• Parent & Child Montessori

    Classes in Southern California

Parent & Child Program Choices

Infant Mommy & Me (2 – 17 months)

Weekly topics such as home environment, movement, order, sleep patterns, independence and language acquisition will offer you moments of clarity in parenting your little one. You will be with your child as she explores simple Montessori materials and joins circle time. You’ll learn a great deal about child development while making new friends in a “mom’s group” atmosphere.

Toddler Mommy & Me (18 – 36 months)

Weekly topics such as fostering independence, toilet learning, discipline, language acquisition and preparing the home environment for your active explorer will give you new insights into how you can optimally support your child’s development. You will be with your child as she works with Montessori materials, enjoys arts and crafts, joins circle time, learns to serve herself snack and plays with other toddlers on the playground. You’ll be able to make friends, find like-minded parents and toddlers for play dates, and learn much about child development, Montessori theory and practice.

Intro to Primary Mommy & Me (2 years 9 months to 3 years 6 months)

The Intro to Primary Parent & Child program is an ideal next step as you move toward the preschool age. It’s a great way to try out the Montessori program, to help your child transition, and to learn how to apply Montessori principles at home with an older child. Each week, we’ll explore a specific topic your child would encounter in the Montessori preschool program. We’ll start with self-care skills, such as dressing and independent toileting, then move on to involving your child in food prep and ideas for independence in eating. We’ll show you how to support sensorial exploration, arts, crafts, music and movement for preschoolers. Finally, we’ll introduce you to some Montessori ideas around literacy and early number skills. You’ll be with your child and guide him as he explores, always with the coaching and support of an experienced Montessori instructor. After this class, you’ll be better prepared to both apply Montessori ideas at home, and to help your child transition into our Montessori primary program. And, of course, you’ll be able to make friends and find like-minded parents and preschoolers for play dates.

Spanish and Mandarin Options for Toddler Mommy & Me

Classes led by a Mandarin or Spanish speaking instructor who will incorporate culture, language and experiences in her native tongue. Adults are encouraged to attend whether or not they speak the language. Children will be spoken to exclusively in either Mandarin or Spanish.

Parent & Child Program Details

  • Mommy & Me groups generally meet once a week for 8 weeks, 1 ½ hours per week. Summer sessions run shorter; check the schedule for details.
  • Mommy & Me sessions start four times each year: January, April, July and September
  • Offered at LePort campuses in the LA South Bay/Palos Verdes area, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Carlsbad, Solana Beach and San Francisco.
  • Infant programs welcome children who are between 2 and 17 months at the start of the session; Toddler programs welcome children between 18 and 36 months; Intro to Primary programs welcome children between 2 years 9 months and 3 years 6 months at the start of the session.
  • Mommy & Me sessions are guided by a consistent, experienced Montessori instructor.
  • Each child attends with a parent or caregiver (nannies or grandparents are welcome, too!) Twins & multiples encouraged to attend with an adult responsible for each child.

Parent & Child Enrollment

  • The Parent & Child (Mommy & Me) program is offered at multiple LePort campuses; see below for schedule details.
  • Registration is first-come, first served. Register early: past Parent & Child sessions have filled weeks before the session starts.
  • Registration for future Parent & Child Sessions will open approximately four to six weeks prior to session start.
Registering more than one child?

If you wish to register for more than one class or have more than one child to enroll, please register for only one class per payment transaction. Alternatively, please give us a call so we can add you to the class manually.

Infant Classes

Irvine Spectrum South
Saturday at 8:30am with Stacey Dee (Starts 1/12) - Class Full
Saturday at 10:30am with Stacey Dee (Starts 1/12) - Class Full

Huntington Harbor
Saturday at 9:00am with Emmy Zappa (Starts 1/19) - View
Saturday at 11:00am with Emmy Zappa (Starts 1/19) - Class Full

Saturday at 8:30am with Sonia Villegas (Starts 1/12) - Class Full

Toddler Classes

Irvine Orchard Hills
Saturday at 8:30am with Melanie Bragstad (Starts 1/12) - Class Full
Saturday at 10:30am with Melanie Bragstad (Starts 1/12) - Class Full

Irvine Spectrum North
Tuesday at 3:30pm with Monica Alvidrez (Starts 1/15) - Class Full
Saturday at 8:30am with Monica Alvidrez (Starts 1/12) - View
Saturday at 10:30am with Monica Alvidrez (Starts 1/12) - Class Full

Irvine Westpark
Monday at 3:30pm with Louisa Blanco (Starts 1/14) - View

Irvine Woodbridge
Tuesday at 3:30pm with Janine D'Penha (Starts 1/15) - Class Full
Saturday at 11:00am with Janine D'Penha (Starts 1/19) - Class Full

Huntington Harbor
Saturday at 11:00am with Daniela Hoyle (Starts 1/19) - Class Full
Saturday at 9:00am with Daniela Hoyle (Starts 1/19) - Class Full

Saturday at 9:00am with Lundon Garner (Starts 1/12) - View

Saturday at 10:30am with Sonia Villegas (Starts 1/12) - Class Full

Toddler (Spanish) Classes

Huntington Harbor
Wednesday at 3:30pm with Kari Gallo (Starts 1/16) - View

Toddler (Mandarin) Classes

Irvine Mandarin
Saturday at 8:30am with Suet Chow (Starts 1/12) - Class Full

Intro to Primary Classes

Irvine Spectrum North
Saturday at 8:30am with Emma Jones (Starts 1/12) - View
Saturday at 10:30am with Emma Jones (Starts 1/12) - View

Parent & Child Instructors

Monica Alvidrez

Monica Alvidrez

Ms. Monica Alvidrez is a Montessori Toddler Head Teacher. As an AMI Montessori Toddler Guide, Ms. Alvidrez received her Early Childhood Education permit from Irvine Valley College in 2003. She joined the LePort Montessori team in 2010 with over ten years of experience teaching in private preschools, as well as experience with second language learners. Ms. Alvidrez pursued her Association of Montessori Internationale 0-3 Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego and looks forward to sharing her knowledge and experience as a mother, teacher, and partner in raising children in her Parent & Child classes.
Louisa Blanco

Louisa Blanco

Ms. Liza Blanco is a Montessori Primary Head Teacher. After teaching in two of the most respected Montessori schools in the Philippines, she moved to the United States, where she earned her Early Childhood Education credentials from Laguna Technical College and her AMI Primary Training Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Ms. Blanco is grateful to be a part of LePort, where she is able to actualize her love for Montessori on a daily basis in her classroom. Back in the Philippines, Ms. Blanco was a very active member in arts and civic activities such as theater, child education sponsorship, and cancer awareness. In her personal time, she is fond of cooking, reading, music, and the performing arts. She is also a Mass cantor and a choir member at her church. Recently, Ms. Blanco discovered the beauty of nature and she enjoys hikes in the California mountains. She describes herself as simple, but strong-willed and passionate: an artist at heart, and a lover of life!
Melanie Bragstad

Melanie Bragstad

Ms. Melanie Bragstad, a Montessori Toddler Head Teacher, graduated from the University of York, England in 1997 with a B.A in Educational Studies. Prior to obtaining her AMI 3 to 6 diploma in Chennai, India, she did volunteer work in schools in Ghana, as well as at children’s homes in Romania. After her time in India, she worked in Montessori schools in Japan, Singapore, Jamaica, and Hong Kong. During the last few years, she has strived to expand her knowledge of the Montessori philosophy, permeated by her enrollment in the 0 to 3 AMI course in Vancouver, Canada. Concurrently over the last two years, she completed her master's degree in Education and earned an Early Childhood Diploma. Melanie is also an accredited infant massage instructor through IAIM. She is passionate about helping children realize their full potential in order to build a strong foundation for their future. She looks forward to working with parents in LePort’s Parent and Child program.
Carmen Calvo

Carmen Calvo

Ms. Carmen Calvo, the third of nine sisters, was born and raised in Mexico City. She was the first in her family to go to college, earning her B.A. in Education from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Later, she went on to earn her AMS Primary diploma, as well as her AMI Elementary diploma. She first discovered and fell in love with the Montessori method through researching educational options for her own children. Ms. Calvo has been a Montessori directress internationally since 1993, and completed her AMI Montessori teacher training for the 0 to 3 age group at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Additionally, she has taught Spanish as a second language to toddlers through adults. Ms. Calvo’s love of travel has sent her from New York to Panama, Hawaii to Russia; her knowledge of world cultures inspires and enriches her teaching.
Suet Chow

Suet Chow

Ms. Suet Chow joined LePort as a Toddler Assistant Teacher in September 2008 after running a licensed family childcare for ten years and working in a Montessori toddler class for four years. In addition to earning her AMI Assistants to Infancy (0-3) teaching credential, Ms. Chow also received her Early Childhood Education Certificate of Achievement with an Infant/Toddler Emphasis from Irvine Valley College. Born and raised in Malaysia, Ms. Chow speaks fluent Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hakka. Having attended a Chinese Immersion school herself from elementary through high school before immigrating to the United States, Ms. Chow knows first-hand the value of learning different languages. She believes childhood is a time of natural creativity and curiosity that is best supported in a Montessori classroom. Ms. Chow continuously looks forward to meeting Mandarin speaking parents as she teaches Toddler Mandarin Immersion Parent & Child classes.
Janine D

Janine D'Penha

Ms. Janine D’Penha is a Montessori Toddler Head Teacher who earned her diploma from the Ratan Tata Institute in Mumbai, India and completed her AMI Montessori teacher training for the 0 to 3 age group at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Ms. D'Penha also earned her master’s degree from Mumbai University, studied classical music at Trinity College in London, and earned her Certificate of Early Childhood from the Auckland University of Technology. She looks forward to sharing her love of children with families in her Parent & Child program.
Stacey Dee

Stacey Dee

Ms. Stacey Dee is a Montessori Infant Head Teacher. Her love for teaching began during her senior year of high school while assisting in a toddler classroom and teaching gymnastics. She attended California State University, San Marcos and received a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a minor in Spanish. She received her Early Childhood Teaching Certificate from Riverside Community College in 2008, and pursued her AMI Diploma for ages 0-3 years from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Ms. Dee joined LePort in the fall of 2009 and finds the "Ah-ha!" moment the most rewarding part of teaching. She loves to see children master the materials and take pride in their work. In her spare time, Ms. Dee loves spending time with her daughter and looks forward to sharing her tips for positive parenting from infancy and beyond in her Parent & Child classes.
Kari Gallo

Kari Gallo

Ms. Kari Gallo was born in Mexico City, Mexico. At the age of 3, her life changed forever when her parents decided to move to California. Ms. Gallo realized she wanted to teach at an early age. When she was a child, she enjoyed pretending she was a teacher and mimicking what she had seen her teachers do!

Ms. Gallo attended the Orange County Regional Occupational Program (ROP) where she received her Infant/Toddler Assistant certificate. From that time on, she knew that she wanted to pursue her passion in working with children. Ms. Gallo found an even deeper passion, especially for the Montessori philosophy, once she started working at LePort. She is very intrigued by the Montessori methodology. Each day she looks forward to learning something new and incorporating the philosophy into her work, as well as with her own children. Both her son and her daughter attend the LePort Huntington Harbor campus. Ms. Gallo has completed her AMI Assistants to Infancy training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her children and go to Disneyland.
Lundon Garner

Lundon Garner

Ms. Lundon has worked with children for ten years, passionate about early childhood education. She found her love for Montessori by being an assistant teacher working with toddlers and
primary-age students. Ms. Lundon received her Montessori teaching credential from the University of California Irvine. Outside of work she enjoys singing, going to the beach, working out, and spending time with her family. It is Ms. Lundon’s goal to ignite a flame of loving to learn, while bringing out the best in each child.
Daniela Hoyle

Daniela Hoyle

Ms. Hoyle graduated from Florida State University in 2004 with a degree in journalism. While traveling and pursuing her journalism career, she discovered that one of her biggest passions was teaching. To support her extensive international travel, Ms. Hoyle began teaching both English and Spanish to children aged 4-12 and fell in love! After ten years of teaching internationally, she decided to return to the United States to focus more intensely on her teaching career.

She hopes to earn her Early Childhood Development degree so that she can continue to grow as both a teacher and mother. She finds children to be both fascinating and inspiring. She loves how their minds develop so rapidly and takes pride in her role as a guide in assisting children in developing their minds and becoming better human beings. Ms. Hoyle enjoys reading about the development of the child's mind and the many ways in which they learn.
Emma Jones

Emma Jones

Ms. Emma earned her B.A. in Marketing from the University of Thailand, and received her primary diploma from MISD. She has worked with children from 3 to 6 years old for over a decade. Ms. Emma has traveled abroad throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and volunteered at the United Nations Organization. She enjoys learning about different cultures and has studied many languages including French, Japanese, Turkish and Arabic, in addition to her native Farsi. Ms. Emma has a son and husband that make her life colorful, and she enjoys skydiving, biking, skiing and writing in her free time.
Elmira Valiullina

Elmira Valiullina

Ms. Elmira Valiullina is passionate about her work. Both of her parents are teachers and, ever since her early childhood, she wanted to go into the educational field. She began her teaching career in 1998 teaching music and English. She also taught at the Montessori Center in Moscow.

Ms. Elmira received her Assistance to Infancy (0-3) degree from the Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado.

She enjoys having the opportunity to help children become happy and self-confident people. Besides her work in the classroom, she plays the piano, makes Montessori materials, practices yoga, and enjoys spending time with her family, especially with her 10-year-old son.
Sonia Villegas

Sonia Villegas

Ms. Sonia Villegas earned her Primary (ages 3-6) certification and bachelor’s degree in Arts of Montessori Education in Mexicali, Mexico. She also earned her Assistants to Infancy (ages 0-3) certification from the Montessori Institute of San Diego.

Ms. Sonia worked with Primary levels in Mexicali and Calexico before relocating to San Diego. Currently Ms. Sonia enjoys working with toddlers. Outside of school, Ms. Sonia enjoys outdoor activities and taking dance classes.
Emmy Zappa

Emmy Zappa

Ms. Emmy Zappa is originally from Sebastopol in Sonoma County, California. Growing up, Ms. Zappa was very active in Girl Scouts, and often volunteered her time to assist younger troop members. She was also active in sports, volunteered as a referee at children’s soccer games, and played competitive volleyball, continuing on to the collegiate level at Santa Rosa Junior College. At Santa Rosa, she earned an Associate of Arts degree in both psychology and social & behavioral sciences. She also attained her Skills Certificate in Child Development: Associate Teacher. Ms. Zappa started working with young toddlers while she was still attending Santa Rosa, working as the lead teacher in a classroom for two-year-olds. Later, she also worked with the 3-6 age group, but her interest always gravitated towards younger children. Most recently before joining LePort, Ms. Zappa worked as the lead teacher in a Montessori infant program, where she provided a safe and welcoming environment for both children and parents, planned developmentally-appropriate activities and exploration, and maximized learning opportunities to feed the curiosity of the young children under her care.

Ms. Zappa is also passionate about continuing her own education and professional growth. She is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree at California State University Long Beach (with a double major in Family Life Education and Early Childhood Development). Ms. Zappa completed her AMI Montessori teacher training for the 0 to 3 age group at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. She is always looking for opportunities to improve, whether it be through self-reflection, through her interactions with children, families, and fellow educators, or through courses, workshops, and readings. Ms. Zappa believes that it is critical to respect the dignity and unique personality of each individual child and family.

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