School Spotlight: Guidepost Montessori at Alicia
Guidepost Montessori at Alicia offers a full Spanish immersion program, and fosters a nurturing and engaging environment for children to thrive.
Situated in the heart of Laguna Hills, California, Guidepost Montessori at Alicia offers a full Spanish Immersion experience rooted in the Montessori philosophy. The school serves children between 18 months and 6 years old, and provides them with a nurturing environment that fosters independence. The children at Alicia engage in hands-on learning all while being fully immersed in Spanish language and culture.
A Full Spanish Immersion Program
At Guidepost Montessori at Alicia, language acquisition is an integral part of the curriculum. From their earliest days on the campus, children begin to acquire practical life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for the environment, and develop a deep understanding of core subjects like math, language, science, and geography—all in a Spanish-speaking environment. Not only does this foster bilingualism, allowing children to become proficient in both English and Spanish, it also cultivates an appreciation for diverse cultures and traditions.
“Most of the families here have no Spanish background, so they come here for the benefit of their children,” explained Head of School, Ivana Cantuna. The comprehensive Spanish immersion program is delivered through a combination of individual lessons and engaging Montessori materials, group activities like circle time and gross motor play, and conversations using rich language. As with all Guidepost schools, the children learn at their own pace and have the freedom to choose from a wide range of developmentally appropriate activities that spark their natural curiosity and help to cultivate their independence.
Students are encouraged to express themselves in Spanish and participate in various cultural activities to deepen their understanding of various Hispanic cultures. The school's guides (teachers) are not only skilled educators but also fluent Spanish speakers. “We have guides from different parts of Mexico, Peru, and Ecuador,” Ivana shared. “And so they are teaching the students their native Spanish language, but also tying in the different celebrations, cultures, foods, and even the different dialects at times.”
The guides provide a supportive and nurturing environment where students can thrive academically and linguistically. The school also maintains small class sizes, allowing for individualized attention and personalized instruction.
Long-Standing Staff Committed to Excellence
One of many noteworthy aspects of Guidepost Montessori at Alicia is the dedication of its staff. Many of the school’s guides have been a part of the team since its inception, creating a sense of stability, experience, and continuity. This consistency translates into a stable and supportive environment, where the guides understand the unique needs of each child and build strong relationships with families.
Angeles Gallegos Torres, who is a lead guide in a Children’s House classroom, has been with the school since its opening. “Working with children and their families is incredibly rewarding,” said Angeles. “Seeing how children become strong, confident, and happy when they accomplish something for the first time is truly inspiring. It's amazing to watch them grow through their hard work. Knowing that my job helps children reach their full potential brings a big smile to my heart.”
In addition to the school’s amazing guides, Guidepost Montessori at Alicia is fortunate to have Ivana as the Head of School. Ivana joined Guidepost about two and a half years ago as the Assistant Head of School and has fostered a culture of trust and collaboration amongst the team. She encourages guides to take ownership of their classrooms, curriculum, and teaching methods. “I trust our team and I show them that I trust them,” said Ivana. “Being a guide is not an easy job, and so I know that there is a real, deep love that each of them has for these children and this work.”
Culturally Rich Celebrations
Guidepost Montessori at Alicia recognizes the importance of honoring and celebrating the rich diversity within its community. The guides incorporate their own cultural traditions and heritage into various celebrations that take place at the school throughout the year. “One example is our Cinco de Mayo celebration, where we make piñatas and the kids will make salsa and guacamole,” Ivana shared.
“And for our Summer Fiesta, we have authentic Mexican traditional dishes. I think what makes this really special is that the food is prepared by us, the guides, and our families. So for example, my mom jumped in and helped make the syrup for the snow cones (we call them raspados). And one of my lead guides – her mom helped to cook all of the corn for our esquites.” It’s clear that these celebrations are a family affair at the Guidepost Montessori at Alicia campus!
“We Love the Family Atmosphere”
But the sense of family doesn’t end there. Cheryl and Matt, parents of 5 year old Ava who has been with Guidepost since she was 5 months old, say that they really appreciate the close-knit community at Guidepost at Alicia. “We love the family atmosphere at Alicia. The entire community of teachers, staff, and families are close knit and know each other well,” said Cheryl. “We especially appreciate the sincere love, kindness, and respect that the teachers provide the students. It's very heartwarming to know that Ava loves going to school, as well as feels safe and cared for by her teachers.”
A Beautiful Backyard Designed for Exploration and Growth
The Guidepost at Alicia campus also boasts a beautiful backyard that serves as an extension of the classrooms. With ample space, children can connect with nature, engage in outdoor exploration, and play. The school’s “Big Backyard,” as it is affectionally called, provides an ideal environment for hands-on learning and holistic development. “It's very quiet in the mornings; it’s kind of its own separate little oasis,” Ivana explained. “We have a nice little garden back there, and it’s also where we hold a lot of our school events.”
Guidepost Montessori at Alicia fosters a nurturing and engaging environment for children to thrive. From its committed guides and its inspiring Head of School who help to guide each child's unique journey, to the innovative and well-rounded Spanish immersion curriculum, Guidepost Montessori at Alicia provides a distinctive, enriching educational experience. If you'd like to take a peek at our campus and meet some of our guides, check out the following virtual tour.
To learn more about the school or to book a tour, please visit the school webpage.