• About Us
  • A center that nurtures the individual child and family.  Unique to the Detroit area: A preschool and developmental kindergarten with individualized curriculum for children ages 3-7 who need more than a regular early childhood program.

    Nurturing and creative small classrooms provide continuity of each child’s educational/developmental plan until the child is ready to return to a regular school or classroom setting.

    Each child’s emotional, physical and developmental challenges are addressed by our cohesive and effective team of Masters level teachers and therapists who are child development experts.  Parents and the school's professional team work together to provide a comprehensive understanding of the child's development. 

  • Our Mission

    The mission of Walnut Lake Preschool & Developmental Kindergarten is to enable the individual child to enter a regular classroom when ready.

    • We address the needs of the child whose emotional, behavioral and developmental challenges are interfering with success in regular preschool, kindergarten or day care settings.
    • We work individually with each child, while strengthening the group experience, social development and enhancing the parent-child tie.
    • In our therapeutic classroom, we blend an educational curriculum with therapeutic services to strengthen the child’s emotional resources, social capacities, cognitive development, motor skills, speech and language.
    • Our comprehensive, multidisciplinary model combines the best practices in early childhood education with an innovative comprehensive understanding of a child's social and emotional development.

  • Our Philosophy

    Our philosophy is centered on a firm belief in the importance of the growth and development of the individual child.  We focus on emotional and social development, as well as language development in an atmosphere that is accepting of individual needs and differences.

    Each child is encouraged to become loving and compassionate with self and others, and to learn to express and master feelings in appropriate ways.  The program is structured to enable each child to learn to make choices, take initiative, and find positive ways of problem solving.  Activities are devised to enable children to feel competent and secure.  We engage each child with new materials, experiences, ideas and people at a level appropriate for the student. 

  • Our Approach

    A Center That Nurtures The Individual Child & Family
    The teachers, parents, family consultants and clinical staff, create a learning environment that supports creativity and growth in each child.  All children, no matter what their needs and challenges, bring special gifts and strengths with them. We believe that it is imperative to teach with those strengths and gifts in mind. 
    Parents are appreciated as knowledgeable about their own child and respected as their child’s first and most influential teacher, advocate and supporter.  Each child’s progress is reviewed weekly by our professional multidisciplinary team, which includes:

    • Classroom teachers
    • Clinical co-director(s)
    • Family consultant
    • Other specialists that have been brought into the program for a child

    We provide experiences that incorporate many learning styles, while at the same time mindful that education flourishes within healthy relationships.  A safe environment is provided in which limits and boundaries are established and monitored so that children develop inner controls.  We work to empower children to resolve differences with others in cooperative and constructive ways.

  • History

    The Walnut Lake Preschool & Developmental Kindergarten developed out of the Center for Early Childhood Development as an outreach program of Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute (MPI).

    Since 1957, MPI has been committed to improving the quality of life in the community by promoting programs for better mental health.
    The main activities of the Early Childhood Center were an education series of public dialogues with parents and future parents on child development, training of early childhood education teachers, consultation to day care and preschool programs. Collaboration with community agencies to devise programs for parents on principles of child development has been part of the program.
    In January 2009, Walnut Lake Preschool opened its doors with seed money made possible by the generosity of the Estate of the Stanley and Catherine Ellias Foundation, in memory of Stanley J. Ellias.

  • Walnut Lake Preschool began as a committee of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute in 2009.  It became a pilot program that offered a psychoanalytic developmental therapeutic preschool to aid children and families who were struggling in their development and having difficulties in their schools and homes.   The program grew and continued under the co-director’s leadership, with the help of our Education Director, Cathy Rozenberg, and with the volunteer support of clinicians who functioned as family consultants.  Successfully helping children and their families and spreading the word of our work led to more growth, successful fundraising, and increased enrollment.  As we realized that we were no longer a pilot program but a growing and sustaining project, we recognized the need for more structure and definition.  We added an advisory board comprised of people dedicated to our continued growth and success.  We also developed a core group of parents whose children who were in our program and who are now functioning well in their community schools, which is always our goal.  These parents have worked closely with us to help us continue by fundraising and by acting as ambassadors for us.  The school has provided the larger community with opportunities for training and professional growth through our lectures, technique-sharing and monthly free family workshops.

    Nine years later, we have just become our own 501(c)(3) nonprofit school!  We are creating a dedicated board of directors to help us flourish even more.  This past school year, we expanded our program and now offer full day and half day classes, as well as two classrooms; preschool and developmental kindergarten.  We have a newly renovated sensory room with many new additions, donated from our wish list during our past few fundraising events.  Last year we had new floors donated and most recently, some new books, toys and an awesome new play dome was donated to our playground.  One of our awesome former parents installed it for us at no cost to us.  We have wonderful volunteers and friends who dedicate their time as family consultants, fundraising committee members and attend our various events thorough out the year.