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Our history

Centre Les Explorateurs is a non-governmental educational association, based in French-speaking Switzerland, offering Montessori education for children and parents. It is a non-profit association with no religious or political affiliation.

Hello ! I am Kristi, the founder of Centre les Explorateurs, mother of two wonderful children and Montessori guide for many years. 
Ever since I visited my first Montessori school and completed my first training as a Montessori educator, I had a vision of a dream school to work in. This vision and the will to build a school have been consolidated over the years while working in different places. 
Priorities and imperatives became clear:

  • define the values that drive us and that we pass on to our children.

  • build a united team of passionate, dedicated and caring professionals.

  • working closely with parents so that children can thrive.

  • provide children with a beautiful and inspiring indoor and outdoor environment (with plenty of opportunities to spend time in nature).

With the encouragement and help of my Montessori friends, I began to welcome parents with their babies and very young children into my house, which was furnished according to the Montessori principles. From these mornings of observation and sharing, I began to develop workshops for parents so that they could learn even more about Montessori education and respectful parenting practices.

Three years later, the children who had participated in parent-child mornings at home were ready for a new type of environment and new challenges. I knew it was time to open the first Montessori class - the Children's House for 3 to 6 year olds. 

I knocked on many doors to find the right place for our school and it was the municipality of Onnens that answered our call in 2021. They offered us the classroom of their old village school which had been empty for a few years. And that's how it all started...


Our team

Committee members and employees

We are proud to introduce you to our incredible team. Their enthusiasm, their dedication and their desire to help children succeed allows Centre Les Explorateurs to exist. We invite you to take a moment to read some of their stories below.


Jasmine Zemp

President, Montessori educator

She loves to learn and she loves to teach others... She tries to see all things and people in their essence as truly beautiful and appreciate their absolute uniqueness.   It is for this reason that she was drawn to the Montessori philosophy and obtained the Montessori 3-6 AMI diploma in Sydney, Australia in 2007, then the Montessori certificate 0-3 AMI Assistants in Zürich, in 2016.
She then had the good fortune to be able to travel to Switzerland to teach as a Montessori Guide in bilingual environments in both the French and German parts of Switzerland.  
She is now a mother of 2 young children and has the privilege of passing on the gifts of Dr. Maria Montessori to her own children.   Another of her passions is yoga.   She trained as a yoga teacher and also loves teaching children to connect with their body and breath in order to reach a place of inner calm.
She had the chance to meet Kristi during an open day at a Montessori school in Neuchâtel in 2010.   Her enthusiasm for exhibiting quality Montessori pedagogy for all ages of children was her motivation. Today, Centre Les Explorateurs is the perfect expression of this, and she feels honored to be able to accompany it on its journey. 


Kristi Chapuis

Directrice, English-speaking Montessori educator AMI 3-6, 6-12, trained in positive discipline, BAs Literature and the English language

Mother of two children and educator, she has been practicing Montessori education since 2009.
After her Bachelor's degree in Arts, English and Literature, Kristi decided to take a trip around the world. She worked as an English teacher in several countries to fund her travels until she met a teacher who told her about Montessori education. Kristi knew right away that this was her calling and she hasn't looked back since. She trained in Ireland and Italy in the training centers of the AMI (Association Montessori Internationale). She worked in two Montessori schools in London, UK, before being invited to join her classmate from her first training in Switzerland. Kristi worked for 5 years at the International School of Neuchâtel as a teacher for 3-6 year olds as well as for 6-10 year olds before quitting her job to raise her children and build a community of Montessori families in her new town of Yverdon. She is the founder and directrice of Centre les Explorateurs.


Fay George

English-speaking Montessori educator 3-6, BA in English 

After finishing her university studies, she moved to Switzerland and fell in love with teaching. But after becoming a mother several years later, she discovered the Montessori method and has never looked back. Initially, her interest in Montessori pedagogy was to help her daughter understand the world around her and to provide her with the best possible environment at home. However, her interest soon extended to the education of all children and so she quit her job to retrain in Geneva as a Montessori educator.  

Since then, her eyes have been opened to the true joy of raising a child. Accompanying the child on his way to autonomy, achievement and self-confidence is both a pleasure and a privilege. Her integration into Centre les Explorateurs was very fortuitous because it is a place where she really feels at home in an environment of trust and respect.  


Rachelle Pinto

Treasurer, development, financial and administrative organization

Rachelle obtained her bachelor's degree in business management in 2010 and has worked for more than 15 years in the multinational world. During her professional and academic career, she developed skills in leadership, team management, finance and administration.
Today, Rachelle wishes to enable the young decision-makers of tomorrow to open up to the opportunities that present themselves to them with confidence and pleasure. This is how she hopes to change the world because she is convinced that the future lies in the way young people today learn and build themselves.
Rachelle helps with the development, financial and administrative organization of Centre les Explorateurs. It also provides the same support in two other associations in Lausanne.


Valerie Jeanneret

French-speaking assistant

BAs Philosophy, BAs ES, Basic Training HEP

Teacher and mother of two children, she is driven by the desire to learn and teach. It is important to her to share the joy of discovery with others.

Her journey has been guided by passion for challenges and discoveries. She left for Latin America as soon as she finished high school, and she visited Brazil on numerous occasions during her university studies in Lausanne. In parallel with her studies at the Faculty of Humanities she taught French in an international school in Switzerland. Her multicultural experiences have not only enriched her personally but also professionally. In Vancouver in Canada she discovered the Montessori philosophy, and this first contact opened up a new field of vision - a new way of seeing the child and his development.

When she came back to Switzerland, she taught in the schools of Yverdon-les-Bains. Her experiences in public and private education have taught her to trust her creative self to find the right resources at the right moment to help a child. Believing in inclusive education, she wishes to get closer to the needs of each student, in order to allow healthy individual and collective development to unfold.

The opportunity to join Centre Les Explorateurs team has fuelled her enthusiasm to learn and grow together in a team.


Gwenaëlle Hoarau

French-speaking Montessori educator 6-12 (in training), AMI 3-6 assistant, MEd

As the mother of three daughters, aged 14, 7 and 3, with intellectual disabilities, ADD and emotional HP, Gwenaëlle felt she had a responsibility to support children with their special needs at school. To this end, she took and passed the French National Education exam and the Masters in Education, Teaching and Training, specialising in school teachers. 
Gwenaëlle felt that traditional schools left little room for children's individual needs, so she turned to a teaching approach that takes its roots in the heart of the child: Maria Montessori's method. 
Gwenaëlle trained at ISMM in Lyon to obtain the AMI diploma for assistants for 3-6 year olds, and then taught in Montessori schools for 3-6 and 6-12 year olds in France. 
After getting in touch with Kristi, and visiting Centre les Explorateurs, Gwenaëlle was convinced by this model of Montessori school, which advocates benevolence and places Man at the centre of nature, because she shares these same ideals. 
So she moved to Switzerland to work with the school, the children and the teaching team. At the same time, she is continuing her training and is taking courses at IFFM in Archamps for 6-12 year-olds.

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Stuart Garside

English-speaking Montessori educator 3-6 (in training), BA in history

Educator, and recent father, Stuart’s greatest joys in life are found in his interactions with others, the arts, and being active.
Through his world travels and life experiences he discovered that he is most comfortable and happy being a guide to others through education and philosophy.
After finishing his university studies Stuart moved to Switzerland to be with his now wife and pursued a career as an English language instructor. Through his own research and being sparked by a chance meeting with some of the Centre Les Explorateurs educators, he discovered the Montessori method and began his journey towards becoming a Montessori educator.
Being part of the Centre les Explorateurs team is a great opportunity to nurture his own passion for this environment and encourage others to become confident, self-determined humans.

À propos: Équipe

Our team is still...

Enthusiastic volunteers


Philippe Chapuis


After obtaining his engineering degree in mechanics and welding in Yverdon, he practiced these trades for a few years then followed his passion for missionary aviation and left for Canada to become a pilot. He worked there for a few years as a flight instructor and ambulance plane pilot before returning to settle in Switzerland to be closer to his family. Upon meeting his future wife, a passionate Montessori teacher, he realized that what he had learned about teaching had much in common with Montessori education. Having become a father and seeing the impact of Montessori education on his own children, he wanted to support his wife in her project to make Montessori education more accessible in Nord Vaudois.

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Hanif Dewi

Accountant and mom interested in psychology

After the birth of her daughter in 2011, she began to explore different types of pedagogy, which is when she discovered the Montessori approach for the first time. Since there was no Montessori school in Yverdon, she tried to apply Montessori method at home with the help of books and articles.
Growing up in a family where both parents are teachers, she has always had  interest in education. Also, having received all her education in Indonesia, she observed that it is significantly different from the education offered in Switzerland. She is very aware that the generation gap between the parent and the child plays an important role in education. She finds her exploration of different educational methods fascinating and it serves her in supporting the education of her daughter, who is part of Generation Z - Alpha.
She is happy to help with the accountancy of the association. She considers the opportunity to be able to share her experiences in finance and accountancy as part of her personal and professional development.

À propos: Équipe



Introduction to Montessori Education

Montessori education is a means of bringing up human beings to reach their full potential. If the development is optimal from birth to adulthood, the individual can be described as having a sense of solidarity, of responsibility towards humanity and the environment. He feels that he belongs to something much bigger than himself, and that he has a role to play in this world. He is aware of his strengths and weaknesses, his abilities and his interests, he contributes to his environment and achieves his life goals.

Maria Montessori discovered that human development is not linear, but occurs in stages. Human development can be divided into four major planes of development: the first plane is that of early childhood (0-6 years ), the second level is that of childhood (6-12 years), the third level is adolescence (12-18 years), and finally the fourth level is the arrival at adult maturity (18-24 years ). During the first and the third plane, the spiritual life and the physical life develop, it is part of the internal development of each one. During the second and fourth plane, the social and professional life are created and this is part of the external life. At all stages of development, nature gives the child different skills, interests and strengths. If the child does not use them at this precise moment, these potentialities will be lost.

Characteristics and Principles of Montessori Education

  1. Role of the adult

    • Know the natural laws of child development (the absorbent mind, the human tendencies, the sensitive periods, 4 planes of development)

    • Observe objectively

    • Be humble

    • Be a role model

    • Have a respectful posture towards the child 

    • Prepare the environment

  2. Prepared environment

    • Secure​

    • Clear and bright

    • Beautiful

    • Spacious

    • Simple, without too much stimulation

    • Ordered

    • Child-sized furniture

    • Real objects, varied and adapted to the size and strength of the child

    • Activities that meet the developmental needs of the child

"The secret of good teaching is to regard the child's intelligence as a fertile field in which to sow seeds that will grow under the heat of an inflamed imagination.  Our aim, therefore, is not merely to make the child understand, let alone to force him to memorize, but to stimulate his imagination to the point of enthusing him to the very depths of himself." - Maria Montessori

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