Faculty | Infant & Toddler

Meet the Infant & Toddler teachers
Program Coordinator

Vandana Monteiro

Vandana Monteiro joined Princeton Montessori School in 2006, is a conference teacher and also serves as the educational coordinator for the Infant and Toddler programs.

Vandana loves the enthusiasm and energy that toddlers bring to the classroom each day. She enjoys sharing her passion for music, dancing, and yoga with the children.

When not at school, Vandana enjoys long walks and spending time with her two children. She practices meditation and says it is the key to her daily life.

Vandana received an MBA with specialization in Human Resources and a BS in Environmental Science from St. Joseph’s College of Business Administration, India and holds an American Montessori Society credential in Infant/Toddler through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ. She is a field consultant and an Infant/Toddler instructor for PCTE.

Conference Teacher

Melissa Apuzzio

Melissa Apuzzio joined Princeton Montessori School in 2017 and is a conference teacher in the Infant Center.

Melissa has experience in caring for children and as a caretaker for the elderly. She loves the energy of young children, and their eagerness to learn and discover new things. When not working, Melissa enjoys hiking, baking, listening to classical music and reading books.

Melissa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico and is also a Licensed Certified Nurse Assistant in Pennsylvania. She holds an American Montessori Society credential in Infant/Toddler through Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.

Classroom Assistant

Delmy Barrera

Delmy Barrera joined Princeton Montessori School in 1985 and is a classroom assistant.

Delmy is a gift to the Infant and Toddler program as she embodies the Montessori philosophy in her kind nature, patient disposition, and gentle guidance of our youngest children.

Delmy generously shares her love of music and cooking in her everyday interactions with the children. She enjoys introducing the children to her native Spanish through song and dance and special classroom materials in Spanish.

In her spare time, Delmy enjoys spending time with her four grown children, relatives, and friends. Frequent trips ‘home’ to Guatemala keep her connected to her extended family.

Delmy studied Montessori Philosophy and Child Development through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.

Classroom Assistant

Maris Barrera

Maris Barrera joined Princeton Montessori School in 2012 and is an assistant in the Infant and Toddler programs.

Maris is responsible for preparing healthy and nutritious lunches in the Toddler program. When not preparing meals, Maris assists with supporting the teachers in the Infant and Toddler programs.

Two of Maris’s three adult children attended the Princeton Montessori school when they were younger. Her nurturing, joyful, and kind disposition is an asset to the team.

Conference Teacher

Chiara Dicondina

Chiara Dicondina joined Princeton Montessori School in 2016 and is a conference teacher.

Chiara enjoys working with the Infants and Toddlers, and believes in bringing respect and patience to the children and to the environment around them. She enjoys sharing her love of nature and the outdoors, as well as her passion for playing the piano, with the children.

When not at school, Chiara enjoys exploring what mystery and beauty nature holds by spending time outdoors and camping with her two school-aged children. She loves cooking healthy nutritious food, and also enjoys playing the piano together with her family. Chiara is bilingual and fluent in Italian.

Chiara received her Bachelors in Education with a focus in Child Development from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She holds an American Montessori Society credential in Infant/Toddler through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ. She also holds certification as Holistic Health Counselor.

Classroom Assistant

Vanita Gulati

Vanita Gulati joined Princeton Montessori School in 2018 and is a classroom assistant.

Vanita has a strong connection with children and feels her ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations in a very calm and peaceful way is one of her greatest strengths. She has experience teaching in both Montessori and traditional early childhood classrooms. When not teaching, she enjoys peaceful hikes, listening to music, and spending quality time with her family.

Vanita received a BS in Early Childhood Education from City College of New York, and an MS in Education from Bank Street College of Education in NY. She holds an American Montessori Society credential from West Side Montessori Teacher Education Program, NY.

Conference Teacher, Admissions Associate

Alona Procaccini

Alona Procaccini joined Princeton Montessori School in 1989 and is a conference teacher and also serves as a Admissions Associate giving Toddler program tours.

Alona loves working with infant and toddler aged-children because of their passion for exploring the world. She brings her cheerful disposition and love of reading, singing, baking, and painting to the classroom environment.

Outside of school, Alona is a freelance photographer. In the summer, she enjoys travelling abroad in search of breathtaking pictures, and her work can be found in local restaurants. She also helps with her daughter’s photo collection in raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She also volunteers at SAVE Animal Shelter.

When at home, she enjoys gardening, cooking Italian food, and making Italian desserts.

Alona holds an American Montessori Society credential in Infant/Toddler through Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ. She is a PCTE Instructor and Field Consultant and a frequent parent workshop presenter on the topic of Preparing a Montessori Home Environment for the Young Child.

Conference Teacher

Souad (Sue) Saad

Souad (Sue) Saad joined Princeton Montessori School in 2008 and is a conference teacher.

Sue is passionate about playing an important role in children’s lives as they explore, grow, and reveal themselves at such a precious and tender age. As a mother of five, she brings her motherly knowledge and compassion with eagerness and excitement to the Montessori community.

Sue enjoys living a healthy lifestyle and listening to classical music, both of which can be found in her classroom environment. She also loves spending weekends taking in the beautiful aura one finds in downtown Princeton.

Sue received a BS in Business Administration from Alexandria University, El-Shatby, Egypt, and holds an American Montessori Society credential in Infant/Toddler through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.

Prior to her work with Toddlers and Infants she was a teacher’s aide for special needs children.

Conference Teacher

Olga L. Soto

Olga L. Soto joined Princeton Montessori School in 2000 and is a conference teacher.

Olga loves working with toddler children because she enjoys being a part of their development. Each day holds new beginnings and amazing growth. She brings her love of the Spanish culture and her bilingual talents to the classroom by singing and reading in Spanish to the children.

On the weekends, Olga enjoys long walks, and swimming and biking with her husband and two sons. She is also known for raising chickens and gathering their eggs for her family and the community.

Olga received a BA in Special Education from the Universidad los Libertadores in Colombia, South America and holds an American Montessori Society credential in Infant/Toddler through the Princeton Center Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.

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What Parents Are Saying

Our child previously attended a reputable public elementary school. During that time, she often complained that she was bored at school. I was concerned that the school's 'one-size-fits-all' education model was gradually dimming her thirst for knowledge. I wanted the flames of her engagement and curiosity to be fanned, not extinguished. She is now back at Princeton Montessori and I am happy to report that she is no longer bored. In fact, her inner flame has never been stronger!

Our Primary student is learning remotely this year due to the pandemic. He is really is enjoying all the works that come home to him. He tells me things like 'I love my Montessori works' and 'my works are beautiful.' My husband and I see him growing and learning so much even amidst our virtual constraints. Having tailored materials for him to work with makes all the difference in the world and we're grateful for the thought and care you put into curating them.

The other day I came downstairs and my 4-year-old son was listening to 'Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart' on Alexa. He told me that Mozart's dad was named Leopold and his sister was Nannerl (it took him a second to remember her name and it sounded made up, so my husband and I googled it. Sure enough he was right). We asked what else he had been learning and he rattled off Antonio Lucio Vivaldi’s full name and referenced The Four Seasons. I think my jaw is still on the floor. It turns out that the Primary children have been learning about composers this fall and listening to their music. What incredible exposure for these young children!

Princeton Montessori is the very epitome of the principles of Maria Montessori. The School offers a nurturing, creative, academic, and well-rounded development for each child. As a parent, we cannot offer our daughter a more valuable first gift.

The faculty are, bar none, the absolute best. The teachers are very knowledge both about the Montessori philosophy and the best ways to work with children. I ask for their advice and insight for any issues we’re having at home, quite often. They’re also incredibly warm and nurturing with the children in a way I have not seen at any other school.

I’m struck by how much better the Montessori toddlers are at playing and working peacefully with their peers than toddlers in other nursery school programs. I credit the gifted PMonts teachers, and the Princeton Montessori educational approach, for how confident, happy, and collaborative toddlers in the PMonts program seem.

Our son is so proud of being a third-year Primary. He has attended this incredible school since he was one year old. He had absolutely wonderful Toddler teachers and flourished under their care. Now, he is a third-year Primary and we know he will be more than ready for Lower Elementary. Thank you to all the Teachers & Staff!

The school runs with one philosophy and so every faculty member and admin personnel share the same vision for the child. This consistency is unique in our area to Princeton Montessori. Combined with the integration of the teacher training program, we can proudly say that the spirit of Dr. Montessori’s principles permeates every aspect of our school. That’s what I value the most about our school!

Education is both a gift and a right. I feel the teachers at PMonts help our children to appreciate the value of their education. Understanding the value involves looking beyond school and appreciating how education is a tool that will allow them to explore challenging goals, to grow as individuals and most importantly, chase their dreams.

I will never cease to be amazed at the capabilities of the young child. In the Montessori environment, the very youngest students show incredible independence and competence. At Princeton Montessori School the teachers truly help the children to “help me do it myself”.

When I think about my personal philosophy on education I can check all the boxes with regards to the education my daughter is receiving at Princeton Montessori. I feel the teachers motivate the students by focusing on appreciating the value of education and the diversities of peoples around the world while stressing and leveraging the power of the uniqueness in each individual student. Ultimately, the role of an educator is to shape a new generation that will create a safer and better world for the future.

Princeton Montessori School is a school that exceeds any expectations imaginable. The school follows each and every child on an individual basis and nourishes each child’s academic, social, and emotional needs. It is a school where teachers appreciate all unique qualities each child brings.

Princeton Montessori School turned out to be the best investment ever. We made some sacrifices in our lifestyle in order to be able to afford sending both children all the way through 8th grade, but now we are proud to note that we have two capable, confident, well-mannered young adults who are a pleasure to be around and who continue to love to work hard in their studies.