Meet Lourdes Quiros Lamadrid of
The Lulus Montessori Bilingual Education
San Diego's Most inspiring stories
Thank you San Diego Voyager for this interview..
Today we’d like to introduce you to Lourdes Quiros Lamadrid (Miss Lulu).
Lourdes, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a 36-year-old Latin woman, married to the love of my life and mother of two adorable little girls, ages 5 and 18 months.
I was born in San Diego, CA., from Mexican parents and raised in Ensenada, Mexico, where I learned at an early age the importance of family, values, education, dedication and hard work, which have helped me open doors and lead me to achieve some of my goals and dreams. I have always been motivated by the challenge of difficult tasks and projects, so it wasn’t until the age of 18 when I decided to move to Tijuana where I attended Centro de Enseñanza Montessori (CEM) for three years.
After I graduated, I moved to San Diego and began working as a Toddler Assistant at Rancho Santa Fe Montessori School where I had the opportunity to learn many job duties about and beyond teaching from all the experienced teachers I worked with. I’m very grateful to have been part of the team and enjoy memorable times working with children and being amazed by how we can make a huge difference in people’s lives.
After three years working as a Toddler Assistant and with the experience under my belt, I was looking for an opportunity to take the next step in my career. I got offered to be the Head Teacher of a group at another school. I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse and one that would give me a head start to achieve my biggest dream of owning a school one day.
After two years of being a Head Teacher of a group of little ones, I received a notice that the school was closing. I was sad, disappointed and frustrated thinking my dream was about to end. But little did I know that this experience would turn out to be a life-changing experience. So I knew in that instant that this was a defining moment in my life. I had a choice to make, I could either stay where I was, I could go somewhere else, or I could risk it and start my own. This was exactly what I need it to get motivated, inspired and do something about it.
So, by the age of 26, I took the risk from being an employee to being a business owner, and took the challenge and big decision to open Lulu’s Montessori Bilingual Education School, where we focus to provide quality education, excellence in childcare, service, morals, everything in a safe diverse, nurturing and creative environment that helps the development of the child in the early years making a huge emphasis in the importance of learning a second language, Spanish.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has definitely been a hard road, ten years to be exact, to get to where I am at this point. I honestly have to say I had no idea what I was doing except that I knew this was my calling and that someday I would open my own school.
I was aware and had realistic expectations that it wasn’t going to be an overnight success and that I would have to put long hours of hard work in order to succeed. Even knowing all it was going to take, I wasn’t afraid to take the risk and felt I had nothing to lose since I didn’t have responsibilities of a family at the time, and was able to spend and work as many hours as I needed on the project, day and night. One of my challenges during the start-up phase was finding a location. I started on the lookout for spaces, driving around schools and daycares to get ideas for what I need it.
After a long search, I finally saw a house and immediately knew that it was the one I was looking for, the one that suited all my needs and matched my vision to become the best Bilingual Montessori School in the community. It had a perfect location and workable facilities, so, I went all in, I used all my savings to rent the house and just made sure it met all the requirements and licensing regulations. The biggest challenge was doing it all. I started handing out flyers, talking to every person with a child at the park, other schools, the mall, the library, restaurants, groceries stores, you name it, everywhere you could imagine.
Until a mom from the neighborhood trusted in me and enrolled her daughter and became my first student. I was excited and couldn’t stop crying of happiness and joy because I knew this was the beginning of something big. After her, I received a few more enrollments until we reach our limits. Thanks to drive-by’s and especially by word of mouth. I had to be very flexible at the beginning just to get a few families onboard and let them spread the word.
Finances were a struggle, I paid for things as they came up, but I knew this wasn’t going to be forever, but still felt like I was riding an emotional rollercoaster, I had many feelings of defeat where I felt it was almost impossible to continue, but at the same time had many feelings of success and satisfaction making a huge difference in everyone that is part of Lulu’s Montessori Bilingual family, our students, our parents and our teachers. Thanks to them it all have made this worthwhile.
I’m grateful for the life lesson that has come along my journey, for who I have become, looking back at who I was before opening Lulu’s, I would say that thanks to hard work, perseverance, sweat, tears, struggles, obstacles and more, I’m ready to take this to the next level and become bigger and better.
The Lulus Montessori Bilingual Education – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
At Lulu’s Montessori we focus on a Spanish-speaking Program with a Montessori approach. A full immersion educational program for children between the ages of 2 to 5 years of age. A program specially planned in Spanish for a physical environment that is stimulating, attractive and warm. Our emphasis is on the development of the whole child based on his social, physical, emotional, intellectual, linguistic and cultural needs.
Our mission is to ensure that the child is academically motivated, artistically creative, physically active and emotionally supported.
We recognize that at this age children’s needs are unique and it is important to understand that sometimes we could be the first adults children will interact with outside of their family and that the separation from their parents, in the beginning, could be difficult, and it could also be the first time they interact with other children. So it is our job as a school to help them through this transition, and become a mediator when they have difficulties sharing or learning how to get along.
We are aware that each child matures in different rates and are ready for different experiences at different times in their lives. That’s why Lulu’s focuses on the Montessori method of self-learning and self-correcting, where the child explores and learns about it and when the child makes a mistake, the same material they use allows the child to find the error in repeated trials and not the teacher pointing the error at them.
As a school we understand that parents are always looking for the best childcare or school to enroll their child for a number of reasons, but most importantly because they are looking for a special, safe, fun place to take their child and at the same time feel and know that their little ones will be cared for, loved and in the greatest hands while away from their parents and home.
That’s why Lulu’s provides a safe, beautiful and kids friendly environment with trained, approachable, respectful, compassionate, understanding, kind-hearted teachers dedicated to each one of our students, teaching them to respect themselves, respect others, to love, to share, morals and manners to help them grow and become better, doing all of this with love.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Going back to how I started I can say I’m proud of who I become, how all the hard work, dedication and perseverance had paid off and had earned us a good reputation in the community, because of all the hard work we have put in, we now have a list of students wanting to be part of our school. I’m very thankful for my family, my friends, my mentors and especially for the parents who had believed in me, to let me be part of the lives of their little ones in something so important as educating.
Thanks for every phone call, every email, every message saying “Thank you for genuinely loving my child” and teaching my child the importance of learning and the importance of doing it in another language, Spanish.
I love what I do so much that it doesn’t feel like work, Its priceless to see the results, every morning when I see my students come in with a huge smile on their face eager to learn new things, seeing how they are learning, playing, singing, interacting and doing all of this in Spanish gives me such an enormous satisfaction and I couldn’t be prouder to see them grown into happy kids. And that every decision, good or bad I’ve made, had been worth it.
Thank you to my family, my husband, my friends, our work team, the teachers and all the families who have been part of Lulus Montessori since 2009 all of you have been and will be forever part of my heart and our success.