Meet Our Staff


Aprill Bates

Aprill graduated with her degree in Criminal Justice & minored in Psychology. She began her career in Early childhood in 2013 at just the age of 19 and has had a passion for teaching ever since! She has a love for creating curriculum and watching her students learn & Grow! Ever since accepting Jesus into her heart, she has shared his Word through preaching the Word of God on social media platform and at her local Church. She has been the leader her youth group Sunday school and her church Women Bible study group at her church! She is excited to continue sharing the Word of God as Director of Learn and Play. Her Favorite scripture is all scripture but if she had to choose, she would choose.  1 john 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the World!” “You have the Holy spirit at work in you, so therefor its impossible for you to fail. You will Win every time because the greater one lives in you and that is the Holy Spirit!” Aprill is honored to serve as the Director of Learn & Play as she continues to grow in Christ.
To contact Aprill, you can:
Call: (203) 488-4028
Michele Almeida 
Infant Room
Michele has been working at Learn & Play for nine years! She received her CDA from Acres and has a lifetime of experience in the early childhood industry. Her favorite part about being a teacher are the endless hugs she receives on a day to day basis. In 2018, Michele joined the Learn & Play Infant room and has not turned back since – each time that she receives a smile from one of her precious little ones, her heart melts. Michele has several beloved Bible verses but two of her favorites would have to be Psalm27:4-8 and Psalm 28:1-2!
Trena Duclos 
Infant Room
Trena has been working in the early childhood field since 2014 – she has been enamored with children, their families, and co-workers ever since! She is currently pursing her CDA, and says that her favorite part of teaching is watching children grow and develop their individual personalities. Since joining Learn & Play, Trena feels that she is part of a team with a strong sense of comradery & community. Her goal is for each child to feel safe and secure, and to know that they are loved. 
Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13!
Tracy D’Amico
Waddler Room
Tracy has worked in child care for 21 years and is working towards receiving her CDA. Her creativity has helped Learn & Play to flourish in all artistic aspects of the center!
Tracy finds it rewarding to help each child in her classroom grow, as she witnesses the progress they make throughout the year. She finds teaching fun, exciting, and filled with laughter! Tracy says that there is never a bad day with the children’s little smiles and with the constant hugs that she receives daily. Her go to Bible verse is found
in Matthew 7:12!


Lydia D’Amico
Waddler Room

Lydia began working at Learn and Play in late August to share love, creativity, and joy! This is Lydia’s first job in childcare, and she finds it so exciting to learn new knowledge every day that she will continue to use throughout her whole life. She enjoys traveling and exploring new places with beautiful views. Lydia expressed that she feels it’s so important and fulfilling to make even the smallest impact on a child’s life, that’s why she loves to be silly and playful all day. Lydia states she is so blessed to be in such a friendly and safe space surrounded by laughs all day! It’s so amazing watching how each child’s personality shines more and more every day. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Nicole Patenaude
Waddler Room
Ms. Nicole has been teaching for six years and she absolutely love it! She started caring for children at the age of 12 and then got her babysitting/nanny certification along with CPR AND First Aid Certification at age 13. She continued her journey through high school, by taking early childhood courses for 3 years. For 17 years she was caring for people of all ages, but then in 2017 she decided to turn to helping little children. She quickly realized she enjoys the ages 1 though 2 years of age. She loves to watch children grow, develop and start to show their individual personalities. Nicole expresses that there is nothing more than coming into school and having them run up to you and give you a big hug! This totally makes her day. Nicole says she was so excited when she got an offer at Learn and Play, she looks forward to coming into work every day. To her it is just not a job, it is an opportunity to teach the kids, watch them as they grow and develop into their own little humans. This is such a rewarding job and she love being here with the children. God bless. 

Santella Germe

I have been teaching in the field of Early Childhood Education since 2004. I studied ECE at Gateway Community College and have a preschool CDA & Head Teacher certificate. I have experience teaching infants through pre-k, assistant teaching in kindergarten and as an ABA paraprofessional with 1st &2nd grade children with special needs/autism. Building a safe and trusting relationship with the children & their families, being a part of caring for & teaching the children and seeing them reach their milestones is all very important to me. I’m especially glad that I am able to teach & share the Love of Jesus Christ to the little ones in my workplace! One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Antonia Dondero

Toddler Room
Antonia has been teaching and caring for children for over 20 years. She has been a lead teacher in both preschool and toddlers. She thoroughly enjoys spending time with little people. She has her bachelor’s degree in both Psychology and Early Childhood Education from Bay Path College in Longmeadow Ma. She lives on the shoreline with her son and her English bulldog. In her spare time, she enjoys being a soccer mom! Going for hikes, walking on the beach, gardening and just being a mom to a great young man!

Nadia Pelkey

Toddler Room
Hello Friends!
I’m Mrs. Nadia, I started my childcare journey at 12 years old with my babysitting license, where I would babysit and nanny. Through my high school years, I took electives in Parenting and Childhood Ed. I took a position as an Assistant Teacher working with I year olds and was blessed with the opportunity to become a Head Teacher where I taught for 4 years. I spent the remainder of my time there as an Assistant Teacher in the Infant program. Daring that time, I received my associate degree in early childhood education. Music brings me so much joy! I am self-taught in Piano, xylophone, Ukelele and l am always excited to bring in my many instruments to share with friends. I became a Licensed Zumbini Instructor where I’m able to use music and movement to promote cognitive, social and emotional, fine gross motor development. I am currently looking to further my education in Nutrition! I enjoy spending my days with my Husband and our three sons.Faith does not make things easy; it makes them possible. Luke 1:37

Kamir Galarce


Kamir has experience working with children for over 15 years. She has a BA in Education Teaching has been a pure joy for her as she gets to see the joys on the children’s faces as they enjoyed the classroom every day. Being able to welcome students into the room lights up her world. Kamir’s go to Bible verse in 2 Corinthians 12:9 9 And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.



Cheryl Tardif



I am a mom of two beautiful Children. I have been taking care of Children since the age of 13. I love being greeted with smiles and hugs each day! My goal is to provide a safety and trusting environment for each child that enters my classroom. My favorite Bible verse is “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.”  Psalm 127: 3 
  Christina Sorbo