Head of School Welcome,
A little background on me. I graduated from the University of Toronto in 2005, with a B.A. in English. I’ve been working with children for 20 years now, in various facets. Some of the highlights of my career include serving as head foreign teacher at Corem Language Institute in Busan, South Korea for 2 years. I taught English as a second language and assimilated the foreign teachers to their work and living environment. Prior to working in Asia, my experience in the role of floor supervisor at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada helped shape my path and brought out my interest in leading by example, quintessential for a teacher of a Montessori classroom.
After returning from my travels in Asia, I attended Montessori Teachers College in Toronto, where I graduated as class representative and valedictorian. I worked as a Casa teacher for three years at Petite Maison Montessori, an accredited Montessori school, heading my own classroom and conducting the music program. I left PMM to pursue owning a Montessori establishment in downtown Toronto. I am co-founder and former co-owner of both Liberty Prep School and Liberty Prep Parliament, where I acted as supervisor, co-principal, and teacher for 4 years.
The love of learning that can happen in the Montessori environment is the blossoming effect of an accomplished Montessori teacher.
The Montessori method is very near and dear to my heart, and I have found the perfect setting to offer an amazing alternative of learning. Lodestar follows the child’s interests in detail, honouring the very core of the philosophy.
My name is Jenny Cowle, I am 32 years old, and the Lower Elementary classroom teacher here at Lodestar Montessori School. Originating from Bowmanville, ON, I came to Muskoka about 5 years ago. I immediately fell in love with the beauty of the Muskoka landscape, but also with the people. The community here in Bracebridge is unlike any I’ve ever experienced and it is the community that inspired me to make Muskoka my forever home.
I grew up in a household of 7 children, who now have grown to have kids of their own. Looking back I can see how this time in my life was preparing me for a career in child-care and education. Some of my siblings have faced challenges in the public school systems, and have struggled with mental health and other social-emotional challenges. In many ways, seeing them struggle was also what inspired me to become a Montessori teacher; seeing the way that the Montessori pedagogy provides a stable, nurturing environment for ALL children to flourish. I believe strongly and passionately in Dr. Maria Montessori’s methods and the cosmic curriculum that encompasses a Montessori Elementary program.
As I move towards completing the last part of my Montessori training, I look forward to being able to implement the insights I’ve learned this past year, using them to foster independence and inspire a love of learning within your children. Know that when your child comes to our class they are encouraged to express themselves in a variety of ways, opening new possibilities for them regularly. Our classroom is always a safe space where all genders, religions, cultures, ethnicities are appreciated and respected. My love for the outdoors, self-sustainability, and mindfulness are also at the core of everything we do here in the Lower Elementary program. This nurtures well-rounded, mentally strong and healthy humans that care for the planet and that are genuinely interested in learning about how the world works. I look forward to learning and working alongside your children this year.
“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” — Dr. Maria Montessori
Best of Wishes,
My name is Christy and I am excited to be joining Lodestar Montessori as Assistant Head of School. I was born and raised in Bracebridge and am currently raising my own family of 3 young boys, here in town with my husband. I fell in love with the Montessori approach when I was looking for an alternative education for my oldest son. For the past 5.5 years my son has attended Lodestar, and has greatly benefited from the child-led learning and exceptional staff leading the way. I have witnessed first hand how small class sizes, hands-on materials, and a focus on building a love of learning, can positively impact students' self concept and attitude towards learning. Since the inception of Lodestar, I’ve been an advocate and proud parent. Since September 2021, I’ve informally been involved in supporting Erin, the team, and the growth of Lodestar.
I look forward to bringing my years of experience in education and working with children to support all of the students, staff, and families at Lodestar. My past experiences include (but are not limited to); an undergraduate degree in child psychology, developing and running day camp/aquatic programming for municipal recreation centres, and working in child services with Disney Cruise Lines. I have my certification as a behavioral therapist, and have experience working 1:1 with autistic children and their families. Prior to having my youngest son, I spent time working in the public school system as an Educational Assistant with TLDSB. All of these experiences have enabled me to be versatile and well versed for the role. My knowledge in child development, education, and special education, will be utilized to support you and your child's experience here at Lodestar.
All the best,
Miss Christy Giacomini
My name is Lisa Howey-Louter. I grew up in a small town in Ontario where my access to nature was unlimited. We lived on a small property with rock outcroppings, and a lot of trees to climb, and adjacent to where we lived there were more public forested areas. I have so many memories of my brother and I spending endless hours building and playing in our tree fort. I was able to forge a connection with nature, because my parents gave us the time and space to explore our surroundings. I am so grateful for that, and it has created a passion in me to help others find that connection also.
After receiving a diploma from Sir Sandford Fleming in Peterborough I went on to work in a variety of child care centres. Though I loved my work, I also felt like there was something lacking from the conventional spaces where children spent their entire days; More time outside. I found we were happiest when we were outside. So I went on to get a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Ryerson University and after that did some research on forest schools in the UK. Maybe I could go there and get some education on forest schools and come back and start my own forest school? In the meantime my partner and I were planning on moving back to the west coast, and when I was job searching I stumbled upon a job posting for a forest school teacher. The school had not started, and they were looking for someone to volunteer to help with the start-up of the school and then lead the groups of children. It was meant to be. I jumped at the opportunity in 2010 and co-founded the Fresh Air Learning Society. I spent most of my time facilitating programs for 3-6 year olds, but I also did a parent and tot program for 18 months and up and helped with the elementary program when needed (ages 6-12). I was there for 9 years until our family decided to move back to Muskoka. My passion is still alive and I am excited to be teaching and learning along-side the children in Muskoka.
My name is Kresson Taylor and I’ll be teaching French, Gym, and assisting in the Casa room here at Lodestar! I was born and raised in Muskoka, and grew up on the lake, letting the landscape of Muskoka shape me into the outdoors lover that I am today!
I recently graduated from Lakehead University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science with a specialisation in social justice as well as my Bachelor of Education. I spent my summers working at the Town of Bracebridge as a day camp leader, and then their camp coordinator. While I was in school, I really fell into my love for the outdoors and incorporated nature into my day to day routine. Nature is healing and I believe that time outside is crucial to healthy childhood development! I spent most of my time outside exploring somewhere new! I love travelling and am always looking for new adventures!
I’m looking forward to starting my first year at Lodestar! Working with children has always been my passion and I am so excited to be a part of the awesome community here at the school!
My name is Janette MacNaughtan, I am excited to share that I am the new upper elementary and elementary art teacher here at Lodestar Montessori School.
I was born and raised here in Bracebridge. Most of my summers were spent camping, both with my family travelling across Ontario and sometimes further, as well as at summer camp, honing my outdoor skills. I love art, reading, baking, being outdoors and learning.
I started my post secondary education at Sheridan College Oakville, where a received an Art fundamentals diploma and my Bachelor of Applied Art in Illustration.
From there, my love of learning took me further south to Niagara University, Niagara Falls, New York, where I completed my Masters of Education specializing in ages birth to grade 6.
My philosophy of education is built upon inspiring the love of learning and the importance of life long learning. I hope to foster this same passion for education within all our students. I believe strongly in the child based approach that the Montessori philosophy supports and am excited to teach and learn along side your children this year.
My name is Amy Collier, and I was born and raised in Muskoka. I am both a Registered Early Childhood Educator and a Registered Practical Nurse. I recently completed my Montessori training, and am excited to take on the role of Head Teacher in the Casa environment. This is my second year at Lodestar, and I am looking forward to working with our families as a community.
I began my career with Community Living South Muskoka, working in their Summer Youth Program. I stayed on part-time while going to college for Nursing, and eventually became a Special Needs Resource Teacher Assistant. It was during this time that I found my passion in life, working with children. I made the decision to go back to school and become a registered ECE and I've been working in the field ever since. I worked with Muskoka Family Focus in their after school, summer camp and childcare programs.
I am very excited to bring my valuable experience to the table, while embracing the unique styles and techniques of the Montessori pedagogy.
Hi, I’m Miss Maddy!
I am a Casa teacher here, at Lodestar Montessori School.
I have lived in Muskoka my whole life and know my way around the town. When I am not at Lodestar, during the hot and humid months I am often found with my puppy, Oakley who has a huge amount of crazy energy, and loves swimming in our pool. I can also be found on the softball field playing ball with the ladies from the Muskoka softball league!
I've been working at Lodestar Montessori school for four and a half years, going into my fifth year. I started as a high school co-op student. Within two and a half weeks I had learned so much and I knew the Montessori path was where I was meant to be. I continued at Lodestar throughout the rest of my high school experience. This past school year I enrolled into the The Canadian Montessori Teachers Education Institution while working in the Casa classroom, to continue my educational journey in becoming an accredited Montessori Teacher. This August I was given the incredible opportunity to go to Mississauga to do a residency and my finals. I have officially graduated!
I am so excited to see all of my returning friends, and making sure all of our new friends feel a warm welcome. I’m excited to see what this year brings us and that I get to observe students working independently and confidently throughout the year!!
My name is Bianca Cardoso and I’ve been part of the Bracebridge community for 13 years. I’m the mother of two amazing girls, Ruby and Heidi. I was a stay at home mother, homeschooling my children for 8 years. I provided home daycare and nanny work, as well, throughout the years. In 2005 I graduated from George Brown as an Early Childhood Educator, and worked as an educational assistant for TLDSB following that. I’m a mixed media artist, specializing in watercolour and needle felting. I have been an arteducator for Let the Cat Go for 3 years, working with both adults and children. I’m so excited for this wonderful opportunity to be facilitating and teaching art here at Lodestar!
My name is Kaitlin Harding. I spent my summers in Muskoka as a child and always knew that one day, I would call this place home. Recently, my boyfriend and I built a home in Muskoka where we spend most of our time outside with our two dogs, Harley and Ranger.
I graduated university with a double major in English and child psychology. Not sure what I wanted to do from there, I followed this with a post grad program at Georgian College in Human Resource Management. This however, was not my pathway. My passion for working with children was strong, so I entered into the field of childcare and haven’t looked back. I have been working in childcare for about 5 years now and have worked with preschool and school age children. I am currently completing my Montessori training through the Canadian Montessori Teachers Association to obtain my Montessori Teachers certification.
I am very excited to be a part of the Lodestar team, supporting Miss Amy in the Casa North room! I am looking forward to getting to know all of the wonderful children and families within the Lodestar community!