Daniella Ashbahian

The Teens-N-Tots teacher who runs NVOT's Early Learning Center

May 5, 2023

As they enter a room of bright colors and drawings, the preschool children are welcomed to another day of exploring their creativity with Teens-N-Tots teacher Daniella Ashbahian. 

The Teens-N-Tots program at NVOT is a preschool daycare open from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm serving children ages 3 to 5. Every day, Ashbahian fosters memorable experiences and valuable lessons from alphabets, shapes, and numbers, to emotional well-being. “I love seeing the excitement on the faces of my little friends when they discover something new or when they have mastered a skill they have been working on,” Ashbahian said. When teaching, Ashbahian takes into account the different academic levels and ages of the students: “I ensure that all the children are getting the support they need. 

Ashbahian, a graduate of NVOT,  first started as a substitute teacher. She became a maternity leave substitute teacher for the Teens-N-Tots program at NVD in 2019 before transferring to the Old Tappan building in 2021. Her history with Teens-N-Tots is personal: both of her daughters attended the program. 

Special Education teacher Lindsy Gavagni’s son, Theodore, currently attends the Teens-N-Tots program and always has something new to report back home. “He talks about all of his friends in his class, what special they had that day (music, art, Spanish), the fun teen lessons they do, and what letter or topic they are currently learning about,” Gavagni said. 

Many of the tots see Ashbahian as a role model. Library media specialist Courtney Reinfried said her daughter, Elizabeth Rodrigues who is in the Teens-N-Tots program, “pretends to be Mrs. Ashbahian at home when playing the role of a teacher multiple times a week.”

Art teacher Laura Kipilman’s son Patrick is a graduate of the program. Patrick, now in kindergarten, had a great experience with Ashbahian. “He really liked Mrs. Ashbahian, and learned so much. Mrs. Ashbahian always displayed their artwork and made the room feel very special and inviting,” Kipilman said. 

Giving the tots a safe space to learn and foster creativity, Mrs. Ashbahian never fails to provide the tots with a loving environment. Mrs. Ashbahian says that the tots “know that [she] truly loves and cares about each and every one of them. [She] makes them feel safe, and [she] listens to them.”

Not only do the tots love Ashbahian, but adults also love working with her. Parents don’t have to worry about dropping their child off at Teens-N-Tots because Ashbahian treats their children with kindness and care. “I just love seeing how much she loves the kids and how she takes care of them because that’s the most important thing as a mom,” Reinfried said. 

Ashbahian has had a great impact on NVOT, bringing smiles and joy to all the tots, students, and staff: “Positivity is the name of the game in my classroom, and outside the classroom is no different,” said Ashbahian. “I try to always carry myself with a smile and greet students and staff in the hallway.” 

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