Special Programs

Special Programs
Educational Facilitator

Picture-49-300x200Gail Pepper has 20+ years of teaching experience at LCDS. In her role as Educational Facilitator, Gail collaborates with classroom teachers to help children (individually or through small group instruction) become proficient in the performance standards. These standards are written by the CT State Department of Education. They are guidelines for measuring children’s personal/social, physical, cognitive, and creative expressive growth and development.



In her music classes, Deirdre Murtha uses singing, creative movement and dance, instruments, and props to help children develop pitch and confidence in their voice, kinesthetic skills, steady beat, and preschool concepts such as counting, rhyming, and predicting patterns. In addition, children are exposed to different genres of music (folk, classical, jazz, pop, and international) and explore curriculum connections to seasons, cultures, and holidays. Children also develop personal and social skills (i.e. a confident and expressive voice, listening, following directions, respecting other’s space and shared ideas, etc.). Deirdre has taught for 25 years, first as a classroom teacher and then as a preschool music teacher, and holds a Masters Degree in Education and is certified in Orff, Kodaly, and Dalcroize approaches to music education.



As the Science Specialist, Frank Cronson, who has been at LCDS for 30+ years, shares his enthusiasm for science with the children, as well as being a resource for scientific information for the teachers. His Science Room is a ‘Mini-Museum’ filled with engines, dinosaurs, scientific gadgets, nature collections and much more. These tools help with experiments and in exposing children to scientific concepts, principles, methods, and vocabulary. Frank especially likes to teach about things that the children can incorporate into their own growing knowledge base and apply in their everyday experience: finding a rock that they can identify, recognizing a bird call, or riding their bicycles with ‘momentum’! Prior to LCDS, Frank did research in biochemistry and zoology at Yale University as part of his undergraduate and graduate studies.



Yoga and movement for children help them conceptualize the integration of body, mind and spirit. These provide an excellent chance to nurture a child’s focus, creativity, independence and self-confidence. Through yoga stories, stretching, poses, music, movement and experiential activities, children are empowered to express their own unique abilities. Children explore strategies for dealing with stress and new ways of problem solving while strengthening awareness. Together, we learn and practice breathing techniques to use in the classroom and at home when feeling tired, angry, nervous or over-energized. It is wonderful to share these tools with children without the pressure of competition, so that they may carry them throughout their lives. Missy Brown has practiced yoga throughout her life, began teaching it to children 12 years ago, and feels honored to be part of The Learning Community.



Our Art Teacher, Lauren Beusse, has taught art for many years to children in several local art programs across Fairfield County. During her tenure, Lauren has helped young children to explore art through drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture. Lauren, a student of art, studied at Silvermine Art School in New Canaan.

At LCDS, Lauren is carrying on the strong tradition of art education that was fostered for many years by retired Art Teacher, Jackie Weisberger. During art class, students will explore different artists and artistic mediums to help enhance their own artistic creativity. Over the years, Learning Community students have been very receptive to the art program. They love to share their artistic knowledge with their friends and families.



Studies have shown many cognitive and social benefits in learning another language as children become part of a larger, global community and realize that they have many things in common with people from different cultures. As a native Spanish speaker, Ana Leon has delighted in seeing how children become excited when they begin the adventure of playing with new words and songs. Through the use of songs, games, puppets, and arts and crafts, Ana hopes to instill a thirst and excitement for learning something new and to help the children gain confidence and self-esteem as they begin to learn a new language with relative ease and enthusiasm. Her goal is to help children learn simple words and phrases that build their Spanish vocabulary. Proud parents have come back after vacationing in a Spanish speaking country and have reported that their child greeted someone in Spanish. What a wonderful way to grow in self-esteem and confidence!