Classroom: Lower Elementary
“The Montessori philosophy complements my own educational philosophy that lessons should not be taught and forgotten. Connections in all facets of the classroom, including art and music, allow the greatest opportunity for learning.”
Kim Nichols has worked in a variety of capacities at Langley Montessori School since 1998. She developed an early interest in learning disabilities and special education, which led her to seek advanced training in research-based programs such as Orton-Gillingham, Direct Instruction through the Morningside generative model, Arrowsmith and Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, intended to meet the needs of children with varying learning styles. Prior to teaching at Langley Montessori School, she has experience teaching in a variety of specialized educational settings including Fraser Academy, a school designed to meet the needs of dyslexic students, in Vancouver. Motivated to pursue further education, Kim attained a Master’s Degree in Education at Simon Fraser University with a focus on curriculum and instruction.
In addition to her passion for special education, Kim is committed to Montessori education. She is a MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) accredited elementary teacher. Her daughter attended Langley Montessori School and her granddaughter is presently a student in the elementary program.
Kim is married and has a grown daughter and one granddaughter. Her hobbies include entertaining and gardening. She is currently the president of the “Love Bug Society”, a micro-board set up on behalf of her autistic niece.
Classroom: Lower Elementary and Enrichment Club Coordinator
Having completed her Early Childhood Education Diploma, with a specialization in special needs, and her Child and Youth Care degree at the University of Victoria, Karen began her career at Langley Montessori School and Early Learning Centre in 2010. As she spent more time in the Infant and Toddler classroom, her passion grew for this age group and she went on to complete courses to obtain her Infant and Toddler License.
To further her education, she left Langley Montessori for two years to complete a Bachelor of Education degree at Trinity Western University. Karen believes the aim for education should be a journey for students where they have the opportunity to” unpack” their curiosity, and become critical thinkers. In her opinion, education should prepare students for the present and the future. She is excited to join Ms. Kim and Ms. Vicki in the Lower Elementary classroom this year and looks forward to her new role as Enrichment Club Coordinator.
In her spare time, Karen enjoys yoga, reading, and spending time with her husband.
Sheryl Edwards feels very fortunate to be selected as a member of the Langley Montessori School faculty. In addition to completing a Bachelor of Education degree, she also holds a Master of Education degree in Elementary Education. She is a certified B.C. Early Childhood Educator (ECE) and a Montessori Teacher.
Ms. Sheryl completed her Montessori Training through the Vancouver School Board and holds an American Montessori Society (AMS) certification, affiliated and accredited by Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). This agency is recognized by the B.C. Ministry of Education and the United States Department of Education.
Her passion and goal is to teach your children the Montessori philosophy. She believes that teachers are tools and instruments that facilitate the children’s ability to develop their analytical, logical and critical thinking skills. Using this format as her guide, she looks forward to preparing the children to meet the many challenges that lie ahead.
Upper Elementary Special Education Assistant
“We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.” – Maria Montessori
Avril Wessels’ love of learning and desire to empower students to be successful, has led her to earn diplomas in Child Day Care Management and as a Special Education Assistant. She is a certified Orton-Gillingham Tutor and has training in a variety of Lindamood- Bell Learning Processes, research-validated programs that develop the skills necessary for reading and comprehension. Her experience includes tutoring private students, working as a special education assistant in the Arrowsmith Program (a program designed to help students strengthen the weak cognitive capacities underlying their learning disability),and working as a special education assistant in the Surrey School District.
Since receiving informal Montessori training in South Africa in 1995, and integrating the philosophy into the education of her three children, Montessori has been an important part of Avril’s life. Two of her children were previous students at Langley Montessori School. Despite their learning challenges, several of the students Avril has supported over the years, graduated from high school on the honour roll. Avril looks forward to assisting Ms. Miriam and Ms. Frances in the Upper Elementary classroom this year.
Upper Elementary French Specialist
Bonjour, my name is Helene Damgaard and I am the French specialist working with the Upper Elementary students. I was born in the St. Ambroise de la Jeune Lorette Parish, just outside Quebec City. I am the sixth of twelve children. Since I am part Huron, my family and I would regularly attend Mass at the Huron Village Church, called Notre-Dame de Lorette, built in 1730. My “playground” was the St. Charles’ River which flowed directly behind our home.
In addition to providing the French program for the Upper Elementary students, I have tutored numerous students over the years. I developed an interest in learning disabilities and special education to meet the needs of my youngest son. My training in the Orton-Gillingham method has assisted me in meeting the needs of my students with a variety of Language learning challenges.
I am married with five grown children and numerous grandchildren that enrich and bless my life. I enjoy gardening, as my husband and I owned and operated a greenhouse where we specialized in growing hibiscus and gardenia plants. I also enjoy my fiddling classes and archery.
Elementary Director and Drama Specialist
Karena co-founded the company, Arts Express in 1995 and has been passionate and dedicated to student enrichment through the philosophy of Arts in Education ever since. She highly values a process-oriented approach to teaching as a way to engage students in their learning, while emphasizing the importance of building self confidence and personal expression.
Karena’s Theatre Arts background as a graduate from the George Brown Theatre School, combined with her own on-stage experiences, has taken her on the path of directing a variety of dramatic works and full production plays. As a teacher with 20 years of experience in both public and private schools, Karena’s aim is to work with children to highlight the best of their abilities and to help them to shine as creative individuals.
In addition to her professional experience, Karena works hard to contribute in multiple ways toward her own community and has served on several board of directors. She is an avid volunteer for many organizations and is the proud mother of 2 daughters. Karena is beyond excited to start working with the students and staff at Langley Montessori School and is deeply thankful for the opportunity.
Nina Przulj is happy and honoured to be joining Langley Montessori School. She has been an educator for the past 11 years, working with students in Canada, United States and Europe. Nina comes from an independent school in Vancouver where she taught a range of subjects while specializing in mathematics and science. Nina is a strong supporter of Montessori philosophy. In Orange County, California, she taught upper elementary classes in a local Montessori school. Nina believes that children are by nature curious explorers. Her classroom is always student centered and she acts as facilitator in helping her students’ learning experience to blossom. Nina does not teach by a textbook and believes in project based learning through hands on work. Last year she organized an experiential learning week for her students at the marine biology science station in Bamfield, Vancouver Island. Nina encourages a love for nature, as well as a deep sense of responsibility for all living things and for the environment in which we exist.
Both of Nina’s parents were teachers which sparked an early interest in her to pursue a career as an educator. She has an older sister who is a full professor of computer science in London, United Kingdom. Nina started tutoring children in her neighbourhood by the time she was in grade 4. Nina’s teaching philosophy is quite simple. She always says, “Never give up!” In her opinion, a successful educator is one who never gives up on any student and who believes that learning is a lifelong process. Nina encourages her students to ask questions, help each other and build a strong sense of community. Participation is necessary in her class as she feels it provides the greatest opportunity for success. Students are encouraged to use their previous knowledge and experiences to help them discover new concepts. Nina supports her students both academically and emotionally. She is sensitive to their needs, open and flexible, and cares deeply about each child’s well- being.
Nina completed a Bachelor of Education at University of Windsor in Ontario. Prior to that, she completed a Bachelor of Science at York University in Toronto, Ontario. Music is another important component of Nina’s education. Nina holds a music diploma from a Davorin Jenko School of Music in Belgrade, Serbia, specializing in piano and solo singing. Prior to her arrival to Canada, Nina sang in an opera choir and performed in many concert halls in Europe. Furthermore, she was formally trained in Europe as a ballerina. In her free time, Nina enjoys travelling, reading, music, cooking, learning different languages, and spending time with her family. She is married with one daughter.
Nina looks forward to a great year teaching your children. “There is no better gift I can give to my students than the love of learning. When children have fun learning, that knowledge sticks with them forever.”
Upper Elementary Teacher
Sonia Samra is ecstatic to be joining the team of educators at Langley Montessori School. Growing up, it was always Sonia’s dream to be a teacher. In pursuit of that dream, Sonia went on to graduate from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts, followed by a Bachelor of Education Degree. She began her teaching career as a Social Studies teacher at the high school level, before making the transition into elementary. Through her volunteer, coaching, tutoring and teaching experience, Sonia has been afforded the opportunity to work with students ranging in age, ability and backgrounds.
In addition to being passionate about teaching students in the classroom, she enjoys working with children in various settings outside of the classroom. She had the opportunity to do this through volunteering as a coach in a variety of settings. Helping run the Arts and Crafts Club, the Sports and Recreation Club and organizing and designing the Camping Program at her previous school also afforded her this opportunity. Furthermore, being an active member of the Multicultural and Yearbook Committees assisted her in her drive to create an inclusive environment throughout the school, resulting in boosted school spirit.
In the classroom, Sonia strives to create a fun and stimulating environment which allows all of her students to feel safe and included. She believes in building relationships based on mutual respect with her students, in order to help each of them reach their full potential. Additionally, Sonia enjoys exposing her students to various cultures. She believes it is important to bring as much multiculturalism into the classroom as possible.
Sonia hopes that this coming school year will not only be a year in which your child demonstrates positive growth, but also one that they look back at in the years to come with great fondness.
Early Learning Centre
Ms. Theresa Lumley
Early Learning Centre Director
Throughout her life, Ms.Theresa has enjoyed many experiences working with young adults and children. As an educator, being able to provide emotional, social, physical and intellectual learning opportunities to children is what she values most in her career. Having the opportunity to help them build their self-esteem and confidence, while providing a safe nurturing environment, is exactly what led her to this field.
It is Ms.Theresa’s goal to combine a range of experience, obtained from her previous teaching and managerial roles, with her ability to be a compassionate, caring, enthusiastic, dedicated and intelligent teacher. She is thrilled to continue pursuing her passion of working with children at Langley Montessori’s Early Learning Centre and looks forward to making positive contributions.
Her role here as Manager and support for the Infant & Toddler Class, is to ensure that all the families and staff are safe, happy and have what they need each and every day.
She would like parents and caregivers to know that her door is always open to discuss any comments or concerns. She is here to support you and your children in this centre in any way she can. She looks forward to getting to know each and every one here at Langley Montessori School.
ELC Manager on Leave
“The role of education is to interest the child profoundly in an external activity to which he will give all of his potential.”
Ms. Tara is our Early Learning Centre Manager. She is a mother of two boys and an Early Childhood Educator with over 20 years experience in the childcare field. Ms. Tara has a strong passion for the values and ideals held by Maria Montessori. She has her Montessori Diploma along with three years of college studies in Psychology, Sociology, Information Management, English and Fine Arts. You will see Ms. Tara working in a variety of capacities in our Early Learning Centre including manager, bus driver and support staff in the Infant/Toddler Class, Pre A and Pre B classes. Ms. Tara believes that it is important to create a loving and encouraging environment in which each child is able to realize his or her own potential. She is delighted to be part of the Langley Montessori community and is looking forward to working with each family to provide an exceptional learning experience for every child.
Ms. Haj has been with Langley Montessori School since 2011, as an Early Childhood Educator with a Montessori certification. Prior to joining the staff in the Early Childhood Centre, she remembers bringing in her son Ty, when he was three years old, for his first day of preschool at the centre. After “their” first emotional day, her son had wonderful four and half years at Langley Montessori School. Ms. Haj is very proud that her son had the opportunity to develop a strong Montessori foundation.
Ms. Haj is thrilled to work with children in preschool and daycare in the ELC because she believes this is when the child builds self-confidence as he or she strives for independence. As an early childhood educator, she believes it is her job to provide a setting that encourages independence while meeting each child’s individual needs.
“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” Maria Montessori
Julie has found great reward in experiencing the children’s wonder of learning through Montessori methods. As a loving grandmother of nine, Julie believes in the value of family connections and the special role that each of us plays in the life of a child.
By creating a safe and welcoming environment, children can develop to their full potential. Julie encourages this development by celebrating each child’s individual and unique qualities. She has diplomas in both Early Child Education and Infant / Toddler Special Needs.
Michelle Lin is an experienced Early Childhood Educator and English teacher having worked in kindergarten, elementary, preschool, daycare and grammar schools in both Canada and Taiwan. As Ms. Michelle was working toward her Sociology Degree, she was motivated to pursue her Early Childhood Diploma and Teaching English as a Second Language Diploma.
Michelle believes early learning plays an integral part in a child’s lifelong learning. As an early childhood educator, she is dedicated to guiding each child to meeting his or her full potential.
In her spare time, Michelle enjoys watching movies, listening to music and travelling.
Teresa was interested in early childhood education when she was the volunteer in her daughter’s Montessori preschool. She holds a Master of Education degree specializing in Curriculum Design and Implementation. She worked in the primary, secondary and Montessori schools in Canada or Hong Kong. She was also a language policy researcher.
Teresa completed the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, American Montessori Society (AMS) accredited Preschool/Kindergarten Diploma Program and the North American Montessori Center (NAMC) Preschool/Kindergarten Diploma Program. She is now pursuing her Infant/Toddler (IT) and Special Needs (SN) diplomas.
Teresa believes that that each young child is unique with individual differences. She also feels that quality childcare education is directed by well-trained teachers who are able to enhance children’s development in all areas. She looks forward to working with all the wonderful children and staff in the Early Learning Centre.
Ms. Merett was very happy to join the lovely team at Langley Montessori School in September 2015 where she will have the opportunity to work with passionate educators, wonderful children and families committed to the education of their children.
Ms. Merett worked as an elementary school teacher for several years in Egypt and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English. She also holds a certificate in Early Childhood Education and has experience working in a daycare setting. She is presently working toward obtaining her Preschool Montessori certificate.
Ms. Merett enjoys hard work, spending time with her three daughters and husband.
Currently on Maternity Leave
Ms. Kelsey feels very grateful to be part of the team at Langley Montessori School this year. She comes with great enthusiasm and a true passion for the Montessori Method. Kelsey has always found joy working with young children in various capacities over the years as a Nanny, Dance Teacher, Soccer Coach, and an Early Childhood Educator.
She completed her schooling at the Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia in Vancouver and has been AMI (Association Montessori International) and ECE qualified since graduating in 2013.
Her goal is to evoke the passion, love, kindness, and creativity within each child she has the honour of guiding. In her spare time she also enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and pets as well as being a photographer.
“The child who has felt a strong love for his surroundings and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction.” – Maria Montessori
Ms. Susanne Ball
Ms. Susanne has been a Montessori educator for over 24 years. She holds B.C. certification in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, as well as Foundations in Montessori and Lower Elementary Montessori training thus qualifying her to teach children from 3 to 9 years of age. After ten years of classroom experience in Canada, Ms. Susanne was inspired to live her passion and purpose of making a difference in children’s lives globally through guiding, caring and educating the “whole” child and travelled to the United States.
Ms. Susanne worked in several Montessori Schools in Arizona for eight years as a Montessori consultant and educator, where she had the privilege and honour to support administration in implementing the Montessori philosophy as well as to educate children in preschool, kindergarten and elementary classrooms. Along the way, she also assisted with supporting parent education and implementing successful enrollment. Through a variety of opportunities to advocate for children in the field of Montessori education, Ms. Susanne became a member of the Board of Directors, mentored new educators, and educated teachers in the implementation of Montessori education.
As an educator, Ms. Susanne aspires to fulfill Dr. Maria Montessori’s vision that “Education must no longer be merely the imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path seeking the release of human potentialities.” She takes great joy in stepping back and observing the child’s brilliance unfold as she believes each child is a bud waiting to blossom.