Who We Are
Baan Dek opened on September 5, 2007, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Soon thereafter, it became the first accredited Association Montessori International in the history of the state. Coincidentally, Maria Montessori opened the first "Casa di Bambini", or Children's House, on January 6, 1907. In keeping to tradition, one hundred years later, Baan Dek is named after this original school. Our director, June George, is from Thailand, so we named the school 'Baan Dek', which is Thai for 'Children's House'.
Do what you love. Love what you do. That's one of our mottos at Baan Dek. It's also a Montessori principle. Follow your interests. You won't be disappointed. We hope this phrase is reflected in everything you see & we do.
We wish only this: that each and every child gets the opportunity to become who they want to become. In our estimations, this individual is thoughtful & compassionate and has the courage to think & act on their own.
If there's one goal at Baan Dek, it is to impart to our students that anything is possible. Imagine, for instance, telling a student today that it's impossible to put a "man on the moon". Let's imagine the world anew. It just takes work.
"Don't be discouraged by the traditionalists."
- Steve Jobs
Meet Bobby and June George
Bobby and June met while graduate students at the University of Warwick, in Coventry, England. June was completing her Master's in early childhood education, while Bobby was studying Philosophy. Of course, they each have their own stories about how they met, but the rest is history, as they say. Learn more.
Meet June George
Head of School: Originally from Bangkok, Thailand, June has a BA from Chulalongkorn University and a Master’s from the University of Warwick. June obtained her AMI Diploma from the Montessori Training Organization in London, England.
Hobbies: Film + Photography + Cooking
Meet London George
Mascot: Hello, I'm London, the school dog. Woof. Woof. Education? Yes. I go to school at Baan Dek. My favorite activities you ask? Well, I enjoy lunch time and nap time and...I really love to go outside and play with my friends.
Hobbies: Walking + Napping
Meet Bobby George
Creative Director: Originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Bobby has a BA from Lehigh University and a Master's from the University of Warwick. Bobby is currently finishing his PhD in Philosophy at Kingston University.
Hobbies: Film + Design + Architecture
Meet Heather Will
Primary Teacher: Originally from Wakonda, South Dakota, Mrs. Will earned her AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in 1997. Mrs. Will helped pioneer White Bear Montessori, in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
Hobbies: Film + Photography + Cooking
The Bamboo Room
The Bamboo Room: The Bamboo Room is comprised of an exceptionally experienced, compassionate and talented crew. Have you seen their warm, affectionate smiles? Oh, and just Wait until you meet the frogs, and say hello to the fish!
Hobbies: Swimming + Paddling + Loving
Meet Arianna Berry
Assistant: Arianna graduated from South Dakota State University, where she holds a BA in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s from University of South Dakota. She has a love for children and believes in the Montessori way of life.
Hobbies: Baking + Shopping + Photography
Meet Charlotte Wood
Directress: Originally from California, Charlotte has a BA from San Diego State and a Master's from the Loyola University. Charlotte completed her AMI training at the Montessori Institute Northwest.
Hobbies: Knitting + Cooking + Reading
The Lotus Room
The Lotus Room: The Lotus Room is harmonized by Ms. Wood and Ms. Leinen, who are developing secret terms to describe their team. Of course, the finches have exciting names too, like Sparkle Lilly.
Hobbies: Chirping + Flying + Swooping
Meet Angela Leinen
Assistant: Angela graduated from the College of St. Benedict, where she holds a BA. The individual nature of Montessori, as it concentrates on each and every student, resonanted deeply with Angela.
Hobbies: Music + Skiing + Reading
Meet Jamie Bauer
Directress: Jamie graduated from Northwestern College, where she holds a BA in Education. She's receiving her Montessori training from the Montessori Institute of Denver.
Hobbies: Reading + Running + Knitting
The Orchid Room
The Orchid Room is where everything gets started at Baan Dek. With an exceptional, highly qualified team, they up us take things to the next level. Speaking of level up, have you meet our frogs?
Meet Jenna Thielen
Assistant: Jenna holds a BA and an MA from the University of South Dakota. She received her AMI Advanced Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, and plans to pioneer our Elementary program in 2014.
Hobbies: Film + Cooking + Music
One of the most important things to consider when choosing Montessori, is if the Montessori school that you are interested in is certified and if the teachers are Montessori trained. Anyone can use the Montessori name so it is important to research the qualifications of the school. Baan Dek is the first and only accredited Association Montessori Internationale in the state of South Dakota. Find a school in your area.
Baan Dek Film Festival
The Baan Dek Montessori sponsored the first Children's Film Festival in the city of Sioux Falls on June 14, 2009. The event was co-hosted by Filmdrome and Sanford Children's Hospital. Each year, we follow up with a new and even more spectacular event. For many children, it is their very first movie-going experience. We're really proud to be able to host this special, free, and open to the public community event.
For the past few years, Baan Dek has been a strong supporter and advocate of The OTA Sessions. Born out of a desire to see the Midwest shine as hub of creativity and innovation, OTA is focused on creativity, collaboration and community. Baan Dek is a proud sponsor of this exciting and region transforming event. Watch the video!