Francisco and Maria Calleros are passionate about education. Together, they wanted to open a school that offered quality education and additional activities in a Montessori atmosphere. In 2010 they began teaching at their school, Chiqutios Bilingual Montessori.
How the SBDC helped
The Calleros were ready to grow, but needed some assistance. The Michigan SBDC helped Chiqutios secure funding to accommodate their growing school. With guidance from the Michigan SBDC, they were able to purchase a larger building and admit more students.
Chiquitos Bilingual Montessori is rapidly growing and expanding. They now offer 6 grades and have 120 students with 19 staff members. The Calleros are looking forward to hiring more staff members and offering more grade levels for families.
Francisco and Maria Calleros picked up and moved their family to the United States 21 years ago. One of their top priorities was making sure their four children received a quality education. Unfortunately, they were struggling to find a school that was the right fit for their family. Having been a teacher her whole life, Maria knew what she wanted in a school for her children. A school that provided quality education, bilingual teaching and enrichment activities.
In 2010, Francisco and Maria decided to open Chiquitos Bilingual Montessori in Utica. The school offers preschool through fourth grade taught in English and Spanish. Students participate in regular academics, but also music, art, dance and cooking classes. The school is Catholic, and teaches religion to the children as well. Chiquitos offers everything Maria ever desired in a school and more.
“My passion has always been teaching. We never thought it was possible for us to open our own school, and now it is a reality,” Maria says.
Chiquitos is offering their community a different type of educational opportunity. Many of the students who attend Chiquitos do not come from Spanish speaking homes, and are exposed to a whole new culture. The montessori approach allows children to flourish in a distinctive learning environment, in comparison to traditional schooling. Families even travel from all over the Detroit area to attend the school.
Maria comments that, “The bilingual and montessori aspects make us unique. We offer a different kind of education for our families.”
The Calleros began attending various MI-SBDC trainings and workshops, such as How to Start a Business, before opening Chiquitos. When Maria and Francisco decided it was time to expand the school, they reached out to the MI-SBDC for guidance. Their Southeast Region MI-SDBC consultant, Tom Bell, has guided Maria and Francisco in securing funding to grow Chiquitos in the best, and smartest way.
“Tom gave us advice about purchasing our own building,” Fransico states. “He has not only been a great advisor, but has become a good friend as well.”
Chiquitos Bilingual Montessori is looking forward to helping even more children learn and grow. When the school started, only preschool and kindergarten were offered. The families that attend the school are continuously encouraging Chiquitos to expand and offer more grade levels. Chiquitos is looking forward to offering fifth and sixth grade soon, as well as accommodating their increasing student wait list.
“We are growing rapidly. We are looking forward to offering more grades, and maybe even more schools in the future,” adds Maria.
To find out more about Chiqutos Bilingual Montessori, visit their website at: http://www.chiquitosbm.com/index.html