Meet The Team
Founder and Executive Director
Peg Willman is a Special Educator and co-founder of BraveBeginnings Incorporated. Peg earned her Master of Education in 2004 from Colorado State University and a certificate of Sign Language interpretation from Union County College in 1999. After teaching multiply disabled preschoolers for five years Peg co-founded BraveBeginnings in 2006. As an experienced and entrepreneur educator, Peg designed an effective two-hour language rich program for toddlers diagnosed with Downs syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and a myriad of developmental delays for children ages 20 months-5 years of age. Peg believes that every child deserves the chance to reach her/his potential in a sensory rich, nurturing environment. The BraveBeginnings program is designed to address all areas of development, specializing in socialization, play. skills, self-regulation, and executive function.
BraveBeginings has grown from serving 6 children in 2006 to over 400 toddlers with
developmental delays in Monmouth County. These wonderful children have thrived at
BraveBeginnings and entered Pre-K programs fully prepared.
Occupational Therapist and DIRFloortime Provider
Holly is a pediatric occupational therapist who has worked in a variety of settings including pediatric inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient clinics, public and private schools, pediatric homecare and Early Intervention. In addition to her work at Brave Beginnings, Holly provides private occupational therapy services for toddlers and preschool aged children using a DIR/Floortime model.
Holly graduated from Elizabethtown College with a degree in Occupational Therapy and throughout her career has pursued continuing education in Sensory Integration, sensory processing disorder (SPD), sensory based interventions and infant mental health. She is a certified Advanced Practitioner in the use of the DIR Floortime model and is endorsed as an Infant Family Specialist through the NJ Association for Infant Mental Health (NJ-AIMH).
Child Development Specialist and Teacher
Patty Henderson, MS Early Childhood Special Education; NJ certification: Teacher of the Handicap; NY Certification: Special Education Birth - 21.
Patty received her Masters in Early Childhood Special Education at Adelphi University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Elementary Education. Patty taught the toddler class at the Marathon Childhood Center in Whitestone NY providing center based early childhood special education instruction following Stanley Greenspan’s floor time model. In 1994, Patty was promoted to Evaluation Coordinator at the Marathon Childhood Center in Middle Village NY for children ages 2-5. Currently, Patty is a child development expert, using her experience in the field of Early Childhood Special Education, as a Developmental Therapist for the NJ Early Intervention system. Patty provides a combination of floor time model methods as well as structured learning for babies birth to three years old in a home based family training environment. In 2022, Patty joined Brave Beginnings as a Special Education teacher where she continues to provide play based learning for children ages 1-3 years old.
Child Development Specialist & DIRFloortime Practitioner
Gwenn studied Child Development and Family Relations at the University of Arizona where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree. She then earned her Montessori certification at Marymount Manhattan College and was a lead Montessori teacher for five years. Gwenn attended Georgian Court University earning her Teacher of the Disabled certification in 1997. Gwenn then started her Early Intervention journey which has spanned 26 plus years. Working as a Child Development Specialist in Early Intervention led her to Brave Beginnings and ultimately DIRFloortime.
Gwenn completed the DIRFloortime coursework in July 2023 and has joined the Brave Beginnings/DIRFloortime team. She brings a robust background to us with her broad knowledge of child development and strong foundation in DIRFloortime practice.