The Partners

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Helen Prochazka: The Director
Helen Prochazka, PhD, BA Hons, Adv. Mont. Dip., Mont. Dip., PGCE, FInstAM, was born in Glasgow, Scotland. She has a PhD in Russian, a PGCE in post-compulsory education and training, and both early years and primary Montessori diplomas. She is also qualified as an NVQ assessor for Early Years Care and Education Awards and until recently worked as an EYPS (Early Years Professional Status) assessor.

She is a Council Member and past Chairman of Montessori Education (UK), the national umbrella body for Montessori. She writes on Montessori and the early years.

With a variety of teaching experiences in the UK and the Middle East, Helen first became involved in the early years when teaching in Saudi Arabia. Introduced by a colleague to the educational ideas of Montessori, she took Montessori training, and was eventually appointed Director of Studies for the Montessori St Nicholas Training Centre. She left St Nicholas in 1997 and set up the Montessori Partnership.

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Miranda Robarts-Arnold BA(Hons) HPD DHP SFBT(hyp) became a partner in The Montessori Partnership in 2014 after her mum Helen Prochazka asked if she would like to join the business. Miranda has a long background alongside Montessorians. She helped Helen set up a Montessori nursery school in Southampton and worked there in the 1990s.

Miranda’s role in the Partnership is administrative. If you request information it will be Miranda who responds. She is also the Courses Coordinator, ensuring that the assessors and tutors have the appropriate qualifications and experience to work within the Partnership. When you sign up, Miranda will allocate you an assessor and deal with the paperwork so that you receive a smooth learning experience.

Miranda’s professional background is in mental health. She currently also works as a clinical hypnotherapist and hypnobirther in Somerset.


The Assessors and Tutors

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Helen Lerebours

My name is Helen Lerebours and I am a Montessori practitioner based in Manchester. I began my Montessori journey in Paris, France where I was employed as an English teacher in a Montessori Primary school. When I returned to the UK, I was lucky enough to be sponsored by my local council to become a qualified Montessori teacher. I now have 10 years experience of working with children from birth to 8 years old. I also have experience working with the Reggio Emilia approach and am currently the SENDCO and manager for a setting in Manchester.

In 2013, I set up my own company to tutor and run sessions for parents and their children all based on Montessori and have been very popular. I am a qualified parenting facilitator, have written for the Montessori International Magazine and was awarded the Birt’s Scholarship in 2008.

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Fran Johnson
Fran Johnson is a very experienced teacher trainer who has been involved with Montessori for many years. When first introduced to the philosophy, she experienced an immediate connection between Montessori and her own approach to child rearing and was soon enrolled on a course at St Nicholas Montessori Centre. Fran has not looked back since then and has been dedicating herself to increasing the availability of Montessori education by training an ever growing number of teachers who will “introduce Montessori to more children than I could have done on my own”. She is looking forward to working with you!


Thakmena Miah
My name is Thakmena Miah and I began my Montessori journey with the Montessori Partnership 4 years ago, although I have been influenced by Maria Montessori’s teachings for many years before that, when I first worked as a Teaching Assistant in a Montessori nursery.

After spending a year in Sri Lanka and then moving to the East Midlands, I have settled back to my home town in South London with my two sons, where I hope to continue my journey implementing and spreading the Montessori philosophy. As well as being passionate about eco-living, I enjoy spending time outdoors. Reading as a family is also a pastime that I hope will continue into the future

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Sugi Manickam
I became interested in Montessori Pedagogy when my son was ready to start nursery school. After a previous career in the petrochemical industry, I trained at the Montessori Centre International in 2000 and went on to do the Primary Course at Rainbow Montessori College. I gained my Early Years Professional Status in 2009. Most recently I have completed the Level 3 Forest School Leaders course. I am the head teacher and owner of Little Montessorians Pre-School. My hobbies include reading thrillers, cooking and doing jigsaw puzzles.

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Sharon Lee
My name is Sharon Lee and I am currently working at a nursery in East London as Head Teacher. I have also worked for a number of years as a Montessori Directress.

I trained as a directress in Malaysia, where I lived for fifteen years. I have also taught English as a foreign language to both children and adults.

I became interested in the Montessori Philosophy and childcare in general, when I had my own child. Something in the Montessori method just ‘clicked’ with me, it felt right and I have since seen the magic of Montessori on many occasions.

I really enjoy teaching both children and adults. I am passionate about the Montessori method and look forward to having the opportunity to work with you.

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 Helen Wheatley
Although never a child in a Montessori school, Helen Wheatley has over the last 30 years probably filled most other positions in the Montessori world. Past Principal of St Nicholas Montessori, Deputy Editor of Montessori Education Magazine for its first 10 years, trainer, examiner, and course designer for London Montessori Centre, Montessori World Education Institute, she is now Chairman of the Montessori Partnership Assessment Board. She is well known as a writer on a wide range of Montessori topics.

Helen’s first love is lecturing and she has trained many nursery and primary teachers. Her main preoccupations outside Montessori work are as a watercolour painter and sailor on traditional vessels. She has 3 grown up children and lives in a county town in Devon.

Helen was a founder member of The Montessori Partnership

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Margaret Dillane

Margaret has been involved with Montessori education since 1986. She trained at St Nicholas College in London where she completed both the Foundation and Advanced Courses on the Theory and Practice of the Montessori Method of Education. She has also completed a course in Child Psychology at Kilroy’s College in Dublin.

After working in a Montessori school, Margaret opened her own Montessori Children’s House, called Happy Days, in Wembley. By 1996, she had opened a second Montessori school. Margaret achieved a BEd honours degree and went on to achieve a Masters Degree in Religious Education. She also achieved her EYPS status in 2011 and more recently achieved a post grad in Montessori and autism with MEfA.

In addition to being a member of the Montessori Education (UK) panel of assessors, she is a certified school mentor and assessor. Margaret is Head of ME (UK) assessment and mentoring and a Distance Learning and Teaching Practice Tutor. She also runs the Brent Montessori Network Groups which focus on revisiting authentic Montessori practice. She works extensively with parents and runs parent training courses in Brent.



Gill Fairburn

Katey Bentley

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Katey Bentley has been a Montessori Early Years Practitioner for 10 years at Happy Days Montessori Children’s House in Wembley with Margaret Dillane. She originally trained at Montessori Centre International in 1999 and has recently studied at the Maria Montessori Institute. She is now the lead Presenter in the classroom. 
Katey is passionate about the prepared environment and getting the materials to “seduce the child”. She is excited about the opportunities that working with Montessori Partnership is bringing to her life and looks forward to working together with students to get the most out of the workshops and course.


Nusaibah Fahmy


Nusaibah has been involved with Montessori education since early childhood. Her Montessori journey began as a young child when she attended a Montessori school in London and continued when she went on to train as a Montessori teacher at both the early childhood and primary levels. She has over 12 years of Montessori experience having worked in a range of Montessori schools from Egypt to London.

Her passion and dedication to Dr Montessori’s philosophy has motivated her to open and run a successful Montessori nursery and primary school in East London. Not only has she worked in a number of nurseries she was also the driving force behind the opening of a small primary school in Wembley where she successfully helped 6 children with varying needs reach their full potential thus allowing them to confidently move on in their personal learning journeys. Nusaibah is dedicated to the global movement of the Montessori philosophy and is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of the Montessori Method.





Kathy Bennett

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My Montessori journey started 33 years ago with the birth of my daughter and her introduction to the Montessori approach to learning. In pursuit of further knowledge, I trained at Montessori St Nicholas Training Centre, gaining the diplomas 3 – 6 years; 6 – 9 years and 9 – 12 years. I opened my own school in Johannesburg, followed quickly by a second. I was also involved in examining and marking for the College of Modern Montessori, South Africa. In 2003 I took up the position of principal of Harmony Montessori School in Brisbane, Australia and simultaneously studied for my Bachelor of Education which I completed in 2007. Since then, I have worked in Beijing, Laos and England as a directress, trainer and advisor. I was also fortunate to have been given the experience of bringing this unique approach to learning to a remote Aboriginal school on the Tiwi Islands, off Darwin, Australia.