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Our Team 2017-09-05T15:30:01+00:00

Our Story

After years of teaching preschool, I was so excited when I had my own child. I was determined to give my son the best start, right from birth. But I quickly realized that even years of experience as a Montessori teacher had not prepared me. I struggled to balance being a new mom, while trying to prepare a stimulating environment and keep up with his development at every turn. While teaching parent/baby classes in my neighborhood, I met so many parents who understood the importance of the early years but felt confused about how to best support their baby’s development. I was not able to recommend a simple solution because it did not exist. So I set out to create one.
We are so excited to share our amazing program, based on the world-renowned 0-3 Montessori curriculum, made easy for you to use at home. We believe that the best way to support your child during their most formative years is to empower you. With Monti Kids, you can rest easy knowing that you are giving your child the strongest foundation for learning. We can’t wait to play and learn with you!
Sincerely,
Zahra & the Monti Kids team

Meet the Team

Photo of Zahra Kassam
Zahra Kassam
Founder and CEO
Zahra founded Monti Kids because even with all of her super powers, she couldn’t provide a comprehensive Montessori education for her infant son.  With 2 degrees in Psychology and Education from Harvard, 10+ years teaching/school administration experience, & international certification as an AMI Montessori teacher for ages 0-6, she was well qualified for the challenge. She is the face, voice, hands (yes, it’s her in those videos!), brain, and heart of Monti Kids. She loves to dance and demonstrate toys to her son (not at the same time, though maybe that should be our next video).
Photo of Maria "ChaCha" Teresa Vidales
Maria “Chacha” Teresa Vidales
Montessori Advisor
Chacha is the Yoda of the Montessori infant/toddler curriculum. She oversaw the design and fabrication of the Montessori materials for this age group. Not only does she delight in teaching the lucky children in her school (as she has for 27+ years), she is a world-renowned (Association Montessori Internationale) AMI trainer of Montessori teachers. Beloved by all, she helps her protégées be their “best selves” for their baby students, and she helps us be our best selves for your baby student. She loves flowers, speaks in poetry, and is taller than Yoda.
Photo of Stacy Keane
Stacy Keane
Montessori Expert
As if having 3 kids of her own wasn’t enough to make her an expert, Stacy is also a certified AMI Montessori teacher with almost 15 years experience teaching 0 – 6 year olds and has a Masters in Education. She contributes extensively to our curriculum and makes sure she stays relevant by continuing to work with new & pregnant moms. Stacy likes to cycle & swim with her kids, photograph kids, and cheer for the Badgers (presumably with her kids). At Monti Kids, our enthusiasm for kids goes far beyond our work!
Photo of Yuki Kawae
Yuki Kawae
Design
A prestigiously trained architect and designer with a Masters from Rhode Island School of Design, Yuki makes magic with wood working, welding, websites, and pretty much anything that starts with W.  He also is the perfectionist who designed every curve, angle, and color of our toys, boxes, and music. While creating all of our videos, he watched thousands of hours of toy demos and feels he pretty much has the basics down at this point (though the Object Permanence Box is still a challenge). He was born in Kyoto, plays a mean guitar, and wants to drive a pick up truck some day.
Photo of Candace Fleming
Candace Fleming
COO
As an experienced entrepreneur and Harvard MBA, Candace manages our lemonade stand. She ensures the toy trains are on time, watches the piggy bank, and guarantees the play area is in order at the end of the day. Her extensive supply chain experience helps us rival Santa’s toy shop. She provides adult supervision and makes sure we play enough (the Push Toy is a real work out). She rolls up her sleeves, using her keen Stanford engineering skills to fix everything with duct tape, and she is a Montessori mom of 2 who loves volleyball and scuba diving.
Photo of Kristien Alquero
Kristien Alquero
Marketing
In the final stages of her Montessori teacher training and Masters in Education, Kristien is also an experienced digital marketer and project manager. She creates communities as tightly knit as macramé and writes posts that are way more interesting than fences (though those are admittedly functional). She imbues her warm, caring spirit into everything we do, particularly our communications. Her passion about improving early childhood development is infectious. She also makes sure we do yoga, go outside every day, and try her organic/vegan/raw snacks that we never knew existed.
Photo of Alexia Jarvis
Alexia Jarvis
Marketing
Alexia has an extensive background working with children, helping them grow and develop in multiple capacities. She is a gifted artist & graphic designer, and though she loves our toy designs, she secretly thinks they are woefully bereft of animal prints (“high contrast! Just like our Munari mobile!”). The cover doggie on our Wooden Book is her favorite, as he closely resembles her mini schnauzer, Philippe. Alexia assists the rest of the team with pretty much everything from safety compliance to social media and digital marketing.