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Unique Montessori Centre & Playschool

Navan Team

Lynda Carroll – Montessori Teacher, Early Years Professional & Founder of The Montessori Story since 2002

Lynda, highly motivated and passionate about learning, completed an Advanced Diploma in Montessori (6 – 12 years) in the Liberties College, Bull Alley St., Dublin in May 2002. Lynda also received a Fetac Level 5 Certificate in Montessori and Childcare (0 – 6 years) in May 2001. With 17 years in childcare, Lynda has gained considerable experience in working with children and their families. In addition to working as a Montessori teacher and manager at The Montessori Story since September 2002, Lynda worked as a childcare assistant in Mother Hubbard’s Nursery and Montessori in Phibsboro, The Coombe Nursery and Montessori, The Mater Nursery and Montessori, Co. Dublin and Balreask Montessori (3 –12 years), Navan, Co. Meath. As part of the advanced diploma requirements, Lynda spent time working as a student teacher with Junior Infants, in St. Mochta’s Primary School, Clonsilla, Dublin and in Scoil Brid’s Primary School, Cannistown, Navan, Co. Meath from September to May 2002.

Since then, Lynda has devoted her time to developing The Montessori Story. She is extremely dedicated to her continuous professional development and has completed a number of other courses in relation to childcare such as ‘Diversity, Equality & Inclusion’ course, First Aid, Manual Handling, Fire Safety, the Lámh course (helping children without language to communicate), Smart Start and Children First. She has also attended continuous curriculum training on Aistear and Síolta through MCCC. Other interests include counselling and psychotherapy, in which she completed a certificate in March 2007 with Maynooth University. She then turned her attention to health and fitness - leading her to achieve a distinction in Fitness & Group Instruction, with Image Fitness in April 2013. To follow on from this, she had the pleasure of spending almost 3 months in the U.S. in 2014, completing a 500 Hour Hot Yoga Teacher Training course. Most recently, she has undertaken the Level 7 B.A. in Early Childhood Education and Care, which she completed in April 2019. Following that Lynda also successfully completed the Level 6 course in Leadership for Inclusion - a course delivered by Mary Immaculate College and dedicated to the promoting and supporting the inclusion of all children in an early years setting.

Her long-term goal is to continue evolving The Montessori Story by combining her interests, qualifications and experience to create a holistic educational experience for the children and their families. Having become a mother herself in 2016 to an active and energetic little boy, this privilege has given Lynda a deeper insight into the demands of family life, transforming theory into practice! Lynda strongly believes that while academic development for children is important, it is equally vital to nourish emotional strength, compassion for others and creativity. In her eyes, education is not a 'one size fits all' approach and that learning is for life!

Norma Ryan - Montessori Teacher & Early Years Professional

Norma joined The Montessori Story in March 2006. With a certificate in Special Needs Assistance, Norma also completed a Diploma in Montessori Teaching (0 – 6 years) in Portobello School of Further Education in June 2005. Work experience was a compulsory part of the Montessori and Childcare course and Norma also worked at The Montessori Story while studying at Portobello College. Norma is dedicated to her continuous professional development and has completed other courses in relation to childcare such as First Aid, Fire Safety, Manual Handling and Children First training all completed and up to date. In 2018 Norma also competed the Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years and is the school’s LINC officer. In her role as LINC officer Norma ensures that the school has an inclusive practice, inclusive pedagogy and inclusive culture within the setting providing support and information for staff and parents. As a mother of three, Norma also has practical hands on experience in dealing with children. Norma is kind and caring with all children she meets, understanding their needs as both an experienced mother and teacher.

Ornella Lupo-Di Vona: Montessori Teacher and Early Years Professional 

Ornella joined The Montessori Story in March 2019. She successfully completed an Advanced Certificate in Early Childcare with Special Needs Assistance and Education Level 5 & 6 in the Montessori method. Further certificates include: Therapeutic Play, Speech Therapy, Challenging Behaviour and Diversity and Equality and Inclusion. Ornella has also completed Paediatric First Aid, Manual Handling, Fire Safety and Children First Training. Previous to working with children, Ornella had her own business in hospitality which was quite demanding. She was extremely dedicated to her business up until she became a mother herself, at which point she turned her attention to the Early Years. This change in career fulfilled her natural curiosity to learn and know more about child development and also allowed her spend precious time with her own children and concentrate on her family. Ornella is very energetic with a warm personality and a great sense of humour. She truly loves spending time with children and she's both creative and passionate. She loves dedicating her time to helping children and developing the foundations of their educational journey.

Amanda Bathe - Montessori Teacher & Early Years Professional

Amanda joined The Montessori Story in January 2012. She completed her diploma Fetac Level 6 in Montessori teaching with distinction, in Portobello in 2008. Amanda carried out her work experience for this course with The Montessori Story, Kells. Previous to this, Amanda spent 15 years in the educational sector and thoroughly enjoyed her interaction with children in this capacity. So much so, that it propelled her to study for her diploma while on a career break. As with all our team members Amanda, is also dedicated to her continuous professional development, having completed her First Aid, Manual Handling, Fire Safety and Children First Training as well as continuous curriculum training on Aistear and Síolta through MCCC. In addition to this, Amanda became our health ambassador in 2018, having successfully completed the ‘Smart Start’ programme, earning our school the ‘Healthy Ireland’ preschool award. Most recently, she has undertaken the Level 7 BA in Early Childhood Education and Care – due for completion in April 2019. As a mother of two, Amanda has the practical experience needed for working with children while showing the necessary compassion and understanding required in the many challenges that present themselves on a daily basis.

Gabriela da Silva - Montessori Teacher & Early Years Professional

Gabi joined The Montessori Story in July 2013. She has a very strong interest in working with children and with experience as a nanny previous to her studies, Gabi has much to offer the children at our school. She has completed courses in English as a Second Language, Food Hygiene, First Aid, Fire Safety, Manual Handling and Children First. In addition to this she gained a certificate in Children with Additional Needs Level 5 & 6. She has also accomplished the Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education Level 5 & 6. All aspects of caring for children, including Child Development and Early Childhood Education are covered as part of this training. She has also completed Fetac Level 6 in Montessori & Childcare. Being keen to further her skills even more, Gabi has also completed Rainbow Kids Yoga and the Lámh course (helping children without language to communicate). You will not meet a more energetic person than Gabi – with her happy disposition she is most suited to working with young children.

Claire Ryan - Montessori Teacher & Early Years Professional

Claire studied and received a distinction in Special Needs Assistant Diploma in October 2011 with the College of Progressive Education, for which she gained valuable work experience in The Montessori Story, Kells. She has also gained experience whilst working as a substitute SNA in St. Joseph’s Primary School. In addition, Claire has successfully completed an Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education Level 5 & 6, as well as the Early Bird Parent Programme. As with all our team members, Claire is also dedicated to her continuous professional development, having completed her First Aid, Manual Handling, Fire Safety and Children First Training as well as continuous curriculum training on Aistear and Síolta through MCCC. Other trainings include: the Lámh course (helping children without language to communicate), Therapeutic Play, Speech Therapy, Challenging Behaviour and ‘Diversity, Equality and Inclusion’. As a mother of three young boys, one of whom has extra needs, Claire has many years’ experience in dealing with children. Watching Claire in action, it is clear how dedicated she is to enabling and empowering any child she is responsible for. She is gentle and kind, and genuinely wants every child to succeed.

Tatiana Corcodel: Montessori Teacher and Early Years Professional

Joining The Montessori Story in 2020 Tatiana, an enthusiastic, friendly and self-motivated woman, is both highly qualified and has a wealth of experience in childcare and education from the past 20 years. Tatiana graduated from the State Pedagogical University Ion Creanga in Moldova (1996-2001). While studying, Tatiana worked as a child care assistant for two years in Kindergarden no. 194 in Chisinau, Moldova with children aged 3-6 years. After graduation Tatiana was working as an English teacher in Gymnasium No. 81 with children aged 7- 16 years. In time she decided to study further and get a masters degree in Economic Law at the Trade Cooperative University of Moldova in 2009. Tatiana is dedicated to her continuous professional development and has completed QQI Child Care Level 5 – LMETB Child Care an Education – Louth & Meath Education & Training Board Major Award 2017- 2019 which includes all 11 modules for which she was awarded a distinction. She has also completed First Aid and a course in Encouraging Language Development. Being a mother of three daughters, her motivation is to help children become happy, healthy and fulfil their potential. She is passionate about child care and education and is most contented when working in an encouraging and positive environment.

Malwina Weglewska: Montessori Teacher and Early Years Professional

Malwina joined The Montessori Story in September 2020. In 2018 Malwina successfully completed Early Childhood Care and Education Level 6 with  the Open College with extra modules like: Special Needs Assisting, Disability Awareness and Child Psychology. Malwina has up to date mandatory courses e.g. First Aid, Child Safeguarding Awareness; Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Charter and Guidelines, HACCP Food Hygiene FSAI Level 2. She undertook  some extra courses e.g. Autism Awareness with Online Academies, Childhood Anxiety and Building Resistance presented by Dr Mary O’Kane; Behaviour Interventions and Understanding Complex Needs with Training Solutions; Hanen Teacher Talk- Encouraging Language Development in Early Childhood Interactions with Better Start; TOY- Together Old and Young: An Intergenerational Approach’ with Dr. Margaret Kernan; Malwina completed Cambridge English Level 1 Certificate in ESOL International( Business) achieved with Level B2. Malwina is nationally and internationally vetted.

In 2016 Malwina completed work experience as SNA in Navan Educate Together N.S.  Since this time she has been engaged with the school for five years: completing work experience in multicultural pre-school; being a chairperson of Parents Association and volunteer to many projects around school in her private time; Malwina worked as a substitute SNA in the Special Needs Unit (Rainbow Rooms), in 2018-2019 she worked as AIM/SNA in a pre-school facility. In 2019-2020 Malwina worked in Breakfast and After the School Club while working as a room Leader in Manor Montessori. Being a mum of two girls, 11 & 14 years old, Malwina is passionate about working with the children. She loves their purity and honesty. She loves to teach them and care for them and see their progress. She has a ‘soft spot’ for children with special and additional needs.  She understands their needs and how the surrounding world can be a different experience for them. Moreover, while working with children Malwina wants to assure that parents will get as much help and support from the practitioners as possible. It’s all about making life easier and more understandable for children and their carers.

Fathuma McCarthy – Early Years Professional

Fathuma joined The Montessori Story in March 2021. Her own educational path began by studying IT in 2003 until 2005 at the Ballsbridge College of Further Education. After this, knowing her passion lay in caring and educating young children, she changed direction and undertook her FETAC Level 5 qualification in Childcare in 2005. Fathuma has worked with children from a very young age and it is something that she has always enjoyed. From 2006 until 2010, she worked at Giraffe Childcare in Blanchardstown Corporate Park, Dublin as a childcare worker. Here, she earned a Certificate in Arts and Crafts and gained great experience allowing the children to express themselves and get creative. She then took some years away from the workplace to raise her 3 children, while also looking after children in her own home. Fathuma now feels the time is right to be back doing what she loves in the preschool setting. She enjoys challenging the children with Arts and Crafts and the many different activities that are carried out on a daily basis, keeping the children engaged, stimulated and learning in a fun way!! She is delighted to be back working with The Montessori Story for the next chapter of her life and when you meet Fathuma, you will be struck by her warm and very kind nature.

Hafsa Ali: Access & Inclusion Model (AIM) Assistant

Hafsa joined The Montessori Story as an AIM assistant in December 2019. Hafsa completed a certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education with Special Needs Assistance in 2015, for which she was awarded a distinction. She carried out her work experience for this course with Mother Hubbard’s Childcare, Navan, Co. Meath. Hafsa is dedicated to her professional development and has completed other courses in relation to childcare such as Introduction to Children First, Introduction to Inclusion for Children with Additional needs, First Aid Responder, Manual Handling, Fire Safety, Introduction to Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs), Encouraging Language Development in Early Childhood Settings and Autism and the Special School, Sensory Processing. All these courses were completed and are up to date. Hafsa has also completed courses in English as a Second Language. As a mother of three, she understands very well that each child is unique and has different needs. She is kind, energetic and empathetic with a genuine love for children. Nothing makes her happier than seeing a smile on the faces of the children in her care. Helping children with their needs is its own reward for Hafsa.

Marie-Louise Conachy – Office Manager

Kells Team

Karen Foran: Manager, Montessori Teacher & Early Years Professional

Karen joined The Montessori Story in November 2019. Karen initially began her work and studies in the finance sector, obtaining a first class honours Level 8 Degree in Business & Management from NUI Maynooth (2011) and qualifying as a chartered accountant (2016), while working as an Auditor for 5 years. During this time Karen was actively babysitting and childminding in her free time, keeping her interest in working with children alive. In 2017 Karen made the brave decision of leaving the finance sector to pursue her passion for working with children. Karen's passion was evidenced when she obtained her QQI Level 5 in Early Childhood Care and Education with Chevron Training in 2018, earning distinctions in all modules. Karen underwent extensive work experience in Mother Hubbard's, Navan for the duration of this course, working with children from 18 months to after school age.
In early 2019, Karen worked in Realtoga Montessori as a classroom assistant where she discovered her love for the Montessori method of teaching. Karen pursued training in this area and completed her QQI Level 6 in Early Childhood Care and Education with Montessori Teaching, through Portobello Institute, while working in The Montessori Story. Once again, Karen achieved distinctions in all modules in February 2020. Karen continues to strive to keep her continuous professional development up to date by completing courses such as Manual Handling, Fire Safety, Children First training, Language Development workshops, Managing Challenging Behaviour workshops and more. Karen also shares her interest in working with children with her community, as she has been actively involved in managing and mentoring underage teams in her local GAA club. Karen’s calm and kind approach makes her a wonderful addition to our Early Years team.

Emma Farnan – Montessori Teacher & Early Years Professional

Emma Farnan has over 10 years’ experience in Early Years Education and childminding. She worked as a medical secretary following her award in FETAC/NCVA Business Studies-Secretarial in 2002. She completed her FETAC Level 5 in Childcare in 2011 and FETAC Advanced Supervision in Childcare in 2012. A Classically trained singer with grade 8 in singing from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Emma incorporates music appreciation to the classroom promoting a calm working environment for the children. Emma has 20 years’ experience as a choir director for children and adult church choirs. Emma was educated through the medium of Irish and holds a Level 7 Diplóma sa Ghaeilge from NUI Galway and was employed in a Naíonra setting as well as providing Irish grinds for Junior and Leaving Certificate students. As a mother of four children, Emma has a deep insight into the needs of young children and displays a natural warmth that is evident from the moment you meet her.

Justyna Swzeda: Montessori Teacher and Early Years Professional

Justyna joined The Montessori Story in January 2019 as an AIM Assistant and became a Room Leader in September 2019 of ECCE 1 group. She completed her studies in the field of Early Childhood Care at Level 8 in 2011. Since 2018, Justyna has been involved in Home Tuition to provide an educational service for children with special educational needs or medical grounds. At weekends, Justyna works at Mother Tongue Academy in Swords to promote the native language for foreign children. She is a teacher for children age 4-8 and working with the Animal Therapy Ireland they are trying to prove that school can and should be fun!
In addition to the above, Justyna has also gained a certificate from IPT Educational Courses in the field of Pedagogy. She has completed courses in First Aid, Manual Handling, Food Safety, Fire Safety, Children First, Train the trainer FETAC level 6 and the Internal Auditor. She has been registered with The Teaching Council since February 2018. Justyna has extensive experience in the sector and is passionate about childcare and the early education. As a mother of two young children, she very well understands the children’s needs and expectations and also the importance of parent support and partnership.

Ashley O’Dowd - Montessori Teacher & Early Years Professional

Ashley joined The Montessori Story in August 2017. Previous to this, Ashley worked in Deanhill Montessori School from 2004 for 13 years. She completed her Level 6 Advanced Supervision in Childcare with New Approach Training. Ashley is dedicated to her continuous professional development and has completed other courses in relation to childcare such as FAR (First Aid Responder), Manual Handling, Fire Safety and Children First training. In addition to this, she regularly undertakes continuous curriculum training on Aistear and Síolta through Meath County Childcare Committee. Other training includes the Lámh course (helping children without language to communicate), Challenging Behaviour, Diversity, Equality and Inclusion and Early Literacy In the Montessori Environment with St. Nicholas College, Dún Laoghaire. Ashley became our Health Ambassador in 2018 having successfully completed the Smart Start program, winning our school the “Healthy Ireland” preschool award. As a mother of three sons, Ashley has practical hands on experience in dealing with children. Anybody who meets Ashley loves her – especially the children! 

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