About Us

Zen Zone Sensory Gym is a mindfully designed indoor play and learning space for children of all abilities and learning styles.

Co-founders Margie Ferris (Speech-Language Pathologist) and Melissa Wassil (Teacher & Preschool Director) opened Zen Zone to fulfill a vision – a multisensory environment where children feel accepted at their own pace while given appropriate challenges to encourage growth.

Each with 25 years of professional experience, Margie and Melissa have created a safe and welcoming space where children explore and learn through self-directed play, enrichment groups, and individual therapy.

Zen Zone adds the unique component of Mindfulness which means being present and aware without judgment. Taking time to become mindful improves attention, communication skills, and helps relieve anxiety. Plus, it’s fun! Let Zen Zone show you how.

Margie and Melissa offer the ideal surroundings for developing core strength, coordination, and motor planning with a strong emphasis on building friendships, creativity, and confidence. Zen Zone also provides a memorable setting for birthday parties.

Zen Zone is a safe place for all people, regardless of age, sexuality, gender identity, race, or religious beliefs.

At Zen Zone a child can feel secure in who they are and simply be.

Play and learning go hand-in-hand. They are not separate activities.
They are intertwined.
-Dr. Laurel Bongiorno, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

Our Tribe

Margie Ferris MS, CCC, Speech-Language Pathologist,  Co-owner and Founder of Zen Zone

Margie has been an SLP for over 25 years. Graduating with her Master’s Degree from Columbia University, she ran her own private practice on the Upper West Side of Manhattan before moving to Westchester. Margie is also a SAG-AFTRA actor who gets a thrill out of performing on camera as well as onstage. She is a Founding Member of Theatre Revolution! Mostly she is passionate about mindfully helping people communicate more effectively and is thoroughly delighted to bring that energy to Zen Zone.

Melissa Wassil, Instructor for Kinder-Skills and Camps, Co-owner and Founder of Zen Zone

Melissa has a degree in the field of Early Childhood Education. She is a teacher and the director of Sunset Nursery School with 25 years of experience in the field. Her passion is helping children reach their personal best while building self-esteem and confidence. She strives to make her lessons fun and exciting, teaching children through interactive hands-on experiences. Melissa is a child advocate, helping parents navigate through the special education process from determining what a child’s needs are, guiding through the evaluation process, and finding the right fit with therapies.

Jess Erick, Office Manager & Instructor for Music ‘n Play, Mindful Teen, Mindful Together, and Mindful Connection

Jess is a singer/songwriter, energy healer, and performer, renowned for using her unique combination of humour, keen observation, intuition, and love to hold safe space for all her groups. With a background in multiple modalities (science, art, spirituality) she places particular importance on creating a non-judgmental atmosphere where everybody can connect, thrive, and engage with their authentic self.

Kim Koski, Office Manager

Kim is part of our Office Manager “dynamic duo”, along with Jess Erick, who helps Zen Zone run smoothly. Kim not only takes care of us, but she goes the extra step to make sure our clients are informed and happy customers. She is your go-to person from check-in to finding the perfect fit for enrichment groups, parties, class trips and more.

Christina Feal, Special Education Teacher, Instructor for Socially Speaking’s “Teen Talk”

Christina has been a Special Educator for 13 years and has worked with both children and adults.  She currently works as a Life Skills teacher. The majority of her students are diagnosed with autism and related disorders.  In addition to her teaching license, she has a graduate certificate from Penn State in Applied Behavior Analysis. It is with the teen/young adult population where she has truly found her professional calling.  She approaches teaching/learning with a focus on the whole student. This means including functional experiences, social/emotional support, and developing skills to enhance quality of life.

Lindsay Fletcher, Instructor for Yoga ‘n Play, Virtual Family Yoga, Yoga for Kids with Special Needs

Lindsay Fletcher has always been passionate about health and wellness.  She discovered yoga in 2005 and quickly fell in love with the practice.   As a former classroom teacher, Lindsay loved incorporating yoga into the classroom and loved watching the little yogis blossom as they found their balance in tree pose. In 2018, she received her CYT from Karma Kids and is also certified to teach yoga to children with special needs through Every Kid’s Yoga.   Lindsay loves that moment when a big smile comes across a child’s face when they master a pose they have been working towards and say “I did it!” Lindsay lives in Westchester with her husband and two children. When she is not on the mat, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen with her kids.

Kristin Gallagher, Physical Therapist

Kristin began her career in physical therapy in 2000, shortly after graduating from Daemen College in Amherst, NY. She soon realized her passion for early childhood development and decided to specialize in pediatrics. Working at John A. Coleman School in White Plains, and their satellite facility in Carmel, she gained extensive experience within an interdisciplinary setting, working with children living with multi-system impairments and developmental delays. As both a staff therapist and supervisor, she developed the diverse skill set that she now uses to treat and educate clients/families.
For the past 10 years, her focus has been working with children within the home, daycare, and school based settings through the Early Intervention, CPSE, and CSE programs.
Kristin enjoys building relationships with the children and families that she works with, and cherishes every milestone, great and small, that her patients achieve.

Maureen Grace, Occupational Therapist

Maureen is a life long resident of New York’s Hudson Valley. Since graduating from Dominican College her entire career has been dedicated to pediatric Occupational Therapy. She worked in a variety of settings with children ages 6 weeks to 21 years of age. She has long been a vocal advocate of the practice of OT having witnessed the benefits first hand. She is beyond excited to be part of the Zen Zone Sensory Gym team!

Noreen Hegarty-Weber, Special Education Teacher, Instructor for Mindful Child and Mindful Parent

Noreen has been a Special Education Itinerant Teacher for 15 years serving toddlers, pre-school, elementary and middle school children and their families. She maintains a concentrated focus on each child’s social and emotional well-being, working to naturally develop comfort and ease in their environment. Foremost is developing and maintaining a connection with and respect of the child, family, and caregivers. Children naturally show us what they need to feel grounded in this world. When we watch without interfering, we can then respond and guide in a way that builds confidence, security and success. Noreen regularly converses with parents and caregivers. Being well-informed and mindfully aware of the child’s current strengths and challenges assists in the healing evolution.   She takes great pride and joy in knowing and helping heal children and families.

Casey Howe MS, CCC, Speech-Language Pathologist, Instructor for Socially Speaking’s “Teen Talk”

Casey is a licensed speech-language pathologist experienced in pediatrics through geriatrics. She currently works locally with the high school population, including students with autism and related diagnoses. She loves approaching treatment from a functional and life skills standpoint with the goal of independence at the forefront. She always considers the whole person when planning and leading sessions, collaborating with other professionals as needed in order to keep the motor, academic, and social-emotional needs of the student in mind.

Jalessa Lucas, Occupational Therapist 

Jaleesa received a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Mercy College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from St. John’s University. She has helped children on the Autism spectrum, with developmental disabilities and sensory integration challenges develop and implement strategies to promote self-regulation and social skills. Jaleesa is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) and is a Level 1 therapist through the AHA. Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine (horse) movement, where the horse IS the therapeutic intervention. Besides hippotherapy, her other areas of interest are sensory integration and developmental disabilities. In her spare time Jaleesa enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending as much time as she can with her 4 year old horse, Cobalt. Her gentle, positive, and creative personality keeps children engaged and motivated to work on the skills they need to succeed in everyday life.

Jennifer Lupiani, Psychologist, Instructor for Executive Functioning Success and Socially Speaking

Jennifer earned her PhD in school psychology from Fordham University in May 2004. She has been a NYS licensed psychologist since January 2006. She has worked in the Croton-Harmon and Hendrick-Hudson school districts. She believes executive functioning is a crucial life skill and has a passion for teaching it, incorporating mindfulness as a grounding component. She has extensive experience with elementary, middle and high school students.

Jamie Steinthal, Instructor for Meditation & Healing 

Jamie completed the Conquering Lion Yoga teacher training with renowned teacher Kelly Morris in 2010, has completed course work at The Asians Classic Institute In Mediation and Tibetan Buddhism, is a Reiki Master, Cranial Sacral Therapist and has also studied Shamanism. She has a BA From SUNY New Paltz in Art History and has completed masters work at Columbia University in Art Education. Forever a student, Jamie is continually on the lookout for new things to share with her students in between playing owner and manager of the delicious Meritage Restaurant in Scarsdale, NY. Jamie is also the Founder of First Light Healing.

Jennifer Wasserberg, MA, CCC, Speech-Language Pathologist

Jennifer received her Undergraduate Degree in Speech and Language Disabilities from SUNY Cortland and her Graduate Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Lehman College. She has 6 years of pediatric experience working with preschoolers, school-age children and adolescents with a variety of diagnoses including auditory processing disorder, autism, hearing loss, learning disabilities and apraxia. Particular areas of interest include articulation, expressive/receptive language, pragmatics and augmentative and alternative communication. Jennifer has experience treating clients utilizing PROMPT and Beckman Oral Motor techniques and programming augmentative and alternative communication devices.

Jess Gerhardt, Assistant Instructor

Jess is a junior at Penn State studying special education. She has six years of childcare experience working and teaching in settings including dance classes and after school programs, primarily with children ages 2-8 of all different abilities. Jess joined Zen Zone in May 2019 as an assistant instructor. She has a knack for helping kids feel comfortable and have fun!

Kelsey Gillen, Assistant Instructor

Kelsey comes to Zen Zone with her BA in public health and a minor in business administration. She has several years experience with children as a camp counselor and a substitute teacher having worked with children in a preschool setting. Kelsey brings a great energy into the gym space and enjoys working with kids of all ages.

Michelle Kendal, Assistant instructor

Michelle is one of our fabulous floor assistants; and on weekends, one of our dynamic party specialists. She comes to us with 10+ years of experience as a teacher’s aide and lead teacher at Sunset Nursery School. Michelle is CPR certified and has her CDA in the field of early childhood. She is terrific with children and truly enjoys working with them.

Jill LaRocque, Assistant Instructor

Jill is our “go-to-gal” on Sundays for our Open Gyms.  Jill comes to us with 10+ years experience working as a teacher’s aide and lead teacher in the early childhood field. Jill is CPR certified and has her CDA in the field of early childhood. During the week, Jill is a teacher’s aide at Sunset Nursery School. She is a creative and dynamic teacher who enjoys working with children and they enjoy her as well!

Gaby Lebitsch, Assistant Instructor

Gaby is a student at Mercy College working toward a degree in secondary special education. She has been a volunteer with the Hendrick Hudson Sailor program for four years. This program specializes in working with students who have special needs. Gaby has been with us since our grand opening on the gym floor and during our teen nights.  

Brenna Wassil, Assistant Instructor

Brenna Wassil is a Senior at the University of New Hampshire studying Occupational Therapy. Brenna has 6 years of experience working with children ages 2 through 6 years old in an inclusive preschool setting. Brenna joined Zen Zone in May as an assistant instructor. She also assists with Enrichment Groups and Birthday Parties.

Nicole Williams, Assistant Instructor

Nicole is our assistant instructor on the gym floor during our Sunday open gyms. Nicole has several years experience as a camp counselor and substitute teacher. She is currently working on a degree in the field of Early Childhood at DCC.

Kaden Koski, Volunteer

Kaden is a 5th grader in the Hendrick Hudson School District who enjoys volunteering in his spare time. He has been volunteering at Sunset Nursery School summer camp for two years as a teacher’s helper. At Zen Zone, Kaden helps out on the gym floor, is a terrific cleaner and can fix almost anything. Kaden is always ready to jump in whenever we need a helper.