Albina Baranova. Co-Founder of Kids Collective
It’s been my long-time dream to create something important and meaningful, something that has a long-lasting impact on the lives of others. They say we are what we have learned in our first years and I fully embrace that philosophy.
As a mother of two wonderful children who are both my instigators, students and teachers, I’ve tried to teach them all the best and learned a lot watching them grow and learn things from me and each other. Although I’ve been home schooling with my children and tried multiple approaches. Telling a truth, I’m a big fan of the Montessori method, but also love art since received my BA in Design from Kiev University of Technology and Design.
When my partner Szilvi and I were looking for a Los Angeles-area preschool for my daughter and her son we were unable to find a program that matched our strict parental criteria. And so the idea was born to open the school of our dreams, which our children would attend.
Kids Collective is a result of this dream, a combination of the best educational approaches—Montessori and Reggio with various modern activities from yoga to nature-exploring classes supported by carefully selected, devoted teachers and the spirit of brotherhood in our collective.
Our mission is to help you raise smart and happy kids that will become beneficent, helpful and socially conscious members of society.
Szilvi Kovacs. Co-Founder and Montessori Directress of the Preschool
I was born and raised in Hungary. I completed my Bachelors in Liberal Arts in Budapest and earned my AMI Montessori diploma from MISD in San Diego. Very early in my life, I was introduced to the concept of a preschool family.
My mother is a preschool director of two public preschools in Hungary with a collective student body of 170 children. She is also an Educational Advisor for the European Union for preschool age children. I knew that one day I would follow in my mother’s footsteps. Growing up, I watched her come home from work with such joy, filled with wonderfully cute and funny stories about the children in her school.
These experiences instilled in me a deep love for children. I truly admire every stage of development. For several years I worked as a lead Montessori teacher in San Diego at Central Montessori School. Later, I was Assistant Director at a Montessori school in Palms. I am certified to teach yoga to children certificate and have taught yoga in my classrooms over the past several years.
When my own son turned two-and-a-half, I felt that he was ready for school and visited several Montessori and Reggio-inspired schools on the Westside. I went on lots of parent tours and saw beautiful facilities at Reggio-inspired preschools and long-established Montessori Schools.
I have always loved the Reggio method of teaching but as a Montessori teacher I knew how important it was to grasp children’s natural interest during their ‘sensitive periods’ and present them with the appropriate and carefully designed materials that Dr. Montessori developed. I understood how important it was to develop their concentration and attention span that is acquired when they are “lost in their activities”. I didn’t want my son to miss out on this fantastic method.
Visiting Montessori Schools I felt that I wanted more. I missed the creativity and the art-based approach that Reggio inspired schools offered. I missed the collaborative work, team building and the sense of community within the preschool family. I wanted my son to ‘dig in the dirt’ and have an array of organic materials where his imagination could go wild. I wanted him to be able to create and cooperate and discover in a completely different way than he would have in a Montessori Preschool. So I asked myself, “Why can’t he have both? Why can’t every child have the best of both preschool programs?”
And so the idea for Kids Collective was born. Along with my partner Albina, who was facing the same dilemma with her daughter, we created a school that we wanted our children to go to. We founded Kids Collective Preschool as a center where the highest standards of education are met.
Besides teaching I am very passionate about organic food and chemical-free living. I cook every day and use products without harmful chemicals. I can’t stress the importance of teaching children healthy eating habits, exercise and caring for the environment from a very early age. I love sports and the outdoors and the beach and have been teaching salsa dancing in Santa Monica for the past nine years.