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Established in 1981, Katonah Playcare Early Learning Center is a preschool located in Katonah, New York, serving children ages 21 months to 5 years of age.

Established in 1981, Katonah Playcare Early Learning Center is a preschool located in Katonah, New York, serving children ages 21 months to 5 years of age.

Meet our staff


All of our staff are highly trained, seasoned educators who create engaging classroom environments through collaboration, monthly professional development sessions, and by attending professional development programs.

A Theme-Based Approach to Early Education

Gail Porter

Mother of two and grandmother of five, Gail Porter has a BA in Psychology with a minor in Education and an MS in Family Counseling. She has had extensive teaching experience in various grade levels including a mainstreamed preschool, and has served as substitute teacher in the Bedford School District.


Gail has run parent support groups and preschool workshops on literacy, cooking, science and parenting. She has helped coordinate "Staff Development Day" for area preschools and the "Everything You Wanted To Know About ‘Getting Ready’ For Kindergarten" Meeting for preschool parents with the K/L School District. Gail has served on her church board and was a Cub Scout Leader. She started at KPCELC over 30 years ago, and is the Co-Director of the School.

jeannine dibart

Jeannine DiBart is a mother of 3 and a former Elementary School Teacher and Staff Developer. She holds a BA in Elementary Education and English, and an MPS in Special Education and Reading. Jeannine began her teaching career right here at Katonah Playcare ELC, in the Yellow Room! She then spent much of her career at the Wooster School in Danbury, CT, where she taught kindergarten and first grade.


Jeannine also worked for LitLife, a private consulting company where she worked as a Staff Developer and Consultant to several Westchester area schools. Jeannine’s three children are all KPCELC alumni. She loves that she has come full circle as Co-Director of the school. Jeannine is an avid baker and she loves to read. Her passion for Early Childhood Education makes her a strong Co-Director here at Katonah Playcare.

Two's Program

Jessica Amico

Jessica Amico is the mother of 7 year old twin girls. She spent 5 years at Katonah Playcare as the 3's Head Teacher. She took some time off to have her girls, and we were absolutely thrilled to have her back. Jessica holds her Child Development Associate’s Certification in Early Childhood Education from the Childcare Council of Westchester. She has over 10 years of experience in the Early Childhood field, and continues her professional development by attending early childhood conferences and workshops. Jessica believes in a child-centered, nurturing educational approach to teaching young children. She has a true understanding and respect for her students which is so important to a successful preschool experience. Jessica is in her fifth year as the Head Teacher in all of our 2's classes.

Laura Madaio

Laura Madaio is an educator and the mother of a 7 year old daughter. She has a Masters of Arts in Linguistics and certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. She has over 10 years experience in teaching languages to adults and children in Italy, Australia, and the USA. She previously worked for an Italian pre-school here in Westchester where she loved working with children from 1 to 4 years old, and especially in the Mommy&Me program. Laura is in her fourth year as the Assistant Teacher in our 2’s classes. She also teaches Italian lessons to all of the classes at KPC. Laura fluently speaks 4 languages; Italian, French, Spanish and English, of course. Laura hopes that in addition providing to the utmost care, she can also add a little touch of the Italian language to your children’s learning experience.


Three's Program

Kathryn Lassen

Kathryn Lassen is a mother of three. She has a BS in business, concentrating in Marketing and an MS in Elementary Education, with a NYS certification for grades one through six. Her professional background includes being the Head Teacher of a Kindergarten for three years in a school for the gifted and talented children on Manhattan's Upper West Side. In addition, Kathryn worked part-time as the Creative Art Teacher for students aged three through five, at the Somerset Hills YMCA in Basking Ridge, NJ. Kathryn has substituted in all age levels at Katonah Playcare Early Learning Center, as well as being a class parent and active in her district's PTA. This is Kathryn's eighth year as Head Teacher in the Red Room 3's Class.

Christine Zimbelmann

Christine Zimbelmann holds a BA in Elementary and Special Education and a Masters Degree in Dance Movement Therapy. She has worked with children and adolescents in hospital settings, developing and implementing programs using dance and movement as therapy, and in preschools and after-school programs in NYC. Christine has led developmental movement classes for infants with their care-givers as well as mommy and me Creative Movement classes. She has worked in private practice as a therapist and supervisor/mentor as well as an adjunct Professor at Pratt Institute. Christine has led numerous professional workshops for educators and is particularly interested in incorporating movement, music, and dance in the classroom setting. Christine is the mother of three and is currently the chairperson of her PTA Green Committee. She was the Head Teacher in the Orange Room 2's class and is currently in her sixth year as the Head Teacher in the Blue Room 3's. 

Karen Woodward

Karen Woodward is a mother of three and a grandmother of seven. She has been with KPCELC for over 25 years. She has experience as an Assistant Teacher in all age levels; Twos, Threes and Fours, including as an Assistant Teacher in the Fours Inclusion Class, which was held at KPCELC in the past for several years. Karen teaches in the Summer Enrichment and Summertime Funtime Programs, as well as Optional Day and Extended Day. She is also the energy behind the set-up and clean-up of the gym every day! Karen has attended many Early Childhood Education workshops over the years. She brings great cooking knowledge and is a dedicated and nurturing teacher. She is presently the Assistant Teacher in the Red Room 3's class and is the "all around" School Helper.


Chrissy Colombo is a mother of three and was a long-time sub for us here at KPCELC before she joined our staff full-time. She is also a Katonah Playcare graduate! Chrissy has completed 2 years of child development classes and has a great deal of experience with children as a class mom for all of her kids, as well as, team mom for her son’s football and wrestling teams. Chrissy brings her warmth, natural instinct, and positive attitude to Playcare! Chrissy has been the Assistant Teacher in the 3's and the Assistant Teacher in the 2’s class. She is currently in her sixth year as the Assistant Teacher in the Blue Room 3's class.

Four's Program

Alli Brown

Alli Brown is a mother of 2 and has a BS in Psychology and a Master’s in Education, Pre-K-Grade 6. She has had many years of teaching experience including all levels of preschool—Twos, Threes, and Fours, primary school-age children, and children with special needs. She taught at such schools as Rippowam Cisqua, Mt. Kisco Elementary School, St. Patrick’s CCD, and Carmel Nursery School. Her natural teaching abilities are a great addition to the staff. Alli has been a frequent Substitute Teacher in all age levels and was the Assistant Teacher in the Blue Room 2's. This is Alli's tenth year as the Head Teacher in the Green Room 4's.

Eliana oertel

Eliana Oertel is an educator and the mother of a Katonah Playcare graduate. Eliana holds a BA in Human Development and Family Studies and a Masters in Teaching with a NYS Certification in Early Childhood Education. Eliana has had various professional roles working with children and families. She has many years of teaching experience primarily with the preschool age group. Before having her daughter, she taught for several years in NYC as a Pre-K teacher in their Universal Pre-K program. This is Eliana’s first year as the Head Teacher in the Orange Room 4’s. We are thrilled to have Eliana join the KPC staff!

Josie Stoner

Josie Stoner is a mother of two. She has a Bachelors and Master’s degree in Elementary Education, K-6. Before joining KPC she worked in the Ossining Public Schools as a second and third grade teacher. While in Ossining she worked in various collaborative settings, including working with children with special needs. She also worked as a staff developer implementing new reading programs, and presented at several New York State Reading Conferences. Josie enjoys volunteering in her community. She was a Girl Scout Leader for seven years, and was very active in her children’s school as a class parent and library volunteer. Josie was a frequent Substitute teacher in all of the KPC classrooms. This is Josie's third year as the Assistant Teacher in the Green Room 4’s.

Julia Bosco

Julia Bosco is the mother of an 9 year old daughter and 6 year old son. She holds her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Westchester Community College. Julia has over 15 years of experience working with children from birth through age 5 in day care and preschool settings such as Chappaqua Play School and the Mt. Kisco Day Care Center. Julia is on the board and is a representative for her school district's Special Education PTA. She has also been the Co-Leader of her daughter's Girl Scout troop of 12 girls for the past 3 years. She enjoys crafting, decorating, and baking. Julia brings her passion for early childhood education to Katonah Playcare in her third year as the Assistant Teacher in the 4's Orange Room.

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