Preschool Overview

Welcome to the Preschool at Neighborhood Music School!

staff photo

Christine Missakian, Director
203-624-5189 x 23 or

Established over 25 years ago, the Preschool at Neighborhood Music School offers children ages two through five a state-licensed, arts-based preschool and toddler program. Both full-day and half-day options provide a warm and loving environment that promotes creativity, individual expression, cognitive development, and community spirit. This supportive mixed-age approach is suited physically and developmentally to the needs of young children and offers social experiences with other children. Staff are trained and experienced in early childhood education and the curriculum includes a mix of free play and teacher-supported activities, both indoors and out. The school is uniquely situated within the main facility of the Neighborhood Music School and uses that proximity to its advantage. Students are exposed to all of the resources of the school and its community, including dance and music performances and events.

The goals of the Preschool at NMS are to:

  • Provide a setting in which young children can learn to become members of a group as well as to develop an awareness of themselves as unique individuals
  • Offer a variety of learning experiences that develop a child’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm for all areas of learning
  • Create a foundation for future involvement in music, dance and art
  • Provide parents with opportunities to interact and learn with their children through music and community-related activities

Our Philosophy

Our dedicated teachers create an environment that supports and respects each child's individual development. Through age appropriate activities, children learn to embrace art, music, dance and storytelling as important parts of their worlds and a means of individual expression. Encouraged to ask questions, to find answers, and to express their feelings, children safely explore the world around them. NMS is a community culture and parents are a particularly important part of the large family we create every year. Parents are welcome to participate in classroom activities and family events throughout the year.

Our Program

Play-based learning unfolds as teachers integrate curriculum concepts into natural free play interactions. Student : teacher ratios of 6:1 in The Preschool and 4:1 in the Toddler Program allow for supportive interactions and guidance from teachers. Every day, the classrooms are prepared with a variety of activities in all of our interest areas such as block-building, dramatic play, the writing center, science table and art corner. As the children explore and develop their own interests, our dedicated teachers introduce concepts related to literacy, science and mathematics. Through interactions with their mixed age peers, and with gentle guidance by teachers, children grow socially and emotionally.

Families interested in applying to the Preschool and Toddler Program are invited to schedule a tour of the classrooms with the program director. Please click here to submit your inquiry. Inquiries can be made at any time, although we do recommend you call during the Fall prior to the year you would like your child to attend.

Preschool Staff

The staff at the Preschool at NMS is a gifted group of experienced early childhood educators who respect and understand the unique needs of young children and who are dedicated to creating an inspiring environment that fosters creativity, curiosity and a passion for learning.


Christine Missakian, Director
203-624-5189 x 23 or

Christine joined the NMS Preschool faculty in 2004 and after six years in the classroom, moved to the role of Director. Her more than 20 years experience in the field of child development and early childhood education includes positions such as head teacher at the Yeladim Childcare Center at the Jewish Community Center in Woodbridge, where she established and served as program coordinator for their half-day preschool, and teaching positions at Leila Day Nursery School. 

Christine is a hands-on director who not only supports and guides the teaching staff but interacts closely with the children and their parents as we all work together through these important early years of education and development.  

Christine graduated from Central Michigan State University with a BS in early childhood education and attended graduate school at Southern Connecticut State University. All three of her children attended the Preschool at NMS.

Serena Hatch, Program Administrator

203-624-5189 or

Serena has been teaching in the Preschool at NMS for over 17 years. She previously was an administrator for the Preschool as well as for the Audubon Arts summer program. She will continue teaching part time in the classroom.

Preschool Teachers (3s and 4s)

Serena Hatch

Sharon Moss

Julia Blue Raspe (Preschool Music Coordinator)

Erica Sapp

Suzanne Sepe (Preschool Dance)

Toddler Teachers (Twos)

Denise Nutile

Vandana Kant