Welcome to Sweet Pea Montessori, a Wildflower School in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis, MN.

We collaborate with families to nurture the minds and spirits of infants and toddlers in an authentic Montessori environment. We strive for equity, community, and connections with nature.

We are a member of the Wildflower Network of schools. Wildflower is an ecosystem of decentralized Montessori micro-schools that support children, teachers, and parents. Wildflower aspires to give all children and families the opportunity to choose high quality, beautiful learning environments as they follow life’s unfolding journey.

Please contact us to receive more information about our school.

Our Staff

Mary Gazca

Co-Head of School, Guide

Mary has been an AMI guide for children ages 3-6 since 1996 and is fluent in Spanish, with 2 bi-racial adult children. She had a small in-home Montessori school in South Minneapolis from 2002-2009 (La Casita Montessori) where Spanish was woven into the curriculum.

Her attention was drawn to the Montessori Infant environment when she volunteered in a small infant program (nido) in 2015. She served as a nanny to an infant for 2016-2017, incorporating many of the principles. She is especially interested in the motor development process, and how to naturally and playfully support infants through the developmental milestones. She has become an instructor for a motor development program used by therapists that is based on instinctual infant movements.

She loves to garden, cook, bike, bird-watch, play the guitar and sing with children. Mary has a Master’s in Holistic Health Studies from St Catherine’s University, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner and a Healing Touch Practitioner-Apprentice.

Beka Herzog

Co-Head of School, Guide, Parent Educator

After promising herself she would never be a teacher, Beka went on to study child development and education at the undergraduate and the graduate levels. She earned a BA in Studies in Education and Leadership with at focus in Peacemaking at Earlham College, an AMI diploma for age birth to 3 years at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota, and a Master of Education from Loyola University. She continued her training as a childbirth educator, a birth doula, and a postpartum doula.

Beka’s Montessori journey began when she came back from spending her senior year of high school as an exchange student in Ecuador. Mary, who also happens to be Beka’s aunt, had just opened La Casita Montessori and was looking for an assistant. Beka worked for Mary for a year before going to college, during summer breaks, and again after college. She was so impressed with how the children thrived in the Montessori environment but wished that it was available for younger children. That led her to pursue Assistants to Infancy Montessori training for ages birth to three years. After completing her training, Beka went to work for Ann at Bright Water Montessori as the lead toddler guide. Again, she wished families had access to more support, even while they were still preparing for the arrival of a child. She started supporting families as a childbirth educator and a doula, cared for infants in her in-home Nido, and taught Parent-Infant classes at Lake Country School.

Beka’s other interests include tango and belly dance, rock climbing, canoeing, and hiking, and urban farming with an organic garden and backyard chickens. Although Beka has lived other places, she grew up in here in south Minneapolis and she still loves living here with her husband and their three children.

Krista Lucas

Emerging Teacher-Leader, Nido Guide

Krista Lucas (she/her/hers) earned her AMI Primary Diploma (for working with children ages 3 to 6) in 2010. Then in 2013 she began working with Beka at Bright Water Montessori and in 2014 she earned her AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma (for working with children ages 0-3). Her favorite aspects of Montessori are fostering kindness, empathy, and community in young children; creating beautiful environments with natural materials; and nurturing discovery and ah-ha moments; and facilitating independence and the self-confidence of "I did it myself!". She believes that Montessori schools should be accessible and welcoming to families of all backgrounds and should be anti-racist communities.
Krista is starting her own school for children ages 16 months to 6 years within the Wildflower network with a goal of opening in September 2021.

Krista lives in south Minneapolis and enjoys long walks through Minneapolis parks, yoga, and learning to cook foods from around the world.

Suzi Love

Nido Assistant

Suzi Love (they/them/theirs) has been working in the Minnesota Montessori community since 2014, growing alongside young minds in Nido, Toddler Community, and Children's House. In 2016 they earned their assistant's certification through the Montessori Center of Minnesota under the guidance of Liza Davis. In their daily work, Suzi uses their platform as an early education assistant to promote equity through anti-racist practices while also creating fair opportunities for children to explore their identities beyond strict gender roles. Suzi's favorite thing about working with infants is the perspective of awe and wonder they offer us--every day is brand new and full of opportunities to learn! In their free time, Suzi is an avid gardener, cook, and big dog lover.

Cheyenne Richardson

Toddler Guide

Guest on Dakota and Ojibwe Territory
While studying Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, Cheyenne (she/her/hers) started working at a local Minneapolis Montessori school and fell in love with Montessori pedagogy and practice. That was in 2015 and she hasn’t looked back! She will be graduating from The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado in the summer of 2020 with her AMI Assistants to Infancy certification. She is also in the process of becoming a doula with an emphasis on decolonized post-partum, miscarriage, and abortion care. Cheyenne is committed to the practice of anti-racism and creating a more equitable and accessible Montessori community. She is excited and grateful to be a part of the developing MN Wildflower Equity Initiative.
Cheyenne is a cat mama to five-year-old Olive and in her free time she enjoys kitchen science experiments, spending time with loved ones, crafting, and caring for her plants.
"Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono"

Trinity Shaw

Intern

Toby Linn

Assistant

Saba Shaw

Aide

Victoria Karpeh

Toddler Assistant

School Details

Full Day

8:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Extended Day Options

Extended Day AM:
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM

Extended Day PM:
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM or 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

 

Our most up to date calendar can be found here.

 

2020-2021 School Calendar

August 27-September 7: closed for training, deep cleaning, and Labor Day

September 25: Family gathering/beginning of year event

October 16: closed for professional development

November 26-27: closed for Thanksgiving Break

December 21-Jan 1: closed for Winter Break

January 15: Staff meeting 3:30-5:30, no aftercare available

January 18: closed for Martin Luther King Day

February 15: closed for President’s day

February 16: closed for professional development

April 5-9: closed for Spring Break

April 30: Staff meeting 3:30-5:30, no aftercare available

May 31: closed for Memorial Day

June 4: Family gathering/end of the year celebration

July 2: closed in observance of Independence Day

We meet with families four times per year to check-in and collaborate on your child’s development.

Nido:

Infants have different developmental needs, including various nap and feeding schedules, and so they have different routines throughout the day. We have a flexible schedule so that we can follow the cues of f the infants.

7:30-8:30 Before Care
8:30-11:30 Indoor Exploration, Morning Snack, Outdoor Time, Naps
11:30-12:30 Lunch
12:00 Half Day Children Arrive/Depart
12:30-3:30 Indoor Exploration, Afternoon Snack, Outdoor Time, Naps
3:20-3:30 Pick Up
3:30-5:30 After Care

 

Toddler Community:

7:30-8:30 Before Care
8:30-8:45 Arrival
8:30-11:00 Work Cycle/Morning Snack
11:00-11:45 Outdoor Time
11:45-12:00 Half Day Children Picked Up/Prepare for Lunch
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:00 Nap
3:00-3:20 Wake Up, Quiet Activities
3:20-3:30 Pick Up
3:30-5:30 After Care

We believe that every child deserves a quality Montessori classroom and we will work with families to make the school accessible and affordable. We accept children using Child Care Assistance (CCAP).

Please contact us for more information on financial assistance.

Monthly Tuition Rates

Infants Toddlers
Full Day (8:30-3:30) $1700 $1500
Half-Day (8:30-12:00) $1275 $1125
4 Days (M-Th) $1550 $1350
Extended Day $250 for each hour $200 for each hour
  • We acknowledge and honor parents as the primary educators of their children, and we seek to collaborate with families to help the child reach their full potential.
  • We believe in the power of the Montessori classroom, the self-directed child and the guide to reveal the true power of the child’s learning potential.
  • We believe in having a diverse and equitable classroom and school that reflects our world at large. We believe that by using practices of inclusion and justice, all participants gain more and learn more. This helps create a peaceful community.
  • We believe that every child deserves a quality Montessori classroom and we will work with families to make the school accessible and affordable.
  • We believe in the power of nature to engage the child and will provide ways for the child to interact with the natural world in a beautiful space.
  • We believe in a collaborative connected administrative school structure of teacher-leaders making positive decisions for the school. We appreciate being a part of a larger network of schools with similar values and vision.
  • We believe in organic growth in our school and in our practice.

Our Programs

(6 weeks-15 months)

In this small community of 6-8 infants, Montessori trained caregivers gently guide the children in their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Our Nido is designed with space for infants to move their bodies, specially created developmental materials for developing fine and gross motor skills and concentration, language materials, and furniture the perfect size for their small bodies. The adults in the Nido spend one-on-one time with each child, talking with them, getting to know each one’s uniqueness, and providing learning experiences for them based on their needs and interests. Infants are supported as they become more and more independent, learning how to talk, walk, dress, use the bathroom, and interact with other children.

(16 months-36 months)

The Toddler Community is a joyful community of 10-12 toddlers, a Montessori guide and assistants. Each day is filled with wonder and learning. The Toddler Community provides children with the support and tools they need to continue their growth in independence. Younger toddlers look to older ones and older toddler find joy in helping the younger ones. Whether learning a new word, spreading cheese on crackers, painting a picture, or using the toilet, all the children gain great self-esteem in their accomplishments. The adults carefully guide the children through group and individual lessons, allowing the children to explore their interests and supporting them through challenges.

(Birth-3 years)

Parent-Child Class are an 8-week series for infants, toddler, and their parents or other caregivers. This is great for families that want to learn how to “do Montessori” at home. Learn about how to set up your home and encourage your child to gradually grow more independent in eating, sleeping, toileting and so much more. This class is suitable for any level of Montessori experience and for all families whether or not they are enrolled at the school.

For the Children

  • Materials that support development of language, movement, and independence
  • Places for non-walking babies as well as those learning to walk or already walking well
  • Furniture made just for infants and toddlers
  • Children play and explore supported by their parents and Montessori Guide

For the Adults

  • Share and learn together
  • Interact with and observe their children
  • Discuss topics such as language development, toilet learning, weaning, sleep, and topics brought by families

Enroll Now

Complete an Application

To begin the enrollment process, please fill out our online application.

Tour the School

After filling out an application, you will have an opportunity to tour the school and learn more about our programs. At this time, all tours will be conducted over Zoom. We look forward to getting to know you!

Non-discrimination Policy

Sweet Pea Montessori is a 501c3 nonprofit, which does not discriminate on the basis of: race, color, culture, creed, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation/affectional preference, disability, age, pregnancy, marital status, family structure, economic status, veteran status, status with regard to public assistance or genetic information in its employment, programs, and activities.

Join our Team

Substitutes

We are currently hiring substitutes who are assistant teacher qualified. We are looking for someone who loves being with and caring for infants and/or toddlers and who will enjoy being part of a Montessori community. 

To apply, please fill out the online application, and email your cover letter and resume to info@sweetpeamontessori.org.

For more information and to apply, contact info@sweetpeamontessori.org

Internships

The mission of our internship program is to support those who are interested in becoming Montessori Infant and Toddler Guides and Parent Educators. We hope that this will help increase the availability of quality Montessori infant/toddler schools, access to those school by  diverse families, and diversity in those trained in Montessori.

We seek candidates who are just getting started on their journey to working with infants, toddlers, and parents and who would like support and mentorship as they put their knowledge into practice. Internships last 1-2 years while interns are completing Montessori training. Interns have the opportunity to work alongside an experienced guide in the Nido and/or Toddler Community and may also gain experience in Parent-Child classes and Parent Education.

Classroom Assistants

Classroom assistants are essential to the Nido and Toddler Community. They are partners in the classroom and form strong relationships with the children. We seek dedicated and caring candidates with or without previous Montessori experience or training.

For more information contact info@sweetpeamontessori.org

 

Consider a charitable gift to Sweet Pea Montessori. We believe educational opportunities should be available to families in our community regardless of financial means. We appreciate any support you might offer our community as we strive for social justice through quality, authentic Montessori education.

Donate

Sweet Pea Montessori is a 501(c)3 nonprofit school so all donations are tax deductible.

Wildflower Schools

Sweet Pea Montessori is a member of the Wildflower Schools Network

Wildflower is an ecosystem of decentralized Montessori micro-schools that support children, teachers, and parents. Our schools aspire to give all children and families the opportunity to choose high quality, beautiful learning environments as they follow life’s unfolding journey.

About Wildflower Schools

Wildflower is an ecosystem of decentralized Montessori micro-schools that support children, teachers, and parents. Our schools aspire to give all children and families the opportunity to choose high quality, beautiful learning environments as they follow life’s unfolding journey.

Our aim is to be an experiment in a new learning environment, blurring the boundaries between home and school, between scientists and teachers, between schools and the neighborhoods around them.Our schools are small and teacher-led, with deep parent engagement. At the core of Wildflower are 9 principles that define the approach.

Our network is supported by a foundation that works to build capacity, systems, tools and research to grow and strengthen the network.

Learn more about our story.

Our Principles

Blurring the boundaries between home-schooling and institutional schooling, between scientists and teachers, between schools and the neighborhoods around them. At the core of Wildflower are 9 principles that define the approach.

Read about them here.

Our Network

After the first Wildflower school was created in January of 2014, there was intense interest in the school and the approach. This interest led us to open-source the model and help other family groups and teacher-leaders to create new Wildflower schools. Each teacher-leader at each Wildflower school serves on the board of at least one other Wildflower school, creating a community of schools that are linked by both a shared philosophy and a network of shared relationships.

View our network.