Tourism to the classroom
By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Michele Fleming
The Montessori philosophy is based on a child’s developmental needs for freedom within limits, as well as a carefully prepared environment which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences. Michele Fleming is an inspiring teacher who has combined her love for teaching and the Montessori philosophy to open her home and follow her dream of operating home-based ABC Montessori.
Fleming also shares a love of travel and tourism. She attended Arizona State University for her undergraduate degree in business and tourism. It was a close family friend who owned a Montessori school and who first introduced Fleming to the Montessori philosophy. Shortly after college, Fleming was hired as an assistant to a teacher in the preschool environment. She immediately fell in love with the Montessori philosophy and was in awe of the children’s focused independent tasks. Her life plan changed in that moment. Fleming switched gears and finished a master’s degree in education from Loyola College in Maryland. Her Montessori teaching certificate followed.
Her love of travel and tourism sent Fleming to Florence, Italy in the summers of 2005, 2006 and 2007 where she taught English.
Born in Vail, Fleming’s father taught ski school in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Her family later moved to Arizona while she was still young, but Fleming always knew in her heart she would return to Colorado to raise her own family. It was those childhood ties that brought her back to Colorado with her husband, Ian.
A teacher for 17 years, Fleming started her career as an elementary Montessori teacher and spent 12 years teaching first, second and third grade students. Beginning her career before her own children were born, Fleming has fond memories of those students and continues to keep in touch. Fleming says the practical life lessons the Montessori philosophy offers are wonderful. The children learn to sweep, pour liquids, button and zip and lace their shoes. Fleming loves these activities because of the independence the children gain by mastering them. It is hard for her to pick one favorite teaching subject, as she loves the entire Montessori curriculum. Once Fleming’s children were all attending school full-day, she began ABC Montessori – named after her children Alice, Bailey and Charlotte – instructing children ages 3 to 5.
Today, the Flemings have four children: Bailey, Charlotte, Alice and Jack. They have enjoyed their seven years in their Castle Pines neighborhood. The kids love Colorado’s four seasons and the outdoor activities that come with each.