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

Carolina Lopez

Toddler Assistant

Mary Gazca

Teacher Leader, 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.

Aleecia Hodges

Nido Trainee

Aleecia has worked with Newborns, Infants and Toddler aged children for many years. Her journey with children started as the oldest sibling to eleven younger siblings in the household growing up. She is originally from Portland,OR and moved to the Twin Cities in October 2022. She is the mother to two beautiful young children. Three years ago, she received training from Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, OR as a Birth Doula and continued her education there and became a Certified Birth Doula. During those years she has served several BIPOC families in low income communities and helped advocate for them during Antepartum, Labor, Delivery and Postpartum at Hospitals, Birthing Centers and Homebirths.
She holds an AMI Montessori 0-3 Orientation Course Certification and RIE certifications training. Along with various Trauma Informed and Cultural Competency training, to instill Equity and Inclusive values in her work as a Birthworker and Montessori Teacher. Someday, she plans to receive the 0-3 Assistant to Infancy Montessori Credential and have her own classroom.
Her journey in Early Childhood Education started when she worked as a part-time nanny in between her birth clients for the past four years. In 2021, she started working at various different Preschools, Montessori & Reggio Emilia schools that all followed the RIE philosophy. She has worked as a teacher in the Infant,Toddler and Preschool classrooms. She believes the best thing about working with young children is watching them grow into their autonomy and being a part of those developmental milestones and finds enjoyment in celebrating children in their accomplishments every chance she gets.
She loves to be outdoors, going on hikes or taking walks with her family. Being a Mom is very important to her and she enjoys spending time baking, crafting and doing fun activities with her children at home.

Gabriela Vazquez

Nido & Toddler Aide

Loyola Sanchez

Nido and Toddler Aide

Victoria Karpeh

Substitute

School Details

Half Day

8:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Infant or Toddler)

12:00 PM – 3:30 PM (Infant)

Full Day

8:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Extended Day Options

Morning Extended Day:
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM (Infant)

Afternoon Extended Day:
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM (Infant or Toddler)

Our most up to date calendar can be found here.

2022-2023 School Calendar

August 29-September 2 – Closed for Professional Development & Deep Cleaning

September 5 – Closed for Labor Day

September 22 at 3:30 PM – Family Parade to the Park

October 20-21 – Closed for Professional Development

October 28 at 3:30 PM – Halloween Celebration

November 24-25 – Closed for Fall Break

December 19-30 – Closed for Winter Break

January 2 – Closed for Professional Development

January 16 – Closed for MLK Day

February 17 – Closed for Professional Development

February 20 – Closed for President’s Day

April 3-7 – Closed for Spring Break

May 29 – Closed for Memorial Day

June 8 at 3:30 PM – End of Year Celebration

July 3-7 – Closed for Summer Break

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 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 Full Day Pick Up
3:30-4:30 After Care

 

Toddler Community:

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 Full Day Pick Up
3:30-4:30 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 offer financial assistance that ranges from 20% off to 80% off tuition depending on family income. We also accept children using the Child Care Assistance Program (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 (Monday-Thursday) $1550 $1350
Extended Day (7:30-8:30 and 3:30-4:30) $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 toddlers 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 is an 8-week series for infants, toddlers, 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

Infant applications: as of 9/6/22 we have 1 opening for an infant. Fill out the application here.

Toddler applications: As of 9/6/22 we have an extensive waiting list for toddlers so we are not taking new applications for toddlers at this time. If you are already on the waiting list, we will contact you if a spot becomes available.

Tour the School

Due to a lengthy waiting list, regular tours have been suspended. When a spot becomes available, those already on the waiting list will be contacted directly to schedule a meeting.  Tours can be conducted over Zoom or in person. 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

Head of School/Teacher-Leader

We are searching for a part-time Head of School.  There is an opportunity to add a part-time teaching position for those seeking a full time opportunity. Ideal candidates will have experience in school administration and experience in creating an equitable, anti-racist/anti-bias Montessori environment or a desire to grow in this area.

For more information, see the job description here. To apply, please fill out the email your cover letter and resume to [email protected]

Substitutes

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

To apply, please fill out the online application, and email your cover letter and resume to [email protected]

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 schools 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.

To apply, please fill out the online application, and email your cover letter and resume to [email protected]

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.