Darla Steiner, Director

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  In the years following their early life experiences at First Church Preschool, the children who attend our school may very well forget and/or will have long ago already accommodated what we told them, what we did for them, also forgetting our names and what we look like.  I am certain, however, that they will forever hold onto the special feelings that emanate from this special place.  It’s the smiles we freely give, the gestures of care and concern, the boosts of encouragement and support, the magic of loving kindness, that are the elements that bring together our First Church Caring Community.

I have a great and proud honor to work alongside some of the most talented and devoted professionals that I have come upon in my 20 + years in the Early Childhood Education field right here at First Church.  They are the foundation of our Caring Community.  The children and their families who engage with us grow both with and because of the caring they receive here.  They reflect back to us that special feeling being cultivated through the Caring Community at First Church Preschool.

Melanie Garnett

Melanie Garnett, Administrative Assistant

First Church Preschool is a special community of families and teachers.  Not only do the children who attend First Church Preschool have fun, their parents participate and have fun too.  First Church Preschool has a wonderful Parent Committee that organizes school wide events throughout the year, and each classroom welcomes parent participation and involvement as well.  First Church Preschool is also a great place because of its idyllic setting.  Being located across from beautiful Binney Park and just steps away from Perrot Library and the village of Old Greenwich, many families enjoy the ability to walk to and from school and other activities.

I love to work at First Church Preschool because I really enjoy the staff and I feel proud of all that we do to make a wonderful learning environment for children.  I also love interacting with small children on a daily basis.  I am inspired by their curiosity and zest for life!


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Barbara Andersen

It’s the variety of programs, connection with the community, lasting friendships, and dedicated teachers and staff that make First Church Preschool a great place for children and families.

I love the longevity of the staff and the sense of community amongst us and our families.  Ours is a quality program based on play.  I also love that we offer opportunities for exploring nature in both the indoor and outdoor classrooms.  Mindfulness is a part of all that we do for ourselves and others, and our caring reaches beyond our First Church community.

Windy Ayala-Penn

I love working at First Church Preschool because from the beginning I felt very welcomed by all the staff and members. I learned and became part of the team very quickly as I love doing what I do and everyone encouraged and supported me from the start. I also found very interesting the preschool’s playground and nature approach. I’m looking forward to learning and growing more and more from everyone at the school and the families that will be part of this wonderful experience.

Marcia Davis

From my first visit to the preschool it was evident that Darla, the staff and parents have worked together to create a community of support and caring. I feel very privileged to be part of that community.

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Marie Fernando

First Church Preschool provides a friendly, loving, inclusive, nurturing, and diverse classroom environment that promotes each child’s social/emotional, physical, and cognitive development.  We have a supportive director, friendly and cooperative staff, opportunity for professional growth and development, and a supportive parental community.

Lori Goldberg

 I’ve been working with young children and their families for the better part of my adult life. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented and caring people. First Church Preschool is no exception!  It has been a positive experience from day one!   Welcoming, warm and caring are words that come to mind. I feel very lucky to have found my new school family, and to be a part of a very special place at First Church.  

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Donna Harrington

What I feel makes the preschool a great place for children and families is our caring and loving staff.  Also, here, children are able to learn, strengthen, and develop skills with hands-on learning experiences.  They can also explore our Nature Classroom where we can grow herbs, vegetables, dig for worms, climb, “cook” in the mud kitchen, go sledding in the winter, and so much more.  Also, our special classes, such as yoga, Gym on Wheels, and Music Together, make our preschool a great place, and our Parent Committee sponsors fun events where children and families can participate.

What I love about working at First Church is getting to know our families and learning about their cultures and traditions.  I also love being able to work with a wonderful caring and supportive team.

Stephanie Hicka

I have enjoyed working at First Church so far!  We provide a loving, caring, and safe place for our children and families.  There is so much love and support here!

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Lauren Impellizzeri

First Church Preschool provides a loving and safe environment for children and families.  Learning is taught through play, which leads to children constantly learning.  Children want to learn and include what they have learned throughout their day.

I love working at First Church Preschool because the staff is very loving and they love being at First Church. I love all of the support that is given.  I also love how teachers support each other.  It is a place that I look forward to coming to each day.

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Mary Jane Kraus

First Church is a great place for children and families because we believe it is important to include the child’s culture and traditions in their development and learning process.  Our teachers are nurturing, caring, and supportive of each child’s individual needs.  Our school offers additional classes for children to develop an interest in music, Spanish, yoga, gym, and science classes.  Our Nature Classroom gives children opportunities to freely participate in play-based activities using natural materials and to explore the world around them.

I love working at First Church because our staff is so supportive of each other and each other’s children!  We all work together to provide a positive and enriching program for our children.

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Michele Mozian

I have loved First Church Preschool for many years now.  My own children attended this school 15 years ago, and it has always held a special place for my family and me.  First Church feels like a little community and many of the bonds made by me and my children with classmates and other parents still exist today.  My boys are now 18 and 20 years old.

I was very happy to join the teaching staff of First Church 11 years ago because I felt right at home.  The teachers are very welcoming, nurturing, caring, and qualified.  The administration is supportive and offers opportunities for keeping up with the latest learning trends.

Jena Palmer

First Church is a great place for children and families because the staff has been here for a long time.  Families can have multiple children go through the school and have all the same teachers.  There are flexible hours.  It is a welcoming environment.  I love how much fun the staff has with each other and the children.  We all help each other.

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Jane Potter

First Church has a very experienced and caring staff.  We offer multiple hourly options for parents.  Ours is a welcoming community for our children to begin their first learning experiences, as well as form close childhood relationships that could last for years. I absolutely love working here, getting to know children and their families, and having multiple siblings from same families come through my classroom.  It’s very rewarding to teach lessons that the children repeat to their parents.  I feel a connection to each of the children in my class.  They are all special to me!

Montserrat Thompson

My first experience with First Church preschool was over 10 years ago, when my eldest son attended Pre-K.  After living abroad for many years, we returned to the Riverside area recently and my youngest daughter had the pleasure of attending as well.  The warmth and professionalism of the teachers is great.  The atmosphere is like that of a large family where everyone has a good time and they know each other.  It is a pleasure to be part of this great family!


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Curtis Gay

Curtis has been keeping First Church Preschool clean and in great working order for about 30 years!  If you ask him how he feels about working here, he replies, “I just love working here.  I love the staff and the kids.  The kids are great.  Can’t beat it!”  Judging by how excited the children are whenever they see Curtis around the school, it’s clearly evident that they love him, too!