Welcome to La Jolla Montessori School!

An English/Spanish Bilingual Immersion Montessori school for ages 18 months - Kindergarten.

Our bilingual immersion program is integrated into the Montessori Methodology. So, children receive both an authentic Montessori English language education and an equally strong Spanish language program. This assists the child to fluently speak their non-native language by the completion of Kindergarten. It also increases their thought processes and problem-solving skills.

 
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About La Jolla Montessori School

La Jolla Montessori School is all about teaching your children well. Our focus is to teach each child in ways they respond via the Montessori Method. LJMS provides experienced, worldly and well-educated English and Spanish teachers who observe your children and their strengths as individuals; then, builds a learning program around them to complement their personal interests and pace in both English and Spanish. The result: children will learn concepts that foster their self-esteem and independence.


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Why Choose La Jolla Montessori School?

 

At La Jolla Montessori School, building your child’s academic, social, intellectual and artistic growth in two languages is what motivates us. Via individualized learning, we go the extra mile to stimulate, challenge and create a ‘whole child’ who loves to learn and express his or her curiosity. Most importantly, what the child learns in the classroom continues at home. Parents learn to let their children do things themselves!

 

Our Staff

Heather A. Davis, Ph.D
Heather A. Davis, Ph.D
Director
Heather Davis grew up on Long Island, New York and has lived in several regions of the country. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Child Development from the University of Georgia (2001) and spent the first 15 years of her career working in public teacher education. Read more
Kristin Edwards, M.Ed
Kristin Edwards, M.Ed
Co-Founder
Kristin Edwards, M.Ed, is the Director & Founder of Lifetime Montessori School and Co-Founder of La Jolla Montessori School. Her mission is to provide a quality Montessori environment for children to help prepare them to become Joyful learners and problem solvers. Kristin Founded Lifetime Montessori school in 2007. She and her team built Lifetime Montessori school from scratch into a 180 student toddler-thru-elementary school powerhouse. In addition to her duties at Lifetime Montessori, Kristin serves as a pedagogical advisor for La Jolla Montessori School.Read more
Ms. Angela Leyva
Ms. Angela Leyva
Assistant Director
Ms. Angela Leyva earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Development from San Diego State University in 2015, an American Montessori Society (AMS) Certification in 2013 and an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Certification in 2018. She studied abroad in Avila, Spain for 6 months and has been teaching in Montessori environments for over 10 years. Upon her return from Spain, she attended The Montessori Institute of San Diego where she trained as an ‘assistant to infancy’ (0-3 years). Guiding young children has become a passion throughout her tenure as a guide. Read more
Ms. Hannah Welch
Ms. Hannah Welch
Administrative Assistant
Ms. Hannah Welch is from Albany, NY, and moved to San Diego to pursue her dream of living by the beach in California. She loves helping others and making everyone’s job easier so she has always thrived in administrative work. Ms. Hannah loves being around children and knew La Jolla Montessori School would be the best fit as she truly believes it is the best way for a child to learn and grow. Read more
Ms. Carmen Gaxiola
Ms. Carmen Gaxiola
Primary Spanish Guide
Ms. Carmen Gaxiola studied English at St. Louis University in St. Louis Missouri and earned a Degree in Education Administration from Anahuac University in Mexico City. She studied Montessori in 1999 at the Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD) and has been an AMI Montessori Guide for over two decades. Read more
Ms. Kimberly	Ceralde
Ms. Kimberly Ceralde
Primary English Assistant Teacher
Ms. Kimberly Ceralde holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with coursework in Child Development and completed the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Assistants course in 2020.  She is currently in the Primary Guide training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Ms. Kimberly is passionate about child development and about learning more about Dr. Montessori's methods for early childhood education. Read more
Ms. Karina Velazquez
Ms. Karina Velazquez
Primary Spanish Guide
Ms. Karina Velazquez earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2007 and an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Diploma to become an AMI Guide at the Fundacion Argentina Maria Montessori (FAMM) in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2011. She has a wealth of experience working in Montessori schools. Read more
Ms. Katia Ledon
Ms. Katia Ledon
Primary Spanish Guide
Ms. Katia Ledon earned her American Montessori Society (AMS) Certification in 2012 from the Centro De Ensenanza Montessori and began her career working at Buona Terra Montessori School in Tijuana. Then in 2015, she completed her AMI Primary Certificate from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. For five years, she led a Spanish immersion classroom at Kinderhouse Montessori. Read more
Ms. Michelle Saldivar
Ms. Michelle Saldivar
Primary Spanish Guide
Ms. Michelle Saldivar earned an AMI Primary-Level Degree from the Montessori Institute of San Diego in 2017 and continued her studies in Education Sciences in Tijuana, Mexico. She implemented what she learned at MISD and in her education courses in her Montessori environments at Paolini Montessori and Scripps Montessori School. Read more
Ms. Cherie Nogueira
Ms. Cherie Nogueira
Primary English Guide
Ms. Cherie Nogueira earned a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and is an experienced AMI Montessori Guide who has worked in Montessori environments around the world. Her love of the Montessori method began the summer right after her college graduation. She was instantly drawn to this child-centered approach that strives to support the development of the whole child. She was particularly drawn to Dr. Montessori’s philosophy about following the child’s interest and has witnessed firsthand how impactful this simple strategy can be. She also found the concrete nature of the math curriculum very appealing. Read more
Ms. Mara Smith
Ms. Mara Smith
Primary English Guide
Ms. Mara Smith earned an Associate's Degree in Child Development, a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Crafton Hills College in 2006 and a CA public school Teaching Credential from the University of Redlands in 2008. Mara’s passion for early childhood started when she took her first course in child development and decided that was where she wanted to focus her future. Read More
Ms. Asa Samoori
Ms. Asa Samoori
Toddler English Guide
Ms. Asa earned her AMI Montessori Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego in 2018, followed by completing her Master’s Degree in Montessori Education from Loyola University, Maryland in 2019. She has worked in AMI Montessori schools since 2016. Read more
Ms. Lili Garcia
Ms. Lili Garcia
Toddler Spanish Guide
Ms. Lili Garcia earned her Associate's Degree in Early Education from Southwestern College in 2006 and then her AMI Assistants to Infancy and Primary Diploma for children ages 0-6 years old from The Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD). Read more
Ms. Silvia Castillo
Ms. Silvia Castillo
Toddler Spanish Assistant Teacher/ Primary EDP Teacher
Ms. Silvia Castillo earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Preschool Education from 2003 to 2007 at the State Normal School in the city of Ensenada (Hometown). She has experience working in both public and private schools. In 2011, she enrolled in the graduate program for a Master’s Degree in Child Psychotherapy at the University of Tijuana obtaining preparation in this area. From 2017 to 2022, she decided to earn a second Bachelor’s Degree in Plastic Arts, from the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), setting the goal of mixing the experience in education with art and supporting creative processes in the little ones.Read more
Ms. Andrea Zapata
Ms. Andrea Zapata
Toddler English Guide
Ms. Andrea moved to San Diego from Cancún, México in 2019 in order to complete the AMI training course at the Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD). Having grown up with a really big family on her mom's side, Ms. Andrea knew she always liked being around children. She created her own daycare for her cousin’s children. Read more
Ms. Kristine Withem
Ms. Kristine Withem
Toddler English Assistant Teacher
Ms. Kristine Withem earned an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and spent five years serving as an Assistant Teacher at the Montessori Community School of Salt Lake City. She holds certificates in the Foundations of Montessori and Montessori Approaches to Special Education. She relocated to San Diego this year and is excited to return to Montessori teaching. Read more
Ms. Yvette Medina
Ms. Yvette Medina
Toddler Spanish Guide
Ms. Yvette Medina earned her American Montessori Society (AMS) Toddler Diploma in 2013 from the Centro de Ensenanza Montessori and is currently working on her Master's Degree in Special Education at the Universidad Humanitas. She has been guiding young children for the past 10 years - first as an assistant and then as a Head Guide. Read more
Ms. Madeleine Gau
Ms. Madeleine Gau
Toddler English Assistant Teacher
Ms. Madeleine Gau holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Public Relations and Spanish language in 2020 and is passionate about bilingual education. After working in traditional early-childhood education programs, she became interested in Dr. Montessori's methods for early childhood education. Ms. Madeleine is passionate about child development and about learning more about Dr. Montessori's methods for early childhood education. Read more
Ms. America Villa
Ms. America Villa
Primary Spanish Assistant Teacher
Ms. America Villa completed her training to be a Primary Spanish Assistant Teacher through the Montessori Stoppani Training Center in Tijuana in 2022. She plans on pursuing the AMI Primary certificate to be a Head Spanish Guide. Ms. America is from Los Ángeles, California but grew up in Tijuana. Five years ago, she started working in a traditional elementary school, but when she had the opportunity to work at La Jolla Montessori School, she didn't think twice about taking the job!Read more
Ms. Melissa Vazquez
Ms. Melissa Vazquez
Toddler Spanish Assistant Teacher
Ms. Melissa Vazquez earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Arts and Sciences from San Diego State University in 2017. After completing her Degree, she continued her preparation in the field of Child Development while working in elementary school computer science programs as a coding teacher at ThoughtStem LLC. In early 2020, Ms. Melissa pursued an infant/toddler teacher position at KinderCare Learning Centers where she developed her instructive practices. Read more
Ms. Flor Roshnaye
Ms. Flor Roshnaye
Primary EDP Teacher
Ms. Flor Roshnaye has over three decades of experience in childcare. She helped build childcare programs at the Mission Valley YMCA to work in the food service department for the San Diego Unified School District. She enjoys seeing the growth of all the children she has taken care of over the years. Seeing them go from children to high school and college graduates makes her very happy.Read more
Ms. Olivia Ventimiglia
Ms. Olivia Ventimiglia
Primary EDP
Ms. Olivia Ventimiglia earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz in 2021. She most enjoyed her Child Development and Child Psychology courses and has been enthusiastic to apply what she learned in her courses to her role at La Jolla Montessori School. Read more
Ms. Emily Ridley-Zecos
Ms. Emily Ridley-Zecos
Floater/Primary EDP Teacher
Ms. Emily Ridley-Zecos earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Political Science from the University of San Diego in 2022. While attending University, she enjoyed learning about Child Psychology and Development, which inspired her to find a job working with children. Ms. Emily has served as an academic tutor, child advocate, and social science researcher. Read more
Ms. Kalpana Masaram
Ms. Kalpana Masaram
Floater/Primary EDP Teacher
Ms. Kalpana Masaram earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Sciences from MIST Engineering College and a Master of Science Degree in Informational Technology from ASTRA University in India. After graduation, she worked as an Assistant Professor teaching Sophomores and Juniors IT-related coursework at an Indian University. She enjoyed the academic teaching environment and inspired her students engaging them in group discussions. Read more
Ms. Ally Tirendi
Ms. Ally Tirendi
Primary EDP
Ms. Ally Tirendi earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from UC San Diego in 2023. She most enjoyed her course in Introduction to Early Childhood Education and hopes to continue to teach science one day. Ms. Ally is from New Jersey and came to San Diego three years ago. She grew up teaching children to dance, working at the YMCA, and has experience babysitting. Read more

Take a Virtual Tour of our School Today!

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Book In-Person Group Tour

If you do not see an available tour date for our Toddler Program, our tours are currently booked. To inquire about our waitlist, please click here.


Individualized Instruction

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Blog & School Updates

Our Montessori school blog is filled with advice, lessons, and resources for parents and educators of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school children.
November 20, 2023

Grace, Courtesy and Gratitude

Dear LJMS Families, It is the time of year when we, as a school, take a moment to reflect on and express our gratitude for the […]
October 30, 2023

El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the D …

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we have been exploring the art forms associated with el Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead).  It […]
September 29, 2023

Importance of Healthy Lunches

As we begin the new school year, we want to thank you for the many ways you support us including sending the children with healthy breakfasts […]

School Calendar

La Jolla Montessori School offers a 10-Month school year that follows the San Diego Unified School calendar.

We also offer two 5-Week summer sessions for currently enrolled families.

Contact

We welcome you to call or email us today to talk and visit the school.