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.


Ros Bowles


Lucía Gómez-Santana


Our Team

Lucía Gómez-Santana

Head of Nurseries

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.

Ros Bowles

Registrar (admissions, open days, general admin)

Ros Bowles BSc, Int Mont Dip,(AMI) and Early Years Professional Status.  Ros studied Zoology and Botany at University, but after having children her focus changed.  Her children attended a Montessori School and the opportunities to observe them there and to find out more about the Montessori ethos and the materials led to her interest in training with the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).   While her children were young, Ros was also an active member of the Clapham NCT branch, and worked as a Breastfeeding Counsellor for several years.

Wendy Thompson

Lead 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

Lead Directress - 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 is the day-to-day Manager of the main Children’s House class.

Aleksandra (Ola) Britton

Lead Directress - Clapham Park Montessori

Aleksandra (Ola) Britton (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.

Mercedes López Palao

Lead Directress, 2-year old group, Clapham Montessori, and Montessori for Parents and Babies

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.

Tamara Riley-Smith

Senior Directress - Montessori Infant Community

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

Tamara started working for us in 2012. She has an AMI 3-6 Diploma, AMI 0-3 and 6-12 Assistants Certificates and a level 3 Early Years Educator qualification. Tamara was one of our inaugural parents at the Infant Community in 2006, and her children also attended Clapham Montessori. She is half French and graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in French and Spanish. In addition to working at the Infant Community, Tamara teaches French at Clapham Park Montessori.

Silvia Donati

Directress - Clapham Montessori

Silvia DonatiMSc Psych, Int Mont Dip (AMI).
Silvia joined our team in September 2018. She qualified as a Montessori Directress (3-6) in 2018 and she also has a Certificate as an Elementary (6-12) Assistant. Silvia has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from La Sapienza University of Rome, and a Diploma in Teaching and Sociology Studies. Silvia also has Qualified Teacher Status.

Silvia is interested in family psychotherapy and has studied Bert Hellinger’s Systemic Family Constellations approach.


Leila Robinson

Directress-Clapham Park Montessori

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 went on to train as a Montessori Directress, obtaining her Montessori Diploma for 0-6 year olds in 2021.  Leila joined the Clapham Park Montessori team in September 2021.

Grace-Anne Finlayson

Directress - Montessori Infant Community

Grace-Anne Finlayson Mont Dip., Wimbledon Montessori College. Grace-Anne Grace-Anne came to Clapham Park in 2003 as a student and has since enjoyed several roles within each of the three environments, first joining Clapham Park Montessori, and later, the Infant Community team.  Grace-Anne was also the Lead Directress of the 2-year old group at Clapham Montessori, and returned to the Infant Community from September 2021 until January 2023.  Grace-Anne continues to provide support to Clapham, Clapham Park and the Infant Community teams.


Directress - Montessori Infant Community

A. is currently studying for the AMI 0-3 Diploma at the Maria Montessori Institute.  She first came to the Montessori Infant Community in October 2022, to carry out her Teaching Practice.

A. is also a qualified 3-6 Montessori Teacher, having trained at the Montessori Centre International.  In addition, A. holds Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) and she has several years’ experience working in Montessori environments.  A. joined the staff team in February 2023. 

Celia Gallego Torres

Assistant – Clapham Montessori

Celia Gallego Torres, QTS, MA, Mont Assistant Certificate (AMI)

Celia joined the team in January 2022. She has a university degree in Early Years Education and a master’s degree in Special Needs Education. She has more than 9 years of experience working in nurseries and schools, as well as supporting children with special needs. 

After graduating in Spain, she came to London where she has worked as an Au pair, a preschool Teacher, a Teaching Assistant and a Spanish Teacher. Celia has always been passionate about education, especially Montessori and Forest Schools. Celia obtained her AMI Montessori 3-6 Assistant Certificate in 2021 and she would like to become a Montessori Directress in the near future.

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

Dr Maria Montessori