Meadow Montessori is Ms. Kristine’s passion! Involved with Meadow Montessori since 2004, she chaired the Board of Directors for several years as it evolved from a preschool to a BC Independent school. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership from Trinity Western University and is certified as a BC Independent School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) teacher. She is also our Safe School Coordinator, a certified MindUp educator, and an avid advocate for youth and adult mental health.
Ms. Kristine has an obvious love of children and learning, a knack for sharing wisdom, and strongly believes Montessori is an approach that helps kids develop a lasting love of learning. She is a very dedicated leader of our team here at Meadow Montessori School.
Our much loved Kindergarten teacher and Vice Principal/Primary Program Manager brings over 20 years of experience in early childhood education field, including 17 years of teaching in the Montessori Kindergarten classroom. She holds a Professional Independent Schools Teaching Certificate, a 3-6 Montessori Diploma by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and is also a Certified Early Childhood Educator (ECE).
“Growing up near an orphanage in Warsaw, Poland made me aware of the importance of cognitive, mental, physical and emotional stimulation in a life of every child and it shaped my desire to work with and guide young children. While studying Education at Lund University (Sweden) I was a part of newly implemented integration programs for children requiring extra support within a regular classroom setting. Becoming a teacher was a natural progression for me and I strive every day to make your child’s thinking visible to you. The Montessori perspective on child’s intelligence goes beyond a basic curriculum and I will expand it further with fun, innovative, outside-the-box activities. I’m looking forward to meeting you all so we can work together on guiding the leaders of tomorrow.”
I have served neurodiverse children (and their families) for over a decade. This experience ranges in capacity from one to one support, direct child therapy, behaviour consulting, classroom advocacy, and environmental inclusion planning. Directly prior to my time at Meadow, I spent years instructing college students through a year long diploma program, where I educated future EAs to support children through a neurodiversity affirming, intentional, and inclusive practice. I also have, and continue to, provide approved professional development courses to BC educators focusing on all aspects of neurodiversity and inclusion, so that they are entering their classrooms teaching from research driven best practice for all children.
My education background is complex, and directly reflects my approach and passion towards education: not only am I a lifelong learner who’s always craving to know more, but I believe (and advise educators and parents when they want to get their children engaged) that learning has to “follow the dopamine.”
I first earned my AA in generalized Psychology, followed my BA in Psychology with a specific focus on Child Development and Abnormal Psychology. From there I “followed the dopamine” and earned a BA in Criminology, and furthermore a specialty certificate in Forensic Science, before coming back to Psychology to earn my post graduate in Intelligence Analysis and Statistics. Most recently, I’ve completed a Behaviour Analyst Certification Board verified course sequence in Applied Behaviour Analysis and Disability Studies. Even still, with all of this education, I would argue it pales in comparison to the learning I’ve gained from directly supporting children of all abilities in the field, and raising my own children – of which I have three!
What does my role at Meadow mean for you and your children? Well, as the Director of Specialized Education and Inclusion, my philosophical approach is simple: presume competence. Neurodiversity exists just as biodiversity exists: In the expected, natural, variation of life. If we find a plant is not doing well, we do not blame the plant – we instead tailor the environment to allow for growth! My approach to neurodiversity is the same. Whether your child is autistic, ADHD, has dyslexia, etc.… the ways their brain engages with and processes their environment are different than what we’ve planned for, but they aren’t erroneous. These differences are expected and natural. It is not my role to blame or attempt to change your child. Instead, with this appreciation and deep understanding of neurodiversity, it is my role to tailor your child’s environment (both physically and through their instructional approach) to allow their beautiful brain to thrive.
Since graduating from UBC with my Bachelor of Education, I have had the amazing opportunity to work with every age group from Kindergarten to Grade 7. My students have always had diverse experiences and needs, and working with such a variety of unique individuals has taught me how to adapt my teaching style to the learning styles of my children. Since I have always had an interest in working with children with special needs, I gained Special Education Certification from Queens University.
When I am not teaching or studying you will find me with my family, keeping active with my two busy young boys. I also enjoy travelling, photography, and writing and one day I hope to write a children’s book. I moved to Vancouver from Ottawa, Ontario when I was 6 years old. My grade 1 teacher was an absolutely amazing educator and role model, and it is through my experiences in her classroom that I decided I would one day grow up to be a teacher myself. The lasting impact teachers have on the lives of their students is profound, and I strive in all I do as an educator to nourish the curiosity of my students, provide a positive classroom climate, act as a role model, and ultimately to foster a love of learning.
Hello, my name is Lisa Lake, I am a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design earning a degree in Fine Arts with a specialty in drawing. This wonderful experience of artistic growth led me to art education where I strive to build skill development and expand visual perception. For the last 20 years I have been working with students of all ages in Maple Ridge and surrounding communities. In 2013 I furthered my teaching practice by earning my BEd and teaching certification through SFU. I enjoy teaching at Meadow Montessori where we focus on the whole child.
In our art program I am introducing students to engaging artistic traditions, techniques, materials, and I enjoy seeing our student’s artistic abilities grow and used to show their learning in many other areas of the curriculum. When not working on all things art & science, I enjoy spending time with my three kids and visiting the family home on Galiano Island.
Hi! My name is Ms. Irene. I completed my Bachelor of Education degree with specialization in Early Childhood Education at UBC. Since then, I have taught in various schools in Korea and the UK and have years of experience working with students and teachers of diverse backgrounds.
I have a strong passion for teaching children. As a teacher, my goal is to bring children to their full potential and help them fulfill their dreams. I believe that children learn best when they are engaged in their learning. Thus, it is crucial for a teacher to understand the children’s interests and needs and plan lessons that are fun and child-centred. Through my teaching experiences, I have learned to design fun and engaging lessons which accommodate various learning styles of children. I am confident that I create a safe and stimulating environment where all students feel loved and accepted and truly enjoy their learning.
When I was in high school and thinking about what to do next, I decided to try teaching English overseas. I graduated from UBC with a BA in Linguistics and a TESL Certificate, then packed my bags for South Korea. Adjusting to a new job, language, and culture was stressful at first, but I worked with some amazing co-teachers and absorbed as much as I could. Once I began feeling confident in the classroom, I developed a real passion for education. I especially loved the challenge of finding creative ways to increase student engagement, such as through project-based learning and real-world experiences. Over the course of my six years in Korea, I taught students from Pre-K to Grade 6, married a wonderful man, adopted a cat, and completed a teaching program. I am back in Canada now and thrilled to be part of the team at Meadow Montessori! Outside of the classroom, I enjoy reading, board games, video games, and escape rooms.
Ms. Anna left home when she was 18 and went to work as an Au Pair in France, caring for 3 young children and working in MacDonald’s where she began to learn French. After completing a teaching degree and spending another year living in France, she taught French and German in a comprehensive school in England. Deciding that she wanted to teach French in a fun, interactive way, Ms. Anna set up and ran her own business teaching at the elementary level, teaching over 300 children per week. After many years working in mental health, law, French Immersion High School and as a private tutor, Ms. Anna is so happy to be back teaching elementary students at Meadow Montessori.
I achieved my bachelor’s degree in science many years back and worked in the chemistry field for a while. Then I started to work as an ESL teacher, and I really enjoyed working with children of different age groups. I moved to Canada in 2011 and my daughter was born a year after. While attending programs like Strong Start for many years with my daughter, I decided to continue my teaching career. As a mother and a professional, I understand that children’s life experience at early ages has a long-lasting impact on their future. So, I decided to get my ECE license and pursue my passion for supporting young children to reach their fullest potential while making good memories along the way.
In my spare time, I like to watch movies, read books, go to the gym, and walk my dog, Coco.
My love for music started with piano lessons at the ripe old age of 5. I didn’t discover my love for singing until I found myself in every choir and music class the amazing music department at Maple Ridge Secondary School had to offer. In grade 9 I began taking private singing lessons at a local studio; I wanted to be able to sing better and I definitely needed some help! I connected pretty quickly to classical singing, and that became my singular focus for many years.
Two university degrees later and a shift in perspective, I began to dive deeper into songwriting and recording. I’m a huge bookworm and started a video project in 2015 called #newsongsonmondays, where I wrote a song inspired by a book every week and posted it to YouTube. Following a year of these videos, I worked with producer Gord Richards at OAK Recording studio to bring a handful of those songs to life! They are now available to stream on all platforms, and all of the original YouTube videos are still up. I released the five song EP of songs inspired by books titled ‘Coming Home’ in 2017 and then two singles titled ‘Wildfire’ and ‘Make it Quick’ in 2020 with producer Michael Kondakow. The official music video for ‘Wildfire’ directed by Christie Wong has already garnered over 50,000 views on YouTube!
Throughout my years in Toronto I performed in and around the city as artist Arianna Mae, showcasing at Canadian Music Week in 2019 and chosen by RBCxMUSIC for their online concert series #FirstUp in 2020 during the pandemic. I also taught at an award-winning private music studio in Toronto, which is where I discovered how much I really love to teach.
Hello, my name is Jackie Lutz, and I am an EA working in one of the Upper Elementary classes. I have always known that I wanted to work in this field. Growing up I had a brother that was born with cerebral palsy, and it was through that childhood my love for exceptional kids began. My plan was to begin this career at an early age but instead I married and had 3 beautiful kids, so I worked nights and weekends as a server so that I could be home with them. Working with the public as a server gave me a lot of experience tending to a variety of people from many walks of life. At the age of 40 I went back to school and this past fall I completed my program and was lucky enough to do my practicum at Meadow Montessori. Right from the very first day I knew that this school was a hidden gem! I’m so happy that I was given the opportunity to join the team!
Hi! My name is Ms. Carissa and I’m an Education Assistant in one of the upper elementary classes. Growing up I knew I enjoyed working with children and young youth. I took a detour in my career choices in my younger/mid twenties and went into accounting for 6 years. I knew it was not my path as I didn’t feel fulfilled in my work. I wanted to change my career choices to something that was more rewarding for me. I would reminisce about my past of working with youth in high school in the support rooms, or when I used to work with a young woman with ASD, helping her learn independence and how to live on her own. I always had a passion for working with children with special needs. I carefully thought about my career change choice and chose to become an EA. I did my practicum here at Meadow Montessori, and fortunately got a position here! It’s been over a year now with Meadow Montessori and I can say; I finally feel like I am where I am supposed to be.
Hi! My name is Ms. Tiffany and I am an Education Assistant in the Lower Elementary class. I was always fascinated with the field of psychology, and knew I wanted a career that allowed me to exercise that passion. I went to university and completed a Bachelors degree in Psychology. During my studies I took an interest in child and industrial psychology. For many years I took the industrial route and worked in disability management. This provided a wealth of experience but lost its lustre after having my own children. I knew I needed a meaningful change and Education Assistant was everything I was looking for by combining my education, experience, and passion for lifelong learning. While my oldest started school, I was in a fortunate position to be able to go back and complete my Education Assistant diploma. I am very grateful that I was able to complete my practicum with Meadow Montessori, graduate with honors and be given a position at this wonderful school.
I find working with children very rewarding and enjoy knowing that I help them on their difficult days as well as play a part in making them happier and more confident daily. There is never a dull moment, and every day is different than the last. I enjoy the spontaneity of learning and playing and getting to know each child’s unique personality.
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in education in 1999 and after graduation I travelled to Hong Kong to work as a caregiver. That experience helped me decide to pursue a career working with children in a professional setting. I have worked as an Early Childhood Educator for nearly 3 years now and am having a great time here at Meadow Montessori.
Bio to come!
Ms. Jessica joined the school in 2016 and provides administrative support for our Director, Principal, and teachers. She has a background in a variety of office environments and has 10+ years of reception experience as well as graphic design. Jessica is a voracious reader and loves hiking, surfing, yoga, painting and pottery. She enjoys seeing the children learn and grow and laugh, never a dull moment! She has been the Secretary on our Board of Directors for the past 4 years and also has two lovely children who received a great educational foundation and love of learning at Meadow Montessori !