Guidepost Montessori at Copper Hill is a new Montessori community in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles. At the heart of our school is our belief that children thrive when given freedom and responsibility in Montessori environments prepared especially for them. Our bright, beautiful classrooms and caring staff members will nurture your child’s joy in learning. Your child will love gardening in our engaging outdoor play spaces filled with native plant species and designed to encourage your child to explore. We welcome your family!
Our beautiful campus and welcoming community is the perfect place for your child to explore her own potential.
Guidepost Montessori classrooms are light, airy, calming, aesthetically beautiful spaces. Each material is carefully chosen and carefully displayed — to inspire and entice your child to explore.
Children's House Classrooms
Emily Strand, Head of School
Emily Strand received a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University. She began her Montessori journey in 2008 and since then, has passionately devoted time to deepening her understanding of the Montessori Method. She earned her AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma, and went on to complete a Master's Degree in Montessori Education from Loyola University. Throughout her 11 years in Montessori, Emily has always put an emphasis on building cohesive, happy, and respectful classrooms and school communities. Some of her proud moments have come from watching students gain confidence, discover their passions, and take care of one another. She is eager to take her years of experience guiding students, into a leadership role where she can support and encourage the staff at Copper Hill.
When she's not on campus, Emily enjoys staying active and loves being outside. Training for triathlons, swimming, wandering through museums, going to movies and shows, painting, weaving, cooking, and spending time with friends and family are favorites for her.
Antho Zueck, Assistant Head of School
Mr. Antho Zueck embarked on a career in education while studying at the University of California, Berkeley. Since 2012, he has served in a variety of roles, including Primary Lead Guide, Lower Elementary Co-Teacher, and Woodshop Instructor. He currently serves as Assistant Head of School at the Copper Hill campus. In his leisure time outside of school Mr. Zueck enjoys Art, music, sports, and the Outdoors.
Cynthia Vallejo, Lead Nido Guide
Ms. Vallejo earned an Early Childhood Education Associate's Degree from Los Angeles Valley College. She's had in house Montessori training and has worked at a Montessori preschool for the last 5 1/2 years. Ms. Vallejo started her career in a Montessori preschool in Houston, Texas. When she moved back to California, she went into a traditional preschool because of the limited Montessori schools in the area. By the time her 2nd child was 3 years old she found a Montessori preschool for both of them to attend. Ms. Vallejo has been teaching for almost 20 years and truly loves the Montessori method. In her free time, Ms. Vallejo likes to read, watch movies and spend time with her 2 children, her husband and her large family.
Kylie Godfrey, Lead Nido Guide
Ms. Godfrey earned a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with a Minor in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She went on to attend UCLA for two years and earned both a teaching credential and Master's Degree in Education. Ms. Godfrey worked as a kindergarten public school teacher in central LA before returning to her hometown to pursue her passion of early childhood education through Montessori. She worked summers as a nanny for several years inside family homes where she primarily cared for young infants and toddlers. When Ms. Godfrey is not working, she enjoys spending time with her brothers and sisters, catching up on TV, and reading a good book.
Wendy Pineda, Lead Toddler Guide
Mrs. Pineda earned a Certificate of Professional Obstetrics from Lima, Peru. She also holds child development units from College of the Canyon, Oxnard College, and UCLA Extensions. She currently is pursuing an infant and toddler Montessori Diploma. Mrs. Pineda started her teaching career 15 years ago in a traditional preschool in Los Angeles, California. She fell in love with the Montessori Method 5 years ago when she discovered Montessori for her own daughter. In her free time Mrs. Pineda loves watching movies, teaching her daughter how to play volleyball, and spending time with her family.
Stephanie Garcia, Lead Toddler Guide
Ms. Stephanie has earned all her units in child development from Los Angeles Valley College and has completed PITC Training from Pacific Oaks College. Ms. Stephanie started her career in 2006 at the Child Development Center at Los Angeles Valley College. It is there where she fell in love with teaching young children. She believes that learning is happening all the time and her goal is to make it a safe positive experience. In her free time, she loves to go to Disneyland and have fun at the happiest place on earth!
Shanni Chen, Junior Toddler Guide
Ms. Shanni earned a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development and Family Studies from California State University, Long Beach. She also earned an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Pasadena City College and currently holds a Child Development Teacher Permit from the California Commission on teacher credentialing. Ms. Shanni loved her role as a teacher working with young children and enjoyed working with every single one of her students in the past three years. She is super excited to work at Guidepost Montessori and she is looking forward to meeting all of her future students! In her free time, Ms. Shanni loves traveling around the world and spending time with her family, friends, and pets.
Arely Silva, Lead Toddler Guide
Ms. Silva earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University Northridge. She has worked with children at a preschool for over 6 years. Ms. Silva strongly believes that her job is to encourage a love for lifetime learning in children. In her free time, Ms. Silva likes to read, go hiking, arts and crafts, and spend time with her boyfriend and 8 month old son.
Maria Acebal Bernal, Lead Children's House Guide
Ms. Acebal earned a Bachelor's Degree in Child Education from ULPGC (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria University), Spain. She also holds a Montessori Primary certification (Children´s House) from the Association Montessori Internationale. Ms. Acebal started her teaching career 13 years ago in a traditional school in her country, but fell in love with the Montessori Method 6 years ago when she discovered Montessori. In her free time, Ms. Acebal loves to do sports, read, and spend time with her two children.
Lauren Nelson, Lead Children's House Guide
Lauren earned a Bachelor's Degree in English from Valparaiso University and a Master's in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California. She holds a Montessori Primary certification from the Association Montessori Internationale and completed her training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Lauren began her career in Montessori in 2014 as a teaching assistant at a small, family-owned nonprofit and over the course of the last five years has worked under the mentorship of two AMI certified Montessorians who helped shape her into the educator she is today. She is thrilled to be leading her own environment for the first time with Guidepost. In her free time, Lauren enjoys working with her partner Micah on various projects for the yurt home they've been building together since they moved to California from Minnesota in June of 2019
Children are compelling in every way. They are fascinating, intriguing, charming, heartwarming creatures with infinite variation in personalities, tendencies, and interests.
The unique joy and sacred responsibility of a child's caretakers is to learn about her — to discover and fall in love with her as she grows, to let careful observation and observant care guide her development, and to get to know her well enough to help her shape herself. A child's teachers and parents are collaborators in this process that is at once scientific discovery and heartfelt nurturing.
To that end, our school is designed to further connect you with your child, to bring you into a community of valuable resources and education-minded people, and to make it as easy as possible for you to understand and support your child as she grows.
Insights into Your Child
The Montessori approach emphasizes careful, theory-informed, individualized observation of each child's development. We don't want to keep what we see to ourselves! The impact of these observations is greatest when shared with a child's parents.
At Guidepost, parents receive regular, detailed updates about their children. Classroom guides are available outside of class hours by phone, email, or for scheduled in-person meetings. Your child’s guide will also meet with you for regularly-scheduled conferences about your child's learning and growth.
We see these conversations, both periodic conferences and frequent exchanges, as critical for both giving and receiving information. They allow teachers to hear from the people most expert and most observant about a child: his parents.
Parents will also receive written progress reports two to three times per year, each a summary of a teacher's observations of the child over the course of the previous months. Meanwhile, day-to-day and week-to-week, parents receive regular updates from the teacher, in the form of photographs and written anecdotes about their child.
And finally, parents are able to directly access Transparent Classroom, the web-based system we use for careful record keeping and observations about your child. Transparent Classroom offers you an on-demand window into the lessons and classroom life of your child.
A great school offers the incredible resource of a trusted partner for parents in the education of their child. The simplest way to amplify that resource is to offer more of it: to offer it at flexible hours so that you can access a trusted, caring partner during days and times when you need us the most.
At Guidepost, we offer an extended school day program, where children thrive in the Montessori approach all day long. Early morning and late afternoon times offer children the downtime and free time they need in order to assimilate all that they have learned during the school day. Each child can find time to develop interests outside the classroom with expert guidance, and to explore an environment rich with opportunities.
To ensure that parents can rely upon a consistent social and recreational experience in a warm and expert school setting, our extended day schedule is offered inclusively with the cost of our programs: there is no extra charge for morning and afternoon extended day hours.
In addition, extracurricular programs are offered during the afternoon extended day, after class time is over. Parents and children can choose from a wide variety of optional activities designed to spark your child’s passion in some way.
Guidepost Montessori runs year-round. We know that we need to be available as a support for your family, so we minimize school closure days as much as we can. For enrolled families, a full calendar will be available on our Parent Portal.
Our typical school day runs from about 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, depending on the program. However, because we believe so strongly in supporting a partnership between home and school for families needing greater accessibility, our all-inclusive tuition price includes the option to utilize our extended day program. This means that your family can drop off as early as 7:00 AM and pick up as late as 6:00 PM.