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About Our School

Marigold Montessori seeks to strengthen the community by providing Montessori education for children and families that are reflective of Haverhill’s rich diversity. We are a community of learners that includes students ages 2.9 to 6 years old. We are part of the Wildflower Network of micro schools that promotes exploration, independence and healthy development for children.

We chose Marigold as our flower name because of its important role in “companion planting.” We feel this aligns with our mission because marigolds are planted together with other very different plants (say, tomatoes) as a natural way to make these plants grow more successfully. This parallels our philosophy of bringing together diverse children/families so that everyone benefits and becomes stronger – it’s an organic, real-world approach.

Please contact us to receive more information about our school.

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Our Teacher Leaders


Maria Labanca

Teacher Leader 

María Labanca has been in the field of early education for over 10 years. She started working with Marigold volunteering with finances in 2017 and then teaching in 2019 before joining the teacher-leader team in 2020.  She is a co-founder of Fundación Argentina María Montessori which collaborates with Montessori social projects and actively works with education institutions to provide AMI Montessori teacher training. Maria holds AMI primary certification from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. She also earned a BS in Economics and an MS in Finance.

Maria is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks French. Maria’s interests include reading, traveling  and outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. She has two daughters in college and a son in high school whose foundation began with Montessori education.


Janet Begin

Teacher Leader

Janet Begin has been in the field of education over 20 years starting in 2001 when she began work to found and eventually lead Hill View Montessori Charter Public School before launching Marigold Montessori in 2015. Janet holds an AMS Early Childhood Teaching Credential and is certified in Massachusetts as both a teacher and principal. She also earned a BS in Computer Science, an MS in Computer Engineering, and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education. 

Janet is a member of Haverhill’s Early Learning Leadership Team working with others in the City to make high quality early education accessible to all children. Janet’s interests include outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, biking and gardening. She has two adult children whose foundation began with Montessori education.

Jennifer Khalsa Shimmel


Afternoon Lead Teacher

Jennifer Khalsa Shimmel has been working with children in different forms for the last 10 years, from being an outdoor learning tinkergarten leader to an interdisciplinary arts specialist for the Cambridge after-school programs. Working with Marigold, she has also become a certified early education teacher. 

She is an internationally trained opera singer and has performed music in various languages and styles. She also has a Master’s in Music from the Longy School of Music of Bard School. She participated in the Massachusetts Tenant Assistance Program, supporting low-income and diverse communities through education, performance, and songs. 

Our Board of Trustees


Janet Begin



Maria Labanca

Vice President


Mary Howard



Gabriela Twaalfhoven



Hannah Bessette



Lymichelle Rivera-Negron


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Marigold Montessori
at Trinity Church

(entrance on William Street)

26 White Street

Haverhill, Ma

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