OUR PEOPLE

At My First Place, our team is committed to facilitating and supporting the children creatively through play. Our team is nurturing, passionate, creative, collaborative, curious and excited to explore materials and the surrounding world alongside the children. Constantly evolving and learning, our team is dedicated to early childhood education and the individual child’s needs.

Maria Kirschenstein

OWNER / ADMINISTRATOR
I am so thrilled to be a part of the Early Childhood Education community here in Santa Monica. I have dedicated a large portion of my life studying and working at schools and programs designed for infants and toddlers for over 20 years now. I came from a multicultural family from Brazil and worked directly with children as a preschool teacher in my home country for over 10 years before moving to the US. I have worked with children and adults with special needs and I thank all of my professors for inspiring my soul and for guiding me on this beautiful journey. My family and our My First Place community are always in my heart and I am honored to pass this love on to our children, parents and teachers.

Priyanka Dhar

DIRECTOR
I feel very fortunate to have chosen this career path that keeps me feeling inspired everyday. My child development philosophy can be expressed through this quote by Lev Vygotsky, “A child’s greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that will tomorrow become her basic level of real action.” Never underestimate the power of a child’s play.
 I am very excited to partner with Maria in continuing to provide high quality care for our community. I am truly excited to be a supportive role model for the lovely teachers and to keep this delightful program safe and fun for our young learners.