Tracy Allen was raised in South Africa by immigrant parents — her mother is from Australia and her father is from England but grew up in Kenya. She was always drawn to working with children, even when she was only a child. Her journey has led her to start a business that helps families adopt Montessori lessons into their home life.
Allen took a gap year between high school and college to be a nanny in England. It was her first experience with children who attended Montessori school. Allen had experienced parenting styles from several cultures while growing up so at first she didn’t realize the difference in the family’s parenting style was attributed to Montessori teaching instead of a cultural difference, she said.
A few years later, Allen was searching for another job. She found that the local Montessori school was looking for a receptionist. Although she did not get the job, the school connected her with a Montessori teaching program.
“That was my full immersion into Montessori,” Allen said.
At the same time Allen was training to be a teacher, she was raising her son alone. She said that at the time she didn’t adopt Montessori practices as a parent but when she noticed that her son had started to struggle she reconsidered.
“We got some extra help when he was about 8. I really started to become more intentional and conscious with my parenting. It improved my relationship and everything that was going on, tremendously,” Allen said.
Allen pursued other opportunities in education for several years before moving to the United States with her husband. After arriving, she began teaching in a Montessori classroom. Recognized for her ability to establish and organize classrooms quickly, Allen was asked to travel between schools in the area.
A few years later, Allen’s family moved to Colorado. She once again found herself examining what she loved most about her career. She discovered that the time she worked with parents brought her the most joy.
In 2019, Allen spoke with her new Colorado friends about an idea she was playing with to create a business that taught Montessori lessons to families at home. Her friends encouraged her to get started by offering their skills to launch the business and by signing up for Allen’s initial classes.
“With the support of women that I met here, I had the confidence to stay one step ahead of myself and put it out there and see if anybody responded,” Allen said.
Allen offers an array of services at A Montessori Nest, in Longmont, from a parenting and playgroup series to personal coaching and consulting to a year-long Montessori at-home course.
She enjoys helping parents find their style of parenting whether that be diving completely into Montessori practices or adopting a few principles. She recognizes that she is not a perfect parent but hopes to help families work toward a safe, peaceful and inclusive Montessori environment.