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.
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 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
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!
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.
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
Community is a concept that we highly 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.
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
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 30 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 completed her Association Montessori International (AMI) 3 to 6 assistant certificate in February 2022.
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.
Sra. Bethania Sánchez
Toddlers Community Lead Guide
Sra. Bethania is originally from Venezuela, where she earned her Bachelor degree in Laws. Sra. Bethania has been involved in children education at Maracas since 2018 as both Assistant-Guide to Children's House and Toddlers Community. In 2022 she moved to a Lead role in Toddler's Community. She earned an Association Montessori International (AMI) toddler assistant certification in Oct 2022, and obtained her NC Child Development Associate (CDA) credential in Jun 2023.
SrITa. ARASHI AGUIAR
Toddlers Community Assistant Guide
Srita. Arashi is originally from Venezuela, and completed one year of college in early children education at the Technological University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia before moving to Raleigh in the Fall of 2022. She joined Maracas in the Spring of 2023 as a substitute teacher and will be moving to an assistant role in Toddlers Community in August 2023.
Sra. Sally Sepúlveda
Toddlers Community 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 joined Maracas in 2015 as an assistant guide to Toddlers Community and also in several summer camps. She was trained at Maracas Montessori and she obtained her Associate Degree in preschool education and also obtained a Montessori Pre-primary certificate by KHT Montessori LLC. She moved to a Lead Teacher role in the summer 2022. She earned her Association Montessori International (AMI) toddler assistant certification in Oct 2022.
Srita. Mariana Gonzalez
Toddlers Community Assistant Guide
Srita. Mariana is from Venezuela, where she earned her Bachelor in Industrial Administration. She has over 13 years of experience working with young children. First in Venezuela where she owned a children and summer camp event company, and later in Raleigh where she was trained and was a teacher under the Reggio Emilia methodology from 2021 to 2023.
She joined the Maracas family in August 2023.
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.
Srita. Nathalia Zambrano
Children's House Assistant-Guide
Srita. Nathalia is originally from Colombia and moved to Raleigh in 2017 where she earned her high school diploma in 2021. She was trained at Maracas Montessori and has completed the NC health and safety training for early care professionals. She joined the Maracas family in the Fall of 2021 as academic support and in August 2022 moved to an assistant teacher role to Children's House.
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. She joined the Maracas family in 2013.
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.
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 completed her Association Montessori International (AMI) 3-6 assistant certificate in February 2022. She joined the Maracas family in 2013.
Sra. Ana Laura Mendoza
Children's House Assistant 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. She will be earning soon her Association Montessori International (AMI) 3-6 assistant certificate.
Sra. Rosy Losada
Children's House Co-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.
Sra. Diana Gutiérrez
Children's House Co-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 also certified in the Suzuki Early Childhood Education. She also completed her Association Montessori International (AMI) 3-6 assistant certification in May 2022. She obtained her NC Child Development Associate (CDA) credential in Jun 2023.
Sra. Diana joined the Maracas family in August of 2020 leading the Toddlers afterschool program. In Aug 2021 she moved to an assistant teacher role in Children's House and starting August 2023 will be a Lead co-teacher in Children's House.
Sra. Daniela Jatar
Co-Teacher for the Outdoor Classroom and after school Children's House Co-Teacher
Sra. Daniela is originally from Venezuela, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Accounting. She moved to Raleigh in 2018 and joined the Maracas family from Sep 2019 to Jun 2020 in the afterschool program. She was trained at Maracas and took a leave of absence, rejoining the Maracas staff this August 2022. She earned her Association Montessori International (AMI) toddler assistant certification in Oct 2022. She obtained an Assistant Certificate for children ages 0-3 and 3-6 by the Association Montessori International (AMI), both in the Fall of 2022.
Sra. Dani Salazar
Co-Teacher for the Outdoor Classroom and Lead Teacher for the afterschool program
Sra. Dani is originally from El Salvador, where she earned an associate degree in Culinary Arts and another in Engineering. She also earned a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education Teaching from the Pedagogical University of El Salvador. She moved to Raleigh in 2016 and joined the Maracas family in the Fall of 2022 as a substitute teacher. She obtained an Assistant Certificate for children ages 0-3 and 3-6 by the Association Montessori International (AMI), both in the Fall of 2022.
Sra. Blanca Martínez
Sra. Blanca is originally from Bogotá, Colombia and moved to Raleigh in 2013. She earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology. 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.
Sra. Mayra Penagos
Sra. Mayra is originally from Colombia where she earned a bachelor's degree in Humanities Studies and Spanish Language. She has several years of experience working with young children in Colombia before moving to Raleigh and trained at Maracas Montessori. She earned her Association Montessori International (AMI) toddler assistant certification in Oct 2022. Sra. Mayra joined the Maracas family in the summer of 2022.
Sra. Nathaly Colmenares
Sra. Nathaly is originally from Venezuela, where she earned her associate degree in Preschool Education and Psychology.
She has experience with young children as she taught preschool and elementary children in Venezuela since 2014.
She moved to Raleigh and joined the Maracas family in August 2023.
Sra. Yaneth Méndez
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.
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.
Sra. Claudia García
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 Leyendo has 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 as academic support and later on moved to an administrative support role.
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 worked for ROI Revolution in Raleigh for two years, and then moved to work in digital e-marketing analysis at Lenovo also in Raleigh. In February 2021 he started working for Maracas as admin support managing the school tuition management software platform.
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 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.