• A Model for Learning


  • Play With a Purpose

    children develop confidence, competence and dispositions for future learning.

  • Teachers Who Inspire



The Dillon Child Study Center at St. Joseph’s College has a long and impressive history with deep roots in Brooklyn. Established in 1934 by former SJC President Msgr. William T. Dillon, it was one of the first campus laboratory preschools on the East Coast. It continues to serve as a model and demonstration program for college students and professionals interested in the field of early childhood education.

At Dillon—in an atmosphere where they are free to express their feelings and ideas—children learn through play, developing confidence, competence and dispositions for future learning. The toddler, preschool and kindergarten programs offered here are led by teachers certified by New York State who also serve as adjunct faculty for St. Joseph’s College. Assisting them in the classroom are students from SJC’s Department of Child Study.

Looking for extended care?

Click here to check out our afterschool programs.




Modern, bright and spacious classrooms foster growth and learning for every child.



Experienced early childhood specialists help develop each child’s uniqueness.



Dillon boasts a student-to-teacher ratio that ensures individualized attention.



A full range of additional programs appeal to our students’ various skills and interests.

Our Teachers

Claudia Marriello

Teaching Assistant — Early Learn

Claudia is the wife, mother, friend, and has been a Teaching Assistant for the last 16 years here at the Dillon Center. She graduated from St. Joseph’s College in January 2016, with her B.S in Organizational Management. “The children of Dillon are a constant inspiration for me to remain young both in body and mind. Their inquisitive minds help me to remain a constant learner so that I can help them to discover the world in which we live.”

Merlina Pollidore-Joseph

Special ED Assistant Teacher — Inclusion

Merlina is the Special ED Assistant Teacher in the Inclusion classroom. She has been working in the Inclusion classroom at Dillon for 14 years. She loves planning big art projects such as murals, paper mache, and puppet making. She also loves to do finger plays, cook, read and act out stories with the children.

Keah Horsford

Assistant Teacher Inclusion

Keah completed her Bachelor’s of Science majoring in Psychology from Brooklyn College. Currently she attends Pace University where she is completing her masters in Early Childhood Development, Learning, and Intervention. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

Susan H. Shapiro, Ed.D.


Susan Shapiro has served as a director of diverse preschools for more than 20 years. Prior to her directorships, she was a preschool teacher. Dr. Shapiro earned a bachelor’s degree from the New School for Social Research, Eugene Lang College, and a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education. She received her doctoral degree from New York University in the Educational Leadership Program. Dr. Shapiro has published extensively on ethical leadership. Her dissertation focused on the effects of 9/11 on early childhood directors.

Kristen Miller

Assistant Director

Kristen Miller is currently the Assistant Director at Dillon. Over the years she has been a teacher, Program Coordinator, and Principal, and strives to always be a learner. While earning her Masters in Early Childhood, she became a registered teacher trainer in order to work more closely with teachers and provide them with current resources and innovative practices to explore as well as examine within their own classroom. She is very happy to be a part of the Dillon community and feels fortunate to work with this dynamite team of teachers.

Emily Figueroa

Head Teacher Early Learn

Ms. Emily loves to work with young children and enjoys learning from them as well as teaching them. She is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College with a Masters in Literacy and Cognition. Ms. Emily is the mother of eight grown children and a Girl Scout Leader for over 25 years.

Sameena Rahman

Head Teacher of the All-Day Threes

Sameena Rahman was born in India and immigrated to the United States in 1983. She complied her M.A. in literacy and cognition at St. Joseph’s College. Rahman has worked at the Dillon Center since 1995.

Danielle Endes

Head Special Education Teacher— Inclusion

Danielle Endes graduated in 2013 from St. Joseph’s College with her bachelors degree in general and special education for children from birth to 6th grade. She will soon complete her masters degree in special education and is already looking towards her second masters. With a background in dance, Danielle incorporates movement and music into her classroom as much as possible.

Katherine Goldsmith, RN, BSN

School Nurse — Toddler Teacher

This is Katherine Goldsmith’s 15th year working as the school nurse at the Dillon Child Study Center of St. Joseph’s College. In addition to being a Toddler Teacher, she is also the Toddler Program Coordinator, the Inclusion Classroom Coordinator and the After School Program Coordinator at the Dillon Center. Katherine recently added a part-time job working as one of the Library Assistants at the McEntegart Library of St. Joseph’s Collage. It has been a very rewarding work experience.

Sister Patricia Dittmer CSJ

Head Teacher — Kindergarten

Sister Patricia Dittmer received her B.A. from St. Joseph’s College, and from Bank Street College of Education she received her M.S. in Early Childhood Education, and her P.D. in Supervision and Leadership. She is the co-author of the book Look Listen and Plan — Developing Literacy in Young Children. Sister Patricia is also a Consultant at Catholic School Academy, and an Instructor of Early Education at St. Joseph’s College. She has a passion for art and creativity, music and movement, and learning.

Afryea Deas

Assistant Teacher — Pre-k

Ms. Afryea joined the Dillon Child Study Center in August 2014. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree at City College of New York and is a seasoned educator who has worked in the field for 23 years. She enjoys astrology, astronomy and cooking.

Victoria Contreras

Assistant Teacher — Full Day Threes

Victoria Contreras has been at Dillon for 16 years. She enjoys singing songs, reading stories and cooking with the children. Sometimes she plans activities in Spanish because she is bilingual.

Our Programs



Toddlers participate in a two-hour play session, once a week for 12 weeks in the Fall and the Spring. Read more...

Class Size



8 adults



Designed for Dillon’s youngest learners, children explore the school environment and learn how to function and thrive with other students. Read more...

Class Size






In this classroom, children work on navigating the world of preschool. Read more...

Class Size






A unique and child-driven class based on inquiry and discovery. Read more.

Class Size






In Dillon’s Pre-K classroom, we involve the children in the study of things nearby that interest them and are worth knowing more about. Read more...

Class Size






Imagination, inquiry and exploration are encouraged as we ready the children for the next phase of their education. Read more...

Class Size





Classroom Programs (1-4), Afterschool Programs (5-8)

Lango Brooklyn — Spanish

The dynamic and zany teacher creates an adventure-filled Spanish environment that incorporates team games, arts and crafts, music, dance, drama and storytelling to teach Spanish. READ MORE


Gymstars provides a fun-filled class with exciting skills to learn, brightly colored equipment and choreographed movement routines to motivate and challenge your child, all while offering a tremendous amount of fun! READ MORE

Music for Aardvarks

Young children will have enriching and vital musical experiences that help them gain a sense of themselves and a connection to the world they live in. READ MORE


hands-on workshops for children Pre-K to 6th grade, in which students learn to use real tools and get to build real things in a safe and creative environment. READ MORE


Gymstars provides a fun-filled class with exciting skills to learn, brightly colored equipment and choreographed movement routines to motivate and challenge your child, all while offering a tremendous amount of fun! READ MORE

Child’s Play

Imagine that! A princess hails a cab in Brooklyn…a shark needs to visit the dentist…a superhero visits the grocery store to power-up…a pirate wants a play date with YOU! This class inspires imagination, communication and confidence. READ MORE

Ninja Challenge!

Learn strength, agility and endurance while mastering fun obstacle courses! READ MORE

Indoor Super Soccer Stars

Let’s get the ball rolling! Super Soccer Stars, New York City’s most popular soccer development program, comes to the Dillon Center! READ MORE
  • The early threes classroom and teachers are phenomenal. What a loving and supportive environment it is & such a tremendous asset for St. Joe’s. Our son had the same teachers and, like a fine wine, they get better with age!

    Early Threes Parent
  • I love the Dillon Center and the gentle, nurturing environment with spacious classrooms and a beautiful outdoor play area. The thing I love most about the school is the warmth and genuine love from all the teachers I have gotten to know over the years. They are all so passionate and kind, giving honest feedback on the kids and also explaining developmental stages in a non-judgemental way.

  • The children in Sister Pat’s class have bonded very well. They are like a little family. Its a wonderful and nurturing environment. I am so happy that my son has continued on for one more year at Dillon.

  • Dillon has a beautiful outdoor play area for its pre-schoolers. The staff at Dillon ROCK!!!

  • My son absolutely loves going to school! He is learning how to be a flexible thinker, a curious investigator, a thoughtful problem-solver and a lover of life! And somehow the teachers make it all seem so effortless. Dillon is a wonderful community of educators who really care about teaching the whole child, we are thrilled to be a part of it!

  • “Our son has flourished at Dillon — first in the 3’s program and is having a fantastic year in the 4’s pre-K. He is one of the younger children in the class and we have watched him grow in confidence and develop fantastic friendships attending Dillon. There are excellent facilities and it is a beautiful and secure setting for children. In short, at Dillon they really support and see the whole child.”

  • “Our daughter’s enthusiasm and excitement for going to school every day is a testament to the incredibly caring, creative, nurturing, patient, and supportive Inclusion teachers. It has been remarkable, as parents of a special needs child, to watch her grow and we give tremendous credit to Dillon.”