Passionate about early childhood learning, Brisbane resident Natalie Aguilar-Picazo recently opened a Montessori school right here in town. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in child development at Mills College and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in early childhood education. She earned her (AMS) Early Childhood Montessori Credential from Montessori Teacher Education Center (MTEC) in Sunnyvale, California and now brings her expertise to Brisbane.
Asked why she decided to open Star City Montessori, she explained, “When working at private and public Montessori schools for over 10 years, I saw young children develop the skills to read, write, count, and socialize with their peers, which helps prepare them for kindergarten. I observed young children developing a deeper knowledge of geography, different cultures, astronomy, plants, and animals. Seeing the excitement in children’s faces when learning about these topics, inspired me to open a private in-home Montessori Preschool in Brisbane. My husband and I found a home where we could create an inviting and engaging learning environment for potty trained children ages 3-5 years. We purchased our home at 370 Alvarado St, close to Brisbane Elementary School and turned the living room and dining room into a comfortable place for preschool children.”
In September, Star City Montessori opened its doors. Natalie explained that the Montessori method helps young children learn language and literacy, math, and positive social skills to prepare them
for kindergarten. She noted that their program “offers a bilingual (English/Spanish) traditional Montessori education where Spanish is integrated throughout the day in songs, visuals, stories, music, and games. To promote math and language skills, we use hands-on activities with various tactile materials. Freedom of choice provides children with the opportunity to develop their unique self, grow emotionally, strengthen their motivation, and make choices while learning academics at their own pace. With a wide range of meaningful, challenging, and developmentally appropriate materials to explore, they develop a sense of order, concentration, eye-hand coordination, and independence.”
When asked to elaborate on how her school helps children develop emotionally, Natalie expressed that “children are encouraged to make choices, take risks, collaborate, and explore both indoors and outdoors to develop a lifelong love of learning and discovery. They learn to express their feelings, manage their behavior in a positive way, take turns, problem-solve, and develop grace and courtesy.”
While Star City Montessori is home-based, the program is a school environment, not a day care center. They’re open Monday-Friday from 7am-5pm and their adult to child ratio is 1:6. Registration is NOW open for children ages 3-5 who are potty trained. Call Natalie Aguilar-Picazo at (415) 494-5225 to schedule a tour, ask questions, and say hello. They are online at: www.starcitymontessori.com, yelp, and social media.