Primary or “Children’s House”
(Ages 3 – 6 years)

Between the ages of 3 and 6, Maria Montessori called this environment Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House). Everything in the classroom is child-size and hands-on materials are designed to support self-directed discovery and learning. Your child has extraordinary powers of mind; she possesses a once-in-a-lifetime ability to simply absorb information and concepts from her surroundings, like a sponge. The prepared environment includes an array of scientifically designed materials help to develop a new skill or reveal a new concept through your child’s use and exploration. Some provide the opportunity to perfect the practical skills of caring for her own needs or for the classroom environment. Some enrich her vocabulary and open the door to writing, reading, and the parts of speech.  Others build on your child’s natural interest in counting and introduce an understanding of the decimal system and the processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Some encourage artistic self-expression through the introduction of skills and media.  Use of the materials builds a foundation of concrete experiences of abstract concepts, such as mathematics, assisting your child to a deeper level of understanding.

Primary Faculty:

Nicola Arango

Nicola Arango

Assistant Director & Primary Coordinator

Nicola “Nicki” Arango was born and raised in Minnesota. She moved down to St. Petersburg, Florida in 2011 with her husband. Before moving to St. Petersburg Nicki worked in a Montessori school in Minnesota for 7 years. She started working at Alegria in 2011 as a lead 3-6 teacher. She obtained her Montessori training for children aged 3-6 from Palm Harbor Montessori Teacher Education Center in 2013. Nicki is currently working on a degree in Business with a focus on Organizational Leadership and Management. Nicki is the level-coordinator of the 3-6 classrooms and overlooks the kindergarten program. Outside of work Nicki enjoys reading, running, and being outside in the beautiful Florida weather.


Briana Harvey

Primary Teacher

Briana joined Alegria in 2018 as an assistant teacher. Prior to joining Alegria she spent the last five years teaching at Eckerd College (including Child Development) and studying Marine Mammals. She has a BA from Eckerd College in Environmental Studies and Marine Science. She also holds an MA in Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition. She has two sons, both of whom attend Alegria, and a new baby that will be joining Alegria soon! Briana is excited to make Alegria her home for many years to come.

Beronica Fajardo

Primary Teacher & Spanish Teacher

Beronica was born and raised in Venezuela before moving to St. Petersburg with her husband and three sons. She joined Alegria as a Spanish teacher and is now a lead 3-6 teacher in a bilingual classroom. Beronica studied Administration and International trade in Venezuela. She is currently pursuing her Montessori Early Childhood Certification from Montessori Academy Institute in Pembroke Pines, Florida.


Amira Pilz

Primary Assistant & Extended Day Program

Amira joined Alegria in 2018 as one of the Extended Day Program teachers. Amira is Montessori trained through NAMC for primary aged children (3-6), and she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Bahrain. Prior to joining Alegria, she worked in Budaiya Preschool teaching Arabic. In 2011, she taught English in Colombia through an exchange internship program with AIESEC, the global youth organization.

Inamaru Gil

Primary Teacher & Spanish Teacher

Ina is from Venezuela and has her degree in Initial Education from her country. Ina has worked with young children for more than 15 years. She moved to the United States 4 years ago and has since continued her education doing what she loves most, teaching children and learn from them. Ina started at Alegria as a Spanish teacher and is now the lead 3-6 teacher in a bilingual classroom. Ina is currently working on obtaining her Montessori certification for children age 3-6 from Montessori Academy Institute in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Eliana Perez

Primary Teacher Assistant & Spanish Teacher

Eliana Perez has been at Alegria since 2019. She is from the Dominican Republic and holds a Bachelor of Art in Journalism from a University in her home country. Prior to joining Alegria, Eliana was a journalist in the Dominican Republic and also studied paralegal practices at the University of South Florida. She lives with her fiance and her new furry family member, Frida. Eliana is excited about her continuous growth as a teacher and being a positive influence in the lives of her students.



Yanlie Milain-Sarmiento

Primary Teacher & Spanish Teacher

Yanlie was born and raised in Cuba. She has lived in St Petersburg for the last 10 years. Yanlie started at Alegria as a Spanish teacher and is now a lead 3-6 teacher in a bilingual classroom. Yanlie is currently working on obtaining her Montessori certification for children age 3-6 from Montessori Academy Institute in Pembroke Pines, Florida. She enjoys music, dancing and drawing in her free time.


Amy Lovell

Primary Substitute & Extended Day Program

Amy began working as a substitute for children age 1 through primary after teaching swimming classes for many years. She is from the St. Petersburg area and many of you may recognize her as your child’s past swim teacher! Amy has a son that currently attends Alegria and a newborn daughter that will be joining Alegria soon! At Alegria, she helps in all of the classrooms and in the aftercare program.