About Us
Tree of Life Montessori

Ariel Cohn

is the owner and Lead Guide at Tree of Life Montessori. After working in various capacities as an educator in Portland's Jewish community, she saw a need for an inclusive Jewish preschool on Portland's Eastside. She obtained an AMI Montessori Primary certificate in May 2011, and earned her M.Ed in Montessori education in January 2012. In 2014 the opportunity to open Tree of Life Montessori presented itself and we opened our doors one year later!

Ariel finds the work of teaching young children in a Montessori environment endlessly fascinating and rewarding; she is committed to continuing to learn along with the children in her care and following each child's unique path.

When she isn't in the classroom, Ariel enjoys creating in the ceramics studio at Portland Community College, tending her vegetable garden, and enjoying the natural world with her husband and 9-year-old son.

Christine Maltez

is our afternoon exploratory teacher.

Christine first started her teaching journey in 2012 at a Jumpstart program while in college,where she studied early childhood education. She began teaching again in 2017. Since then, her love for teaching and working with young children has been an inspiring journey. Christine is currently pursuing her Montessori teaching credential at Montessori Northwest.

She is passionate about art, art exploration, and helping children become independent, and confident young individuals. Originally from California, Christine enjoys being among the trees, sewing, watercoloring, cooking, and reading books, especially children's books.


Jo Stone

is our full-day assistant.

Jo was a Montessori child here in Portland, and graduated from the Montessori training in 2021 at Montessori Northwest. She has spent the last few years working in outdoor education, teaching edible plants, wild crafting, tracking and other nature based skills to young children. Outside of work she enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest, reading, embroidery and collage.

Anti-Bias Anti-Racist and Inclusion Statement


At Tree of Life Montessori, we are constantly working toward an inclusive school environment for staff, families, and children. We strive to create a school that activity pushes back against the tide of bias that surrounds us and proactively eliminate racism and bias in our environment. We recognize that every person—staff member, parent, and child—at Tree of Life Montessori experiences privilege and oppression differently. It is our duty as Montessori early childhood educators to prepare our staff and environment to provide an inclusive space for everyone in our community. We commit to engaging in regular ABAR training for all staff members, supporting each other in understanding and dismantling our personal biases and privilege,·and including lessons in our daily learning to teach children how to honor differences and uplift each other. We commit to solving our problems through restorative justice and calling-in. This is ongoing work and we are committed to continuing as a community.

We want our school to be a safe place for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, language, gender expression and identity, sexual orientation, religion, and belief. We embrace all family structures, cognitive or physical abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We commit ourselves to continue our learning to eliminate bias and racism and work to recognize our own bias and privilege towards that end. We state, unequivocally, that Black Lives Matter.