Fishtown Montessori is Growing!

Our Second Location Opened in the Fall of 2022

We are pleased to announce that Fishtown Montessori has opened a second location at 1212 Marlborough St., offering even more children the opportunity to thrive in an environment specially designed around how they naturally learn.

  • Over 7,000 sq.ft. of naturally curated outdoor space 
  • Excellent teacher: child ratios 
  • Toddlers ages 18 months through 3 years old 
  • Primary Classes ages 3 – 6 years old 
  • Qualified teachers with Montessori training

Enrolling Now

Our Programs

Our programs are designed to provide children the most ideal environment in which to grow and thrive while offering parents extended hours that fit their busy schedules.

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Toddler Classroom

Your child will grow more rapidly between birth and age three than any other time in their life. In our joyful and loving Montessori toddler classroom curiosity, creativity and confidence are nurtured and the inner drive for understanding becomes a love of learning that will last a lifetime.
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Primary Classrooms

Your child will receive a learning experience designed specifically to help them reach their full potential. Our focus on intellectual, social, and physical development is manifest in this hands-on approach to learning.
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The ``Kindergarten`` Year

During the first two years in our primary Montessori classroom children learn enough concentration and coordination to become independent in their actions and thoughts. In their third year, (traditionally referred to as Kindergarten), children apply these skills and take their learning to a level of mastery previously not attained.
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Extended Care Programs

The extended care program gives children time to play freely and choose between a multitude of open-ended materials such as dramatic play items, blocks and art materials. They may use the time to work on any of their Montessori projects, spend time in our outdoor play area or may have the opportunity to visit the local park (if pick-up schedules permit).
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Submit an Application

Get on the waitlist sooner than later, or check out a virtual tour first.


Attend a Virtual Tour

See for yourself why our students are so successful. You can attend before applying.


Visit in Person

Bring your child in for a private tour, a required part of the admissions process.


Finalize Enrollment

Families are invited to enroll on a rolling basis when space permits. Waitlists are common so act fast.

About Us

Fishtown Montessori was founded by a lifelong educator who brings a wealth of knowledge about early childhood development, teaching, learning, curriculum and educational administration to our center.

Fishtown Montessori is locally owned and operated and was founded in 2017 to provide children in the neighborhood with the highest quality early learning environment possible. Our research-based Montessori program follows the guiding principles of the American Montessori Society, which we have been a member of since our inception.

Our Mission is to nurture the curiosity and wonder that inspires learning so that children develop a deep understanding of the foundational skills essential to fulfilling their human potential. We are guided by the question, “What is best for the child?” and we’re rooted in the following values: development, integrity, respect, empathy, communication, and teamwork.  

Along with providing an incredibly rich learning environment, Fishtown Montessori is geared toward providing consistency to working families and is conveniently located in the heart of Fishtown. We run on a typical school year calendar, with dynamic summer programs offered to provide full year care. Our natural Montessori toddler program serves children 18-36 months old and our two mixed-age primary preschool classrooms are for children ages three through six.

The Curriculum at Fishtown Montessori

Montessori education is a scientific, research-based approach to teaching and learning developed by the Italian scientist and doctor, Maria Montessori over one hundred years ago. Traditional Montessori Curriculum includes practical life, sensorial, language, math, and culture (history, science, geography, art, and cultural studies). Trained Montessori teachers carefully prepare their classrooms with special materials designed to give children hands-on experiences from which they learn. Children in these multi-age classrooms have long uninterrupted periods of work time where they direct their own learning experiences based on their interests and their internal drive for mastery.

COVID-19 Health & Safety

Safety, before everything else, is the most important part of childcare and we take this responsibility very seriously at Fishtown Montessori.

The Fishtown Montessori COVID Policy has become obsolete but, if needed, will return in the future. We are now exclusively following the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) COVID guidance.

More on Montessori

We love the Montessori approach to learning in early childhood because we believe it is the most supportive of a child’s natural drive to fulfill their curiosity through exploring the environment. Children love to challenge themselves. We invite children to find their next challenge and master it at their own pace, based on their own interests and curiosities. Fishtown Montessori values, trusts and cultivates this intrinsic motivation in hopes that our students will bring it well into their future to enjoy a lifetime of joyful learning.

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Interested in finding out more about Fishtown Montessori?

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Contact us here with questions about our programs, admissions, inquiries about career opportunities, or for any other reason.

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Administrative Team

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Denise Spetrino

Founder, Head of School, Admissions Director

Denise Spetrino is a lifelong learner and educator and has had the pleasure of working with children and their families for over thirty years. She attained a Master’s Degree in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum from Drexel University in 2011, a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education From Temple University in 2006, and has completed several Montessori education courses at Chestnut Hill College. Denise is currently enrolled in the Montessori Administrator Credential Program at West Side Montessori School’s Teacher Education Program in New York City. Denise is a certified principal and teacher, gaining certifications in Education Administration, Elementary Teaching K-6 and Early Childhood Teaching N-3 throughout her career. 

Guided by the question, “What is best for the child?”, she opened the doors of Fishtown Montessori on E. Girard Ave. in 2017, and on Marlborough St. in 2022 in order to fill a need for high-quality early childhood education in the neighborhood where she lived for over fifteen years. Denise now lives in Wallingford with her supportive husband and two vibrant children.


Graziela Lima Murad

Assistant Director

Graziela Murad is a passionate educator and administrator with 13+ years of experience as an early childhood specialist, environmental educator, and administrator, creating nature-based and hands-on learning projects for schools. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Graziela obtained a Master’s in Early Childhood Studies from Walden University, an Environmental Education Specialization, a Strategic Leadership and Management Specialization from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an Entrepreneurship Specialization from Wharton Online, among other management and leadership certifications.

As an administrator in our program, her mission is to serve and support the staff and families in our Montessori community by fostering an environment of inclusivity, trust, and respect. Graziela is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which nurtured her appreciation for multiculturalism and love for nature connection. She currently lives in Fishtown with her husband and her cat, Cali. On the weekends, she loves to travel, go on hikes in nature, play board games with friends, and paint the outdoors.


Sasha Feinman

Curriculum Coordinator

Sasha comes to Fishtown Montessori after managing a start-up social and learning club for families called Cocoon, in Tribeca in the midst of the pandemic. Prior to that she spent 10 years as a bilingual lead teacher in various schools from Maryland to New York as an AMS certified Montessori teacher for ages 0-3yrs. She has coordinated Twos programs and written curriculum for elite Montessori and elementary visual arts programs in New York City including an International Baccalaureate school in the Financial District. Coming from a multicultural family; mom is Peruvian, dad is a good ol’ West Philly boy, and as the oldest of three girls, Sasha learned early the value of diversity, education and being surrounded by a warm caring community. Aside from being a passionate educator she is also a visual artist and aspiring empanada maker. Born in Philadelphia, Sasha returned to her hometown in February of this year when she bought a house in Manayunk with her boyfriend, where they live with their two cats, Koko and Toulouse.

Lead Primary Teachers


Erica Eidelson

Lead Primary Teacher

Erica earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Masters in Elementary Education from Saint Joseph’s University. Erica is a certified K-6 elementary teacher, is a certified Wilson instructor and has completed her Early Childhood (Primary) Montessori training with the North American Montessori Center. Ms. Erica is originally from New York where her family owns a learning center where she had tutored children since the age of ten. She watched so many children excel in school and grow into confident learners that she quickly realized that she wanted to be a teacher. Through her extensive experience she understands that students learn best through exploration and are capable of so much when given the freedom to discover and make choices. Erica lives just outside of Philadelphia and has been singing in an acapella choir for many years, she always enjoys incorporating music and creativity into the classroom.

Payal Shah

Lead Primary Teacher

Payal Shah comes from an extensive background in Montessori education and early childhood development with about 14 years of experience. She earned her formal degree in early childhood development from Adrian Montessori Academy in Michigan. Payal says, “As a child brings out a parent in a person, the children of my classroom brought out the teacher in me.”

Payal is dedicated to bringing out the best in your child, endeavoring to help your child find their passion, enabling them to dream big, and creatively engage them in its pursuit by providing them an environment for their overall holistic development as visioned by Maria Montessori.

Lead Toddler Teachers


Brianna Ramos

Lead Toddler Teacher

Briana Ramos has worked in Early Childhood Education for five years and with Fishtown Montessori since February 2022. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Samantha Kulanko

Lead Toddler Teacher

Ms. Sam has worked with children for the last ten years and was exposed to the Montessori method when working as a nanny for several years. She was drawn to the philosophy and the way it inspires confidence and nurtures the child’s innate desire for learning, discovery, and social interaction skills.

Samantha is working toward earning her AMS infant/toddler Montessori certification at the Princeton Center for Teacher Education. She has a passion for art and exploring different artistic mediums with children and creates an inspiring and engaging learning environment that fosters creativity, kindness, and curiosity for the natural world around us!  

After growing up outside of Philadelphia, Samantha now lives in South Philadelphia with her partner Mark, her two cats Albie, Gexter, and two bunnies Lucy and Lou!


Victoria Butler

Lead Toddler Teacher

Victoria Butler has been teaching in early childhood education and childcare for over 8 years as Lead Toddler Teacher, Lead Infant Teacher and Art Teacher. She incorporates holistic teachings with Reggio Amelia, Nature Based Learning, process-art,and open ended learning along with Montessori education. Ms. Vickie earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Rowan University in Fine Arts and Art History and is currently enrolled in a masters program at Eastern University and expects to earn a teaching certification in Early Childhood Pre K – 4th. 

With an art and education background, Vickie loves to teach, learn, and be creative with her environment and students. She finds wonder and truth in allowing children to be the leaders in their learning and embrace creativity. Vickie values developing meaningful relationships with students, parents, and fellow educators alike. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, taking hikes through the Wissahickon Trails, doing yoga, and painting.

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307 E. Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Business Hours

Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 6:00pm
Sat & Sun: Closed