Meet Our Staff

Playland Nursery School is owned by Gary, Barbara, and Steve Bloom who also own and direct Camp Playland. Gary has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and is certified by the State of Connecticut as a Head Teacher. Barbara has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Reading. Gary and Barbara taught in the Stamford Public Schools prior to the opening of Playland Nursery School. Gary and Barbara’s son Steve has a B.A. in English and Human Development, an M.S. in Camp Administration and Leadership and M.A in Independent School Leadership.

Our superior staff coupled with continuity in leadership makes Playland a premier school. Playland Nursery School is a private, non-denominational nursery school and is licensed by the State of Connecticut.

Kathy is a certified teacher with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and a Master’s Degree in Teaching. Kathy is also certified by the State of Connecticut as a Head Teacher and has completed all the requirements for the Connecticut Director’s Credential. She has taught in the Stamford and Fairfield Public Schools.  Kathy has worked summers at Camp Playland since high school! Kathy lives in Fairfield and is the proud mom to two children, ages 22 and 25. When she’s not working, she enjoys baking, knitting and spending time with friends and family.

Matt attended Gordon College and received a BS in Recreation and Leisure with a concentration in Outdoor Education. He has been a full time employee for the past ten years and is presently one of the directors of Camp Playland. Matt enthusiastically attended Playland as a camper and grew up as part of the Playland family. He met his wife, Pina while working at camp and they have a four year old son, Matteo, who attends Camp Playland and Playland Nursery School.

Woof! Lyle the Playland dog is Steve & Hayley Bloom’s trusty golden retriever. Lyle is 7 years old and spends his days in the office. Lyle does not enter the classrooms, but students love to see him when he goes for leashed walks and golf cart rides around campus.

Head Teachers

Each classroom has a head teacher and assistant teachers. The head teachers are experienced, mature adults with a passion for teaching young children. They are dynamic, creative individuals who are committed to providing each child with an enriched Playland experience. Assistant teachers are hired for their love of children and their ability to enhance the program.

Vivi is from Costa Rica. She has worked at Playland Nursery School since 2014, teaching the two’s class. She loves getting immersed in the children’s world and connecting with them. Vivi has a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood, a Master’s degree in Special Education and a minor in Human Services. She lives in Trumbull with her husband and two daughters (both Playland alumni!). Vivi is an avid athlete who represented her native country of Costa Rica in various Worldwide swimming events. She is still the current record holder of the 200m back-stroke – women, back in her country! She loves to spend time with her family at the beach, riding bikes or dancing to latin music.

Cara is has been teaching at Playland since 2015. She has a BA William Smith College and a MS Ed. Bank Street College and her Head Teacher Certificate from the State of CT Office of Early Childhood. Cara taught at Cisqua School and Brick Church School before stopping to raise her family. She has 3 children (two of which are Playland alumni!). Cara loves to ski, play tennis and is a very messy cook!!

Rebecca began teaching at Playland in 2003. Rebecca was born and raised in Stamford, CT and grew up dancing!  She took dance classes, including tap, jazz, ballet and hip hop, for 18 years and in to college. Dance is a major part of Rebecca’s life and she shares that love in her classroom!  Rebecca attended Bay Path College for Education and Competitive Dance.  Rebecca has an associate degree in early childhood. Rebecca has two daughters, both Playland alumni.  She directs Summer Warm-Up Camp and is a Head Counselor at Camp Playland.

A mother of four and grandmother of five, Jo-Ann began her career as a Registered Nurse. After working in the medical field for a number of years she decided her heart’s desire was to work with children and teach. She began as an assistant teacher at Playland with Missy Trenck as her mentor and took the courses necessary to obtain her Head Teaching Certificate from the State of Connecticut Office of Early Childhood. Jo-Ann has found great joy and satisfaction during the last nine years leading the Playland Polar Bears as they play, learn, and explore. Jo-Ann enjoys spending time with her family, photography and playing with her dog Eddie.

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This is Jessica’s first year at Playland and she is so excited to join the Playland community! Jessica was born and raised in Guilford, CT, and after 11 years in Brooklyn, she finally moved back to CT with her family last year. She now lives in Ridgefield with her husband and son, where they enjoy exploring their new community and working on their historic home. Jessica received her Bachelors from Fordham University at Lincoln Center and her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College. Prior to joining Playland, she was a teacher at a private preschool in Manhattan for ten years. Jessica loves cooking, music, and spending time outdoors.

Assistants

Tracy has been at Playland since we started our two’s program in 2014.  She really enjoys spending time with your children and loves to see the proud look on their faces when they accomplish something new.  Whether it be a new food, shapes, numbers or even tackling the potty! Tracy has lived in New Canaan for thirteen years with her husband Marc and their four children, Sydney, Harrison, Alec and Tatum (plus Lilo their dog)!  In Tracy’s spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cheering on her kids at various sporting events at NCHS or dance competitions, cooking, reading, and traveling (she has been to every continent except Antarctica)!

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Liz joined the Playland staff in 2015.  She has her Head Teacher Certificate from the State of CT Office of Early Childhood. Liz attended Connecticut College and Columbia Business School, working in business for fifteen years before switching careers and becoming a teacher.  Liz lives in New Canaan with her husband and two daughters (both of whom are Playland alumni!). In her free time, she loves to walk, read, cook, practice yoga and take hikes with Sammie, the family golden retriever.

Joyce has worked at Playland Nursery School for 15 years. She has a Bachelors degree in Computer Systems from Baruch College. Joyce particularly enjoys watching preschoolers develop their love for reading, writing and art. The messier the art, the better!

Missy has been at Playland since 1985…a long time. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and a MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) from Manhattanville. She is passionate about the importance of connecting young children to literature, loves to swim, read, root for the NY Mets and spend time with her six grandsons.

Joan began her career working in elementary school but left to start her family. When it was time to return to teaching she chose nursery school because of her love of and patience for preschool children. As a result she has been at Playland for over 30 years. She continues to love the children each year as if they were her own. Joan’s greatest joy is to see each child grow and have fun each day.  Joan enjoys being around family and friends either cooking for them or doing special activities. Joan has a BS in education from Southern Connecticut and a masters degree from Fairfield University.

Rachel has been at Playland since January 2014.  Rachel has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Franklin Pierce University and Head Teacher Certificate from CT State. She loves teaching preschool-aged children, specifically seeing their big smiles after new accomplishments. Rachel is a twenty one year resident of New Canaan and lives with her husband Matt, their two boys, Kyle and Dylan, and dog Bailey. Outside of the classroom Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and watching her sons play sports at NCHS!!

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Whitney started at Playland Nursery School in 2016 after moving to CT from Massachusetts. (Yes, she is a New England sports fan!) A graduate of Bridgewater State College in 2009, she began working in her family’s business and coaching high school soccer. Whitney loves the personal connection she’s able to create with each student due to the “hands on” nature of the Playland curriculum.

Lynne is our resident Music Specialist and an assistant teacher in the Teddy Bear class. She began at Playland Nursery School in 1984. In addition to working at school, Lynne spent many summers at Camp Playland as a Music Specialist. Lynne is a Licensed Kindermusik Instructor and the sole proprietor of Lynne’s Kindermusick Studio (classes offered at Playland). She is on the Board of Directors of Kids Creative Collective (KCC) which provides theatre and music to underserved children in New York City. Fun Fact:  I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing!

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