Playful Learning Experts

Playful Learning: Experts

Meet the Team…

Mariah Bruehl

Mariah Bruehl, Founder

With over 20 years’ experience working in the field of education and a Master of Science degree in Education from Bank Street College, she has worked as both a teacher and director at highly respected schools such as The Dalton School in Manhattan and the Ross School in East Hampton, New York. Mariah brought her expertise online when she started Playful Learning in 2008 as a resource for parents and teachers. In 2010 Playful Learning received the Parent’s Choice Gold Medal, and in August of 2011, Shambhala Publications released her first book, Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder. Growing up, Mariah was always that girl sitting in class thinking about how she would do things differently if she was the teacher. Now she is happily working with a team of gifted educators to bring life-changing lessons to children, families, and schools around the world. In her free time she can be found taking long walks, enjoying a cup of tea, or swimming in the Atlantic with her husband and two daughters.

Monique Barker

Monique Barker

Monique is an empowered mama, homeschooling superstar, and Early Intervention Specialist. Sharing her love of nature and healthy living keeps Monique creating rich learning experiences for students around the world. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine and a Counseling Certification from the University of New England. When she’s not mothering her three lovelies, Monique enjoys hiking, getting crafty, long days at the beach, and quiet time with her husband and cat at their home in Maine.

Rebecca Brown

Rebecca Brown

With a background in Screenwriting and Business Management, Becky also has a passion for homeschooling her son and daughter, Luke and Charlie. Becky’s passion for teaching her children runs the gamut from introducing them to the visual arts to exploring the natural world all around them. Becky strongly believes that her passions will fuel her children’s passions, and she actively works to further her knowledge as both a parent and an educator—while learning more every day about the importance of playful learning. With a BFA in Film Direction and her MA in Screenwriting from UCLA, Becky’s passion for writing and storytelling runs throughout her work and her life, as seen in her eclectic family blog about her life in Tulare, California.

Liz Carlis

Liz Carlis

Liz is a former preschool teacher and currently teaches education at the university level. Among her favorite courses are how to introduce children to art materials and an introduction to the pedagogy of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Liz has also worked as a consultant to schools as they re-imagine their classroom environment. She holds a MS in Curriculum and Instruction with an Early Childhood Specialization from Portland State University. She loves the design aspect of creating spaces for children and documenting their learning. As an artist living in Brooklyn, New York, Liz works with recycled materials and makes clocks combining used bicycle gears with textiles.

Nicole Clevenger

Nicole Clevenger

Nicole is an imaginative mommy and 2nd-/3rd-grade teacher who believes that the best approach to life is hands-on. She is here to share her love for language, reading, and play by creating lessons that inspire. Nicole holds an MEd from The Ohio State University and a K–8 Teaching Certificate. When she’s not in the classroom, Nicole is diving into every picture book and middle-grade novel she can get her hands on, as well as learning alongside her two daughters.

Playful Learning: Colleen Corbett

Colleen Corbett

Colleen is an experienced progressive educator. She holds a Masters of Science in Education  from Bank Street College of Education and a BA in Psychology from Montclair State University.  With more than  ten years of classroom teaching experience, she is skilled at designing curriculum that is based on the interests and passion of her students.  Her experience working in progressive schools has taught her the importance of educating the whole child.  She enjoys thinking of ways to integrate art and social emotional learning into all areas of curriculum. Colleen now lives in Portland, OR with her husband and two young boys. Much like her days in the classroom, her home is always buzzing with creativity and ingenuity. Offering open ended materials, such as blocks and loose parts, combined with carefully chosen art materials are a top priority in her home.

Adrienn Csoknyay

Adrienn Csoknyay

Adrienn’s passion for interior design and stylish spaces guided her to figure out how to keep them clutter-free and, above all, easy to maintain. Now she’s on a mission to find out whether it’s possible to live in an organized and creative space with kids, keeping sustainability and green living a priority. She holds an MS in Economics and Social Sciences from Szent Istvan University in Godollo and is a certified Interior Designer. Adrienn lives in a little village just outside Budapest with her partner, three children and a little dog. Yoga and HIIT workouts keep her fit while writing, sewing, and painting keep her sane.

Michelle Currin

Michelle Currin

Michelle is a tech-marvel and device-integrating expert, here to shake up the typical approach to stuffy school instruction. Her inventive, active style of lesson design—along with her ability to integrate new technologies for maximum classroom benefit—keeps her designing some of the world’s best lessons. Michelle has taught 6th grade in Ohio and holds an MS in Educational Leadership from the University of Dayton. She appreciates her wonderful, supportive husband and her intelligent, energetic daughter keeping her playful.

Randi Edwards

Randi Edwards

Randi is a regular contributor to Playful Learning, who specializes in crafts for kids. She also manages our wonderful contributors and helps to make this a beautiful place with a little design magic. She puts her passion for daydreaming to work over at her blog Swoon, where she shares ideas, original projects, and favorite things. She lives in Washington with her husband and three young children, and strives to make her home a beautiful, playful, and accessible place to grow up.

Kate Gribble

Kate Gribble

Kate lives with her husband and two little ones, Jack and Sarah, in Canberra, Australia. She is a former high school teacher but now spends her days happily homeschooling. Kate likes to dabble in a bit of photography, is a hopeless but aspiring kitchen gardener, and loves a bit of crafty goodness. You can find more inspiration over at her blog, An Everyday Story.

Leah Hanson

Leah Hanson

Leah is an art education expert at the Dallas Museum of Art. Her official title—Manager of Early Learning—keeps her on the gallery floor (literally!), sitting cross-legged with little ones as she guides them into the depths of a work of art. Leah has taught in the museum field for 14 years and holds a BA in English Teaching from Brigham Young University and an MAT in Museum Education from George Washington University. When she’s not teaching, Leah can be found with her nose in a children’s book or behind her trusty sewing machine making aprons, quilts, and bags.

Danielle Hittle

Danielle Hittle

Danielle is a parent, educator, and curriculum designer. She has over fifteen years of teaching experience in Elementary Education with an MS in Integrated Teaching and Learning from Ohio State University. Danielle has spent the majority of her teaching career as an instructor at the primary grade levels at Indianola Informal K–8 (arts impact) in Columbus, Ohio. She specializes in integrating the arts and literacy into all areas of the core curriculum. In her free time, Danielle loves to explore with her two children: finding reading treasures at the library, visiting local parks, getting messy with art materials, and enjoying lots of play time!

Emma Jones

Emma Jones

Emma is an English girl who somehow ended up in the Canadian countryside raising two crazy boys and a whole lot of chickens. She homeschools on her 95-acre farm, where she also raises organic meat, fruit, vegetables, eggs, and herbs. Emma earned her BA Hons in English Literature at Sheffield University and her PGCE at Newcastle University. She can be found mostly in the kitchen but also loves writing, photography, sewing, preserving, reading, yoga, and anything interesting that catches her eye, though not usually all at the same time. Emma also enjoys blogging about farming, family life, homeschooling, cooking, and health.

Anne Marie Messmer

Anne Marie Messmer

Meet Anne Marie, our Blended Learning specialist with mountain-high enthusiasm and a passion for science and literature. Anne Marie shows kids, parents, and teachers how to be super-confident learners who can find fascinating learning opportunities in everyday experiences. She has a BS in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University and an MS in Education for Instructional Technology from Purdue University–Calumet. When she’s not busy guiding her own kids to greatness at their home in Columbus, Ohio, she loves to read, hike, and geocache.

Nuria Pérez Paredes

Nuria Pérez Paredes

Meet Nuria, a supernova mama, world-class creative director, and random-acts-of-creativity renegade. Nuria sparks genius by teaching creative-thinking techniques in schools and helping families improve their parenthood skills. She holds a MA in Advertising from Accademia di Comunicazione in Milan and a diploma in Executive & Creative Coaching from Noble Manhattan in London. Nuria loves writing, playing the ukulele, and dunking biscuits in tea. She lives in Madrid with her two daughters and enjoys blogging about their creative adventures.

Jacki Schulze

Jacki Schulze

Jacki is a stellar mama and learning specialist, bursting with lesson ideas for kids who love to ask “Why?” a million times. Through her love of nature, exploring, and experimenting, she is here to help change the way parents, teachers, and students learn every day. Jacki has a BA in Art History, an MA in Childhood Education, and New York State Certification in Elementary Education (1–6). When she’s not teaching, you can find her relaxing at the beach or cooking elaborate meals (while avoiding doing the dishes).

Kelli Van Noppen

Kelli Van Noppen

Kelli is a lesson mixologist for students who crave deep discovery, with a side of science thrown in. By teaching and practicing creativity, curiosity, and compassion, Kelli liberates and energizes students who feel stuck, arming them with grit and ideas for lifelong success. Kelli holds an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Montana and a K–8 Teaching Certificate. When she isn’t busy teaching 4th graders in Montana, you can find her skiing, playing outside, or eating her own weight in baked goods.

Joey Van Oort

Joey Van Oort

Joey enjoys coming up with new and exciting ways to unleash her inner creativity. As a longtime stay-at-home / work-from-home mom, she’s here to share her artistic inspiration and ideas with others all over the world. When she’s not elbow-deep in an artistic endeavor, she enjoys blogging about her family’s creative lifestyle in Western Canada, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Rebecca Wiggins

Rebecca Wiggins

Rebecca has a love for travel, the outdoors, and picture books, and enjoys spending her time sourcing delightful educational experiences to share with her two sons.With a background in early childhood and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Tasmania, Rebecca teaches at a private all girls school in Australia. Her passion for the philosophies of Reggio Emilia and Maria Montessori lead Rebecca to Playful Learning many years ago when she first enrolled in the online Playful Learning Spaces workshop.  She shortly became a regular contributor, mainly focusing on children’s literature. Rebecca is currently working on a modern day primer for children, called Alphabet Town under the label bec + georg.