About the School

At Stepaway, we know that preschool is often the first group experience for young children.

The 2’s Program

To ease the transition from home to school, we offer the 2’s program—the first "step" in the process of growing independence. In the 2’s program, your child will be given the security of having a parent or caregiver in the classroom for a few weeks while beginning to relate to peers and teachers before completing the year on his or her own.

Step Away

The 3-Year-Old Class

The next "step," the 3-year old class, enables your child to learn to be more independent in a classroom of peers and teachers. Children will have a variety of learning experiences designed to foster the growth of the whole child, including but not limited to foundational learning in math, science, language arts, fine and gross motor skills, and creative arts.

The 4-Year Old Program

The next "step" before elementary school is our 4-year old program where your child will continue to grow in confidence while being exposed to a larger variety of activities. This will enable the child to be continually challenged and make increased cognitive, social, emotional, and physical strides.

Step Away

The Pre-K Program

The final “step” for some children may be our Pre-K program, which is geared toward children who may need to take one more final step with their cognitive, social, or emotional growth before entering kindergarten. Children in the Pre-K program often have fall/winter birthdays and may be turning five later than their peers. Our Pre-K program runs very much like a kindergarten classroom where children can practice their skills while also receiving both individualized and whole group instruction.

The Stepaway process will give your child the foundational learning necessary to grow a love for learning through our teaching of Christian values, our belief in learning through play and experiences, and our dedication to the Connecticut Early Learning Standards.

Our Staff

Tracy Nalaboff

Tracy Nalaboff, our Pre-K Teacher, earned her BA degree in Elementary and Special Education at Long Island University CW Post. She also holds the State of Connecticut Head Teacher Certificate. While living in New York, Tracy taught kindergarten. After moving to Connecticut with her husband and having three children, she was thrilled to return to teaching. Tracy taught Pre-K for eight years before joining our staff here at Stepaway. She taught in the 4's and 3's before implementing the Per-K program at our school five years ago.

Tracy and her husband live in Monroe. They have two grown daughters and a son who is a junior at UConn. She loves to vacation with her family and go on hikes with her dog. Tracy enjoys reading, baking, going to spin class, and skiing.

Tracy is passionate about teaching and loves her students and families. She provides a diverse, fun, interesting, and engaging classroom environment, where students are active participants. Tracy is wonderful at accommodating different learning styles and takes care to be sure each child's unique needs and interests are met. She believes every student is special and helps nurture and grow their love of learning.

Tracy Nalaboff

Lydia Schober

Lydia Schober is a mom to four amazing children. She enjoys reading, cooking, and the arts. Along with her husband, she loves to explore nature on the weekends. Mrs. Schober's passion for teaching began in New York City, 1991, at Wadleigh Alternative Arts Middle School after receiving her master's from Columbia University's Teachers College.
After taking a break to raise her children, she re-entered her education career by earning a head teacher's certificate in early childhood education and joining the staff at Stepaway since 2012. She celebrates each child as individuals and encourages compassion, creativity, and curiosity.

Lydia Schober

Kristin Pardue

Kristin Pardue graduated from Gordon College with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a minor in Biblical Studies, currently pursuing her master's degree. Kristin had years of experience working in education prior to joining Stepaway in 2015, including early childhood education and substitute teaching in the Monroe public schools.

Kristin enjoys working with children, especially encouraging their growth and development by engaging in interactive activities while providing a secure and nurturing environment in which they can thrive. She teaches the two-year-olds and Friday 3's class, along with lunch bunch. She lives in Monroe and has a son at Jockey Hollow Middle School and a son at Masuk High School.


Bern Lewis

Bern Lewis lives in Monroe with her husband Craig, and two children, Sarah and Christopher. Bern has a love for children and has been at Stepaway since 1986. She was Director for six years and currently teaches 2 & 3-year-olds. She enjoys working with each child to help them learn and grow, building a positive foundation for learning.


Hannah Barnett

Hannah has a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences education with a master's degree in child and adolescent psychology. She lives in Newtown with her husband and daughter and has been working with children and families for over seven years. Hannah loves spending time with family, caring for her many indoor and outdoor plants, baking, and painting. She enjoys watching the bond between the teachers and children blossom at Stepaway.

Hannah Barnett

Patti Dias

Patti Dias has loved being a preschool teacher and being a part of the Stepaway family for the past 24 years. After attending Central Connecticut State University with a major in Liberal Arts, she realized that working with children was her passion and talent. After spending a few years home with her children, she joined the staff at Stepaway when her youngest child graduated from Stepaway. Patti works with both the 3’s and 4’s assuring the continuity that is part of the Stepaway philosophy. Her gentle approach and soft and patient personality make Patti a perfect fit for our classroom.

Patti is the mother of three grown children, two of which are Stepaway alumni and work as educators as well. She has also been blessed with four wonderful grandchildren. She enjoys music, baking and spending time with her family. Patti feels privileged to have worked with so many families over the years and considers it a joy and a blessing to have the opportunity to watch the many children and their families grow.