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 Bali.JPG

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 19 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 West in the fall of 2017 and Peaceful Place Montessori East in the fall of 2018. 


Brianna Rettig, Assistant Teacher

Brianna was born and raised in Southern California where she was a songwriter, yoga enthusiast and certified teacher for 20+ years. She moved to Seattle in 2015 to continue her love of art and music by curating a creative space for live music as a co-owner of the music venue, Chop Suey, in Capitol Hill. She welcomed the birth of her son in 2018 and was almost immediately introduced to the Montessori philosophy. Currently in the second year of her Montessori training, she is thrilled to be receiving her MACTE Montessori certificate in the summer of 2020. Through playing music for the children and helping creatively introduce mindfulness and body awareness into the classroom, she has found that her true passion in life is teaching and continuing to learn in a Montessori setting.


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.

Mary .jpeg

Mary Thompson, Assistant Teacher

Mary has lived in Washington state since she was a young girl and has devoted her adult life to working with children. She has been working full time in a Montessori classroom since 2013 and has been a part of Peaceful Place Montessori since it’s opening in 2017. Her passion for education and organizational skills make her an asset to our school community. Mary will continue her Montessori career by obtaining her MACTE Montessori certificate in the summer of 2020.