One of the many beauties of Montessori education is that it provides the child with a foundation that evolves into a life-long love of learning. What many parents do not know is that for a teacher, Montessori is a life-long learning experience. Through professional development programmes, seminars and conferences, Montessori guides are continuously expanding their knowledge and learning new ways of guiding the children in their classroom.

It is this openness to new information that creates the wonderfully supportive atmosphere in a Montessori classroom, where teachers are guides and observers who recognise that the classroom is a scientific laboratory filled with love for the child, and that learning happens through a respect for new as well as old knowledge and proven facts. As the children mature, and because of their Montessori experience, they too will be open to learning new information. They will be able to weigh up that information with an open mind and to determine whether it is fact or fantasy.

Our teachers at Montessori House Brussels are fundamental to creating the right environment for your children. Find out who they are below.


Marcel van Ratingen

Marcel van Ratingen is the director of Montessori House Brussels. He combines management of the school with teaching and is able to create learning experiences for the children, for the staff and for himself.

Marcel graduated from the Pedagogical Academy of Maastricht (The Netherlands) in 1976 as an elementary teacher. The same year he started his teaching career in a small Dutch town called Ede. He became head of a state-owned primary school in 1988, which he in time transformed into a Montesssori school. He graduated as a Montessori teacher (Casa dei Bambini and Elementary) in 1996 from the ‘Nederlandse Montessori Vereniging’.

Looking for new horizons he moved to London to gain experience in the English educational system. In 2001 he moved to Brussels, working in several Montessori schools. In 2006 he co-founded Montessori House Brussels close to the current address of the school. Seeing the need to expand, the school moved into the current building in 2016. It is with great pleasure that Marcel guides children and teachers, in order to create a wonderful environment at Montessori House Brussels.

“I don’t need to teach anything to the children; it is they who placed in a favourable environment, teach me.” Dr. M. Montessori

Amra Haseljic

Amra Haseljic is from Bosnia and Herzegovina but has spent most of her adult life in Rome where the Montessori method was born. She holds a degree in Modern Foreign Languages and has specialised in early childhood education, completing a master’s degree in education from the University of Roma Tre and the Centre for Montessori Studies. Her proficiency in child education was recognised by MoMo, an Italian quarterly Montessori magazine: in 2015 she authored an article titled ‘Introducing cultural differences to children through a variety of Montessori activities’.

Amra has worked in various childcare settings, including caring and educating young infants in Montessori creches and assisting immigrant children with leukaemia. In September 2016, she joined Montessori House Brussels becoming a valued member of the teaching staff.

In 2020, after more than twenty years of building experience in early childhood education, Amra was asked to become part of management, thus strengthening the governing body of the school. To deepen her expertise in Montessori education, Amra pursued the AMI course for Montessori guide in early childhood education, which she completed in July 2022.

Currently, alongside being a teacher, she actively participates in managing Montessori House Brussels, sharing her extensive knowledge and experience with colleagues and children. In her free time Amra enjoys cooking, music, cinema, and travelling. Amra firmly believes that ‘The hand is the instrument of the intelligence’ (M. Montessori).

Marion Vauclin

Marion Vauclin grew up in France in a large family where she was the oldest child. She studied management at ESSEC business school and came to Belgium in 2010 to start a career in digital communications. During about 12 years spent on corporate projects she learnt a lot about herself: her passion to lead project teams, with ambition but also care and justice, and her love to see people grow and blossom in their professional environment.

Destiny made her cross Maria Montessori’s work and as from that moment, she considered a profound carrier change: to work on children’s development rather than digital platforms’ development. She is convinced that the positive impact on society will be bigger!

She joined the AMI 3-6 course that started in 2020 in Brussels at the International Montessori Training Center. Diving into Montessori’s pedagogy just reinforced her will to reorientate herself towards a Montessori guide position. She graduated in July 2022 and happily joined Montessori House Brussels in September 2022.

Marion is also a great musician, with a passion for classical music. Since the age of 6, she has been regularly involved in amateur and professional opera spectacles. But you may hear her voice in other circumstances: to celebrate life, nature, God’s love… and of course you will see her singing with the children!

Chiara Simonini

Chiara Simonini was born in Italy and moved to the UK at age nine. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Development Studies at the London School of Economics in London, she moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she worked for several years for an international organisation set up to oversee the post-war institutional reconstruction of the country. A highly fulfilling experience she will treasure forever.

In 2006, she moved to Brussels and chose to devote her time to raising her three children. While doing that, she nurtured her life-long interest in photography by taking a degree course in it. She also indulged her creativity in old crafts such as stained-glass window making, needle felting and crochet.

Through her children’s early school years, she experienced different education methods. Through friends, she then became acquainted with Maria Montessori’s philosophy, which really appealed to her. She thus decided to take the AMI 3-6 Assistants course in London to learn more about it. The course was an eye-opener. She was fascinated by the way Montessori’s philosophy revolved around supporting the development of independence in children. Physical independence initially, followed by independence of thought, needed to become confident, self-sufficient, and altruistic adults who are ready to give back to the world. Wanting to follow Montessori’s thought on the further development of the child, she then joined London’s AMI 6 to 12 Assistants course. Fascinated by the theory and eager to delve into the detail, she finally decided to take the full AMI 3 to 6 diploma course in Delft in 2021-2022. With that degree in hand, and armed with her love for early childhood, she now looks forward to continuing her work with our children at Montessori House Brussels.

Philomène Drillon

Philomène Drillon is French and has lived in Belgium since childhood. She now lives in Brussels with her husband and son.

Certain that there was an alternative to traditional teaching, she discovered the Montessori pedagogy at the end of her secondary education. She went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursery education at the ENCBW in Louvain-la-Neuve, with the intention to train as a 3-6 educator at the Institute Maria Montessori, based in Paris. She was delighted to discover the wisdom with which Maria Montessori guides children to fulfilment: by offering them an environment that respects their rhythm and by looking at them with a great deal of love.

After working for a while in a Montessori environment, she took a few months off to devote herself to her family and her son.
Philomène joined the Montessori House team in September 2024. She is happy to share a little bit of her time with the children and their families and to share with them what she also enjoys: drawing, sewing, a love of nature and the joy of sharing beautiful moments together!

She is convinced that each person is called to be totally fulfilled by unfolding the wonders that lie within them. It’s this deep conviction that drives her when she accompanies children. “A child is not a vessel to be filled, but a source of inspiration. (Maria Montessori)

Marie-Mai El Hadj-Rondreux

Marie-Mai El Hadj-Rondreux is of French origin and moved to Brussels in 2012. She is married and a mom of a little girl born in 2016. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a diploma in foreign languages (English and Spanish). She worked as a nanny in the USA for 1 year; back in Europe she worked in the tourism field. A few years later she went back to the States to volunteer for an NGO based in the Bronx and Brooklyn, New York. After that wonderful human experience, she realised she wanted to dedicate her life to children.

She discovered the Montessori pedagogy in the USA. Its respectful approach to children, the way it allows them to work freely and develop their skills and curiosity for the world autonomously immediately seduced her. She says, “Through this pedagogy we really learn to respect the pace and personality of each child and help them to gain self-esteem and confidence”.

She decided to follow the 3-6 Montessori training course at AMI centre in Paris in 2011 after which she had her first experience as a Montessori teacher in a school near Paris. She joined Montessori House Brussels in September 2012. She has been greatly enjoying working as a Montessori teacher ever since. Marie-Mai loves arts, especially drawing and painting. She enjoys travelling and is involved in a volunteering project in Africa that promotes education through arts, reading and playful activities.

Cherine Burgess

Cherine Burgess, originally from South Africa, moved to Belgium in 2008. She is married and a proud mother of three children who have started their own families, blessing her with four wonderful grandchildren.

Cherine was first introduced to Montessori pedagogy in South Africa for her oldest son. Holding a bachelor’s degree in education and an International Marketing diploma, she dedicated her first two years in Belgium to guiding her children as they integrated and studied in a new language. In 2010, she decided to follow her passion for early years education and completed the 3-6 Montessori course at AMI London.

In 2012, Cherine joined Montessori House Brussels while still completing her studies. After qualifying, she remained with us until February 2020. During her short absence, she spent valuable time with her grandchildren. However, by November 2023, Cherine could not stay away any longer and rejoined Montessori House Brussels.

Cherine looks forward to guiding each child’s unique strengths and interests, assisting them in taking responsibility for their own learning.

Michael Kane

Michael Kane was born in the UK and has Irish heritage. After earning a degree in Engineering and Business from the University of Warwick, Michael decided to travel and went to New Zealand. While there, a role as an au pair led to a profound career shift towards education.

Driven by his positive experience and a desire to continue travelling, Michael took on childcare roles in Italy, Spain, Greece, the UK, and America. Inspired by a family in California to pursue Montessori, Michael enrolled in Montessori training at the International Montessori Institute in Delft, where he completed the AMI 3-6 course in 2023.

This training solidified his passion for the Montessori method. In May 2024, armed with his diploma, he eagerly joined Montessori House Brussels. Michael is excited to share his enthusiasm for the Montessori philosophy, along with his love for science and history, with his students.

Michael’s Montessori philosophy focuses on fostering independence in children while respecting their abilities and inspiring their curiosity. He is committed to creating a nurturing and stimulating environment where children can develop independence and a love for learning.

Outside the classroom, Michael enjoys hiking, reading, and learning about science and history. He is also a sports enthusiast and has recently taken up swimming.

Doris Hautin

Doris Hautin, originally from France, has always desired to become a teacher. Joyful and sporty, Doris enjoys challenges and overflows with good energy.

Doris holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education Sciences. She then sought a Master’s program but did not find one that aligned with her values. During her Bachelor’s studies, she was briefly introduced to Montessori pedagogy and decided to write a short thesis on the learning of writing within this educational framework. Her curiosity and love for the philosophy began to blossom. Consequently, she travelled to India to receive her training and fell in love with both the culture and the Montessori method of education.

As a lover of travel and challenges, she moved to England and guided children for two years at a Children’s House in London. Life then brought her to Belgium, where she assisted little human beings for another two years at a Montessori school. She will be joining Montessori House Brussels for the coming year.

With her radiant energy and dynamic personality, she is looking forward to meeting all your beautiful children to guide them and help them develop physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Françoise Ral-Kesler

Brussels-born Françoise Ral-Kesler finished her study in psycho-pedagogy in the early eighties, after which she worked for several years in Belgian state schools. Later, combining this with working in the police force, she has raised three children. Because of her kind, gentle and caring character she was asked to look after people who were in need of care, which she did with great compassion. Throughout the years, while working in retail, Françoise enjoyed tutoring children after their school hours, and when she became part of Montessori House Brussels in 2016, she rediscovered her desire to be with children and to guide them.

It didn’t take her long to decide to follow the Montessori course for children of 3 to 6 years in Luxembourg, and she now enjoys every minute being a Montessori guide in our school.  Working in an environment totally dedicated to the needs of the child and helping them to become independent human beings, is Françoise’s ultimate wish.

Bhu Venkatesan

Bhu Venkatesan is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, serving the school as a consultant since 2013 and offers school observations, clinical assessments, therapy, parent-teacher support and in-house workshops. She has a Masters in Occupational Therapy (with a specialization in Paediatrics) and professional certifications as Remedial Teacher for Dyslexia, Vedic maths teacher and Children’s Yoga Teacher. Apart from her private practice (Flowerpots, one of the first Sensory clinics in Brussels), she also liaises with many schools on different platforms, to help kids in their school settings. In her 15+ years of clinical experience, her core principles have always been Early intervention and Holistic therapy, where she successfully treats the ‘whole’ child!

“Paediatrics is my Passion and that’s what I invest in my occupassional therapy when I work with my kids,” says Bhu.


On 10th June 2018 Ollie Wheatenheaven was born in Argelès-sur-Mer, daughter to mother Havane and father Irwing. She is one of five puppies who grew up blissfully in the French countryside. When she was 12 weeks old, she moved to Brussels, becoming part of Marcel’s household and school. Undergoing Montessori education and otherwise she turned into a wonderful companion, respectful, always hungry and trying her best to defend her environment at home and at school. She has learned plenty of words in different languages and likes to be challenged using her incredible nose. She enjoys making her own choices (age appropriate) and receiving cuddles and careful caresses. Marcel takes her to school every day, where she spends time in his office and school garden after having greeted the children and parents during morning drop-off; adorable!