Your child's doorway to a lifetime of learning

(415) 459-7028


First Friends Montessori is owned and operated by Roselle Buyco-Nardell under facility license number: LIC 213005522.

"...First Friends has a joyful, nurturing and challenging learning environment. My daughter truly loves First Friends."

-- Lisa Martin, Ross

About Us

First Friends Montessori was started in 2000 in Roselle's home. After the birth of her daughter, she considered closing down the school but the families she served did not want to lose the program they loved. So they banded together to help Roselle obtain a facility outside her home. In 2004 First Friends Montessori moved to a charming cottage at 86 Mono Avenue in Fairfax. The home was lovingly reconfigured to suit the needs of the school.


PHOTO: From Left to Right: Montessori Teacher, Margaret Hirsh; Owner and Director, Roselle Buyco-Nardell; Montessori Teacher Monika Echandy

Our Staff

First Friends Montessori enjoys the privilege of some of the best preschool teachers and staff in Marin County. The teachers are certified Montessori educators and all teachers have current CPR and First Aid certificates.

Learn more about the First Friends Teaching Staff in their Bios below.

Teacher Bios

Roselle Buyco-Nardell, Director

Roselle Buyco-Nardell grew up in the Philippines and studied Marine Biology in the University of the Philippines. After receiving her degree, she moved to San Francisco. Under the guidance of Ursula Thrush of the Maria Montessori School of the Golden Gate, in 1994 she became a Certified Montessori Educator. She taught at The Maria Montessori School for five years, and then worked in a variety of schools in the Bay Area before founding First Friends Montessori in 2000.

Being a Montessori teacher has been a life changing experience for Roselle; through working with the children at her school, and throughout her career, she has been given the gift of humility and compassion. Roselle’s students continue to inspire her, and her love for them spills over into every facet of First Friends Montessori.  

Roselle lives in San Anselmo, with her husband Tim and their daughter Olivia Maya.

Margaret Hirsh, Montessori Head Teacher

Margaret was born and raised in Marin County. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating in 1994 with a BA in Cultural Anthropology. Post university, she lived and worked in Europe teaching English to preschoolers and kindergarteners for three years. On returning to Marin, Margaret continued her work with young children in the Toddler Program at Marin Day Schools, while studying Early Childhood Education at the College of Marin. After five years at the Marin Day Schools she resigned to be with her newborn son.

Margaret discovered First Friends Montessori when looking for a school for her own son. He attended for three years and during this time Margaret’s love of Montessori was sparked! She was so inspired by the philosophy and methods she saw coming to life in her son’s classroom, she decided to pursue studies in Montessori Education. She received her Montessori Primary Credential from the North America Montessori Center in 2009, and began working for First Friends as a credentialed teacher in the same year.

Margaret lives and plays in Fairfax with her husband and son.

Monika Echandy, Montessori Teacher

Monika grew up in Marin County and she attended College of Marin and graduated in 2007 with an A.A. in Early Childhood Education.  She also attended Dominican University studying Humanities.  In 2010, Monika received her Montessori Toddler Certification from North America Montessori Center and have been a teacher for 12 years in many schools in Marin County.  Monika joined First Friends Montessori in 2011. She enjoyed guiding the children as they develop into confident individuals.  Monika lives in Greenbrae with her husband Carlos.

Kylie-Ann Robb- Montessori Teacher

Kylie fell in love with the Montessori method when her son attended First Friends Montessori. This is where her journey began as an Early Childhood Educator. In the spring 2013, Kylie enrolled in the College of Marin and over the next 3 years worked towards obtaining her Child Development Assistant Permit. She is in the process of obtaining Montessori Diploma (3-6) with North American Montessori Center. She is also a certified yoga teacher, lover of art, nature and natural horsemanship. As a Montessori Teacher, she strives to guide and inspire, to see and understand each child’s uniqueness and to create a harmonious, positive environment in which children can grow and develop a lifelong love of learning. Kylie-ann Robb was born and raised in Australia. She moved to Fairfax in 2009 and lives here with her 10 year old son.

Why Families Choose Us

Our home environment:  This is the first classroom introduction for our young students and one, that we hope will provide a lasting foundation of positive experiences to support a lifetime of learning.  We believe that young children learn best in a warm, comfortable and relaxed home setting--lovingly and thoughtfully reconfigured to suit the needs of a school. 

Our teachers: Our gifted teachers are certified in using Dr. Montessori's methods and materials to guide each child in developing unique abilities within a carefully planned curriculum. Our goal is to provide the learning experiences that allow children to develop the skills to become successful learners in the classroom, and more importantly, to develop important life-long skills such as self-confidence, independence, self-respect and compassion.

Our community: We only take a maximum of 24 students. This allows us to better serve our belief in creating a warm, comfortable, home-like setting where students thrive. And this allows us to better create a warm and caring community in which children--and adults--find friendships and support in a close-knit family.

Our authentic Montessori program: Our goal is to make learning fun so we can truly inspire a child's individual curiosity...because we believe within each child is the person they will become.

Learn More

We work hard everyday to serve our families with the love and integrity we all deserve. Contact us today to learn more by email or phone (415) 459-7028.

If you would like to come see our school in person, appointments to observe our Montessori environment are available from October through February.

More information about the enrollment process at First Friends Montessori can be found on our enrollment page.