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 Mediation & Divorce 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 Loyola music professor. 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 and Jason filled their home with activities and games aimed at purposeful play. Their personalized approach to parenting combines multiple modalities and aims to honor each of their boys as individuals. Nikki credits her background in working with parents, families and children in helping her be a confident 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.




Jane Cradic Petrie is a life-long New Orleanian with 15 years experience as a Montessori-focused educator. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music from Loyola University New Orleans  and a Masters of Arts in Teaching with a focus on Early Childhood Education from the University of New Orleans. Jane is a state-certified teacher who has received  training from Houston Montessori Center. 

Jane has dedicated her professional career to helping all children discover the joys of learning. She has worked as a teacher, assistant teacher, caregiver, and music instructor. The majority of that time was spent in Early Childhood classrooms, most with a  Montessori focus. Jane has taken a little time away from the classroom to focus on her family, having welcomed her son, Owen in 2018. Along with her background in education, music, and theater, Jane is a painter, a gardener, fiber artist, and skilled crafter.


With so many years in the classroom, and a life-time of crafting skills and creative arts to call upon, Jane has a knack for creating inviting, welcoming environments and lessons for children, using everyday items on hand. She understands a child’s need for order and independence and is happy to be a guide on their journey to successful completion of the goals that they set for themselves. 


Jane and her husband, who is also an educator, have  brought the Montessori philosophy, techniques, and ideals into her son’s life since his birth in 2018. He is already showing his love of order, his want for independence, and a creative nature.  Jane is thrilled to guide other parents as they incorporate Montessori ideals to establish peaceful environments in their homes where they work with their children to set and achieve age-appropriate goals and learn to appreciate the incredible world around them.