bathroom Break
12:45–1:00 pm
Read Aloud
1:00–2:30 pm
Nap Time
2:30–2:50 pm
Wake Up with Music / quiet activities
2:50–3:15 pm
Afternoon Snack
3:15–3:35 pm
Read Aloud
3:35–4:30 pm
Activity Choice Time
4:30–5:45 pm
Outside Time (weather permitting)
5:45–6:00 pm
Quiet Activities until Close