About Us

About Us

Play and Learn Child Development Center has been in operation since 1990. Darlene Brasche began Play and Learn as an educationally based home daycare. As the program began to grow, Ms. Brasche decided to move the program and expand it into a Child Care Center. PAL began participating in the School Readiness program through the State of Connecticut Department of Education in 2006 which allows us to educate children who otherwise would not have been able to afford it. In 2009 PAL achieved the honor of being accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and recently achieved re-accreditation in 2014. PAL has always been a fundamental part of the Thomaston community and education process. Then through the process of NAEYC self-study, we enhanced our program through many improvements in the physical grounds, the playgrounds, curriculum and education and teacher standards. We are very proud of all of our hard work and dedication to young children, their families and our community.


naeyc_yprdPlay and Learn Child Development Center is an Early Care and Education and School Age Facility. We are a Connecticut State Department of Education School Readiness site and are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). We are licensed by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health to provide childcare to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old from Thomaston and the surrounding towns in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Infant and Toddler care in a safe, nurturing environment rich with opportunities to learn as well as have fun and make friends.
  • Enriching and developmentally appropriate preschool and kindergarten readiness education.
  • School age care for before and after school, school vacations, delayed school openings, and early dismissals.

We educate the whole child by guiding and facilitating their learning across the personal/social, physical, cognitive, and creative domains of development and base our curriculum on the Connecticut Preschool Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks. We align and collaborate with the Thomaston Public Schools to ensure a smooth transition to kindergarten. Our educational goals are that by the end of preschool children will:

  • demonstrate a sense of self as a learner
  • demonstrate a sense of responsibility to oneself and others
  • demonstrate effective functioning, individually and as a member of a group
  • demonstrate control, balance, strength and coordination in gross motor tasks
  • demonstrate coordination and strength in fine motor tasks
  • participate in healthy physical activity
  • practice appropriate eating habits, hygiene, and self help skills
  • demonstrate the ability to think, reason, question and remember
  • engage in problem solving
  • use language to communicate, convey and interpret meaning
  • establish social contacts as they begin to understand the physical and social world
  • use different art forms as a vehicle for creative expression and representation develop an appreciation of the arts

We educate and inspire the families of our community to embrace the well-established value of learning through play and provide opportunities for parents to participate in and enrich their children’s education. We know that by working together, we will make a difference in children’s lives. We are committed to assisting children to being successful human beings. By doing so, we strive to have our children develop the necessary skills to succeed in school and in life: a sense of belonging to the school community, a strong work ethic, a love of learning, self-confidence, and higher order thinking skills necessary to contribute to a complex and ever-changing society.


bigstock-Portrait-of-beautiful-kinderga-45882496Our educational philosophy is inspired by the work of Jean Piaget, Benjamin Bloom, and Howard Gardner as well as current research on the value of learning through the context of constructive play. Piaget gives us insight about children’s cognitive development while Bloom provides a framework for the development of higher order thinking. Gardner reminds us to educate the whole child across all aspects of intelligence: interpersonal, intrapersonal, kinesthetic, linguistic, logical, spatial, natural, and musical. In addition, our program services are responsive to the needs of the children and families that we serve.

We have a strong commitment to developmentally appropriate play based education as well as alignment with the curriculum of the Thomaston Public Schools. Our curriculum is theme-based so that children have an opportunity to learn about relevant subjects and make connections between literature, art, play experiences, skill development, and acquisition of general knowledge.

We see children as innocent, impressionable, eager to learn, and loving. We respect individual ability and interests as well as support the perseverance necessary in meeting goals that will bring happiness throughout life. The philosophy of Play and Learn is to support the development of character as much as school readiness skills. We wish for each child to become compassionate, creative, confident, honest, socially aware, problem-solving individuals who strive to reach their personal best.

Our Curriculum

The PAL curriculum stands on the fundamental beliefs and guiding principles that provide a foundation of support for young children as stated in the CT Early Learning and Development Guidelines. Play and Learn encourages investigation as well as both teacher and child initiated experiences through which children will meet specific goals as outlined by the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS). The CT ELDS are statements of what children from birth to age five should know and be able to do across the earliest years of development. These guidelines are intended to inform families, teachers, caregivers and other professionals about common developmental and learning progressions, so that they can work together to better support children’s early learning and growth. These standards are intended to serve as a guide for considering the steps in children’s development and to plan ways to support children in continued growth. The CT ELDS are organized by domain. There are eight domains (or areas of learning and development) in the document: Social and Emotional Development, Physical Health and Development, Language and Literacy, Creative Arts, Mathematics, Science, Cognition and Social Studies. The CT ELDS were created in conjunction with the Governor’s Early Childhood Education Cabinet, along with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the newly formed Office of Early Childhood and they have been validated by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The Play and Learn curriculum was developed by a team that included the program directors, the education consultant, and the head teachers at PAL as well as the preschool special education teacher from Black Rock School. A draft of the curriculum was reviewed by all teachers and the parent advisory board before being adopted. It was then approved by the Thomaston Public Schools administration and Board of Education. The writing of our curriculum and the training provided to staff in implementing our curriculum has been generously funded by the Connecticut Community Foundation (www.conncf.org).