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Playful Learning brings education to life by sharing life-changing lessons with children, parents, and teachers—both online and in our brick and mortar studio.

Our Story

Playful Learning was founded by award-winning educator and author, Mariah Bruehl in 2008, as an online resource for children, parents, and teachers. 

Playful Learning Studio opened its doors in the spring of 2015 in the village of East Hampton, and provides educational enrichment to children, ages 2 to 8. Students receive personalized instruction, in an optimal learning environment, that furthers the interests of the child and the goals of the parents. Engaging lessons, access to the finest materials, and highly individualized instruction offer children life-changing experiences and provides parents an inside glimpse into how their child learns best.

With the addition of our brick and mortar learning studio we are now able to merge both worlds, sharing the research and curriculum development taking place in our classroom with teachers and parents around the world. 

We are excited to announce our newest offering, Members’ Lounge, a subscription-based, online resource for early childhood educators, homeschoolers, and parents, which launched in the fall of 2017. This new online resource makes our curriculum and professional development workshops available globally.

Mariah Bruehl

Mariah Bruehl

Mariah is a parent, educator, entrepreneur, and author of the book, Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder (Shambhala Publications, 2011). With over 25 years of 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 lower school director at highly respected schools such as The Dalton School in Manhattan and Ross School in East Hampton, New York. Her second book, Playful Learning: Beyond the Basics, is slated to be released in the fall of 2018.

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.

Graphic Design

Jill Draycott

Jill is a graphic designer, social media manager, and art director. She does work for many Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike including local businesses such as Fairway Restaurant, South Fork Performing Arts, and Playful Learning. She lives on Long Island with her husband and four year old daughter where she enjoys spending time by the ocean and outdoors.

Alexandra McAuliffe

Alexandra McAuliffe

Alexandra is a local mother of three who relocated from New York City where her children attended cooperative West Village Nursery School. There she served as Board President and spent almost a decade as a regular classroom aid and teacher assistant. She previously managed Pink Chicken Amagansett where she especially enjoyed organizing activities and crafts for young customers. Her years as a stay-at-home mom provide a reservoir of experience and nostalgia. Alexandra has a BA from Cornell University in History of Art and has participated in numerous educational committees.

Nicole Clevenger

Nicole Clevenger

Nicole is a former elementary school teacher who taught for 16 years at an alternative, arts integrated school in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to developing curriculum for Playful Learning, she is a teaching artist at a fine art based, process studio where she is passionate about incorporating her love of children’s literature with art. Nicole encourages children of all ages to play, imagine, get a little messy, think critically, learn about the world, and just find the joy in being creative. Nicole has a Master of Education from The Ohio State University and lives with her husband and two daughters in Upper Arlington, Ohio. When she isn’t at the studio or crafting a lesson for Playful Learning, she is volunteering at her daughters’ school, reading from an ever-growing book stack, scrolling Instagram for inspiration or browsing the shelves for new arrivals at the local independent children’s bookstore.

Leanna Pascual

Leanna Pascual

Leanna is a graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art where she earned her BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture. Leanna has taught at It Takes a Village Preschool. She enjoys fostering the curiosity and creativity inherent in the children who attend Playful Learning. Leanna lives in Water Mill, NY and enjoys surfing, painting and singing at church in her free time.

Katarina Obolensky

Katarina Obolensky Kruckel

Katarina Obolensky Kruckel, holds a degree in Fine Arts from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She has since devoted her time to her artwork and to caregiving for children of varied needs and ages, working as an educator for Southampton Montessori School, Rainbow Preschool, and as an art specialist at the Children’s Museum of the East End, Bridge Gardens, and LongHouse Reserve. Katarina is passionate about bringing the skills that she has developed within her art career into the lives of the younger generation in order to encourage mindfulness and to inspire creative imagination.

"Playful Learning has been the perfect mix of education, art, and fine motor skill exercises for my 2 year old.  It's wonderful bonding time for me and my daughter and we look forward to class every week.  Mariah has created a calm, welcoming atmosphere, not to mention the space is clean and has a beautiful aesthetic, it's a dream playroom!”