The Team

Manager/Owner – Paula Howes

Teacher – Jose Moreno

Hello, my name is Jose Moreno and I was born in Puertollano which is in Southern Spain. After studying marketing at University, I changed direction and I had my first experience teaching 14 years ago. image (2)After this, I decided to study to become a teacher in early years (QTS) at the University of Castilla La Mancha (Spain). During this time, I worked and gained experience in ‘after school clubs, sports classes and social work with children and teenagers.

I decided to move to Bristol to improve my English for a few months, and ended up staying since then, which was more than 5 years ago now. I started to work in England in main stream education, but after a volunteering in a Montessori setting I quickly realized this was the type of educational method was of great interest to me. I began working in a Montessori School in Bristol in 2014, before joining the team at Secret Garden in October 2017. I studied for the `Implementation In Montessori Practice´ and became qualified in 2016..

In my spare time I enjoy outdoors activities and travel as much as I can.

Lauren Draper – Baby Room Practitioner

Hi my name is Lauren I am delighted to be starting work here at Secret Garden Montessori. I cannot wait to explore and engage in this way of learning.
My experience of working within early years for over 10 years has equipped me with many skills and knowledge i love learning new things and sharing the things I have learnt too!
Holding an arts management degree I love being creative and always seek new ways to challenge children’s creativity.

Ainara Ramirez – Assistant Deputy Manager

Hello, my name is Ainara Ramirez and I am from Valencia, Spain. I am a qualified Primary school teacher (QTS) and I worked as a teacher during 5 years, teaching children from 3 to 12 year olds. After relocating to Uk I felt passionate about Early years and I became a manager of one privision in a nursery in Bristol. I find the Montessori method really interesting and I will be doing my Montessori training this year. I feel really excited about it. Some of my hobbies are yoga and running.

Katie Thompson – Montessori Teacher and Forest School Teacher

Hi, my name is Katie. I have had the absolute pleasure of joining the team at Secret Garden Montessori in April 2018. I completed my Level 4 in Montessori Pedagogy in 2016 and have worked at a Montessori and Forest School in Henley-on-Thames for the past three and a half years – I am due also to complete my Forest School Leader training within the next few months, and am absolutely infatuated with this wonderful method. I am a strong advocate for outdoor learning and the incredible benefits it has in regards to healthy brain development and emotional wellbeing. When I’m not working I enjoy exploring the great outdoors with my dogs and partner, cooking and relaxing with a good book.

Alexander Wadsworth – Senior Room Leader

Hello, I’m Alex Wadsworth, and I am very pleased to have joined Secret Garden Montessori in January 2018. I have worked in Early Years since 2007 and have experience working with babies and children up 5 years of age. I have gained a lot of experience in different nurseries, undertaking a variety of roles. This is my first role in a Montessori setting and I am excited at the prospect of learning more about the Montessori approach. I hope to start my Montessori training with Montessori Centre International very soon.
Outside of work my hobbies include training for my hot air balloon pilots licence and spending time with family and friends.

Mandy Willis – Secondary School Teacher and Montessori Teacher in Training

I started my career in Architecture and worked for an Architectural practice in London designing office blocks, private houses and entering competitions. This was an exciting time but the birth of my children made me rethink my working hours because I wanted to be hands on. Friends who could see that I loved motherhood suggested that I go into teaching instead. I retrained doing a PGCE in secondary design and technology at Surrey University and taught product design, textiles, electronics, food technology and woodwork. When I took a promotion as Director of Technology in a Technology College I decided that I needed to back this up with adequate understanding so I studied for a PGC in management with Sheffield Hallam University. This new job opened up new opportunities because we were required to deliver technology to our partner primary schools and to the community. I found that I loved working with younger children and the community so I left mainstream education to open Mandy’s Make Craft Café in Portishead. During all of this I had been studying Practical Philosophy for 12 years, which is what brought me to an awareness of the Montessori Philosophy. I’m in my second year of study for the Level 4 Diploma in Early Years with the Montessori Centre International and

I am delighted to be doing my teaching practice at Secret Garden Montessori, where I’m getting so much help and encouragement and watching the philosophy in practice. Nothing makes you smile more that an enthusiastic child saying “Let me help.

Louise Dougal – Qualified Primary School Teacher and Forest School leader

My name is Louise and from being a small child I wanted to be a teacher so I have spent most of my life working alongside children. After my degree in Education and English I spent some time working in Children’s Centres where I first fell in love with early years and subsequently changed my PGCE route (QTS) from general Primary (5-11) to Early Years (3-7).

 After qualifying I taught pre-school for a private nursery across two settings for 4 years during which time I gained my Early Years Professional Status (0-5) which meant developing my practice with under 2’s and I was also incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to train as a Forest School Leader (Level 3). I absolutely love watching children explore and learn in a natural environment and believe it can make a significant difference to children’s self esteem and confidence as learners.
 Next I spent 5 years teaching Early Years in a local Primary school and loved having my own class who I saw each day however after the arrival of my twins I felt I needed a change to achieve more of a work-life balance. I had already decided when it opened that I wanted my baby (haha!) to come to Secret Garden as I knew the Montessori method shares a lot of my own thinking and beliefs in early education but now I am lucky enough to get to come too!
 I can not believe I get to lead Forest School at Secret Garden and take the children to such a beautiful piece of woodland for our sessions. During my time here I have already seen many of the children grow in themselves as a result of this experience. I love learning and am committed to my CPD and I am interested to learn all about Montessori in practice from the team.
 In my spare time…I am a mother to 4 children so I can be found at the rugby club, ballet hall or swimming lessons. Occasionally I get to go out unaccompanied and sometimes to places other than the supermarket!