Barbara Kochanczyk

With more than 25 years of Montessori teaching experience, Casa Directress Barbara
Kochanczyk is one of the region’s most accomplished and experienced Montessori
educators. Barbara is dedicated to the students and families of Waterdown Montessori
School and has provided a strong foundation and love for learning to hundreds of area
children over the course of 19 years teaching at our beautiful school.

Years ago, after being disappointed with the childcare options available for her own
child, a chance meeting with Renilde Montessori – the granddaughter of Maria
Montessori – changed the course of Barbara’s life and career path. Barbara embraced
the scientifically-proven Montessori child-centered learning approach and completed her
Casa and elementary training.

With a Masters in Art History, Barbara enjoys introducing her Casa students to artistic
materials and concepts. However, her favourite subject area is mathematics, where the
Montessori materials introduce complex concepts – like the decimal system,
computation and fractions – clearly and precisely. Barbara loves the safe, green and
peaceful location of Waterdown Montessori School and likes to bring her students
outdoors where they can learn on nature’s doorstep.

To Barbara, being a Montessori educator means helping each child get ready for the
world with compassion, respect and the Montessori environment. She has certainly
accomplished this with all of the students who have been fortunate to have her as their
Montessori teacher.

Julie Coulter-English

Waterdown Montessori School is thrilled to have Julie Coulter-English back in our Casa
classroom again this year. With a Casa diploma from the MACTE-accredited Canadian
Montessori Teacher Education Institute (CMTEI) and eight years of experience as both
a Casa teacher and assistant, Julie is exceptionally well-versed in the Montessori
method. Following completion of her diploma, Julie taught at the CMTEI for one year,
instilling her passion for Montessori education in the minds of other future Montessori
guides.
Julie has been an advocate of Montessori education since her late teens and believes
that Maria Montessori designed the truest and most respectful means to help humanity
fulfill its potential. She particularly loves that the Montessori approach has unlimited
applications throughout life long after children have completed their education.
In the classroom, Julie truly enjoys observing the students at work and actually seeing
learning unfold before her eyes as they master new skills. Julie loves to listen to the
students talk about their lives, their Montessori work and what they’re observing in the
world around them – it’s through this active listening that Julie really gets to know and
appreciate each child for who they are.
A long-time resident of Burlington, Julie is married and has three adult daughters. When
she’s not in the classroom, she enjoys visual and performing arts, photography, learning
about geology and geography and writing creative non-fiction.

 

Rashmi Maben

Toddler guide Rashmi Maben has a decade of childcare and teaching experience. With
an International Montessori Teacher diploma, a Bachelor of Arts in human anatomy and
physiology, and certificates in hatha, restorative and children’s yoga, Rashmi brings a
wide range of skills to our toddler classroom.
Rashmi was raised with love and appreciation for education and is a third-generation
educator. She began her teaching career as a special needs educator in Kuwait.
Through colleagues, she learned about the Montessori method and fell in love with the
concept of educating the whole child and embarked on her journey to become a
certified Montessori educator.
Her favourite part of being a Montessori guide is doing creative art projects with the
children and watching them learn through the creative process and express their
individuality. Through her yoga training, Rashmi also enjoys teaching breathing
exercises and yoga games to the children as an introduction to holistic development
and mindfulness.

 

Vanessa Findlay
 
Toddler program guide Vanessa Findlay is a Registered Early Childhood Educator
(RECE) and also has an associates degree in psychology, an Elementary Signed
English (ESE) certificate, certification in Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale
(ECERS), and training in sensory processing in children from the Children’s
Developmental Rehabilitation Program and McMaster Children’s Hospital.
Vanessa became an RECE because she genuinely loves being with children and playing a
role in their early growth and development. She uses her ESE training in the classroom
to encourage language development by reinforcing the spoken word with its equivalent
sign. Her favourite part of being a Montessori guide is allowing children to learn at their
own pace and fostering their curiosity. She enjoys reading to and singing with her
students, making creative masterpieces together, and bringing joy and laughter into the
classroom.
She was previously the Children’s Ministries Coordinator at a local church, where she
supervised summer camps and launched Waterdown’s first “Messy Church” where
multi-generations of families and the local community were encouraged to play and
learn about faith through messy food and fun. Prior to joining the WMS team in 2015,
she worked at a nursery school for three years where she taught dozens of Waterdown
preschoolers and was mentored by teachers with decades of experience.
Vanessa is married, has two children and has lived in Waterdown 15 years. Her 13-
year-old son loves to play hockey and her 10-year-old daughter is an artist in the
making. Vanessa is an active volunteer on her children’s school councils and with their
sports activities. She enjoys reading, entertaining family and friends and attending
concerts and live theatre.

 

 

 

Judy Clark

Casa Assistant Judy Clark has welcomed hundreds of children into the classroom at
Waterdown Montessori School over a span of 12 years. After a brief hiatus to help out
with her grandchildren, Judy is delighted to be back in the classroom shaping the great
minds of tomorrow on our beautiful campus.
Judy has two decades of classroom and childcare experience and is a graduate of the
Mohawk College Youth and Child Care program. She has also completed courses in
educational support, stages of development, applied behavioural analysis, early
learning and the value of play, and first aid/CPR.
With her vast knowledge of our extensive supply of Montessori classroom materials,
Judy enjoys guiding students through new work activities and observing their
excitement and eagerness to try a new task on their own. She is a strong advocate of
the Montessori philosophy and how it helps children develop a value skill set through
tasks that progressively increase in difficulty and challenge them at an individual pace to
make learn enjoyable and personalized. She also likes to incorporate classroom themes
into gymnasium and outdoor time and uses these opportunities to help foster
cooperative play, social and self-esteem building skills.
A long-time resident of Waterdown, Judy and her husband Fred love to spend as much
time as possible with their three grown children and six grandchildren. She is also an
active volunteer at her church with the Children’s Liturgy.

 

 

 

 Linda Jones

Administrative Assistant Linda Jones is the first smiling face you will see when entering
the office of Waterdown Montessori School.

Linda’s experience is diverse – from working at private guest lodges in the African bush, to
Corporate offices in Johannesburg, to having her own home daycare in Burlington – and she
always meets every task with enthusiasm and a smile.

Born in South Africa, Linda moved to Burlington in 2004 and loves the gorgeous
location of our school as well as our caring staff and parents. Her own daughter
attended Waterdown Montessori School for three wonderful years and now, years later,
Linda can still see the positive influence Montessori education had on her.

Linda adores being with children and the highlight of her day is when our students pop
in to show her what they’ve learned or created, as well as dancing with them at recess.