Our Teachers


  The quality of the First Step teaching staff is exceptional.  Although their personalities differ, they are united in their philosophy and their deep respect for children.  Every teacher has been at First Step for 10 years or longer.   Some of the First Step teachers have been at the preschool for more than 20 years.

The unique way that First Step groups all of the children together for most of the day allows every child in the preschool to develop a relationship with every teacher.  This builds a sense of community at the preschool, and makes transitions from year to year seamless. 

Each of the teachers at First Step Nursery School has her own special interests that she loves to share with the children.  Hillary Bedell leads the Pre-K group, and she shares her love of science and nature, encouraging the children to be scientists and see what they discover.  Lorene loves to read to the children, and engages with them daily in timeless activities such as charades, London Bridge, and A-Tisket, A-Tasket. 

Lisa-Michele has been part of a choir for 20 years, and brings her love of singing and music to the children each day.  Abbey Horowitz graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Art; she is inspired daily by the children and teaches conservation by often incorporating materials in her projects that might otherwise be headed for the landfill.  Cydney, a former First Step parent, was handpicked by Ina to become a teacher - her sensitivity and communication skills are admired and appreciated by everyone lucky enough to watch her work. 

Jan has been running the Toddler Program at First Step since 1981.  Prior to 1977, when First Step was founded, Jan and Ina ran the first toddler groups ever in Santa Monica.  She has a wealth of experience and knowledge concerning early childhood and parenting, however the toddlers remember Jan best for playing their favorite songs on her guitar at the end of each Parent-Toddler Group. 

Retired First Step teachers Nancy and Bari fill in as substitutes when needed.  


Abbey HorowitzCydney EllingtonLisa-Michele Talamates

Hillary Bedell

Lorene GoldmanJanet Mann