Peaceful Place Montessori

About Peaceful Place


“Our care of the children should not be governed by the desire to ‘make them learn things’ but by the endeavor always to keep burning within them the light which is called intelligence.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

We believe that children require and deserve a peaceful place to learn and grow.

We honor and protect the unique spirit and innate gifts within each child.

We recognize the diverse needs and skill levels of each child and strive to meet them academically and emotionally where they are.

We trust the child’s natural ability to determine and develop their interests and goals at their own pace.

We create an environment that is homey, aesthetically pleasing, and contains self guided educational materials that allow the child to make discoveries and come to conclusions on their own better reinforcing the ideas presented.

We provide the children with a curriculum that is rich, diverse, and presented thoughtfully.

We allow the children the opportunity to care for their environment and themselves independently while we observe and support them building self-confidence and pride in their work.

We give each child a chance to mentor and be mentored by providing a mixed age environment.

We teach the child to recognize and regulate their emotions while navigating social interactions within the classroom, at home, and in their community.

We continue to educate ourselves and our parent group so that we as adults may better care for our children together.




Erika Nicole Locatelli, Director, Lead Teacher 

Erika is an Idaho native who has been a teacher and caregiver for children ages 0-6 in Seattle for 17 years.  She is a MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) accredited Montessori Early Childhood Education Teacher.  MACTE is the only Montessori accreditation recognized by the United States Department of Education.   It has been Erika's dream for many years to open her own school, and share her passion for teaching and education with the community. This dream became a reality with the opening of Peaceful Place Montessori in the fall of 2017. 


Mary Thompson, Assistant Teacher

Mary is a Seattle local who has been working as an assistant in a Montessori preprimary classroom for the past four years.  Her passion for working with children shows in her work, and her students adore her.  Her sweet helpful nature and strong organizational skills make her an asset to Peaceful Place.


Merrill Preece, Lead Teacher

Merrill was born and raised in Washington. She has been teaching preschool children ages 2 - 6 for the past eight years. Merrill got her MACTE Montessori certificate four years ago and loves sharing her passion for learning with children through the Montessori philosophy.  She is enthusiastic about connecting children with themselves, each other, their communities, and the natural world around them.


Ruth deKok, Assistant Teacher

Ruth graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in elementary/special education.  Ruth taught both third grade and special needs for 21 years mostly in Waterloo, Iowa. Shortly after, Ruth moved to Seattle to nanny for her grandson.  She quickly began working at Bailey Gatzert Elementary doing educational research with K/1 students.  After 3 years Ruth moved to Olympia and spent 3 years opening and running a child care home there.  Ruth's return to Seattle involved one year working at Miner Ave., and she now joins us at Peaceful Place Montessori East.