¡Bienvenido!

We are glad to see that you are interested in learning more about Maracas.
Below you will find our Mission and Core Values that drive us daily. We also introduce you to our Maracas staff and share with you the passion that we share with our community.

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Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or just want to connect. We realize that choosing a school for your child is an important decision, and at times can be stressful. We hope we can ease that process for you and make it enjoyable. It’s all about the JOY of learning... for your child and for YOU!

Our Mission

Our mission at Maracas Montessori is to enrich children by providing opportunities to strengthen all areas of their development in a comprehensive way, creating a safe and intentionally designed environment where they can discover the pleasure of learning. All of this is achieved through a Montessori program immersed in the Spanish language.

OUR CORE VALUES

Respect
At Maracas Montessori we prioritize above all else the value of respect. Through our grace and courtesy lessons we provide children the opportunity to model and practice respectful and thoughtful interactions during the entirety of the school day. Our mixed aged classrooms allow for peer-modeling through which younger children can learn from their older peers. In turn, older children learn to sympathize and relate to their younger peers, putting themselves in a leadership role. In this way children naturally learn to respect each other, to respect adults and to respect their environment.

Moreover, children also learn to practice respect in relation to being global citizens; respecting and appreciating cultural differences amongst our classroom communities and celebrating what makes us the same!

Independence
At Maracas Montessori we value the premise that children should be given the opportunity to do things for themselves. We respect their innate desire to pursue their independence and we enable them do this by meticulously preparing their environment. From the furniture and the materials displayed on the shelves, to the interactions with teachers and peers in our mixed aged classrooms, children are given the freedom to experience opportunities and learn for themselves.
We respect each child as an individual and support their learning to best fit their developmental needs.
In following the Montessori method we believe that in giving children the opportunity to do things for themselves, they gain a greater sense of confidence and they achieve true happiness.

Appreciation
At Maracas Montessori we highlight the natural curiosity of the child to explore and experience the world through their senses. Our carefully planned learning experiences present children with the opportunity to discover their passions and tap into their capacity for wonder through appreciation of their surroundings, both in the classroom and in nature. In enabling the child to cultivate their sense of appreciation, we support their wholesome development as confident, respectful and happy beings.

“The education of even a small child does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.” –Maria Montessori

Our Community

Community is a concept that we value at Maracas. From the children’s community, to the parents' community, to the global community; they all play a role in our lives. Because of this, we feel that parents’ engagement is fundamental to enable the school to provide a better learning environment and focus on the child’s needs and their academic interests more effectively.

We welcome parents to come and visit. We also welcome parents to help organize field trips, teach a topic of their interest or read a book at story time. We value and respect our parents and everything they have to offer the children’s experience.
Due to COVID-19, no in-person visits are being scheduled during school hours, only virtual video conferences/tours are done. Also no field trips are being organized for now.

Our Staff

Our staff are all trained in the Montessori method and have extensive experience in teaching young children in a Spanish full-immersion environment. Their roles at Maracas are to:

  • Help the child develop the kindness, courtesy, discipline and respect that will allow him/her to become a valuable member of society
  • Model for the child how to observe, question and explore ideas independently
  • Encourage the child’s natural desire for independence
  • Awaken the child’s spirit and imagination
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Sra. Claudia Casco

Founder, Co-Owner and                Academic Executive Director

Sra. Claudia is originally from Mexico. She is founder, co-owner and Academic Executive Director of Maracas Montessori and has more than 28 years’ experience directing a Montessori preschool in Mexico and the United States. Sra. Claudia earned her degree in Psychology and is a certified Montessori Guide by the North America Montessori Center (NAMC). She is also certified by the American Montessori Internationale (AMI).
She is also certified by The Yamaha Music Foundation as a children’s music teacher and by the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals as a NC Early Educator Level 10. She has been leading the Maracas family in Raleigh since 2008.

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Sra. Damarys Gomez

Toddlers Community Guide

Sra. Damarys is from Venezuela, where she earned her Bachelor of Laws and a Teaching Training Higher Education certification. Sra. Damarys has a 3 year experience working in children education in NC. She moved to Raleigh in 2018 and joined the Maracas staff in August of 2021.

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Sra. Bethania Sanchez

Toddlers Community Assistant-Guide

Sra. Bethania is from Venezuela, where she earned her Bachelor degree in Laws. Sra. Bethania has a 2 year experience working in children education at Maracas from 2018 to 2020 as both Assistant-Guide to Children's House and then Toddlers Community. She took a leave of absence and just rejoined the team in September of 2021.

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Sra. Debbie Ramírez

Toddlers Community Guide

Sra. Debbie is originally from Mexico where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Tourism. She is certified by the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals as a NC Early Educator Level 8. She is certified with the NC Early Child Development credential by Wake Tech Community College. She obtained the Montessori Pre-primary certificate by KHT Montessori LLC. She is also certified as a Toddler Montessori Guide by the North America Montessori Center (NAMC). Sra. Debbie is the Coordinator for the two groups of Toddlers Community at Maracas Montessori. She joined the Maracas family in 2014.

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Sra. Sally Feliz

Toddlers Community Assistant-Guide

Sra. Sally is originally from the Dominican Republic. She earned an Associate degree in Accounting in NC and is certified as a Teacher Assistant by the Johnston Community College. Sra. Sally worked at Maracas from 2015 to 2018 as an assistant guide to Toddlers Community and also in several summer camps. She was trained at Maracas Montessori and after taking a leave of absence to finish her college studies, she rejoined the team in the fall of 2020.

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Sra. Vicky Carrillo

Children's House Guide

Sra. Vicky is originally from Mexico and moved to Raleigh in 2005. She earned a technical degree in Science/Chemistry. She is certified with the NC Early Child Development credential by Wake Tech Community College. She is also a certified Montessori Guide by the North America Montessori Center (NAMC). Sra. Vicky joined the Maracas family in 2009.

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Sra. Diana Gutiérrez

Children's House Assistant-Guide

Sra. Diana is originally from Costa Rica and earned her college degree on Musical Arts (emphasis on bassoon), Music Education and French Teaching from the University of Costa Rica. Sra. Diana is certified in the Suzuki Early Childhood Education and she is 1st Basoon at both the Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra and the Raleigh Community Orchestra.
She joined the Maracas family in the Fall of 2020.

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Sra. Laura Reyes

Children's House Guide

Sra. Laura is originally from the Dominican Republic, where she earned a double major in Psychology and Pedagogy. She moved to Raleigh in 2012. She is also a certified Montessori teacher, and leads her own Montessori preschool in the Dominican Republic, remotely from Raleigh. In addition to her role as a Children’s House Guide, Sra. Laura leads the Math Club, one of the enrichment programs offered at Maracas. She joined the Maracas family in 2013.

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Sra. Luisa Riascos

Children's House Assistant-Guide

Sra. Luisa is from Colombia. She has a bachelor’s degree in History from Colombia and in the summer of 2020 she attained her master’s degree in Social Work from the National University of La Plata in Argentina. In Colombia she gave workshops on history research to elementary and middle school students and their teachers. Sra. Luisa joined the Maracas family in 2017.

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Sra. Berthalina Montenegro

Children's House Guide

Sra. Berthalina is originally from Nicaragua and moved to Raleigh in 2008. She earned a BA in Tourism Administration and also other studies in Arts. She is a Montessori Guide certified by the North America Montessori Center (NAMC) and also has the NC Early Childhood Development credential from Wake Community College. She joined the Maracas family in 2013.

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Sra. Claudia Garcia

Children's House Assistant-Guide

Sra. Clau is originally from Cuba, where she earned her Bachelor and Master's degrees in Psychology. She also has PhD studies in Environmental Education, and is a certified Montessori Guide by the North American Montessori Center (NAMC). She has more than 15 years experience as an early childhood teacher in Cuba, Mexico and the United States. Since 2016 she is the Educational Projects Director of Todos Leyendohas promoting the Spanish language literacy and Hispanic Culture awareness. Sra. Clau became part of the Maracas family as a parent in 2016, and then as an Assistant-Guide from 2017 to 2018. She rejoined the Maracas team in August 2021.

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Sra. Oriana Pantoja

Children's House Guide

Sra. Oriana is originally from Venezuela and moved to Raleigh in 2005. She earned a technical degree in Business Administration. She is certified with the NC Early Childhood Development credential by Wake Tech Community College and has also obtained the Montessori Pre-primary certificate by KHT Montessori LLC. Sra. Oriana also has an Early Childhood/CDA certificate from Wake Tech Community College. She joined the Maracas family in 2014.

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Sra. Rosy Losada

Children's House Assistant-Guide

Sra. Rosy is originally from Venezuela and moved to Raleigh in 2013. She earned a bachelor degree in Advertising and Marketing. She was trained at Maracas Montessori and is certified with the NC Early Childhood Development credential by Wake Tech Community College. Sra. Rosy joined the Maracas family in 2015.

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Sra. Angélica Sarmiento

Administrative and Academic support

Sra. Angélica was born in Venezuela. She studied Administration of Tourism and Recreation Companies and worked for six years in this area. Sra. Angélica moved to Raleigh in 2016. She is certified with the NC Early Child Development credential by Wake Tech Community College. She was trained at Maracas and she joined the Maracas family in 2017.

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Sra. Blanca Martínez

Academic Support

Sra. Blanca is originally from Bogotá, Colombia and moved to Raleigh in 2013. She earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. She was trained at Maracas Montessori and she has completed the health and safety training for early care professionals in North Carolina. She is a substitute and afterschool teacher. Sra. Blanca joined the Maracas family in 2014.

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Sra. Tania Matos

Lead Teacher for the Outdoor Classroom and after school hours Children's House Co-Teacher

Sra. Tania is originally from Puerto Rico, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science. She moved to the United States in 2001 and earned her Master's degree in Physical Geography from the University of Illinois. She moved to Raleigh in 2004 and worked for five years with the NC Geodetic Survey. Motherhood changed her priorities and her involvement with Maracas inspired her to study Early Childhood Education. Throughout her classes, she visited Maracas for observations. She is certified with the NC Early Childhood Development credential by Wake Tech Community College. She will be joining the Maracas staff in August 2021.

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Sra. Gaby Perez

Administrative Assistant

Sra. Gaby is originally from Venezuela. She moved to the United States in 1993 to continue her education, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas. She has lived in different places in the US and abroad, including Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Singapore. She moved to Raleigh with her daughter and husband in 2005. Sra. Gaby joined the Maracas family in 2019.

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Sra. Ana Laura Mendoza

After school hours Children's House Co-Teacher

Sra. Ana Laura is originally from Mexico where she earned a Bachelor in Primary Education. She is certified by the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals as a NC Early Educator Level 9. She has 11 years of experience in children education in Raleigh NC. Sra. Ana Laura joined the Maracas staff in March 2021.

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Sra. Yaneth Méndez

Academic Support

Sra. Yaneth is originally from Colombia. She earned a BA in preschool education and obtained the Childhood Development credential by the Wake Tech Community College. She also obtained the Montessori Pre-primary certificate by KHT Montessori LLC. She joined the Maracas family in 2013.

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Sr. Jorge Santoyo

Administrative and Tuition Support

Sr. Jorge is originally from Mexico. He moved to the United States with his family as a young boy. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with a minor on Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from the University of North Carolina (UNC). He has past experience as Manager of Business Operations in a Montessori school in Durham. He currently works in digital e-marketing analysis at Lenovo in Raleigh. In February 2021 he also started working for Maracas as admin support managing the school tuition management software platform.

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Sr. Gerardo Santoyo

Co-Owner and Administrative Executive Director

Sr. Gerardo is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. He is co-owner of Maracas Montessori along with his wife, Sra. Claudia. Sr. Gerardo earned a major in Electronic Engineering and a minor in Health, Safety and Environmental Science. He worked for IBM de México for 16 years and then was transferred in 2001 to IBM Corporate NY HQ. He held several management positions with responsibilities over IBM Latin America, the IBM Asia Pacific geographical region and the IBM US Southeast region. After 26 years, he quit IBM in 2012 to fully dedicate himself to the Maracas educational project in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a founder member in 2016 of the Raleigh Chapter of the Red Global Mx and also President to the Foundation of the NC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.