Guidepost Montessori at Williamsburg is a new Montessori community in the hub of Brooklyn. 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 for learning. Your child will love gardening in our engaging outdoor play spaces, which are 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
Erika Somogyi, Head of School
Erika Somogyi excitedly brings a wide range of global teaching and leading experience to Guidepost Montessori in North Brooklyn. Erika began her teaching career as an English Specialist with a small NGO in Yemen and soon after continued exploring different educational cultures through teaching in France and China. While at an experimental primary school in France, Erika started to realize that her students thrived when given the freedom to discover and create rather than be merely ‘taught’. Accordingly, she started experimenting with alternative pedagogies in order to better capture young children’s natural passion for exploring the world around them. As a result of her continued dedication to developing new curricula, Erika was presented with the Shanghai Foreign Teacher Award for her innovative work in China as a Lower Elementary Teacher and Chinese Public School Teacher Trainer. Inspired, she went on to complete her Association Montessori International (AMI) diploma in Chennai, India where Maria Montessori herself had taught and lived. Since then, Erika has observed, taught and completed leadership projects in Montessori environments in India, Boston, The Philippines and New York. She is passionate about the ingenuity of the Montessori educational philosophy and has continually witnessed how well it prepares children with the necessary skills to succeed in today’s world.
Erika graduated from the University of Otago in New Zealand with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honors in Anthropology, has a Master of Social Science (MSSc) from Linkoping University in Sweden and a Master of Arts (MA) in Private School Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to her work as a teacher and Montessori educator, Erika has presented her research on continued professional development for educators at various conferences such as the Harvard Global Education Conference, The CIES 2017 Meeting of the International Education Society and assisted as part of a training team at the World Federation of the United Nations (WFUNA).
In her free time Erika enjoys running along the East River, relaxing in Savasana after a good yoga class, and spending time with her daughter, husband and parakeets. After traveling the world Erika is proud to call Brooklyn home. She looks forward to creating a caring community at Guidepost Montessori Williamsburg.
Bella Shaulova, Assistant Head of School
Bella has worked with children ever since she was eighteen years old. She started with summer camp programs, after school programs, and tutoring. This passion led her to complete her degree in Education and Social Studies at SUNY New Paltz where she became certified as a Middle School and Early Childhood New York State Teacher. Later, Bella led various New York City and Michigan public school Social Studies programs to success as a Middle School & High School Social Studies teacher. She eventually was introduced to the Montessori method and quickly fell in love! She became better acquainted with the philosophy while working as an Assistant Guide in a Public Montessori classroom in Connecticut and continued to work in Montessori schools up to the administrative level. Her educational journey has been incredible and she feels blessed every day to use the skills she's gained in order to provide the best experience for parents and families alike. In her free time, Bella likes to host social events for friends and families, challenge herself by learning new things, and shop at Sephora!
Michelle Ahern, Children's House Guide
Michelle is originally from Ireland, but has been living in the United States for several years. She earned a bachelor's degree in Digital Media Design from the University of Limerick, Ireland. She began her teaching career 5+ years ago in Beijing, China where she worked at a bilingual kindergarten. After researching various education approaches she found Montessori and fell in love with the method. She obtained her Montessori Primary diploma in 2016 from Montessori Northwest in Portland, OR, and has most recently been working as a Lead Guide in New York City. In her free time, Michelle loves exploring different hiking trails and practicing new songs on the ukelele.
Yue Xu, Children's House Guide
Ms. Yue is originally from China but, has been living in the United States for some time. Ms. Yue learned about Montessori during her exchange study in Dublin, Ireland. After going back to China 4 years ago, she started to do observation and work as an assistant teacher in Primary Montessori classrooms in Beijing and Shenzhen. In 2016, she decided to come to the U.S. and take her AMI training. She earned a Master of Education degree from Loyola University of Maryland and also holds a Montessori Primary certification from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) at Washington Montessori Institute. After graduation, Yue worked in a Montessori school as a lead guide in Baltimore, MD before joining Guidepost. Creating a loving, respectful and free environment for children has always been her goal and that’s why she loves Montessori Education! In her free time, Ms. Yue enjoys watching movies, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Audrey Lin, English Toddler Guide
Ms. Audrey was born and raised in Taiwan, she moved to Syosset, New York, with her family in the summer of 2006. Audrey has always enjoyed working with people, especially children. Following her passion Audrey completed her Bachelor's degree in Social Science with a concentration in Early Childhood from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2012 and will begin working on her Masters in Education this Fall. Audrey has worked as an educator in numerous roles including teaching with the Tzu Chi Foundation, a Taiwanese international humanitarian organization, leading classes in weekend Chinese School, working in Montessori school, and tutoring children in Mandarin in her free time. Ms. Audrey was introduced to Montessori approach while working at Ms. Lam's Montessori preschool in Williamsburg. She was amazed by the pedagogy and how it encouraged children to become capable and confident. As a result she began her training to become a certified Association Montessori International (AMI) teacher. In her spare time, Ms. Audrey likes to be outdoors and try new foods. She loves animals and has a 9 ½ year- old cat. Audrey is excited to be part of the Guidepost family and looks forward to learning and growing with the children and community.
Clara Prieto Castillo , Spanish Toddler Guide
Ms. Clara is so excited to join the Guidepost team! Originally from Spain, she earned her bachelor's degree in Pedagogical Studies from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Ms. Clara discovered the Montessori Philosophy while attending a Post Degree Course in Active Learning and respectful companionship to Childhood. That's when she fell in love with it and decided to go a step further and complete her Masters in Montessori Pedagogy in Barcelona, Spain. She also has completed her Montessori training to obtain teaching Diplomas for Nido (0-1.5 year olds) Infant Community/toddler (1.5-3 year olds) and Children's House ( 3-6 years of age) from the Association Montessori Internationale. In her free time, Ms. Clara likes to travel as much as she can, find new interesting places to eat and bake treats to share with her friends.
Stephanie Jimenez, Nido Guide
Ms. Stephanie started her career in early childhood education in 2010. After two years, she moved to Turkey, where she taught middle school English for six years. She is now returning to the United States and early childhood education. Ms. Stephanie earned a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Education from Hofstra University as well as has just completed a master's degree in TESOL from Hofstra University. She developed a strong appreciation for the Montessori Method after becoming a mother, and is now pursuing training as a Montessori Guide. In her free time, Ms. Jimenez enjoys reading, singing, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Charley Little, Nido Guide
Charley Little has been involved in Montessori Education for over 8+ years and has had the opportunity to work in administrative and teaching positions. She received her AMI Primary Certification from the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies in Arizona. After her training, Charley started a small learning group in Park Slope and used the Montessori Method to help introduce children to what their neighborhood had to offer. She also has a background in 3D Lidar technologies - this has led her to work on movie sets, construction sites and architectural projects. But, Montessori is her true passion and was most recently following that passion in a Montessori school in Philadelphia. When she isn't teaching, Charley enjoys gardening and adding new houseplants to her home. When the opportunity arises, she also enjoys camping, hiking and spending time with her husband and friends.
Ariana Sifuentes , Spanish Toddler Assistant Guide
Ariana grew up in a small town in Yurimaguas, Peru. For the last 8+ years she has lived in the U.S. and worked in early childhood and Montessori environments. She enjoys every aspect of teaching and has realized that children can teach us as much as we teach them. She loves reading books and cannot wait to read your child’s favorite story at school. She is truly passionate about little human beings, how they develop, grow, their different learning styles, and how their brain absorbs everything in their environment. She especially enjoys learning and teaching about our world, cultures, nature. Overall she sees Montessori as a life style: respect, diversity, unity, compassion, peace, and learning through exploration using our senses. This year she's looking forward to the explorations, observations, discoveries, fun, and learning with her class. She is convinced that children must always grow academically, socially, and emotionally.
In her free time she loves to go home and visit her lovely family often. Her husband and her family is her everything. She cannot wait to meet all of the new families and spend this year learning. She is currently completing her Toddler Montessori training and looks forward to mastering the pedagogy. Overall, Ariana is excited to be part of the Guidepost family and work with all of the amazing professionals in the Montessori Method.
Natalie Oliferchik, English Toddler Assistant Guide
Mrs. Natalie loves working with children and is happy to be a part of Guidepost Montessori in Williamsburg. While she has worked in a few different pre-school settings, working in a Montessori Preschool has been by far her favorite. Mrs. Natalie started her teaching career 3 years ago in a private school in Bellingham, Washington. She then fell in love with the Montessori method when working at Little Laurel’s Montessori Preschool. Mrs. Natalie earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from Whatcom College. In her free time, Mrs. Natalie enjoys going on runs and reading books.
Lillybeth Santana, Spanish Toddler Assistant Guide
Ms. Santana has lived in the Williamsburg neighborhood since the day she was born! She pursued her studies in Childhood Education & English Language Arts, and was always eager to apply her learning to real practice. Ms. Santana has worked in Brooklyn with children in After School programs, and is now incredibly excited to practice and learn more about Montessori. In her free time, Ms. Santana enjoys photography and spending time with her family.
Hannah Netter, Nido Assistant Guide
Ms. Hannah earned her bachelor's degree in English Literature from Columbia University and is so excited to be working towards additional Montessori certification through Guidepost Williamsburg. Ms. Hannah has been working with children for the past 10 years as a culinary instructor and most recently as a head teacher at a traditional preschool in Manhattan. She has always felt passionate about fostering children's sense of responsibility and independence and is thrilled to formally delve deeper into the Montessori method. In her free time Ms. Hannah loves baking and crafting and having recently moved to Williamsburg herself, Ms. Hannah loves exploring the neighborhood with her new baby girl.
Violet Canales , Nido Assistant Guide
Aftering earning her Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and her Master's Degree in Counseling, Ms. Canales spent five years working in various educational settings throughout Los Angeles. She moved to Brooklyn where she chose to continue her career in education and explore her interest in the Montessori method. She is now excited to be a part of the Guidepost Montessori team in Williamsburg! In her free time, Ms. Violet enjoys going to the movies, watching documentaries, shopping with friends, and trying different cuisines!
Julie Masterson, Nido Assistant Guide
Julie Masterson flew here from France originally to continue her dream of working in documentary film after graduating from a university in Paris. Once she settled in New York, she began to work with an organization that allowed her to spend two years providing care for families while traveling the U.S. During her time with the families, Julie found a new interest in child care and wished to further explore it. Ms. Julie had always felt connected to the Montessori philosophy, so the progression from being a nanny to becoming an assistant guide felt natural to her. In her free time, Ms. Julie enjoys photography, reading, music, cinema and all kinds of art. Ms. Julie loves spending time outdoors. She especially enjoys biking, hiking, camping and traveling.
Alex Corrado, Nido Assistant Guide
Ms. Alex has been working with children for the past eight years in both one-on-one and group settings. She has always taken an interest in child development and has completed an eight-week autism awareness course and a Strengthening Families program. She used this knowledge especially when she worked for a company that provided childcare for soldiers who needed help in strengthening family relationships. She also worked as a nanny and babysitter for many years. Through these experiences, she has learned to work with a variety of children and enjoys identifying their individual needs and learning styles. In her free time, she loves spending quality time with her dog Lola.
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.