Teacher Bios

  • Art & Literacy (Caitlin Fraser-Rickard)

    Caitlin Fraser-Rickard has been teaching art and reading classes for the PAA for 7 years. After receiving her BA in Early Childhood Education and Developmental Psychology from Hampshire College in 2007, Caitlin began teaching cooperative playgroup classes and extra curricular classes for children from 2-8 years old in several communities in Manhattan and in Brooklyn where she lives. Caitlin believes in a child-centered, hands-on, get-in-there-and-get-messy approach to education, which empowers young children to explore, to approach the world around them with wonder and curiosity, and to peacefully share these great adventures with their friends. Caitlin’s classes always feature science and daily life based themes along with a strong focus on social and developmental skill acquisition.

  • Ballet (Katie Lohiya)

    Katie Lohiya has always had a passion for dancing. After graduating magna cum laude from Marymount Manhattan College, she began dancing professionally for various companies in NYC. Currently, she is a company member of Lydia Johnson Dance. Katie loves to share her knowledge with young aspiring artists and always brings her positive attitude and passion for dancing to the classroom. She has taught at multiple studios in Chicago, Long Island, New Jersey, and New York City. Katie loves working at the Play Area Association and strives to inspire a future generation of creative movers.

  • Chess (Will Schoder)

    Will Schoder graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in History. In his senior year, he was awarded the college’s highest achievement in public speaking. For the past twelve years, Will has spent his summers at a summer camp in Maine as both a camper and counselor. He loves fun, he loves teaching, and he loves working with children. That’s why he loves teaching chess with stories! Seeing children become smarter and more confident through experiential learning is just about his favorite thing in the world.

  • Creative Drama (Judith Kurtz)

    Judith Kurtz has been teaching creative drama to children from age 3 through adults for 15 years. She performed professionally in Philadelphia and Burlington, Vermont before obtaining her master’s degree in the use of creative drama in the classroom focused on improving literacy for struggling readers. She now has two children of her own and is a PAA Board Member. She loves helping your little ones discover how to use their imaginations, control their bodies, and become skilled observers and communicators.

  • Jamming Together (Aaron Short)

    Aaron Short is a singer/guitarist/pianist from the English Countryside who now resides in Queens, NY. Growing up in Suffolk, England, he began playing piano at age 7 and in his teens he fell in love with Britpop and began playing guitar, joined a band, and began writing songs. He holds a Music Performance degree from Thames University in London. Aaron taught music in many different venues in London including teaching children guitar as well as leading music classes for very young children. Besides being a performer all over the NYC circuit, Aaron’s original compositions can be heard on television, film and radio. Aaron teaches “Music Together” classes around the city and plays for children’s birthday parties as well as teaching his own “Jamming with Aaron” class at the PAA.

  • Kinderdance (Ruth Ward)

    Ruth Ward has been teaching dance and gymnastics to all ages for the last 6 years, but her favorites are 2-5 year olds. After receiving her BFA in dance from North Carolina University, Ruth came to New York City to perform modern dance along with acting and comedy. Ruth starts her fifth year with Kinderdance® and Kindergym® this fall, and is a beloved teacher at schools throughout Manhattan.

  • Spanish (Silvia Alata)

    Silvia Alata has been teaching for 11 years to all ages. A native of Bolivia, she taught English to children, teenagers and adults while living in the country before coming to the United States in 2008 as an Au Pair. In 2010 she returned to Bolivia to complete her Linguistics degree. During that year she taught English to adults at University and taught private English classes to children. In 2013, she moved to New York and began working in a bilingual daycare where she has taught for the last 2 years and began teaching Spanish for the PAA in 2013. Silvia loves working with children of all ages because they give you peace and happiness.

  • Tae Kwon Do (Nicole Kujawski)

    Having started her martial arts training as a young child, Nicole Kujawski has the unique ability to connect with students and get on their level. A recent graduate of NYU, Ms. K has trained with some of the top martial artists in the country, whether at the NYU Taekwondo Club, NASKA, or with ATA instructors throughout the region. She was a member of the ATA World Demo Team, specializing in XMA. Ms. K has competed at XMA World Championships multiple times throughout her career, and has earned three silver medals, in addition to several first place spots in general World competitions. Ms. K is a third degree black belt and certified instructor with the ATA.