Head of School

Emma Ratigan

Emma Rattigan

Principal and Founder

Emma developed her passion for Montessori education soon after leaving high school. She undertook training with MCI London and The Montessori Partnership and was inspired to take Montessori’s ideas to children around the world. She founded Edinburgh Montessori Arts School in 2006. Her colleagues describe her as a ‘big picture’ thinker and Emma enjoys using this skill to envision ways in which the school will grow and develop. Working across the school, Emma is regularly in the classrooms as well as running Parent-Child groups and parent education.

Dr Irene Pollock

Deputy Principal

Irene joined the EMAS team in 2009 whilst completing her 0-6 Montessori Diploma. Irene has a PhD in Literacy in Gaelic-Medium Education and an MEd in Leadership in Childhood Practice; she has also completed her Montessori Elementary training. She is a passionate advocate for Montessori education and plays a key role in shaping school policy and curriculum.


Lesley McDonald


Lesley joined the EMAS team in 2019 after many years living and working in Copenhagen, Denmark. Originally from Edinburgh, work has brought Lesley ‘full circle’ to the place she spent much of her childhood. With a plethora of experience in school administration Lesley enjoys the diversity of interaction that a small school requires. She is the first point of contact for all questions, queries and messages in the EMAS office.

Infant Community

Eleni Papavasileou

Eleni Papavasiliou

Lead Montessori Teacher

Eleni holds a degree in Early Years education and a Masters in Exercise and Life Quality from Greece. Since joining the EMAS team, Eleni has completed her Montessori Diploma for Birth to 3. She is Lead Teacher in Infant Community.

What the children say: “Eleni is my favourite when she reads me a story and when she tells me a word in Greek” – Archer, 3

Kat Fox Ph.D.

Montessori Trainee

Kat is deeply committed to education. Following 20+ years lecturing History and English with learners of all ages, Kat chose to retrain in Montessori because she believes firmly that this is one very concrete way she can help to encourage lasting, meaningful change in the world.

Annie Simpson-Elder

Classroom Assistant

Annie joined the Infant Community team in 2019. She has lived abroad for eight years, teaching English and Yoga to children in Spain and Cambodia. Annie’s background in aromatherapy and massage bring a calm presence to the classroom.

Children’s House Downstairs

Ewa Szerbinska

Ewa Szczerbińska

Montessori Teacher

Ewa completed her Montessori diploma in Poland before joining EMAS in 2013. Ewa brings her passion and dedication to Children’s House. She loves creating new activities for the children and is passionate about the cultural curriculum, particularly zoology, geography and astronomy.

What the children say: “I like Ewa when she helps me with my work and she shows me new things to learn.” – Emaan, 5

Anna Assimaki

Anna Assimaki

Montessori Teacher

Anna works closely with Ewa to guide our downstairs Children’s House class. She completed her Montessori Diploma at Bournemouth Montessori Centre. Gentle, patient and quietly passionate about providing the best for children, Anna works hard to share her thoughtful guidance with all. She is currently studying part time for her B.A. in Childhood Practice.

What the children say: “Anna is kind to us and she shows us how to do the right thing.” – Nicolas, 5

Amberly Caldwell

Montessori Trainee

Amberly supports Ewa and Anna A. as classroom assistant. She holds two childcare qualifications and is training as a Montessori teacher. Amberly has experience working with children ages birth to 5 and is enthusiastic about developing her Montessori practice across all areas. 

What the children say: “Sometimes Amberly follows us upstairs and she dances with us.” – Miriam, 4

Children’s House Upstairs

Haizea San Sebastian

Haizea San Sebastian Dominguez

Montessori Teacher

Haizea joined the nursery team in 2011. She holds a degree in birth to six teaching from Spain and a birth-6 Montessori Diploma. She has worked tirelessly to set up our second Children’s House classroom and enjoys inspiring the children in all areas of their development.

What the children say: “Zea is on the stool in the morning and always gives me a big big good morning hug.” – Archie, 3

Krisztina Wighardt

Montessori Teacher

Krisztina trained in Montessori teaching after many years as a Mindfulness and Life Coach. Originally from Hungary, she grew up in France and joined EMAS in 2018. She is passionate about outdoor education and the many ways Montessori principles permeate the everyday life in our school. She joined Haizea as co-teacher in our Upstairs Children’s House class in the spring 2019.

What the children say: ‘I love working outside with Krisztina but also my favourite thing is when we get to do Karate with her.’ – Quinn, 6


Kate Hanekom

Kate Hanekom

Montessori Teacher

Kate has come to Scotland from South Africa, where she completed her Montessori training and was a Senior Assistant Directress. Kate has experience working with children in both Children’s House and Elementary as well as with additional needs. She firmly believes that the Montessori approach can provide the best learning platform for all children.

What the children say: “Science lessons are really fun with Kate. She helps us with research and tells us about things we don’t know about yet.” – Sebastian, 6

Corrine Spencer

Montessori Teacher

Corrine completed her Montessori AMI 6-12 Diploma in Portland, Oregon following on from her Bachelors degree in Sociology. She is deeply interested in children’s learning and development and possesses an innate talent in building strong relationships with her pupils. She works in partnership with Anna and Kate to guide and inspire our elementary group.

What the children say: “She likes to show us her lessons twice which means you learn everything really really well!” – Freyja, 7

“When I see her I just want to hug her.” – Jacob, 6

Visiting Specialists

Rachel Treloar

Artist in Residence

Rachel is based in our dedicated studio space adjacent to the elementary classroom. Working on her own pieces as well as guiding the children’s artistic exploration she facilitates a cycle of inspiration, back and forth between artist and children. Additionally Rachel oversees the art therapy service that EMAS providing bespoke support to students who need it. Rachel attended Manchester School of Art and then the University of Edinburgh, graduating with an Honours degree in Fine Arts Sculpture. She also holds an MSc in Art Psychotherapy and is registered with the British Association of Art Therapists and the Health and Care Professional Council.

What the children say: “She lets me paint with acrylics and the colours are much brighter and thats why I love working with her.” – Ethan, 7

Lindsay Anderson

Music Specialist

Lindsay Anderson holds an honours degree in music from Edinburgh Napier University and a Masters degree from Birmingham Conservatoire where she specialised in percussion performance. Lindsay has worked with children in many different settings, including giving one to one music tuition and working in larger groups. Lindsay also runs our popular after-school Rhythm Club.

What the children say: “Linsey does really fun clapping and rhythm games and we play ukulele together. I like singing with her.” – Ena, 6

Romali Rosales

Spanish Specialist

Romali trained as a Montessori Classroom Assistant whilst researching and developing the curriculum for second language teaching at her sons’ Montessori school in Mexico. With a Masters in Education Research and degree in Educational Psychology, she is passionate about developing opportunities for children. She joined EMAS in 2019 and is working with the whole school team to develop our Spanish language curriculum.

Stephanie Walker Edwards

Outdoor Education Specialist

A qualified Forest Schools practitioner, Stephanie assists with our Nature School programme in Elementary and supports staff in developing our Outdoor Education curriculum.

Carly Blain

Music Tutor

Scottish fiddle player Carly Blain is from Kelso in the Scottish Borders. She is a graduate from the Newcastle University Folk and Traditional Music Degree.

Carly offers private violin and piano tuition to EMAS pupils during the school day.


Laury McKinlay


Following her 20+ years creating culinary magic in commercial kitchens, we are honoured to have Laura with us cooking up a daily feast for (and often together with) the children. Inimitably cheerful, Laura has a smile and kind word for all. The children are regular visitors at her kitchen door, checking what’s on the menu and giving feedback and ideas.

What the children say: “She is such a nice lady because she never says no…and she makes yummy dessert!” – Flo, 4