Welcome to our website. This site has been developed so you can see what is going on in our classroom. We hope that you will find it very helpful.
Meet the Teachers!
Mrs. Stefanie Baldonade;
Mrs. Baldonade was born in Germany and moved to California in 1985. She has three sons ranging in age from high school to college. She completed her Montessori Early Childhood Certificate in 2010 after being fascinated by the Montessori methodology and amazed by the growth she saw in her own children. Mrs. Baldonade was also involved in creating the preschool program at MMCA from the ground up and is very proud of what they've accomplished. She has been the Director of Children's House since 2018.
Mrs. Melissa McKinnon;
Melissa (Millie) has been teaching Montessori for seventeen years. She received her NCME certificate from the Montessori Teachers College in Sacramento. She spent nine years at Auburn Discovery Montessori and three years at Morningstar Montessori in Lincoln. Melissa's son attends MMCA as a eighth grader. In her early twenties she was introduced to the Montessori approach to teaching. It opened her eyes to a philosophy of education that was unique and exciting and something she knew she would enjoy. Melissa loves her career and looks forward to every new opportunity to make a real difference in the life of a child.
Mrs. Yoko Seki - McClure;
Mrs. Seki-McClure (Ms. Yoko) was born and grew up in Japan. After earning her BA degree and teaching credentials in Japan, she moved to the US and started teaching Japanese at University of California, Riverside, a sister school of her Japanese University. She also earned California Single Subject Teaching Credential and taught Japanese at several different universities, colleges, and public high schools. She got interested in Early Childhood Education when she had her son. She went back to school and earned Basic and Advanced Early Childhood Education Certificates with honors from University of California, Los Angeles. She just obtained her California State Montessori Credential Teacher Certificate in 2019.
Integrity is at the core. The teacher’s integrity comes from calm, confidence, and caring, light-hearted enthusiasm matched with conscious self-restraint, modeling the best of human behavior for the class while showing both passion and joy in the work. Even more important is the students’ dignity, for which we ensure a positive and respectful environment.
We believe in the unfolding, not the molding, of children. The teacher watches, listens, and communicates to assess and assist each child’s development of both intellect and independence. We champion the triumphs of each day, removing or easing obstacles. We patiently, flexibly, and compassionately encourage a joyful perseverance in each child.
The teacher is not the focus but the facilitator of the classroom. Teaching is an act of service and humility. Through the creation of routines and traditions, the maintenance of detailed records, and the presentation of broad and deep lessons that illuminate concepts and encourage student discovery, the teacher encourages students’ concentration, reflection, and growth.
A teacher embraces the classroom environment as a partner. For children to succeed, the environment must be orderly and inviting, clean and uncluttered, beautiful and precise. The teacher’s job is to connect materials to students and to spark their curiosity. Children are then set free to make choices, combining freedom with a developing sense of discipline and responsibility.
The whole world is a teacher’s classroom. Teachers and their lessons demonstrate the inter-relatedness of all knowledge: the links between different academic subjects, the connections between the large and the small, and the essential similarities among all peoples. Teachers extend the classroom into the world beyond the school, both physically and imaginatively.
Teachers and students learn by setting high challenges and making safe mistakes. Boundaries, clearly set and consistently reinforced, create a safe and cooperative environment which becomes as much a community as a classroom, where we all learn from each other. Children learn both how to help and how to reach out for help, first in their own classrooms but increasingly in the wider world they will fully enter as adults.
A teacher also remains a student, growing both personally and professionally, shows a passion for learning, mastering the varied Montessori curriculum while also pursuing personal interests. Like any good student, he or she has both strengths and weaknesses, along with an awareness of how to address them in the course of the day’s work.
Montessori teachers educate the whole community. They actively engage parents in a partnership for the good of the child, engage creatively and collaboratively with assistants and colleagues from all age levels of the school, and communicate clearly while maintaining proper confidentiality. They are dynamic participants in the life of the school, actively serving, informing, protecting, and improving.