Our Team

All members of our team share a love of working with children as well as a commitment to offering authentic Montessori. This is reflected in their dedication and hard work, and in their gentle and caring approach towards the children.

Between us we have a great diversity of interests and skills, as well as speaking a variety of languages, all of which enrich our Montessori environments and enable us to support children from different backgrounds.

Our Team

Ros Bowles

Head Directress & Manager - Clapham Montessori

Ros Bowles BSc, Int Mont Dip,(AMI) is Head Directress and Manager of Clapham Montessori. Ros is also an Early Years Professional. She studied Zoology and Botany but after having children found child development to be even more interesting. She also trained and worked as a volunteer Breastfeeding Counsellor with the NCT while her children were young.

Lucía Gómez-Santana

Head Directress & Manager - Clapham Park Montessori

Lucía Gómez-Santana BSc (Hons) Psych GSMD Dip Int Mont Dip (AMI) is the Head directress and Manager of Clapham Park Montessori. Lucia holds 0-3 and 3-6 Montessori Diplomas. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and competent in Italian and French.  Her singing career brought Lucia to London, where she studied and sang professionally, before returning to her Montessori work.  Lucia combines her love of music and children in the Montessori environment, where she runs the weekly music sessions.  Lucia completed a psychology degree with the Open University in May 2016.

Wendy Thompson

Manager & Co-Directress - Montessori Infant Community

Wendy Thompson Int. Mont Dip (AMI) Directress, Parent Liaison Manager.

Wendy gained her 0-3 Montessori Diploma from the Maria Montessori Institute in 2006.  A former parent at Clapham Montessori, Wendy has worked at the Montessori Infant Community from its inception.  Wendy is in charge of the day to day running of the Community as well as liaising with parents to organize visits and to support the transition from home into the infant community, and from here into the Children’s Houses.

Magda Brydiuk

Assistant Manager - Clapham Montessori

Magda Brydiuk, MA, Int Mont Dip (AMI) is Assistant Manager of Clapham Montessori. Magda has a Masters degree in Philology from The University of Maria Curie-Sklodowska in Lublin, Poland. She has always loved working with children. Starting by training as a Montessori Assistant, Magda joined Clapham Montessori in November 2009.  She then studied part-time at the Maria Montessori Institute and  obtained her AMI Montessori Diploma as a 3-6 Directress in 2012. Magda has been the Manager of the main Children’s House class for the last two years.

Aleksandra (Ola) Zieba

Deputy Manager - Clapham Park Montessori

Aleksandra (Ola) Zieba (Deputy Manager) BA, Mont Dip Wimbledon.

Ola is a qualified Montessori Directress who joined CPM in September 2005.  Ola has a degree in Care and Education Pedagogy from the Baltic Graduate School in Humanities in Poland, as well as a qualification to teach Yoga to children.  Ola runs our Drama and Yoga sessions.  Ola is fluent in Polish and English, and has knowledge of Russian.

Tamara Riley-Smith

Deputy Manager & Directress - Montessori Infant Community

Tamara Riley-Smith MA (Cantab), PgDL . Int  Mont  Dip (AMI).

Tamara qualified as a Montessori Assistant (AMI) in Dec. 2012. She joined us as a staff member in May 2012. Tamara qualified as a Montessori Directress for 3-6 year olds in June 2016. Tamara was one of our inaugural parents at the Infant Community in 2006, from where her children continued at Clapham Montessori. Tamara, who also speaks fluent French, has a background as a barrister.  She has put her skills to good use, collaborating with Wendy to ensure the smooth running of the Infant Community.

Eva Chacón Gordaliza

Directress - Clappham Montessori

Eva joined our team in September 2017, while in her second year of the part-time Montessori 3-6 Diploma course at the Maria Montessori Institute. She obtained a BA in Art History from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid before discovering her passion for working with children.

Eva became interested in Montessori while taking her BA in Early Childhood Education at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. After many years in Spain, she moved to London, where she worked in a nursery school.

Eva grew up in the Netherlands, with Spanish parents. She is fluent in English, Dutch and Spanish.

Alice Trower

Directress - Clapham Montessori

Alice Trower is Directress of Clapham Montessori. She has a BA in Ceramics from the University of Creative Arts, Farnham, as well as a  Montessori 3-6 Diploma from the Maria Montessori Institute. Alice joined Clapham Montessori in 2014.

After graduating from University, Alice travelled to India and worked for Peace Child India for 4 months, working in a  boys’ home  and in a school, teaching English. It was here that she discovered her love for teaching and eventually decided to train as a  Montessori Directress.

Elisa Obando

Directress - Clapham Park Montessori

 Elisa Obando Int Mont Dip (AMI) Directress.

Elisa holds Montessori diplomas for 0-3 and 3-6 levels from the Maria Montessori Institute in Perugia where she studied from 1996/98. Her mother tongue is Spanish; she is also fluent in Italian and understands a little Dutch.  Elisa joined the Infant Community team in October 2015 on a voluntary basis, and now works full-time at Clapham Park Montessori, providing support for SEN.

Grace-Anne Finlayson

Directress - Montessori Infant Community

Grace-Anne Finlayson Mont Dip., Wimbledon Montessori College. Grace-Anne came to Clapham Park in 2003 as a student and has since enjoyed several roles within each of the three environments.   Grace-Anne continued to work in the Children’s House eventually swapping the classroom for the home while her daughter attended Clapham Park Montessori. Upon returning, Grace-Anne worked with Wendy in the Infant Community and now is based at the Clapham Children’s House looking after our 2 year olds.

Sara Akkad

Assistant - Montessori Infant Community

Sara Akkad joined the Infant Community in September 2017.  She is currently  studying for  her Assistant to Infancy (0-3) diploma at the Maria Montessori Institute and she first came into contact with the Infant Community during her Teaching Practice, as part of her training.   She has  great enthusiasm for Montessori pedagogy, and she believes in peace-making through education.

Sara has had previous experience volunteering and working in schools and children’s rights organisations in Istanbul and Damascus.  Sara is currently a home-visitor volunteer at Home Start Westminster.  Sarah is fluent in English and Arabic.

Mercedes López Palao

Assistant - Montessori Infant Community

Mercedes López Palao

Mercedes is a qualified Early Years Teacher and Speech Therapist.  After graduating in Spain, Merche came to London to improve her English and worked as an Au Pair and a Nanny.  Her interest in education led Mercedes to work as a volunteer at a school, at the same time as finding out more about Maria Montessori.  Following a visit to the Infant Community, Mercedes joined the team in September 2016.

Leila Robinson

Assistant - Montessori Infant Community

Leila Robinson, PGCE (primary), Roehampton University

Leila qualified as a primary school teacher in 2005 and has taught children age 4-11. A former Montessori child herself, Leila rediscovered Montessori when her daughter started at Clapham Park Montessori.  She joined the Infant Community team in November 2016 and is currently working towards her Montessori Diploma for 0-6 year olds.

The child is capable of developing and giving us tangible proof of the possibility of a better humanity.

Dr Maria Montessori