Ms. Arlene

“I feel blessed to be part of a school that gives so much love and care to the children and families and, in turn, the greatest reward is receiving that love from the children every time I step into the school for Spanish class. It makes my heart smile all the time.”

Spanish Teacher

Education: B.S. (Business) from Eastern New Mexico University

Ms. Arlene is a native New Yorker (Manhattan) of Puerto Rican descent.  She is married and a mother of two sons: a college senior and a high school freshman. Ms. Arlene is a cantor at St. Joseph’s Church in Herndon, VA and has loved singing and music ever since she was a child. She also enjoys being out in nature, cooking and spending quality time with her family.

Ms. Arlene discovered Montessori through her oldest son, who attended a Montessori school from preschool through kindergarten. She spent many years volunteering in her children’s schools, and experienced, first-hand, the wonders of how a child learns through discovery and fun. She describes her experience at Children’s House as “life-changing” and looks forward to her weekly classes with the children.

Ms. Tessa

“The Montessori method shares fundamental beliefs with the philosophy of yoga, and for this reason I cannot think of a better population to teach. CHMS of Reston is an incredibly supportive environment that aims to teach young students to support themselves with integrity, kindness, and creativity. The quality of care and teaching has impressed me from the very start, and I am excited to offer complimentary tools for physical and emotional well-being.”

Musical Yoga Teacher

Education: Temple University and George Mason University

Tessa is a professional musician and yoga teacher. She has cultivated a unique yoga practice that intertwines the voice, music, and yoga postures. Tessa has been teaching children since 2015 and designing musical yoga curriculae for kids since 2017. She offers music and yoga as tools for children to develop physical, social, and emotional awareness.

Tessa has lived in Fairfax County since 2005, and is now situated in Reston. She loves the outdoors, and creates lesson plans based on the movement of the seasons.

Ms. Cinthia

“One of the best decisions I have made as a parent when my children were very young was enrolling them in a Montessori program. At Children’s House Montessori School, I am fortunate to experience the Montessori environment I love so much. It is a privilege to be part of such a committed and all-around awesome team of individuals.”

Office Manager

Education: Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, George Mason University

Cinthia Drake is the Office Manager and Admissions Director of Children’s House. She worked for 3 years as an administrative assistant at World Wildlife Fund and 8 years as a Montessori Assistant Teacher at Montessori Country School in Herndon, VA, leading her to love the Montessori philosophy.

Cinthia was born in Sao Paulo, and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She came to the U.S. with her family in 1989 and married in 1992. She has two children: a daughter and a son, who attend Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Both of her children attended a Montessori school for pre-school and kindergarten.

“Spending part of my school vacations at my Grandparents house in Sao Paulo was always a treat: Grandpa and Grandma would cook our favorite foods, pantry was stocked with our favorite snacks, we would visit uncles, aunts and cousins. It was always such a joy!”

Cinthia is a movie aficionado! She loves “anything and everything Disney,” and enjoys reading, telling stories to the children, and coloring books for adults.

Ms. Ruth

“When I learned about the Montessori methodology, I discovered a long-lasting way of learning that meaningfully impacts the child’s life. I have seen children learn and develop new skills and enjoy what they are doing, while also becoming the best version of themselves. Now, I can’t be more excited to be on board with Children’s House of Montessori School, to work alongside their staff, and to provide a safe and beautiful environment in which the children can learn and grow.”

Montessori Assistant – Sunrise Room

Education: Associate of Science: Social Science,  Northern Virginia Community College

Ruth Vilchez Zapata was born in Lima Peru and moved to the United States in 2015 to study and explore a new country.  She has been a bilingual Montessori assistant, and has taught toddlers in a child care center, something that provided her with firsthand insight of children’s extraordinary abilities and imagination while learning.  

“My family told me that when I was little, I would dance to anything I’d listen to even door bells sounds.”

In her spare time, she likes to listen to music, dance, paint, read, and go for walks in the park. Ruth also enjoys coloring mandala pages to relax her mind and would love to visit Mexico!

Ms. Asma

“My passion for teaching blossoms from my love for children. Their innocence and desire to discover are a few of the many reasons that I chose this career path. I hope to dedicate my time and effort here at Children’s House to help the children grow into intelligent, strong and independent individuals.”

Montessori Teacher

Education: B.A. in Philosophy, French, and Economics, University of Karachi

Montessori Credentials: Early Childhood Credentials (AMS) / Northern Virginia Montessori Institute (NVMI) in Ashburn, VA / 2019

Ms. Asma is a Montessori Teacher in the Sunset room. She discovered her zeal for teaching many years ago when she dropped her son, now grown, at his first day of Montessori school in her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan. She later worked at a Montessori school as an aide, prior to moving to the United States in 2015.

“My love for sugary desserts and sweets is unparalleled. It is beyond comprehension and I remember on one of our religious festivals (Eid), our chef baked a cake which was topped with 50-100 beautiful marzipan roses. I was so mesmerized by the roses that I sneaked into our kitchen and ate every single one of them before any guest could! I must say, that sugar rush lasted ages!” 

Asma is married and has three children. She loves the outdoors, and is an ardent traveler who has had the privilege of visiting various countries, including Turkey (her favorite!) and and the city of Mecca. She loves all the shades of pink and aqua blue, spending time with her family, and enjoying animals and nature.

Ms. Kari

“I enjoy teaching at Children’s House for many reasons.  Most important to me is working with like-minded adults whose number one priority is the children.  Our students are respected and loved.  They are nurtured and guided towards independence.  This is the Montessori Method and staff adheres to it as closely as possible.”

Montessori Teacher

Education: Radford University

Montessori Credentials: Early Childhood (AMS) / Northern Virginia Montessori Institute at Belmont Greene, 2010

In addition to being a Lead Teacher in classrooms over the last decade, Kari Kilcullen has free-lanced as a Montessori Consultant.  She has helped start a school from the ground up, serving as the Acting Director, and in that capacity, she wrote the curriculum for the new program and had the opportunity to share her knowledge of Montessori with her staff.  She is a co-teacher in the Sunrise Room.

Kari is the mother of a teenage daughter who attended Montessori school until 6th grade. Researching for her own child’s education is what initially led Kari to learn about the Montessori Method. The more she learned, the more she realized that Montessori would be a good fit – not just for her daughter, but for herself.

Prior to her Montessori career, Kari worked in business management, writing, and the visual arts.  She is currently the Director and Curator of a local art gallery and finds her past and present work experience are relevant in a school setting. Kari enjoys sharing her love of art and creativity with the children.

“I grew up in Vienna with a large yard with tiered gardens and many apple and other fruit trees.  Playing and exploring there was my greatest joy. Before there was such a thing as “extreme” sports, my Dad and I made our own version of croquet that allowed for many intense moves.  Much to my moms chagrin, we utilized the many levels of flower beds and large trees like a pinball machine.” 

Kari loves pizza, pop surrealist art, cross stitching, and the movie Blade Runner!

Ms. Helena

“I enjoy being a part of creating a community of young learners that are inquisitive, confident, kind, and who are excited about their school day. Every day at Children’s House Montessori School I see exceptional teachers nurturing and guiding each child to develop fully into the person he or she is destined to be. I am excited to be a part of the CHMS community!”

Assistant Director and Montessori Teacher

Education: M.A. in Education and a B.A. in Child Development from Concordia University

Montessori Credentials: Early Childhood (AMS) / Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies, Silver Spring, MD – 2004

Helena Crick is the assistant director at Children’s House and the lead Montessori Teacher in the Sunset Room. Helena has served as an intern teacher trainer and consultant, school director and curriculum coordinator in the early childhood setting, and as a faculty member in the Education degree program at Columbia College.

Originally from Northampton, England, Helena considers herself a citizen of both the US and the UK, enjoying both sweet tea and a cup of tea, preferably in a china cup!

“I have many fond memories of spending my school summers in England with my extended family. Both my parents worked and so when I was old enough to send on a plane by myself they would send me over there for a few months until school started again.  It was wonderful getting to walk down to the shops to pick up the shopping items with my gran and then to help her with the cooking and baking. My grandmother was an AMAZING baker, having been ‘in service’ in her younger pre-marriage days where large quantities of bakery items would be expected. She would produce so many assorted goodies in speedy fashion! We all thoroughly enjoyed her ability to make magic with just a few essential ingredients!”

Helena loves visiting Skyline Drive in the fall with her fiancé, Chris, and enjoying the foliage. With her English background, it comes as no surprise that she’s also a fan of The Crown on Netflix!

Ms. Keturah

“Owning my own Montessori school was a dream of mine for many years that finally came true in 2003 with the opening of Children’s House.  It is so satisfying to work with the families and staff that have been drawn to our special place.  It is obvious that each child, parent, and staff member brings their talents, creativity and love here, making me proud to be the owner of Children’s House.”

Owner, Director, and Montessori Teacher

Education: B.A. in Child Development, University of Alabama

Montessori Credentials: Early Childhood (AMS) / Montessori World Educational Institute, San Louis Obispo, CA / Completed the Course for Montessori School Management at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York

Keturah Collins is the owner/director of Children’s House Montessori School, and is the lead Montessori teacher in the Sunrise Room.

Keturah’s career in early childhood education spans more than 45 years. She has served as a field consultant for interns taking their Montessori training, has been in the Montessori classroom for more than 30 years, and has worked in a “traditional” preschool setting for several years as well.

Keturah has been married to Henry Collins for 49 years and they have two grown children. Henry’s career in the U.S. Army provided the opportunity to live in Germany, Korea, and Norway, and travel extensively in Europe and Asia.  Keturah enjoys sharing these cultures and experiences with the children in her classroom. She also loves nature and teaching understanding and appreciation for all living things.

“Some of my favorite memories from childhood are playing outside, making mud pies in the back yard with my younger brother, picking flowers for my Mom from the empty lot next door, and sitting in a tree at the bottom of the driveway waiting for my Dad to come home.”

Keturah loves springtime, chocolate mousse, and anything — anything — that’s PURPLE!