Here at Pikake we believe that the deeply connected relationships developed between teachers, children, and their families are crucial for a child to become a life long learner. We look at families as teaching partners, and encourage their involvement. Our teachers are exceptonally well-qualified, multi-lingual, passionate about early childhood education. As guides and reserchers, they enjoy reexamining their teaching practices and inventing new ways to expand children's journey of learning. Since we have a low teacher-student ratio in the classroom, they are able to work closely with each child, listen intently, and be presnt in the moment with the children. They always enjoy sharing the joy and wonder of learning.
Tomomi Saito-Kalkhoven, M.ed.
Educator & Director of Pikake School
Tomomi has been working with children for over 10 years. After graduating from Keio University, she joined a project team to start-up a child center "Camp Nepos" in Tokyo Disney Resort, Japan. She worked as a program manager, designer, trainer and performer. She enjoyed creating imaginative program for children and training program for educators in Japan. She moved to Honolulu to finish her master's in early childhood education. She obtained Montessori Early Childhood Credential from AMS (American Montessori Society) as long with Hawaii teaching license for K-3. She has worked in several Montessori schools as a lead teacher in Hawaii and Washington. Pikake School is her dream project for years. Tomomi has strong roots with Montessori, she continues to learn about Reggio Emilia educational model and she would like to explore the new possibilities in early childhood education for our next generation of children. Her motto is "Continue learning with children."
Born in Tokyo, Lives in Eastside, WA. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, growing veggies, yoga and reading.
Born and raised in Southern California, the wide variety of diversity inspired Michelle's career in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). In California she worked closely with international students of various ages as a private ESL tutor. After relocating to Washington she discovered Montessori as well as the Nurtured Heart Approach and believes in its ability to bring out incredible potential in students. Michelle continues to tutor international students both in person and remotely via video chats. She is currently working towards completing her Montessori training, TESOL certification, and Teaching ESL to Young Learners Certification. She believes in the power of being present and compassionate with all students. Her favorite part about Pikake is that aside from quality academics, Pikake encourages empathetic views towards others and developing vital social skills.
Educator and Admin Assistant
Through raising her own children and experience as a mother and a teacher, Chiaki has learned how important the environment during early childhood. She hopes each child can spend his/her childhood in the safe and nurturing environment. She would like to be side by children being a witness of children's beautiful eyes and smile and also keep learning from them.
Graduated from Ochanomizu University,Japan, with M.S. Human Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences
Working in Montessori Schools since 2014
Educator, Drama Teacher
Sachie majored in theatre arts and continued to participate in many troupes after graduation. She was motivated to enlighten many children with the enjoyment of theatre arts after reading picture books to her own children. Since 2011, she formally joined ”Mimibunko” for puppet show performances and reading stories for small children. She operated many small performances for multiple Japanese preschools and Japanese-themed events, as well as reading picture books to emergent schools near Seattle. She believes theatre arts do not only require you to expand acting skills but also have many other components such as script writing, composing music, constructing stage props and many more. She is hoping to share these fantastic components of theatre arts with students at Pikake school. She enjoys working along with this optimistic environment full of laughter and constantly pushing herself to learn new things in this wonderful school.
A graduate of Nihon University of Art. Her hobbies are watching movies and plays, listening to music, eating delicious food, and drawing oil paintings.
Mayumi came to the Seattle area in 2013. She worked at a Montessori preschool as an assistant teacher in Bellevue for 3 years, leaving when she gave birth to her son in 2016. Mayumi has worked as an English teacher for children in an English conversation school in Japan, a substitute teacher at a Montessori preschool in Indiana, and holds an Infant/Toddler diploma from the North American Montessori Center. She earned the J-SHINE teaching certificate in Japan, and a TEC (Teaching English to Children) certificate while studying abroad in Vancouver, Canada. Mayumi believes that children learn best when they are able to study and play by following their own interests, and she is delighted to support them and teach them as they do.
Musician, Piano Teacher
Yuki believes that Music is one of the significant tools to enrich children’s life. She is dedicated to provide creative, imaginative challenges to students through piano lessons. Yuki is a devoted piano instructor and passionate musician. Her teaching experience ranges from private lessons to small group lessons for all levels. Her lesson focuses not only on technical aspects but also on musicality, creativity, and imaginative aspects so that each student shines with their own special talents and improves their strengths.
Studied and graduated from the Eastern Washington University with Master’s degrees in Piano Performance.
Awards: James Edmond’s competition solo division first place, accompanist award, EWU Concerto Competition Winner, Northwest Music Festival Classical Section-Gold and Impressionist Section-Silver medal, and EWU Chamber Music competition First place.
Chef, Cooking Class Teacher
After graduating from culinary school, Emiko started her culinary career at a children's special needs hospital in Tokyo. She learned the value that food has in everyone's lives, particularly delicious healthy food for children. After moving to the US, she worked in various pre-schools to continue her passion for teaching young children that healthy food can be delicious. She has been cooking for children over 10 years. She started her own business teaching people how to make their own healthy meals for their families. Emiko likes to educate children on where the food they eat comes from and how to prepare it as an important life skill. Emiko helps children explore foods from many different cultures as part of her classes.
Catalina Gallo Arias
Cata began her career working in dispute resolution programs in her native Colombia - working across economic, cultural and social boundaries to establish mediation-driven solutions within conflicted communities. Her interest in education spans both children and parents, particularly in ways that introduce new awareness or reestablishes communication and respect-based relationships.
She and Tomomi met at a previous school, and has been involved in the inception of the Pikake School as a coach, collaborator, and friend. Cata celebrates Tomomi’s dream of a school which lives in community, creating a space for children to be nurtured in their greatness, to develop an individual and family-focused joy for learning, and give them the foundation to be contributors in the community where they live.
Cata studied law at University Externado de Colombia in Bogota, Colombia. Trainer LLM, Certified Trainer - Nurtured Heart Approach®, Graduate of Accomplishment Coaching Coach Training Program
Property Maintenance Specialist, Designer
Aloha born property maintenance specialist and DIY overlord. Lucas Hussey has been in the property maintenance world his entire life, literally. As a child his parents managed a large private estate in Hawaii and most recently he was the caretaker of The Manoa Heritage Center on Oahu, a 115 year estate dedicated to the preservation and education of Hawaiian plants and culture. Luke is a full time parent now who moonlights in his old career and is a very proud supporter of Pikake School, and superintendent of grounds.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Chloe is someone who has always adored working with children, feeling eternally childlike at heart herself! She began babysitting and volunteering time in the infant nursery at Vine Maple Place in Maple Valley during high school, and eventually began working as an Infant Assistant Teacher at a day school nearby. She is also an avid artist who loves ink, watercolor, and digital mediums, and spends a majority of her time drawing to build her art portfolio. Chloe also loves video games, baking, and drinking coffee/eating pastries at cute cafes.