20161014_linda-littenberg-14Linda Littenberg

Linda Littenberg is the co-owner of A Child’s Place School with her husband, Abe Littenberg. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics Education and while there was inducted into the Phi Upsilon Omicron National Honor Society. Linda is a certified teacher with 16 years experience in the classroom. As an alumni parent she supports the philosophy of A Child’s Place School. She has visited the schools of Reggio Emilia in Italy and uses the first-hand knowledge she gained there to help our teachers implement their ideas. Linda also brings her knowledge, experience and creativity as a photographer to our school, enhancing our programs and record keeping.

“There is a new joy at ACP this year with extended outdoor time which creates many new experiences.  The long periods of time connecting with nature has many benefits for both the children and the adults. This is an example of rethinking what is possible.”


Zach Klausz

Zach joined A Child’s Place School in 2019 as School Director. He graduated from New York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Technology, but after a short internship at a recording studio, he realized that while music technology was his hobby, early childhood education was his passion. Over the next five years he worked in the Nursery division at Horace Mann School, Manhattan; first as an assistant teacher and then collaborating with other teachers to create a new studio space using the Atelier as the inspiration. During this period Zach attended Hunter College and obtained his Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Zach then returned to his alma mater, Chelsea Day School, to lead a four-year old class and run the summer camp.

Marriage and the arrival of Penelope, his oldest daughter, prompted him to take a year off to be a stay-at-home dad. But it wasn’t long before Zach felt the need to return to the world of early childhood education. Zach moved out of the city and landed in Toledo, Ohio where he took the position of Director of the Early Learning Center at Maumee Valley Country Day School. He brought with him his love of progressive, child-centered education, and by steadily introducing progressive concepts, including the Reggio-Emilia approach, Zach was able to double the size of the program. At this point, Zach and his wife Shannon welcomed their second daughter, Juniper, into the world. 

In 2018 Zach took on the familiar role of Director of a preschool program in a larger independent school in Palm Springs, CA. Though the family enjoyed the warm climate, they missed the East Coast where Zach grew up and the majority of his extended family still live. Zach is extremely excited to be a part of A Child’s Place School and feels honored to be able to carry on the rich tradition of the school.

“The long-held values of A Child’s Place completely align with my own philosophy of Early Childhood Education.  It is a joy to be able to work with teachers who not only share these values but also dedicate their lives to the children and families they serve.  I am eager to see how the children respond this year to our new focus on outdoor education.  I suspect that this renewed focus is something we will keep with us long after this pandemic has left.”  


 

Elaine Athanasiou

Elaine Athanasiou joined A Child’s Place as administrative assistant in 2012 and assumed the role of School Administrator in 2017 when Mary Murphy retired. Elaine has also spent time in the classrooms at ACP as a classroom assistant.  She has a background in business administration and bookkeeping.

“I have witnessed first hand the work put in by our teachers and school director to make this another extraordinary year for children and families alike.  I am so honored to work with true professionals who deeply care about the children and the work they do with them.”


Our Teachers

Our professional teaching staff is composed of teachers and assistant teachers. Our teachers have bachelor degrees in Early Childhood and/or Elementary Education and are certified to teach nursery and/or primary grade levels. All of our teachers have continuing education credits and in addition, they complete a minimum of 15 hours of professional development each year in order to remain current in the field of Early Childhood Education. The staff has assumed leadership in professional development, sharing their work by presenting at state and national conferences as well as hosting institutes, workshops, and round tables for other educators.


Arlene Lyons

Arlene Lyons has been an early childhood educator since 1985 and joined A Child’s Place School in 1992. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York. Arlene has presented at numerous early childhood conferences, workshops, and conventions, including NAEYC’s national meeting in Dallas and California, as well as meetings at Kean University and Brookdale College, both in NJ. She has also completed Dr. Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline training in Florida. Arlene is a master teacher in the Half Day Nursery Class.

“I have been at A Child’s Place School for over 25 years and every year is filled with new bonds and new wonders.  The respect that the children are given here guides the learning process so that we are really seeing and meeting their needs and interests. No two years are ever the same and all of them have etched wonderful memories for me, and I hope for all of the children and their families as well.”


Debbie Piescor

Debbie Piescor is a master teacher and has been the lead teacher in the Primary Program and a teacher in the Half Day Nursery. She is also the Curriculum Specialist for the school. She has been teaching since 1995, and joined A Child’s Place School in 2002. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education & Psychology.  Debbie has given presentations for the professional development of educators at several NAEYC conferences at the state and national level including this school year. She has also completed Dr. Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline training in Florida, as well as attending numerous professional development institutes, conferences, workshops, and training experiences in order to maintain an in depth knowledge base in all areas pertaining to early childhood education. This year, Debbie is the teacher in the All Day Nursery Class.

“While the outdoor environment has always been a big part of our curriculum, I am excited to see A Child’s Place School evolve into a program that spends at least fifty one percent of the day outside. Having an outdoor classroom has been a dream of mine for a long time. I have been an active witness and participant in so many rich learning experiences, projects, and investigations that have emerged from being outside over the past eighteen years. This year holds so much potential for the children, teachers, and families alike.”  


20161014_susan-wien-7Susan Wien

Susan Wien has been teaching since 1983 and has been a master teacher at A Child’s Place since 1993. She has a B.A. and a Master’s Degree with graduate honors in Early Childhood Education from Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, New York. She has presented at A Child’s Place School Institutes for Educators from New Jersey and neighboring states, as well as at local colleges, conferences, and workshops. She has also presented at the state NAEYC conference in Atlantic City. Susan is a master teacher in the Half Day Nursery.

“After more than a quarter of a century at ACP, I still feel that the deepest and most meaningful learning takes place as teachers encourage children to observe and explore their environment, revisit their experiences and then communicate their understanding back to others. Our school’s response to recent events reinforces our belief that the world is still a place full of wonder and is worth learning about, caring for and protecting. The Reggio Emilia philosophy of the environment being the “third teacher” has always been evident in our beautiful spaces, but never more so than this year as the staff collaborated in an intentional redesign of almost every part of the environment, both indoors and outdoors.”


Karen Mancini

Karen was hired in 2003 as a teaching assistant. In 2011 she became a Teacher in the Primary Class. She has an Associate’s Degree in Teaching Assistance and Child care.  She retired in 2015 but returned to the Nursery Class in 2018 when her grandson joined ACP in the Half Day Nursery Class and we are thrilled to have her back!

“I feel I have a unique perspective being both a teacher and a grandparent of an ACP student.  As a teacher, I saw how our view of the child as an active, engaged, and independent learner supports them in making gains across the curriculum.  Now watching my grandson reap the benefits, I know that he is learning important skills that will enhance his ability to be an active participant in the learning process.  He is learning to ask questions, analyze information, and collaborate with peers.  When something doesn’t go exactly how the children had planned it, I watch in awe as they try again and again, usually with an even better outcome.  This resiliency will serve them well going forward, well into the future.”


Lindsay Greenspan

Lindsay joined A Child’s Place in 2020.  She graduated from Georgian Court University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education & Special Education. Before joining ACP,  she taught preschool and pre-kindergarten at Seashore School for eight years. She always felt a connection to early childhood education and the ability to make a difference in young lives. Lindsay is a teacher in the Half Day Nursery Program.

“I love that ACP gives children experiences and skills that they’ll carry for life. I look forward to helping foster a love of learning and thinking based on the interests and imaginations of the children. I can’t wait to see where our investigations may lead us. I hope to bring the outdoors into our learning, becoming aware of the beauty that surrounds us in nature.”


 

Billie Betz

Billie joined ACP in 2020 as an assistant in the Primary Class and serves as Studio Teacher to the whole school for the 2021/22 school year.  She is a talented artist who works with multiple media.  Billie freely shares her creativity with the children and teachers and she has a knack of being able to turn the most uninspiring item into something useful and beautiful.  While her children attended ACP, Billie helped with several Parent Shows by creating sets and sewing costumes. 

 

 


Rachel Melillo

Rachel joined ACP as an assistant in the Half Day Nursery Class in 2020.  She graduated from Monmouth University with her bachelor’s degree in 2021 and is co-teaching in the All Day Nursery for the 2021/22 school year. She is passionate about working with young children having previously worked at a daycare and provided child care for a wide range of families for over nine years. 
 
“I am extremely excited to be a part of A Child’s Place School. I look forward to coming in each day and fostering children’s curiosity to learn and express themselves. Watching your children develop and investigate their ideas throughout the year is a privilege. I feel so lucky to help support their eagerness to learn!”

 

 


 

Leslie Marotta

Leslie holds a bachelor of arts in Psychology. After a career in business and taking time out to raise her family, in 2014 she decided to pursue her dream of working with young children. After six years as a teacher at another local preschool, Leslie joined ACP in 2021 as a teacher in the Half Day Nursery Class.  

“I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of the A Child’s Place team. I truly come to school each morning excited to see the children and what amazing learning experiences we will have.   A Child’s Place provides a unique learning path.  The collaboration between outdoor learning and child-led curriculum, combined with the Reggio learning approach creates an amazing learning environment and a lasting foundation for our students.”


 

Emily Mendini

Emily joined ACP in 2021 as an assistant in the Half Day Nursery Class.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Early Childhood Development. Emily’s 20+ years working as an Early Childhood teacher and classroom assistant translated to a seamless adjustment to ACP. 

“I am very excited to be a part of A Child’s Place School.  It is wonderful to see the joy and curiosity in the children and to be a part of their growth and development.  I look forward to what each day brings at ACP.”


Meredith Capriglione

Meredith comes to ACP with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.  Apart from raising four children of her own, she has always worked in the Early Childhood setting.  Meredith’s children have come to summer camp at ACP and her older son is an alumni student!  Meredith is an assistant in the Half Day Nursery Class and our Extended Care teacher.

 

 


Sue Lotz

Sue has spent over 35 years in the field of Early Childhood Education.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources with a concentration in Nursery-Kindergarten Education.  Sue was familiar with our school as she had visited for professional development days in the past, and when she and her husband decided to retire to the Jersey Shore, she desired a classroom assistant position closer to her home.  Sue is an assistant in the Half Day Nursery Class.

“I love being a part of the wonder of childhood and helping children navigate their world. After moving to the area, I am thankful that I can continue my teaching career at A Child’s Place School. I look forward to collaborations with a new group of teachers and outdoor explorations in the West Yard with the children.”


Dana Abdenour

Dana joined ACP in 2021 after spending many years in business and desiring a change in direction.  She came with glowing references, a desire to learn and outstanding qualities as a team player which have made her an invaluable member of the ACP staff.  Dana is an assistant in the Primary Class.

“I believe most of what I’ve learned in life was through experiences. Experience is what A Child’s Place School provides the children every single day. I know that I would have benefited from the learning environment that is fostered here.” 

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  -Benjamin Franklin


Maria Valet

Maria joined ACP originally in early 2021 on a part time basis as a classroom assistant.  It soon became clear that she was a talented classroom teacher and we were thrilled when she accepted a full-time teacher position for the 2021/22 school year.  Maria has been an educator of young children for many years and comes to us having already spent some time at ACP for professional days through the New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia. Maria is a teacher in the Half Day Nursery Class.

“I am excited to join the ACP family as a teacher partnering with children in the learning process. Throughout my teaching career, I have always embraced the Reggio Emilia philosophy and values. I am therefore grateful for the opportunity to teach in an environment that supports and engages students to be curious, express ideas and participate in purposeful and challenging tasks. Rich in materials and possibilities, I look forward to actively observing, interacting and learning with the children as they experience play, exploration, socialization, inquiry and every possibility that the environment presents to them.”


Dave Meinberg

Dave Meinberg joined our staff as our Assistant Facilities Manager. Dave is Linda and Abe’s brother-in-law and his late wife Barbara was the school’s director for seven years. Dave is a retired Chief Master Sergeant from the US Air Force. He spent 30 years in the military and four years as a civil servant. During this time he was stationed primarily in Europe. Dave has been lending a helping hand at our school for a number of years and is fondly known as “Mr. Nice Guy” for good reason!