About the Parenting Center

The 92nd Street Y Parenting Center retains a unique place in the array of programming available to families in our community.

As part of a world-renowned, non-profit cultural institution, the Parenting Center enriches families with all the resources of the 92nd Street Y. We are singled out by parents and professionals from around the world and continue to serve as a national model.

At the Parenting Center, infants, toddlers and preschoolers learn through play and exploration. We provide warm, caring environments for children where a sense of wonder can flourish. Our activities are carefully designed so that children enjoy themselves, use their imagination, play creatively and develop their cognitive skills.

Parenting Center programs strengthen the connection between children and their grown-ups. Families share and enjoy their Parenting Center experiences and take home the songs, games and activities they discover in our classes. We love to hear parents say, "My child sings our Parkbench songs all week long," or "We play tapping on the table wherever we go." Parents and caregivers leave our programs having shared their common experiences, ready with new ideas to try at home.

Family life is continually changing and Parenting Center programs evolve to meet these new needs and challenges. Through the years, we have added programs for working parents, caregivers, adopting families, older moms, parents of twins, grandparents, and fathers. We are here for all families – a new mother's group, a series of evening workshops, a phone call for help and support or many years of ongoing children's classes.

Parenting Center Staff

The Parenting Center offers its resources beyond the classroom.

Our staff is available for questions and concerns as parents make their way through the first years of family life. "When will my baby sleep through the night?" "Why does my child bite?" "How can we help our children get along?" Our staff is always ready and prepared to help parents discover the answers that work for them.

Our experienced staff welcomes children and their special grown-ups into our programs. We are knowledgeable, dedicated professionals skilled at forming relationships. Our staff is always available for support and encouragement for parents who call us with problems or concerns.

Sally Tannen, Director

Sally Tannen joined 92Y in 2002, taking the reins of its groundbreaking Parenting Center. Created in 1978, the Parenting Center helps new and expectant parents manage their responsibilities, offering classes, workshops and social groups that help caregivers and expectant families. Sally is also one of four directors of 92Y’s Wonderplay™ Early Childhood Learning, the 2007 initiative that brings together 92Y’s vast resources and more than 400 programs for children ages five and under and their parents.

Sally is the ever-present “face” of the Parenting Center, which has become a dependable and depended-upon resource for more than 2,000 families. She leads the weekly New Parent Get-Togethers and created and leads a New Mother, New Baby group. She also launched 92Y’s popular year-long separation programs for two- and three-year-olds, 2s Together and 3s Together. She regularly meets with parents informally and fields inquiries on a huge range of parenting topics.

Sally has over 28 years experience working with parents and helping them cope with their questions, fears and challenges. Before coming to 92Y, she worked at three downtown independent schools. She was director of admissions at the Little Red Schoolhouse, an independent school in New York City’s West Village, for nine years. Before that, she spent 16 years at the Village Community School, first as a teacher and later as the director of admissions. Lastly, she served as head of the lower school at St. Luke’s School. Sally has also taught in the Early Childhood Department at Kingsborough Community College and has led workshops at Bank Street College of Education.

Sally has an MA in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street and a BA in English from Washington University in St. Louis, She has attended the Reggio Emilia Study Tour in Italy and Brazelton Touchpoints training. Sally has four children and three grandchildren and she lives in New York with her husband.

 

(Click the names below to expand info.)

Jody Bernstein

Jody Bernstein has worked at the 92nd Street Y for several years. She has experience in a number of different departments. Jody has her masters in elementary/secondary special education from Bank Street and has worked with all ages ranging from young babies to adults. She has worked at the 92nd Street Y nursery school, Brick Church preschool, Columbia Grammar, Kingsborough Community College, The Fashion Institute of Technology and has a private practice as a Learning and Assistive Technology specialist. In the Parenting Center Jody teaches a wide range of classes.

Karen Blumberg

Karen Blumberg started out as a Parenting Center member, taking her newborn to our New Mother, New Baby classes over 17 years ago – and she hasn’t left yet! She has a background in art, making her a perfect addition to our Art Smarts program. She is also a co-leader of our 2s Together program.

Karen has a supportive husband and is the mother of two fantastic teenagers.

Seka Bosanac-Popovic

Seka Bosanac-Popovic has been working with children for 22 years. At the Parenting Center she teaches Kids in the Kitchen, Park Bench and Little Explorers. She also teaches private and group swimming lessons in the aquatics department at 92Y. She has a B.A. in Child Psychology is the mother of a daughter and a son.

Mary Copeland

Mary Copeland has been an Early Childhood Movement & Music Specialist for the past 25 years. She holds a BA in Applied Creative Arts and Human Development from SUNY Empire State College with a concentration in child development. Mary is on staff at the Amalgamated Nursery and at 92Y in the Harkness Dance Center where she has designed curriculum and taught Wonderdance and in the Parenting Center teaching 2’s Dance. She also works with adults teaching Jazz dance and teaches group fitness for the Himan Brown Senior Program and the May Center. Mary trained in Emotional Literacy at Yale University and has worked as a group facilitator in the RULER Approach, a social and emotional learning program in public and private schools.

Christine de Michele

Christine de Michele first came to 92Y to paint sounds and make music from stories with 5-year-olds. An educator and workshop leader, Christine’s dedication to children, families and adult learners began with a private voice teaching practice in 2006 and has evolved to include The Parenting Center and recent teaching and facilitation with The New York Philharmonic, 92Y Camps, Columbia University and Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Organization. She has an M.A. in Music and Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Music from Saint Michael’s College.

Alice W. Dunsker

Alice W. Dunsker has taught Baby Massage for the last 15 years and is here to support parents. She believes baby massage is a wonderful way to help parent and baby bond. For her, baby massage is a restorative experience for little ones. As a parent, Alice remembers the experience of being a new parent and wants to help parents as they commence their awesome journey.

Alice lived in Rochester, NY, where she raised two children while teaching junior and senior high school students. She was also the Hillel Director at SUNY Brockport, and was a volunteer coordinator for Retired Senior Volunteer Program. She was the volunteer coordinator and assistant director of development for Rochester Area Multiple Sclerosis. She graduated from the Swedish Institute of Massage and is a certified Infant Massage Instructor from Loving Touch Foundation. In addition to her work at 92Y, Alice volunteers at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital as a cuddler to newborns in the NICU.

Wendy Goldstein

Wendy Goldstein has been on the faculty of the 92Y Parenting Center for nearly a decade. She teaches Little Explorers, Parkbench, Twos Together and Threes Together. She has a Master’s Degree from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University, and an AB in history from Bryn Mawr College. Before joining the Parenting Center, she worked as a psychotherapist with adolescents and teens.

Rachel Gourvitch

Rachel Gourvitch has been teaching our very popular Kids in the Kitchen class for over 20 years! She is an accomplished teacher, cook and baker. Her Bachelor’s degree includes studies in Behavorial Sciences and she has also completed courses in cooking techniques and cake-decorating.

Over the years, Rachel has attended multiple professional development seminars, including our own annual Wonderplay Conference.

Rachel is married and has two adult children.

Gabrielle Greenberg

Gabrielle Greenberg has been on the faculty and has played a key role in the growth and expansion of the Parenting Center program for over 25 years. She works with parents and caregivers, babies and toddlers, leads groups in the Parenting Center classes and co-leads the separation programs for two and three year olds. She is a co-author of the 92Y Wonderplay Best Practices Handbook and has also developed a parenting series for teen mothers living in group home settings and for women in prison as they prepared to re-unite with their young children.

Susan Hershman

Susan Hershman has been working in the Parenting Center for 25 years and currently teaches New Mother, New Baby. She is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University in the Early Childhood and the Special Education Programs. She has been teaching college students and children in a variety of settings for 35 years. She has taught kindergarten, first grade and second grade and supervised student teachers for NYU. Susan received her Master's degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a concentration in Reading. She also earned her undergraduate degree in Child Development at Tufts University. Susan has been a guest speaker at several schools, colleges and educational conferences. She has attended a North American study group in Reggio Emilia, Italy in November, 2013 and she is very passionate about this philosophy. Susan is a board member of Music for Autism, a nonprofit organization that provides Autism-friendly concerts to individuals with Autism. Susan has been directing a home-based program for her 22-year-old son who is on the Autism Spectrum for the past 13 years. Susan is married with two sons and lives in New York City. Her passions include children’s books, teaching, dancing and reading.

Claire Lewin

Claire Lewin has over 20 years of teaching experience, ranging from kindergarten to 1st and 2nd grades. She has been a leader at the Parenting Center for over ten years and her two children attended the Parenting Center when they were younger. Claire received both a BS in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and Special Education from Adelphi University.

Claire is the proud parent of two children.

Melanie Mandel

Melanie Mandel has been a leader with the Parenting Center for over 6 years and currently co-leads our 2s and 3s Together program.

Melanie has directed 92nd Street Y special needs programs since 1997. She is responsible for coordinating afterschool and evening programs for children, young people and adults with disabilities. Melanie oversees the Nesher Program for Children with Developmental Disabilities. She facilitates the mainstreaming of young people with special needs into 92Y afterschool programs and directs Camp Mini Tova, 92Y’s summer camp for children with special needs.

Andrea Scannell

Andrea Scannell is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and holds a Masters Degree in education. At the 92nd St. Y, Andrea teaches the prenatal breastfeeding workshop and runs the weekly breastfeeding support group. Andrea also teaches infant care and breastfeeding classes and runs breastfeeding and new mom support groups in various venues throughout Manhattan and Queens. She also works one on one with families in their homes to help them adjust to life with a baby and to get breastfeeding off to the best possible start!

Petra Shapiro

Petra Shapiro is a 28-year veteran of the Parenting Center! She has taught a multitude of Parenting Center programming, including all of our Parkbench classes, our 2’s Days classes, Little Explorers, Kids in the Kitchen, Babies Together and our new drop-in, Not Your Typical Story Hour.

Petra has a BS in Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation and a MA in Speech Pathology/Audiology from Adelphi University. Singing, dancing and arts and crafts are all part of her repertoire.

Petra has also worked as a specialist and head teacher for 92Y’s Nesher Program, addressing the needs of children with special needs and developmental delays.

Petra is the caring mother of one daughter.

Michelle Shoham

Michelle Shoham is an integral part of the Parenting Center, leading classes and playgroups for young children, and supporting parents on a wide variety of child development and parenting issues. Her diverse background and extensive experience help her meet the needs of 92Y’s families. Michelle was born in New York, raised in a bilingual home in Israel and completed high school in the states. She served in the Israel Defense Forces as a photographer and received her BA from Tel Aviv University. She has an MA from NYU in applied psychology, specializing in the psychology of parenthood. She now calls New York her home but still has deep bonds with Israel.

Diana Simkin

Diana Simkin has a BA from Cornell University and Master’s Degree in Dance Education from NYU and is both a certified personal trainer (specializing in pre and post natal exercise and also Pilates) and a Lamaze International-certified childbirth educator. She currently teaches Infant Massage and Lamaze Prepared Childbirth classes at 92nd Street Y and Lamaze at Mt. Sinai/Roosevelt Hospital, and in-home personal training. She is the author of The Complete Pregnancy Exercise Program, The Complete Baby Exercise Program and co-author of Preparation for Birth, The Complete Guide to the Lamaze Method.

 

The Parenting Center is part of the 92nd Street Y Wonderplay™ program for early childhood education.


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