At Learning Through Play, we understand how necessary community is because truly, “it takes a village”.

Learning Through Play Founder and Executive Director Nikki Mingledorff discovered her true passion as a professional and as a person while taking a hiatus from her burgeoning career as a marriage and family therapist to stay at home with her three young children. As it often goes, Nikki and her husband Jason’s lives experienced a dramatic change once kids were added into the equation. Like so many others, parenthood was the ultimate blessing for them, but the stress and challenges it brought put a strain on their relationship. As they learned how to become a united parenting team, both Nikki and Jason came to personally understand the benefits of a growth mindset approach, prioritizing and focusing on key elements:

  • The importance of their health as a couple

  • Their individual wellness

  • Their roles as parents


Through their family, friends, work, neighborhood, and the boys’ Montessori method school environment, Nikki and Jason were fortunate to raise their children in a strong, supportive community of other like-minded professionals. She realized that many parents do not have access to such a network, and saw the need to fill this gap in services and support in the community. From her experience as a parent, spouse, and former mental health professional, Nikki saw how much her professional and personal experience favorably melded together and the role of emotional intelligence skills and growth-mindset in living a gratifying life. Throw in a strong, nurturing and fun learning environment and this is a recipe for success!


Nikki began to envision an intentional network available to parents in the Greater New Orleans area; one that combines elements that had so inspired her in her personal and professional life – thus the concept of Learning Through Play was born! 



Learning Through Play Founder and Executive Director Nikki Mingledorff has lived in New Orleans for over 20 years with a background as a Mental Health Professional in Mental Health Rehabilitation. In her professional work, Nikki has employed techniques stemming predominantly from cognitive behavioral therapy and systemic therapy, particularly Minuchin’s structural family therapy, Sue Johnson’s emotion-focused therapy, Bowenian family systems theory, and Virginia Satir’s human validation process model. She is also EMDR certified and has had extensive training in Child Parent Relationship Therapy, Play Therapy and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In addition to her work at Learning Through Play, Nikki is also Family Care’s Divorce and Mediation Center’s Program Director, Co-Parent Coach, Support Group Leader, and Trainer.


Nikki is married to Jason Mingledorff, a well-respected and versatile musician, and upon becoming a mom to the first of three boys, her whole world shifted. Because of the rigorous nature of both of both of their work, Nikki decided to take a hiatus from her professional career to focus on her family. Nikki credits her background in working with parents, families and children in helping her be a confident first-time mom and hopes to do the same for parents across the Greater New Orleans area!

Nikki holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Tulane University and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego.



Cassie Bacerra has worked in Early Childhood Education since 2001. Early in her career, she had various mentors who shared resources highlighting the correlation between the behaviors of children in response to how their caregivers communicated with them.  With nearly 20 combined years of classroom and administrative experience, Cassie is now applying the knowledge she gained working as a nanny, a Montessori Toddler Teacher and a Director of a Montessori Preschool to help other early childhood educators, parents and children maintain positive and healthy relationships. Cassie is committed to helping children foster healthy connections with peers and adults by offering scripts that they can grow into adulthood with; scripts that ultimately become their inner voice.





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