Ms. Riley

Preschool Program Teacher

My name is Riley Smith, and I joined the Building Blocks team November of 2022, as an Assistant Teacher in the preschool program. I have since completed my CDA credential and been promoted to a Teacher in July 2023.

I grew up in Highland, Michigan. As a kid, most of my free time was spent outside or in my mom’s kindergarten classroom, where she practiced the Reggio Emilia Approach. With roots in early education and nature, my growing passion for environmentalism led me to places like South Africa where I volunteered with a wildlife veterinarian in 2017.

After graduating from the International Academy high school in 2018, I attended the State University of New York (SUNY) college of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. I majored in Conservation Biology with a minor in Native Peoples and the Environment. As I honed my research skills, I was also active in the Student Environmental Education Coalition, Outschool, Girls Inc., and Mad Science, developing and teaching classes for young students. In 2021, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science with honors.

Though I still have research ideas buzzing through my head, I want to know what ideas your kids have and encourage them to explore possible answers. I am thrilled to be part of the Building Blocks family and at a place that blends my passions beautifully! There is a unique sense of fulfillment that comes with guiding young minds to wonder and explore in a natural environment.