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 24th 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.

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

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 to start

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 Daily Schedule

 

Elaine Isajar

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 infant room and to witness all aspects of early childhood development. She considers herself lucky to be a part of such a wonderful teaching community.

Meghan O'Brien

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 Daily Schedule

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.

Kate Yates

Kate brings over ten years of experience in early childhood education with her as she begins her first year teaching at the Goldman Family Preschool.  She graduated from Southern Maine Community College with an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  Kate is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree through the University of Maine Farmington.  Kate is passionate about her work with toddlers and finds their curiosity and inquisitive view of the world refreshing and inspiring.  Outside of school, Kate enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and their dog.

Rachel Heak

Rachel is excited to return to the JCA after a student teaching semester there in 2011. She graduated from Southern Maine Community College in 2012, and has continued working towards 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 8 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 spending time with her Husband, two dogs and family.

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.

Toddler Teachers email

Two Year Old Room Daily Schedule

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.

Lauren Bickmore

Lauren graduated from the University of Maine, Farmington with a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education. After graduating Lauren worked at a childcare center, where she taught two different age groups. She is eager to teach the children through excitement, hands on activities, compassion, all within in a positive atmosphere. When not teaching Lauren loves going to the beach in Scarborough where she grew up. In the winter she enjoys spending time skiing!

Kristina Williams

Kristina is a substitute and Aftercare teacher. She 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. Kristina is excited to bring her creativity and love of the arts to the children in her care. She works as both a substitute teacher and as an aftercare teacher.

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 Teachers email

Nursery Room Daily Schedule

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!

Katherine Woehler

Katherine graduated from the University of Maine, Orono with a Bachelors degree in Child Development and Family Relations. After graduation, she gained lots of experience working in several different preschool settings. She wants her students to grow and develop at their own individual pace with the structure of patients, compassion, and support.

Tia Zukowski

Tia has a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education with a K-3 certification from the University of Maine at Farmington and a Masters in Human Development from the University of Maine.
Tia is a Maine Roads to Quality Trainer who is passionate about supporting fellow teachers and sharing her energy for learning with others. She has taught in private preschools, childcare centers and Head Start. She appreciates that being a teacher means always being a learner and is excited that the JCA provides this learning environment for children, teachers and families.

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 Teachers email

Pre-K Daily Schedule

Ariel Ruiz

Ariel graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology. After moving to Maine two years ago, Ariel worked as an Ed Tech for Portland Public Schools. She has also worked at Center Day Camp for the past two summers. As a teacher, Ariel loves being able to watch children explore the world around them and discover who they are. She is excited to be part of the JCA Preschool team.

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 is originally from Cape Cod where she worked as a Naturalist, teaching environmental science in the classroom and throughout the various ecosystems of the Cape. She has a B.A. in Nonprofit Management and loves to integrate her passion for the arts and nature into her teaching. Jenny is also joining the Center Day Camp staff as the Nature Activity Leader and is excited to be a part of the JCA family.

Afternoon Teachers

Taylor Hills

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.

Susan Neal

Before my move to Portland 4 years ago, I was the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Adirondack’s only year round professional theater. Concurrently, I taught a variety of courses in the Department of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Potsdam.  Since my relocation to this vibrant city, I have discovered the joy of working with young children. Their wonder, honesty and creativity are enriching. I am grateful for the opportunity to facilitate their exploration and discovery at the JCA Preschool.