experience

Shona Salati

Ms. Shona, the head directress of the First Journey Montessori School was trained and certified by the North American Montessori Centre (NAMC). The NAMC was founded in 1996, and it provides certified Montessori teacher education programs that are recognized in schools throughout North America and abroad. NAMC is a long time member of the International Association of Montessori Educators (IAME).

Ms. Shona, NAMC, was born, raised and educated in England. Her previous experience includes working as a support assistant for both a high school and primary school while in England. She holds a certified diploma in special needs and multi-sensory techniques when working with dyslexic children. Since 1999 she has worked in the capacity of Toddler Directress, setting up and running Montessori classrooms in the Ottawa area. Her skills and dedication to the principles of Montessori education have gained her a highly respected reputation with Ottawa parents who have experienced her patient and loving approach with young children.

Ms Shona also holds her Montessori NAMC certificate for Casa 3-6 as well as experience working in the capacity of vice-principal. She has thirteen years of experience teaching the Montessori philosophy. And is thrilled to have the opportunity to further expand the Montessori movement by being a key part of the First Journey Montessori School.


Ms. Veronika Laflamme – Toddler Directress

Ms. Veronika was born and raised in the Ottawa, Ontario area. She grew up in a small farm town just outside the city. While completing her last year of high school, she ran a resource centre for underprivileged families in the east end, which provided both summer camps, drop in care and programming for children birth to school aged. During her first year of university she started as an assistant in a toddler Montessori classroom, working both the regular school year and during the summer camps. She also was responsible for extended care during the school year. While teaching full time she completed her BA Honours in Criminology and Criminal Justice, with a concentration in Psychology and a minor in Law, at Carleton University.

Upon completion of university, Ms. Veronika then attended NAMC and gained her Montessori certifications in infant, toddlers and twos. She has been a Head Toddler Directress and has been teaching the Montessori philosophy for several years and enjoys working with toddlers. She has also completed her TESOL certification in teaching English as a second language and uses these skills with children daily. Ms. Veronika is currently completing her ECE.


Ms. Natasha Henri – Casa Directress

Natasha Henri was born here in Ottawa and was raised in many parts of the Caribbean. Her education consisted of both public and private schools. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology from the University of the Cayman Islands she moved back to Canada to pursue a career. She never imagined a career with children would one day become a passion.

Ms. Natasha was introduced to the Montessori philosophy in 1999 after accepting an Assistant’s position in a Montessori school. In 2004, she made the decision to further her studies in the fascinating world of Montessori. She received her Casa AMI diploma (Association Montessori Internationale) in 2006 and accepted a head teaching position where she spent 8 years sharing Maria Montessori’s vision. Ms. Natasha has a loving husband and 4 children that have all shared a head start in their education within a Montessori environment. She is now ready for a new chapter in her life.

Ms. Natasha is the head teacher of our Bilingual Casa Program and has spent 2 years creating a unique French language program for children ages 18 months to 6 years. She is excited to bring it to First Journey Montessori School.


Ms. Olivia Arbenser – Toddler Assistant

Olivia is a graduate of the Master of Education Program at Simon Fraser University and a certified teacher from Ghana. She has also taken ECE courses with the College of New Caledonia and is working towards completing it.

She enjoys working with children, allowing them to explore and develop new understanding. She has had the opportunity to work with children in an Early Literacy Program in an elementary school in Ottawa and also volunteered at the Early Year Learning Center of the Ottawa Community Center. She worked with Eagle Nest and Aboriginal Community as a youth and childcare worker in Prince George.

Olivia also has a passion for teaching; she uses her free time in teaching her kids by creating an environment that allows them to actively engage in the learning process. She takes interest in painting, cooking and listening to music.

She is looking forward to a fun and exciting career with the Montessori philosophy and to instil the joy of individualized learning in the children.


Ms. Jeanette Kam – Toddler Assistant

Hi my name is Jeanette Kam. I’m a mother of three wonderful children and grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren. I was born in Liverpool, England and I moved to Canada 20 years ago with my husband and children. While bringing up my children, I volunteered and then went on to work at their school for a few years.

When I first came to Ottawa I worked as a live out nanny to twin boys for two years, after which I owned a restaurant with my husband. When the restaurant closed, I went on to work for another family and eventually started working in a Montessori school.

I have worked in the Montessori environment for thirteen years . For the past eight years I had the pleasure of working at Manotick Montessori where I was a Casa and Toddler assistant and where I built up a great relationship with both parents and their children.

I am looking forward to starting a new year at First Journey Montessori School and getting to know you and your children.