Goldman Family Preschool

"We can't imagine that our child could be happier, healthier or better cared for anywhere else. We are thrilled with the quality of the program."

-Toddler Room Parent

The Goldman Family Preschool, NAEYC accredited and beginning its 28th year, has a rich history and an outstanding reputation. Through the 'High Scope' curriculum, combined with a Reggio Emilia approach, we offer child centered, family-oriented programs for 6 weeks old to 5 years old. Educated and trained professionals bring deep commitment and a love of children to our classrooms. We foster a child's natural instincts and curiosity by providing a nurturing, comfortable, joyful and developmentally appropriate environment.

Registration for the Goldman Family Preschool begins in January for the following school year, which runs on an academic calendar (Sept - June). We also have an eight-week summer program. We begin with priority registration for currently enrolled children. Once they are registered, siblings of currently enrolled children can apply and then alumni families. Once our in-house registration period closes, we open up registration to the public! We do not keep a traditional wait list; instead we let families know of any openings we have in our five classrooms and fill our classrooms accordingly. If you would like to be added to the list of interested families, please contact Mary Lilly at

The Goldman Family Preschool currently is currently full for the 2019-2020 school year. If you are interested in being added to our pool of interested families for other classrooms please click here.


School Director, Mary Lilly

Mary has spent over thirty five years in early childhood education. A founder of the JCA preschool, Mary served as Assistant Director for ten years and has directed the School since 2008. She worked to achieve NAEYC accreditation for the school, one of only seven preschool programs so designated in the Portland area. Mary is committed to providing the highest quality early learning environment, where children’s individual needs are met each day by loving and nurturing caregivers.

Contact Mary

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Assistant Director, Janel Goodman

Janel Goodman is Assistant Director of the JCA Preschool, and has been with the JCA for over fourteen years. She holds a K-8 teaching certificate from the University of New England and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Farmington. Janel especially enjoys watching the way four and five year olds grow throughout the year. Warm hugs, spontaneous dance parties, and fantastic colleagues are a few of her favorite parts of the JCA Preschool!

Contact Janel

Infant Room

Six weeks (by October 15th)

Our infant program is designed to foster children’s physical, sensory, social, emotional, and intellectual development in a safe, gentle and caring environment.  Our teachers know that babies grow and learn best when they feel secure. Our maximum group size is eight infants with three teachers. Each child is assigned a primary caregiver that attends to the child’s individual needs and works in partnership with parents to ensure that their child is being provided the best possible care while at school. Infants develop trust and security when they know their teachers will be right there to help by supporting learning through growth and joy as well meeting their needs and helping when they are upset. In this environment, infants begin to develop a sense of trust and a secure environment from which to explore.

Infant Room Teachers email

Infant Room Daily Schedule



Lauren Bull

Lauren has lived all over the world, but mostly grew up in Texas. She has a Bachelor's degree in English & Women's Studies from Hope College and a Master's of Fine Arts degree in Poetry from Texas State University, and over 10 years of child care experience. She recently moved from Vermont, where she worked as an infant/toddler teacher at a Reggio-inspired preschool in the woods. Lauren is thrilled to have found a new home at the JCA and is looking forward to building relationships and helping the littlest ones grow into independent learners. She lives in Westbrook with her wife, Theresa, and their goofy dog, Oates.

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April Humphrey

April received her Master's degree from Hunter College in psychology with a concentration in developmental and cognitive psychology. She is also credentialed as an infant and toddler educator with the American Montessori Society. April has worked with infants and toddlers in a range of settings including private pre-schools and NAEYC accredited child care centers. In addition, she recently operated a small home-based nursery school for toddlers. April grew up in mid-coast Maine and currently lives with her family in Yarmouth. Her daughter, Anelise is a JCA pre-school graduate. April serves on the Board of Directors for the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children, where she focuses on policy and advocacy to improve quality and access to early childhood education in Maine.

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Heidi Grant

Heidi lives in North Yarmouth with her husband Alan, and dog Kaci. She has a BA in English from the University of Maine, Orono. After raising her two boys, she started her career in the public school system, the last ten years as an Ed Tech working in special education. Heidi feels lucky to be doing what she loves every day and is excited about being at the JCA.

One Year Old Room

Age 1 (by October 15th)

Our youngest toddler program slowly and gently introduces children moving from the individual nature of infancy, to the joys of being part of a group.  Our young toddler classroom has a maximum group size of ten children with three teachers. The curriculum in this classroom is designed to support young toddlers as they learn to master both expressive and receptive language, to play cooperatively with peers, and practice making their way in a world where they long for independence yet still require support from a loving, affectionate and trusted adult.  Each child is allowed the space, support and time to develop newly acquired skills at their own pace with support and guidance from their teachers.

One Year Old Room Teachers email

One Year Old Room Daily Schedule

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Lauren Kropp

Lauren lives in Cumberland with her husband and youngest daughter.  She has a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Speech Language Pathology.  She has spent much of her time as a preschool teacher, a speech-language pathologist, a volunteer, and a mom to her three children- all JCA graduates!  She is excited to be a teacher in the one year old room and to witness all aspects of early childhood development. She considers herself lucky to be a part of such a wonderful teaching community.

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Megan Tetrault

Megan has lived in the greater Portland area her whole life. She received her Bachelor's Degree from St. Joseph's College in 2005. Megan worked as a nanny for the few years after college, and she has been working at the JCA for the past 7 years. She finds each day of teaching young children to be a unique and exciting experience. When not at the JCA, Megan enjoys enjoy spending time with her 5 year old son Geno. Together they have fun playing sports outdoors and walking their dog Brady.


Exa Steinbreder

Exa is originally from the New England area, but is new to Portland. She graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with a Bachelor in Fine Arts and loves incorporating her art background into the classroom. Exa has taught in museums, an elementary school, and a Jewish preschool prior to coming to the Goldman Family Preschool. When not teaching she loves baking, reading, and hanging out with her puppy.

Two Year Old Room

Age 2 (by October 15)

Our Toddler program maintains a four-to-one ratio with a maximum group size of twelve, and is designed to provide an opportunity for toddlers to explore while addressing the very specific needs, challenges, and delights of this particular age group. There is an emphasis on freedom of movement and gross/fine motor development as well as the child to child interactions. The children in this group are becoming more aware of each other and social play is becoming more complex. The teachers support these interactions. The daily curriculum offers toddlers opportunities to explore the environment according to their capabilities, interests and developmental needs.

Two Year Old Room Teachers email

Two Year Old Room Daily Schedule


Olivia Neff-Jandrasko

Olivia is a substitute and Aftercare teacher. She recently graduated from Southern Maine Community College with my associates degree in Early Childhood Education. For the past 6 years she has been working as a nanny in both Maine and Australia. She spent the last year at SMCC student teaching in the Pre-K room and is looking forward to working with the children and getting to know all their unique personalities.

Meghan O'Brien

Meghan O'Brien

Meghan is from Portland, Maine. She graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Development and Family Relations. After graduating Meghan worked at a Montessori school where she started as a toddler teacher then three years later became the assistant director. Meghan is excited to join the JCA team and excited to be part of the two year old classroom! When not teaching Meghan loves spending time with her dog, Molly.

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Kristina Williams

Kristina came to the JCA Preschool upon moving to Portland. Prior to her job here Kristina taught at the JCC Early Center in Hingham MA. Kristina has a Bachelors of Fire Arts from Lesley University and is excited to bring her creativity and love of the arts to the children in her care.

Nursery Room

Ages 3 and 4 (3 by October 15)

Children in the Nursery Room enjoy a space where they can experience the joy of creative exploration through group and individual play. Through this guided process, they are exposed to literature, math, science, art, music and cooking. Our Nursery Room maintains  a maximum group size of sixteen children with three teachers.  Children have the opportunity to explore topics of interest in depth. The children’s social skills bloom, as they learn about sharing, taking turns, and the value of cooperative play. They discover that they are part of a larger world, and that the rewards of friendship are plentiful.​

Nursery Room Teachers email

Nursery Room Daily Schedule

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Theresa Yudaken

Theresa moved to Maine with her husband and 4 children from South Africa 15 years ago. She graduated from the Cape Town Teachers Training College and has had many years of experience working with children. Since living in Maine she has taught pre-K , private Kindergarten and also volunteered as a Kindergarten and Art teacher at Bet Ha'am. She has been teaching in the nursery room and at the Levey Day School aftercare program since 2007. Theresa loves being part of the JCA community!

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Kristen Smith

Kristen has worked with children since 2006 both in the classroom and as a nanny. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern Maine Community College and fulfilled her student-teaching requirements with the JCA in 2013. Kristen is excited to join the JCA team and is dedicated to nurturing and meeting the needs of each individual child to help support their growth and development.

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Allison Owens

Allison grew up in New Jersey loving the arts and being outside. She has a B.A. in art history and loves being creative. For the past four years she has been teaching preschool while working on a masters in early childhood education. She enjoys spending summers gardening on North Haven, Maine and then reading, laughing and creating with children the rest of the year.

Pre-Kindergarten Room

Pre-K Room Ages 4 and 5 (4 by October 15)

In this classroom our teachers create an environment of hands-on discovery and discussion, encouraging children to make decisions based on values, such as respect, responsibility, kindness and community . Our Pre-k classroom maintains an appealing  maximum group size of twenty children with three teachers.  Much time is spent exploring the children's wonderful ideas and helping them to make sense of the world around them. Projects and study are driven by children’s interests and inquiry and may involve an entire class or a small group. As the year progresses and attention spans lengthen, both discussions and projects become more involved.  The curriculum is designed to allow children to express their increasing confidence and independence, while meeting the challenges of their curiosity, energy and endless enthusiasm.

Pre-K Room Teachers email

Pre-K Daily Schedule

Erin Murphy

Erin Murphy

Erin grew up near New Orleans and moved to Maine with her family in 2000. Returning to Louisiana she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies from Loyola University New Orleans before ultimately making her home in Scarborough where she still resides with her husband and their mini farm of cats, chickens and goats. She has worked in early childhood education for 12 years passionately teaching through real life experience, encouraging scientific exploration and exposing children to the wonders of the natural world. Erin is thrilled to join the Goldman Family Preschool team!

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Trevor Lilly

Trevor began his teaching at an in home daycare servicing Israeli American families in Boston while attending Wheelock College. He has been a pre-K teacher for four years and has worked at the JCA since 2009. Trevor is passionate about early childhood education and loves the four and five year old's unique perspectives on the world. He appreciates that his work requires creativity, spontaneity, and constant self reflection, and he brings his love of cooking, art and science into the classroom.

Jenny Beers

Jenny Beers

Jenny grew on Cape Cod spending her summers teaching children and families at a local nature center. She has a B.A. in Nonprofit Management and loves to integrate her passion for the arts and nature into her teaching. She has worked in various Early Childhood Education programs and feels so lucky to be at the JCA! She is fondly known as “Nature Jenny.” The name is certainly fitting since when she is not teaching, she often spends her time enjoying the great outdoors!

Afternoon Teachers

Rachel Heak

Rachel Heak

Rachel is excited to return to the JCA after a student teaching semester there in 2011. She graduated in 2019 with her Bachelors Degree through the University of Maine at Farmington. She loves working with young toddlers because of how they continuously take in and learn about the world around them. Rachel has over 10 years experience working with young children, and is thankful for the opportunity to continue her work at the Goldman Family Preschool. In her free time Rachel enjoys reading, and spending time with her son, husband and two dogs.

Lauren Locke

Lauren is from South Portland, Maine. She earned her Associate's degree through Southern Maine Community College and is currently working towards her Bachelor's degree through the University of Maine at Farmington. Lauren is passionate about working with young children, and she brings her love of music and reading into all of the classrooms. Lauren is thrilled to be a part of the JCA team because of the opportunity to make meaningful connections with the children and their families.


Taylor Hills

Taylor is from Portland, Maine. She is currently working toward her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Southern Maine Community College. She completed her first of three student-teaching requirements at the JCA this past spring. Taylor is excited to join the JCA team as an afternoon teacher. Outside of school, Taylor likes to go to beach at her family’s home, in Naples, during the summer. In the fall, she loves to go leaf peeping in New Hampshire. In the winter, she enjoys building snowmen and going sledding.