“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”

-Maria Montessori

christinemariani Toddler After Care Lead

A.S., Child Studies, Mount Ida College

B.A., Liberal Studies, Mount Ida College

Christine began working at Amherst Montessori School in 1995, making her the school's longest-standing guide and employee. She has seen the community through many changes over the years, including the opening of the new school building on Pomeroy Lane in 2012.

In her 20+ years as a classroom assistant, Christine has led countless children through the earliest stages of their education. She brings immesuarable kindness, patience, and experience to her role in the classroom, and implements Montessori philosophy in every interraction with her students. On a given day in the Toddler room, you can find Christine guiding her students through the day's activities with a genuine respect for their independence and capabilities, and a profound warmth which fosters lifetime bonds. It is not uncommon for alumni of various ages to come back to AMS for a visit with Christine!

In her free time, Christine enjoys reading, snowmobiling, scrap-booking, and camping. A lover of books, Christine pays regular visits to the library looking for new titles to supplement the Toddler classroom collection. She also loves spending time with her husband, Rico, her dog, Jake, and her two step-daughters, Samantha and Rachel. 

Rachel RobersonChildren’s House After Care Lead

B.S., Sociology, Education Minor, University of Massachusetts - Amherst 

Rachel has been an Assistant in the Children’s House classroom since 2007, and she has led the Children’s House After Care program since 2008. She is a career early childhood educator dedicated to building meaningful relationships with her students through creativity and play.

Rachel’s After Care program synthesizes structural elements of Montessori philosophy with play-based curriculum both indoors and out. She places emphasis on the Montessori peace curriculum to create a peaceful and comforting space for the children. Rachel recognizes that students arrive in After Care at the end of a full day’s work in the classroom, and she strives to meet the unique needs of each individual child during these extended hours at school. On a given afternoon, you can find Rachel and her students completing puzzles, reading in a cozy corner, gathering for songs or snacks, exploring the garden and playgrounds, or working on one of her signature arts and crafts collaborations.

In addition to her certifications in early childhood education, Rachel holds a B.S. in Sociology with an Independant Concentration in Education and Inequality. She has a commitment to multicultural education, which has been a common thread throughout her professional and academic career. In her free time, Rachel enjoys being outdoors and working on craft projects.

Elementary After Care Lead

 B.A., English, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Filipa graduated from UMass - Amherst in 2015 with a degree in English, after which she began a yearlong Americorps Museum Educator program at the Providence Children's Museum in Providence, Rhode Island. There she created an 11-month STEAM-based curriculum that included sewing activities, storytelling with comics and stop-motion animation, and engineering projects with recycled and found materials. She also facilitated an afterschool learning program at the Boys and Girls Club for elementary-aged children. 

After completing her Americorps program, she became the site supervisor and group leader for the Hampshire Regional YMCA afterschool program. And this past summer she served as the Arts and Crafts Specialist at Camp Norwich, where she developed and ran the arts and crafts programs for campers in grades kindergarten through ninth grade. 

Filipa loves to craft and runs her own crafting business. She is also fluent in Portuguese, French and Cape Verdean Creole, and English. 

rachel-marianiInfant After Care Lead

Rachel joined Amherst Montessori School in 2011 as a substitute teacher and was then hired as an assistant in Children's House in 2012. Since then, she has worked in every classroom except Elementary, but has found her favorite age group to be Infants and Toddlers.

Since our Infant program began in 2015, Rachel has led the Infant Summer Discovery program and has assisted in both Toddler and Infant classrooms. Rachel also leads our Infant After Care program and assists in the afternoon in both the Toddler and Infant classrooms.

When Rachel isn't working with children at Amherst Montessori, she enjoys reading, baking, traveling, playing board games, and watching foreign cinema. She also loves spending time with her family, friends, and pets.

KirstenDudkiewiczToddler After Care Assistant

B.A., Psychology and Theatre, Marlboro College

Kirsten has worked with children since high school when she first trained as a YMCA counselor for Camp Nokomis on the beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. Since then she has served several youth programs in New England such as the Boys and Girls club, Monadnock Family Service's youth program “Acting Out,” and most recently the Adolescent residential program at the Brattleboro Retreat. Her introduction to Montessori was first hand when she transferred to Hilltop Montessori School in Brattleboro for an extended three year middle school experience.

A native of Vermont, she enjoys picking apples (and baking pies of course!) taking long walks and nature swims, and campfires with friends.  She enjoys theatre, music, singing, and performs with the New England Youth Theatre Alumni Association. She also finds traveling to be very rewarding and the best learning experience. She is lucky to have visited several countries like Japan (where her Father, Step-mom and little brother live), Germany, England, and Saudi Arabia. She now lives in Hadley with her husband, Jim, and old cat, Harvey; a pooka.


Toddler After Care Lead

Bunker Hill Community College

Harmony was born and raised in the Pioneer Valley. She discovered her love for working with children through babysitting and nannying. When her nephew was born, she relocated to Boston to assist with his care, and made the decision to pursue childcare as her career. She enrolled in Bunker Hill Community College to achieve her Early Education and Care Certification, and began working at Mass Audubon Boston Nature Center's Pathways to Nature preschool.

Harmony is happy to be back in western Mass joining the Toddler team at Amherst Montessori School. In her free time, Harmony enjoys yoga, gardening, and spending time at home with her fluffy cat Gypsy.