Meet our Teachers and Caregivers

Cynthia Bennett, Certified Montessori Teacher
Owner and Director

A native of Quebec, Canada and fluent in French, Cynthia moved to the U.S. as a teenager and has dedicated over 30 years to the care and education of young children. In 1985, after completing a 2-year intensive training & internship, she received her Montessori Teaching Diploma from the Pan-American Montessori Society.

After working for a decade in various Montessori schools in the U.S. and having fallen in love with the natural beauty of the Northwest, she opened her first school, Giving Tree Montessori for Infants and Toddlers here in Bozeman in 1996.

Later she went on to open the Montessori Children’s House in 2011, named in honor of Maria Montessori's first school in Rome. After a successful five years, she is now expanding the facility to meet the ever growing needs of Bozeman’s young families. The new expansion will include three additional classrooms, a larger playground and a full kitchen, all designed and built with the needs of the young child in mind and due for completion in the Summer of 2017.

Cynthia is dedicated to providing the Montessori way of education for the youngest ages from 6-weeks to 3-years old. She’s experienced first-hand how this approach allows the innate intelligence of young children to expand and develop right along with their joy, self-confidence and self-esteem.

Through the years, Cynthia has learned to cultivate and channel the abundant energy, enormous learning potential, curiosity and wonder that these little ones naturally possess and she passes this knowledge along to her teachers.

She has always had a deep love for children and is a mother of five of her own, four boys and a girl, ages 14 - 30 years. 
She loves ice skating and cross country skiing and also enjoys scrap booking, ballroom dancing and ballet.

Maria Montessori taught that the motto of a young child is, Help me to do it myself. Cynthia's goal is to provide the best possible situation for children to fulfill this vital need. She invites you to visit and discover the wonders of early childhood education through the Montessori way. 

Our Infant Teachers

Christine Lamore, Certified Montessori Teacher
Infant Teacher and Administrative 
Assistant to the Director

While exploring the possibilities of life traveling the world for 10 years as both a train hostess and a flight attendant, Christine came upon the Montessori way of education and discovered this was the career for her.

She took her training through the Pan American Montessori Society under Dr. Elisabeth Caspari, a direct student of Maria Montessori herself. After completing her training and internship in 1992, she taught in Montessori schools from Hawaii to Montana.

In Christine's words, “ Montessori benefits children in so many ways. It’s child-centered, leading them to a lifelong love of learning, self-directed and self- disciplined.”

Born and raised in Sweden and after living and working in six different countries, Christine is very happy that she and her husband have chosen Montana as their home.

Bridget Hansard, Master of Arts
Infant Teacher and Administrative Assistant

Bridget is originally from Frankfurt, Germany. She holds a Master of Arts degree from the Art Academy of Dusseldorf.

She frequently visited the United States in her earlier years, and in 1998, decided to move to the U. S. She first settled in California, where she managed a book and gift store for several years.

After moving to Bozeman with her husband about ten years ago, she worked as a caretaker for both children and seniors , and joined us at Montessori Children's House in 2017.

Her loving and caring personality makes her well suited for working with children, and we are thrilled to have her on board.
She loves the Montessori philosophy and feels it is the best environment for children to grow and blossom.

In her spare time, she spends time with her five grandchildren and large extended family, which keeps her very busy.

Our Toddler Teachers

Tamara Weidenaar, Bachelor of Science
Head Toddler Teacher

Coming from a family of six children and having seven of her own, Tamara is a born teacher. She homeschooled her children until number five arrived and then was grateful for help from the Bozeman schools.

Tamara has been a teacher in our Toddler classroom since 2015 where she found the Montessori way came very naturally to her. Her knowledge of early childhood development is invaluable and our parents are very grateful for her mature perspective and calm, respectful care of their little ones.

With two grandchildren and one on the way, Tamara is passionate about treating the children in her care the way she desires her own grandchildren to be treated.

Tamara graduated from Augustana College in South Dakota with a degree in sociology and criminal justice. She and her wonderful husband love raising their family here in Bozeman. Three of their seven children are at home with them with four already grown and out of the nest.

Marjorie Devlin

Marjorie became a part of our Toddler team of teachers in 2014 while taking a break from MSU. She enjoyed working with the children and their families so much, she decided to stay with us and finish her business degree online. Marjorie adds much to this program with her fun loving nature and her natural qualities of caring for these little ones with patience and connection.

Marjorie sees great potential for children through the Montessori approach and looks forward to implementing more of the concepts into the toddler rooms with the upcoming expanded facility. Originally from Vermont, Marjorie feels right at home with all Montana has to offer.

Carolina Okamoto, Bachelor of Science

Born and raised in Brazil, Carol moved to Bozeman with her husband after his transfer here in 2016.

After spending fourteen years working in computer science, Carol was looking for a change and wanted to put her past experience caring for children in her own extended family, to good use.We are happy that she found her opportunity at Montessori Children's House.

Her joy and enthusiasm in caring for the little ones, is apparent and she has been a wonderful addition to our toddler program. Her management skills and spherical thinking have been put to good use, as well as, keeping the toddler program organized and running smoothly.

The Montessori way comes naturally to Carol and she is studying to deepen her understanding of all it has to offer.

Allie Brocke

Allie moved to Montana in 2015 from her native Idaho to study business and marketing at MSU and is on track to graduate in 2018. We are happy she finds time to be with our Toddlers several days a week and full-time in summers.

While still in high school, Allie worked at a day care center in Boise, and later served as a camp counselor for 8-12 year olds. She loves the joyous energy of children which never fails to put a smile on her face.

In her free time, she plays soccer for the MSU women's team and enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog.

Our Pre-Primary Teachers

Marianne Molina, Certified Montessori Teacher
Head Pre-Primary Teacher

Marianne began her training in child development while still in high school and living in Sweden. Her degree allowed her to work in day cares, as well as homes for troubled teens and hospitals.

Her first introduction to Montessori inspired her to create Montessori lessons for children under her care and later to implement the method while homeschooling her own five children.

Marianne joined our Team of teachers in 2013. She completed her Montessori training through the Age of Montessori and received her certification in 2014.

She has a passion for preparing and giving the Montessori lessons that provide the early foundation for our 2-year-olds in reading and math, along with sensorial and practical life experiences.

One of Marianne’s role models is Anne Sullivan, the gifted teacher of Helen Keller, because of her deep love, understanding and compassion for the young child coupled with her sincere and fiery dedication.

Hildegard Wrede, LPN

Born and raised in Germany, Hildegard received sponsorship to move to the U.S. for a nanny position with a Long Island family, caring for their two young children. The following year she moved to Kansas City to study for her LPN at the Kansas University Medical Center. She then went on to work as a nurse for the next 20 plus years, frequently caring for children in both their own homes and in hospitals.

She moved to Montana in the 90's to teach in the infant and toddler classrooms of a Montessori school at which time she took the Pan American Montessori training with Dr. Elisabeth Caspari. Hildegard's been an important part of the Montessori Children’s House team since 2015.

Haley Erickson, Bachelor of Science

Haley developed a passion for quality early childhood education while attending a Montessori school in her hometown of Helena. She credits her Montessori education for making her more aware, independent and self-directed as she grew up. She loves how the Montessori way results in the children's greater self-sufficiency bringing out their spontaneous exclamations of I-can-do-it!

This is her first full-time job since graduating from MSU with a degree in Community Health and Sociology. Caring for children has always come naturally to Haley and with her own Montessori background, she finds this position a perfect fit.

Haley loves being physically active. Whether she's running after children or running for health and fitness, she's always on the move!

Lydia Hermanns, Associate of Science Degree

In 2017, after being away at school, Lydia returned as a much-appreciated part of our PrePrimary team.

She easily connects with the children and offers the best possible care with her great patience and enthusiasm. Originally from York, Pennsylvania, Lydia arrived in Montana in 2012. She has an Associate's Degree in Pre-Dietetics.

In her free time, Lydia enjoys gardening and being outdoors. She's also an excellent cook and baker.