Child's Play prides itself on hiring highly qualified, experienced, nurturing teachers and assistant teachers. Along with our Co-Op Education Specialist, the staff works together to develop and maintain a high quality program/curriculum as mandated by NAEYC Accreditation, BrightStars, the Rhode Island Early Learning and Development Standards (RIELDS) and licensing. All staff are required to do a minimum of 20 hours of professional development per year which includes workshops, seminars, conferences, etc. They also attend three All-Staff meetings during the year, as well as an In-Service Day at the end of the year. They are committed to the philosophy of the co-op and work together with parents to provide the best program for children.
Mona is the Lead Teacher of the Preschool Class, as well as the Education Coordinator of our school. She has been with Child's Play since it was founded in 1979; working with the founding parents to develop the co-op and the educational curriculum that would become the school's foundation. As Ed Coordinator, Mona ensures our educational philosophy is maintained, develops and implements the curriculum, supervises staff, and oversees all licensing and accreditation requirements. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education as well as a Master's in Early Childhood Education from Rhode Island College. Before coming to Child's Play, Mona had several years' experience working as a home-based teacher and in a special needs preschool classroom. She also worked in developmental screening for the East Providence School Department and volunteered at a local elementary school. In her free time, Mona loves traveling with her husband, going to the beach, reading and spending time with family, especially her grandchildren, and her friends. She has two married sons (one of which is a Child's Play alum) and therefore has gained two “daughters” as well as an assortment of grand-puppies!
Debra Bedard is our Toddler and Nursery Class Lead Teacher. She began as an Assistant Teacher at the school and is now in her 12th year teaching our youngest students. Before joining the educational team at Child's Play, Debbie ran her own home-based daycare program for 10 years. Debbie comes to Child's Play with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and is currently completing her Certificate in Early Childhood Education. When she is not at Child's Play, she enjoys being outdoors and walking with her dogs. She is the mother of two teenage daughters who keep her very busy.
Karen Brown Ballou
This is Karen's third year as Mona's assistant in the Preschool Class. Karen's time at Child's Play began as a parent in 2010. Throughout the years, she has served on many committees, and was even a co-president in 2013-2014 when her younger son was enrolled. She graduated from Wheelock College with a Bachelor's Degree in Science, specializing in Early Childhood Education. She has been in the teaching profession for over 25 years, working in child care centers, private and public schools and her own preschool, which she ran out of her home. Karen has also been a nanny to five boys over the past 17 years. In her free time, Karen enjoys attending sporting events with her husband and two sons. She also enjoys reading, hiking, playing/coaching basketball and baseball and spending time with friends and family.
Karen Barry joined us as Debbie's Assistant Teacher in the toddler and nursery Classes in the fall of 2016. Her warm and caring disposition enabled our littlest friends to take to her immediately, and we are thrilled to have her on our staff! Before coming to Child’s Play, Karen worked as a co-lead teacher in a variety of settings including preschools, parochial schools and child care centers. Karen received her Master’s Degree in early childhood education from Wheelock College. When not at Child’s Play, Karen enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters, cooking and reading.
Sue Connor, our Cooperative Education Specialist, has worked toward quality early childhood education in Rhode Island for nearly 50 years. She has been a teacher, supervisor, education director, college instructor, consultant and mentor/coach. In addition to working in diverse parent co-op programs, she has worked at the Jewish Community Center's Early Childhood Program and Head Start.
At the Rhode Island State Early Childhood Conference in 2014, Sue received the distinguished Educator Advocate Award. She was honored not only to receive that award, but for having the Teacher Educator Award named after her, as well.
Sue has worked at Child's Play since 1997.