grinning child with painted hands
Providing an inclusive, developmentally appropriate education for preschool children of all incomes and abilities
About Coastal Kids Preschool
Since 1995, Coastal Kids Preschool has provided a high quality, inclusive, developmentally appropriate program for preschool age children in Lincoln County. The school is located in an inviting wooded setting at 12 Jackie's Trail,  just off Biscay Road in Damariscotta.    

To provide an inclusive, developmentally appropriate education for preschool children of all incomes and abilities.

Approximately one-third of the 78 licensed slots are allocated for children with special  needs.

Coastal Kids Preschool is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, created to provide appropriate educational opportunities for Lincoln County preschool children.  A volunteer board of directors, consisting of community members and parents, oversees the school’s operation.

·  To provide a program which fosters the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development of preschool children

·  To provide activities which promote confidence and a healthy self-concept

·  To provide a language-intensive program for all children, including those with communication delays

·  To offer a setting for children with social and behavioral needs, which enable them to learn to express themselves appropriately in a group

·  To foster the emergent skills necessary for success in learning

·  To create a partnership with the preschool, parents and public school staff for the benefit of the children

·  To offer opportunities for parents and teachers to communicate and participate as a team in teaching their young children


Heather Greene, Teacher, Gray Dolphins, four- to five-year-old group. Afternoon Teacher 2nd –3rd Grade group . Heather has a B.S in Sociology and is a certified Teacher of Special Needs—K through Grade 12. Heather is a level 5 in Maine Roads to Quality. Previous to coming to Coastal Kids in 2012, Heather was a Special Education Teacher at Great Salt Bay Elementary School.

Jane Gilbert

Jane Gilbert teaches the four- to five- year-old group known as the Blue Dolphins.  Jane has a B.S. in Education and Special Education.  She has over nine years of experience as a teacher and developmental therapist and has been at Coastal Kids Preschool since 2005.  Both of Jane’s daughters attended Coastal Kids.

Christina Nelson teaches the three- to four-year-old group known as the Puffins.  Chris has a B.A. in Psychology and was previously a social worker. She first worked at Coastal Kids from 2004 – 2008, then moved to Oregon with her family.  Chris returned to Coastal Kids in 2012.  She is a level 6 in Maine Roads to Quality certification.  All three of her children attended Coastal Kids Preschool.

Sara Larson

Sara Larson is the teacher for the three- to four-year-old classroom, the Starfish.  Sara has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maine in Farmington and has taught in a special education preschool for 6 years before coming to Coastal Kids in 2012. She previously taught our 3-4 year old class, the Puffins.

Jennifer Caron

Jennifer Caron is the teacher for the two- to three- year-old toddler group, the Minnows. Jenn has a B.S. in Education and Special Education with over nine years of experience as a teacher and developmental therapist. Her career at Coastal Kids began in January 2004.  Jenn has a son, Finn, who attended Coastal Kids and a baby daughter, Isla, who is starting in the toddler room this year.

Patricia Kramley

Patricia Kramley is the teacher in the Periwinkle toddler class for ages 18 mos to 2 1/2.  She has been teaching at Coastal Kids Preschool at all levels since 2004. Patty is working on her Infant Toddler Credential  through Maine Roads to Quality. Patty has also been a foster parent and worked with children with special needs.

Education Director

Priscilla Congdon

Priscilla Congdon, Education Director

Priscilla Congdon is the Education Director. Priscilla has a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and is certified by the State of Maine as a Teacher of Special Needs birth through 5. She also coordinates the developmental therapy program for all the special needs children. Priscilla has over 35 years of experience in early childhood education, special education, and school administration. The head of education at the school since its inception, Priscilla is the guiding force behind our educational program.

Contact Priscilla at (207) 563-5335 or via email at

Teacher’s Aides and One-to-One Aides

Coastal Kids Preschool employs  teacher assistants  for each class and one-to-one aides (1-1) to assist those students requiring extra attention.  This permits the school to have a better than 1:7 ratio in the classroom.  Each aide receives ongoing professional training.  Some staff members are working on their Child Development Associate Certificate (CDA), while others are pursuing coursework in Early Childhood Development.

All staff participates in the Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ) professional registry, the State of Maine’s voluntary child care and early education recognition system.

In our pursuit of quality and continual growth, each full time staff member must participate in 40 hours of continuing education hours. This exceeds the State of Maine minimum requirement of 30 hours. Staff members also receive certified First Aid and CPR training. Annually, the staff assesses and determines their training needs and the results become part of CKP’s continuous improvement plan.

Coastal Kids is fortunate to enjoy a high retention rate among its loyal staff.

The preschool classes at Coastal Kids are divided by age into the Blue or Gray Dolphins (age 4 to 5 years old), the Puffins and Starfish (age 3 to 4), the  Minnows (age 2  to 3) and the youngest group, the Periwinkles (age 18 months to 2.5).

Laurie Alden is one of our senior staff members, having been at Coastal Kids since April of 2001.  Teacher Assistant in Periwinkles , Laurie is an Ed Tech I, and is working on her Infant Toddler Credential through Maine Roads to Quality.

Vicki Bryant  is certified by the State of Maine as a Teacher of Special Needs birth through 5 and was hired in January of 2011. Vicki has a B.S. degree in Education and Special Education and works in the Starfish class.

Angela Dunning, an Ed Tech III, has a degree in Early Childhood Education, and is working as a 1:1 aide. Angela worked at Coastal Kids from 2009-10, and returned in 2017.

Natalie Gilzean has worked at Coastal Kids Preschool in a variety of roles since 2011. She is a registered nurse and is currently working as an Assistant Teacher in the Blue Dolphins.

Trishia Hanley has been working at Coastal Kids Preschool in a variety of roles since 2012.  Trishia is working on her CDA (Child Development Associate) certificate through Maine Roads to Quality. Trishia is currently working as an Assistant Teacher in the Puffins.

Nina Kass, an Ed Tech III, has a B.S. degree in Social Work. A long time staff member, Nina worked at Coastal Kids from 1998 to 2006, and now has returned to Coastal Kids as an Assistant Teacher in the Blue Dolphins.

Sherry Resch, an Ed Tech I, is working on her CDA (Child Development Associate) certificate through Maine Roads to Quality. Sherry started at Coastal Kids in 2016 and has previously worked as an Ed Tech in Florida elementary schools. She is a 1:1 aide in Blue Dolphins.

Tara Winchenbach, an Ed Tech III, has a BA degree in Liberal Arts and Special Education. She started at Coastal Kids in 2017, as a 1:1 aide, and now works in our afternoon program.

Executive Director

Lisa Conway has a B.A. in physics and chemistry from Kenyon College and an Ed.M. in education policy and management from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has over 20 years of experience as a teacher, school administrator, fundraiser, and nonprofit leader. She loves creating artwork, working with kids, and exploring midcoast Maine, and she is thrilled to have joined the Coastal Kids team in May, 2019.

Email Lisa at

Education Director

Priscilla Congdon is the Education Director. Priscilla has a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and is certified by the State of Maine as a Teacher of Special Needs birth through 5. She also coordinates the developmental therapy program for all the special needs children. Priscilla has over 35 years of experience in early childhood education, special education, and school administration. The head of education at the school since its inception, Priscilla is the guiding force behind our educational program.

Contact Priscilla at (207) 563-5335 or via email at

Administrative Specialist

Teresa Grant has many years of administrative office experience as well as a background in technology support in a public school system. She and her husband recently moved to Maine from Massachusetts.

Email Teresa at


Toni Crouch has extensive experience in both education and nonprofit work.  She worked in education in Argentina, Singapore, and Eastern Europe for a John Hopkins University program that trained people to run nonprofits. She also had a 30 year career in non profit management in Washington D.C.  Toni relocated to Maine to retire. She is the former executive director of the chamber of commerce in Damariscotta and was the development director for the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle.

Email Toni at

group shot at Bremen school

1997 Coastal Kids Program at Bremen School

In operation since 1995, the Coastal Kids program began as a collaborative effort due to concern over the lack of preschool placements for children with special needs. In addition, the group felt strongly that a preschool education should be accessible to every Lincoln County child, regardless of income. Research at that time showed that nearly half of the children entering kindergarten in Union 74 came without the benefit of preschool. These included many children from families whose incomes were slightly over the maximum allowed under strict Head Start guidelines.

Sponsors for the program included School Union 74, Child Development Services, Healthy Kids, and the Center for Community Inclusion at the University of Maine. For its first three years, Coastal Kids was funded with a combination of grants and funds from Union 74 and CDS, with the plan being for Union 74 to incorporate Coastal Kids as part of its public school program. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, this never came to fruition.

Since 1998, Coastal Kids has been on its own operationally. The first few years were a struggle, but they persevered, feeling that their mission was crucial to this community. Parents played an integral part in this success, volunteering their time and energy by serving on our Board of Directors, helping with fundraisers, and donating snacks and supplies.

the current location, before the addition

12 Jackie’s Trail, Damariscotta

The Coastal Kids program has survived three moves and in 2006, with help from the Genesis fund, was able to get a low interest government Rural Development loan and purchase its own building just off Biscay Road in Damariscotta. After the purchase, it was discovered more extensive renovations had to be made in order to pass licensing and fire codes. Through the heroic efforts of the Board of Directors and many wonderful members of the local business community who donated time, supplies, and equipment, Coastal Kids was able to open again in February of 2006.

After three years at 12 Jackie’s Trail it became evident that the school had outgrown the facility and in 2009 the Board of Directors of CKP undertook a Capital Campaign to raise funds for an expansion to the existing school. By the year 2011 the board raised over $200,000.00 toward the expansion and secured funding from Rural Development, Genesis Community Loan Fund and Bath Savings institution to move forward with the construction of the new building. The new building opened in January of 2012.

After over 20 years of operation, over 500 preschoolers have come through our doors since 1995. Coastal Kids Preschool is licensed for 68 children, and approximately one-third or our population receives developmental therapy services including speech, occupational and physical therapies.

the new addition at 12 Jackie's Trail

The new addition

We appreciate your support and the support you are showing the preschool children in the area. Education is the key to success and our mission at Coastal Kids Preschool is to serve two- to five-year-old children and their families through a language-based, developmentally appropriate curriculum. We believe that every preschool child within our Lincoln County communities should have this opportunity to reach their full potential and be prepared for a successful school experience.

Board of Directors

At the time of the purchase of the Jackie’s Trail building, the Board of Directors was expanded to include community members, as well as parents.  The community members represent a wide range of experience, background and ages.  The Board meets six times a year and oversees the school’s operations, in addition to actively fund-raising for the school.

The Advisory Board is composed of former board members who wished to remain involved with the school when their board terms expired.

If you are interested in finding out more about being a Director, please contact Mimi Reeves or the Board President.

Board Members 2017-2018

  • Patricia Lane, President
  • Patrick Parson, Vice President
  • John Ward, Treasurer
  • Martha Lynch, Secretary
  • Rebecca Emmons
  • Karen Filler
  • Robert Flory
  • Valerie Mattes
  • Tenley Seiders
  • Easter Swartzentruber
  • Lindsey Williams

Advisory Board

  • Kathleen Flory
  • Deryl Holt
  • Jennifer Meade
  • Joel Russ
  • Rachel Zoller

“Coastal Kids Preschool has gained a positive reputation among educators.  Students are being taught the necessary social and academic skills to enable their early childhood success.  CKP addresses each individual child’s learning needs, strengths and goals.  This is due to their top-notch teaching staff and child-centered curriculum…..As a parent, the teaching staff puts my mind at ease each morning I drop off my son.  I am greeted with warm, friendly smiles in a nurturing setting.  I could go on and on about Coastal Kids Preschool.”

A. K.-B.
Teacher with 15 Years of Experience; Parent of CKP Student


“Our family would like to thank the teachers of Coastal Kids Preschool for an exceptional first year of school for our daughter.  The teachers taught the kids about the world, friendships and learning through gentle, yet enthusiastic, guidance.
The love that is evident between my daughter and all five of her teachers is awesome.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  The work you do every day with our kids is exemplary.  Thank you for teaching, and especially for loving, our children.”

J. and K. C.
Parents of CKP Student


“Coastal Kids Preschool provided our daughter with a loving and caring environment.  We fully support the wonderful work that occurs there.  We are thankful that our daughter was provided with a first-rate preschool experience.”

K.K. and T. G.
Parents of CKP Student


“As a health-care provider, I feel extremely confident, when referring young children to Coastal Kids, that their challenging needs will be met.  The teachers and staff are energetic and obviously devoted to the children in their care.  They admirably balance the desire to involve all children in the activities of the day with the need for many of the children to have intense one-on-one-care…….My own daughter has had a wonderful experience as a “Coastal Kid”.  She began as a shy three-year-old and emerged as a confident, curious and thoughtful five-year-old who is eagerly anticipating Kindergarten……As a professional and as a parent, I whole-heartedly support Coastal Kids Preschool.”

Pediatrician; Parent of CKP Student


“Our son has thrived at Coastal Kids Preschool and we are grateful to have such wonderful people sparking his interest in learning!”

J.-R. and D. M.
Parents of CKP Student


“I am adjusting very well at “big boy school” these first few days and I wanted you to know that I am doing so wonderfully because of you.  You taught me so much and the love you gave me gives me the courage to trust. You all are awesome – God bless you! I love you. P.S. My mom is indebted to you.”

Student with Special Needs (as written by his mother)


“Thank you for your compassion, energy, creative spirit and mostly your patience over the past two years!”

B., T. and C. P.
CKP Family


“I like the caring, individual attention that each child receives at Coastal Kids.  I also am impressed with their ability to include all children in their program and activities.”

Physical Therapist


“The curriculum and the well-trained teachers and support staff enable every child to be successful at Coastal Kids.”

Speech Therapist


“We were so happy to hear what progress our son has made in one month of being back at Coastal Kids.  CDS said it was a world of difference from what he was doing at his last preschool.  You are all so wonderful and make for such a happy atmosphere!  Thank you.”

M.J. and J.P.
Parents of a Child with Special Needs


“Coastal Kids is an extremely important community resource, providing a rich education program for forty-four children, several of whom have special developmental needs.  The Central Lincoln County School System is critically dependent on Coastal Kids to help provide the programs and resources to ensure the success of these children when they enter public school.  I strongly endorse their efforts in serving the children of our communities.”

Robert Bouchard, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools


“The Coastal Kids Preschool program has been a very important resource in our community for the past 13 years.  It is the major provider of development therapy in our area.  The school has served children with a wide range of disabilities and developmental levels.  The design of the curriculum has been well thought out, is developmentally appropriate for children in its classrooms, and grounded in evidence-based practice.  The teachers and staff there have provided a warm and nurturing educational setting for many of our clients.”

Gail Donahue
Site Director – Child Development Services


“Attending Coastal Kids Preschool was instrumental in my daughter’s growth and development before Kindergarten. At her first parent-teacher conference, her teacher stressed what a difference there was between children that attended Coastal Kids vs. children that had not–in terms of their preparedness and skill level. Hearing that feedback only reaffirmed for me that Coastal Kids Preschool was absolutely the best choice for my daughter’s early education! While my daughter loves Kindergarten, she asks me regularly when she can go back to Coastal Kids. We will both forever be Coastal Kids fans!”

Parent of a CKP student

Address:  12 Jackie’s Trail, Damariscotta, ME  04543

Telephone:  (207) 563-5335

Fax: (207) 563-6107


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© 2019 Coastal Kids ME

12 Jackie's Trail, Damariscotta, ME 04543 •

phone: 207-563-5335 • fax: 207-563-6107