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 Braza is the Education Coordinator of our school. She has been with Child's Play since it was founded in 1979; She was hired as the first teacher and worked with the founding parents to develop the co-op and the educational curriculum that would become the school's foundation. She was the Preschool Class teacher for 38 years and had the dual role of Teacher and Education Coordinator. In the 2018-2019 school year she is piloting the sole role of Education Coordinator.
As Education Coordinator, Mona ensures our educational philosophy is maintained, develops and implements the curriculum, supervises staff, and oversees all licensing and accreditation requirements. She assists with the administrative work of the coop as well. 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. In her free time, Mona loves traveling with her husband, going to the beach, reading and spending time with family - especially her grandchildren - and friends.
In 2016, Mona was presented with the Early Childhood Educator of the Year award at the RI Early Childhood Conference.
Debra Bedard is our Toddler and Nursery Class Lead Teacher. She began as an Assistant Teacher at the school in 2000 and in 2008 moved into the Lead Teacher position for the Toddler and Nursery Classes. 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 has completed all coursework for Early Childhood Teachers. When she is not at Child's Play, she enjoys being outdoors in the warm sunshine, running, spending time with her two daughters, family and, of course, her dog Lucky.
Karen Brown Ballou
Karen Brown Ballou is our Preschool Class Lead Teacher. 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. In the 2014-25 school year she joined us as the Preschool class Assistant Teacher. In 2018-19 she accepted the position of Lead Teacher.
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 is the Preschool Assistant Teacher. She joined us as Debbie's Assistant Teacher in the Toddler and Nursery Classes in the fall of 2016 and in 2018-19 moved to the Preschool Class. 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.
Susie Holloway is our Toddler and Nursery Class Assistant Teacher. Susie graduated from Princeton with a degree in psychology; she also has a Master’s in Social Work and a law degree. As a social worker, she worked primarily with families with young children. She is coming to us with 20 years of experience of working with preschoolers at her church.
Susie and her husband have raised their two daughters in North Carolina and have relocated their family back home to Rhode Island. In her free time, Susie enjoys spending time with her family, reading, knitting, cheering on the UNC Tar Heels, and sailing her Sunfish.
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. Sue has worked at Child's Play since 1997.
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.
Audrey Greene is "the Music Lady" at Child’s Play. Her son was a kindergartner here when she began sharing her music talent with our classes. In 1992, when he “graduated,” we asked Audrey to stay on as our music teacher and we have been fortunate to have her here all these years.
She shares her love of music with nursery schools in the Cranston and Providence area. She also shares music with elders, concentrating on small group and one-to-one sessions with those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and has recorded a CD, Mom’s Musical Memories, for families to use with their loved ones. She has studied voice and performance at Rhode Island College, Prescott College and Franconia College.
Audrey is a native Rhode Islander, who enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and working in her yard. One of her favorite joys in life is wandering around New York City with her children and grandchild.