About us

The founders

Co-founders: Iker Marcaide, Irene Cañero and Mariano Pontón
We, the founders, are parents from Valencia with experience in business and education. Between our three families we have five children of similar ages, and we share the desire to provide our children with an education which will fully develop their abilities using a methodology different from the one we experienced at school.

We believe that the role of a school should be to accompany the children in their innate curiosity, respecting each child’s pace of learning as well as their likes and choices. We also believe children should be allowed to develop their creativity and explore what they have around them in order to discover that learning, finding difficulties and solving these on their own is a source of great satisfaction.

We identify with the Montessori Pedagogical Method because, besides being present in every continent for over 100 years (with over 20,000 schools around the world and 4,500 in the USA alone), its philosophical-scientific basis and methodology is centred on the development of the child’s cognitive, emotional and social abilities. We consider these to be key, equally relevant aspects.
“I do not believe there is a better method than the Montessori Method to make children aware of the beauties of the world and to awaken their curiosity for the secrets of life.”– Gabriel García Márquez
Writer. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Direction and Administration


Mariano // Executive Director

Mariano is co-founder and Executive Director of Imagine Montessori School. Father of 2 girls aged 6 and 8 years old. Passionate about education, as a lever for society change. He was a strategic consultant and part of the Accenture Strategy executive team during 9 years. Under this role, he led transformational programs, as well as operational excellence programs in multiple industries in Europe, Asia, and south America. Mariano holds an Executive MBA by Instituto de Empresa Business School (Madrid) and an Industrial Engineering degree by the Polytechnic University of Valencia.


Gina // Secretary

Graduated in Art History and Museums, I was mainly focused on educating younger generations and bringing arts and culture closer to a younger audience. I worked with school groups in different cultural institutions, and, after many years doing administrative work in different areas, I am excited to be part of Imagine, providing my support to everyone in this community. On my free time, I take long walks with my dog, visit museums, love travelling and finding new places to eat.

Pedagogical Team


Sheila // Children’s House & Infant Community Coordinator, and Children’s House Teacher

I’m a qualified Early Years teacher. I moved to London in 2012 where I started working as a teaching assistant in a Montessori school where I had the opportunity to discover the method and be able to work following the Montessori philosophy. I was impressed with how children were able to achieve their full potential working with the Montessori materials and how the school encouraged them to follow their interests. This inspired me to gain my Montessori Diploma and with it I became a teacher in the same school.

I think my experience in London has enriched my life both professionally and personally. At that school I was lucky enough to work with children from many different cultures, building up values like respect, patience, and responsibility among others to create harmonious learning environment.


Hana // Primary Coordinator and Teacher

I’m a Primary teacher and an Elementary guide (6-12 year old). I began my journey in Montessori Method first as a child attending Montessori schools in both Japan and the United States. I’ve worked as a teacher in both Lower and Upper Elementary classrooms in a variety of settings in different countries such as United States and Colombia. When I’m out of the class you can find me biking by the water or park, kicking a soccer ball or exploring different gardens in search of a new interesting plant. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Imagine Montessori team!


Madeleine // Children’s House Teacher

I am originally from Scotland, but my parents moved to Liverpool, so I grew up there basically. I worked as a teacher in different parts of Europe, such as Portugal and Spain, where I was teaching primary for 5 years.

I have a diploma in Montessori, and have worked in a Montessori School for the last years. It has felt like quite a big change in direction from primary teaching to Montessori. I love what I do. It’s a very different way of doing things, and I think the results can be seen in the children. There is no pressure and stress on the children, and that is something I think it so important especially during their first formative years. They should be learning through exploring and having fun.


Maite // Children’s House Teacher

I’ve worked as a teacher in different educational stages for more than 5 years. My curiosity about new pedagogical methods and the continuous improvement in my training took me to Ireland, where I certified as a Montessori guide and I lived for 6 years. After working in different Montessori Schools, it is a privilege for me to be able to apply all the knowledge acquired in Imagine. Being a Montessori guide is my passion. It makes me happy to promote a pedagogy where children learn spontaneously, with joy and enthusiasm, in an environment that favours freedom and where they become independent and confident.

I am passionate about artistic and creative activities such as art, dance and photography, which I usually do and combine with my other love, knowing and enriching myself from other cultures by travelling.


Patricia // Spanish curriculum teacher

After a decade working as a teacher, I had the chance to observe this methodology on a daily basis in a Montessori school in Ireland where I spent several months and it was after that experience that I decided to train to become a Primary Montessori teacher. I fell in love with the Montessori pedagogical philosophy thanks to Maria Montessori’s vision of childhood and her approach to fostering children’s potential and autonomy in their daily lives, always respecting each child’s own individual path and rhythm.

My passions involve reading, traveling and going for a walk with my family.


Mercedes // Infant Community Teacher

I’m a Teacher and have an international teaching diploma in Montessori education. I have lived and worked in Ireland and Australia, where I was very fortunate to work alongside colleagues with decades of experience in the Montessori Method and guide a class that included children from all over the world.

This year I returned home to Valencia as a mother. I was delighted when I found Imagine. It makes me happy to think that there is a place here in Valencia where children can learn to be independent, confident and gain self-esteem applying the Montessori Method.


Laura // Elementary teaching assistant

I am a qualified primary teacher, passionate about lifelong learning and different pedagogical philosophies. My previous experiences, teaching nutrition and cooking workshops at a British School and teaching at a School in The Netherlands, have taken me to believe creativity and curiosity are triggers when learning. I think this is the reason why my free time involves movement and nature. I love outdoor sports like trail running or climbing if I am not reading or practicing yoga!

Excited and grateful to contribute, learn and add my positivity to this wonderful community.

Lidia Marques de Freitas

Lidia // Infant Community Assistant

Native Portuguese but raised in London, I graduated in Hispanic Studies and European Studies, travelled the world and am now a motivated mother of three with a passion for working with children and dedicating time to good causes like Childline UK and raising money for children’s charities through sponsored runs. Look forward to my first one in Valencia! Hobbies include running, trekking, travelling, arts & crafts.


Cristina // Children´s House Teacher

Being raised in a bilingual home definitely gave me the best of both worlds. After finishing a Psychology Degree in the US, I decided to come to Spain to continue my studies with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Development & Diagnostics as well as a Teacher Degree. It’s been 8 years now working in the education sector and I feel like I’ve just begun. In 2014 I started my career in Montessori as an assistant.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world which has helped me gain positive qualities on a personal level. My hope is to share these experiences and learn from as many incredible little minds as possible.


Sonia // Children´s House Teacher

I am an Early Years teacher with a degree in Psychopedagogy. Fascinated by other countries and cultures, after completing my Master Degree in Special Education, I moved to United Kingdom where I had the opportunity to work in mixed-age classes with children with different needs and abilities. When I started my Montessori Diploma my approach to education changed completely and open a new world to me. I have always been interested in child centred education alternatives that respect the child and give them the importance they deserved.

In my spare time I enjoy yoga, swimming, cooking and exploring new places. I am delighted to be part of this amazing team of teachers and to be able to contribute positively to the Imagine Community.

Ricard García

Ricard // Psycho-Pedagogical Department and Workshop activities

When I graduated in Psychology I did my thesis on infant psychology. I love the world of leisure and free time so I have worked as a monitor in campuses, farm schools and summer camps. I actively collaborate with associations that help people with disabilities in leisure activities and to promote their well-being. At the moment I am studying sociocultural animation and pedagogy.

My passions involve discovering new things that are stimulating and help me reflect so I love reading, travelling, workshops, theatre, discovering, listening and learning from people.

During my Erasmus in Poland I came across the Montessori pedagogy and I realised that using this method, children could actually learn whilst having fun. It is an honour to be part of Imagine, a project that has not limitations where autonomy and emotional intelligence are the priority.


Aída // Psycho-Pedagogical Department

I’m psychologist and I had the opportunity to work with children and youngsters during an internship, where I realised the truth in the statement “they are the future”. For this reason, I decided to extend my training with a masters in intervention for learning difficulties in order to assist kids in their personal evolution.

I enjoy cooking, travelling, reading and writing, and meeting new people.


McKinley // Music Teacher

I am from Delaware, USA where I studied in to a Montessori School and lived up through college, where I studied music education and music management. In my time at the University I was blessed to have had many different opportunities to teach music. Some of these opportunities include being the Music Specialist teaching music to students ages four to eighteen. I also have a background in songwriting which is something that I strive to implement in my classroom and the reason why I am currently studying at Berklee Valencia. At Berklee, I am learning about music production and technology.

Aside from music, I love spending time outdoors and traveling to new places. My hobbies include hiking, yoga, and cooking. However, teaching is my main passion, and I am so happy to have found a place at Imagine Montessori!


Noemi // Psychopedagogical Office

I am psychologist, with a Master on Specific Learning Difficulties. Additionally my expertise focus on on Multi-Element Behavioural Support. I am mother to a 12 yo daughter and have developed most of my professional experience in Ireland for 13 years.

I am passionate about children and being part of their support sytem, work along their families, educators and with themselves, helping develop their full potential.

I am thrilled to join Imagine, a team working from principles that respect each child’s learning rythm, their individual personality and cares for emotional development, principles I consider fundamentals in education.

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