About Little Monk
Providing high-quality, authentic Montessori education to the children of Maui.
Our vision is to inspire our Keiki to grow into peaceful, loving, and happy members of the global community by providing a Montessori environment that allows each child to reach his or her full potential. We envision a world where people love learning, trust and help each other and live happy, productive lives. We know that we must nurture the children as a community and give them our best love and care to realize this dream. Our promise is to be life-long teachers to our students and to protect and cherish the Keiki of Hawaii.
Founder, Director, and Lead Teacher
Katie became a Montessori enthusiast upon setting foot in a Montessori classroom. It was the search for a perfect preschool for her own child that led her directly to Montessori. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a Communications Degree and spending nearly a decade managing restaurants, she decided to attend the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and become a certified Primary Teacher. Montessori was already her passion, and now she was trained to make it her career. Throughout the years, Katie served as President of the Parent Committee at Bergamo Academy Montessori in Denver, Colorado and coached youth soccer in Denver area Montessori Schools. In 2012 she moved to Maui and began teaching. She has also run a successful private tutoring business here in Maui, where she taught a range of children ages 5-15 and ability levels ranging from general education to severe learning disabilities. Katie spent some time working within the Hawaii Public School system providing one on one support to disabled students. She now has realized her dream of opening a Montessori school in paradise!
Joy MaderaTorres went to Fisher College in Boston, Massachusetts where she earned her degree in Early Childhood Education. During her time there she interned at Commonwealth Children's Center and Beacon Hill Nursery school. In 1997 she received a job at Wailuku Hongwanji Preschool where she taught as a teacher for 22 years managing a total of 62 children. Having that opportunity was a great experience and made her realize that she took the right direction in her career. Working with children is her passion and she loves to see the growth and development from each child from the beginning to the end. Miss Joy is a hard worker and always does her very her best to succeed! LMSM is extremely grateful for Ms. Joy's hard work and dedication to the Keiki!
Brianna joined Little Monk Seal in 2023. She was a nanny to families on The Big Island for over 7 years. Providing care for families of various ages, planning field trips to beaches, and cooking together were some of her favorite things to do. After moving to Maui to be closer with her family and young niece, her dream of becoming a teacher was reignited. She received her teachers-aid certificate from the DHS in 2022 and is currently pursuing her CDA in early childhood education. She loves to help children feel heard and safe. She’s excited to be a part of LMSM helping kids grow and learn!
Uncle Wayne visits Little Monk Seal Montessori twice a month for music with the children. His songs are so fun and include storytelling, movement, instruments and humor. Sometimes he brings his whole band and gets the recess room really rockin!
Why Little Monk Seal?
Connecting with the ‘āina through our State Mammal
The Hawaiian Monk Seal is critically endangered (only 1,100 remaining) and serve an important role in the marine ecosystem. They are endemic to Hawaii, meaning they are one of the few mammals in this state that are only found here in Hawaii. Monk Seals are apex predators and serve to control levels of numerous prey populations to maintain a healthy, functioning ecosystem. They are one of the most primitive mammals in the sea and are Hawaii’s State Marine Mammal!
Little Monk Seal teaches the children how to be valuable members of society from an early age. This includes, getting out of the classroom and on to the beach where our school works together to do beach clean ups.
Learning about the Monk Seals’ importance in the ecosystem of the Hawaiian Islands offers the opportunity to educate generations on issues such as sustainability, climate change, and the environment. By incorporating lessons about the Monk Seal in our curriculum, and better understanding these precious mammals, we are teaching the children the values of their home and place on this earth. We teach the children to respect the land, life and ocean that we are so fortunate to have.
Children have a natural passion to take care of things. By getting the children interested in the saving the Hawaiian Monk Seal (a mammal that only exists where they live) and protecting all other ocean life, they learn they are a part of something important and that they are capable of making a positive impact on the earth! Little Monk Seal Montessori provides lessons that integrate science experiments, special naturalist visitors, and more “place based” activities to allow the children to truly connect with their home and environment.