About Us


We strive to maximize your child’s potential


Our History

Ahwatukee Foothills Montessori Center was founded by Mrs. Jan Vickery and Mrs. Shirin Bhaloo in January, 1995 on the belief that every child should be helped to reach their maximum potential and that every child has the right to be treated with love and respect in their school environment. Although Mrs. Vickery retired in 2011, she continues to be involved in the growth and development of Ahwatukee Foothills Montessori as a professional consultant. Mrs. Bhaloo retired in 2014 after an inspiring teaching career. Mrs. Meaghan McClung has been the owner and administrator of AFM since July of 2011. She has adamantly upheld the high standards parents have come to expect from Ahwatukee Foothills Montessori. AFM continues to be Ahwatukee’s premiere Montessori school.

Introduction to the Directresses

Mrs. Meaghan McClungMrs. Meaghan McClung is the owner and administrator of Ahwatukee Foothills Montessori, and has been involved in Montessori education since 1999. Mrs. Meaghan worked under the guidance of Mrs. Jan Vickery for 12 years, and continues to work with her in a consulting capacity in order to maintain the high educational standards set by Mrs. Vickery. Mrs. Meaghan has a degree in Early Childhood Education and is certified by the American Montessori Society.


Ms. Arminder SalihMs. Arminder Salih has been involved in Montessori Education since 1998 and has pre-primary certification from the American Montessori Society.


Mrs. Julia GiangregorioMrs. Julia Giangregorio has her B.S. in Early Childhood Education and has been involved in early childhood education since 1986. She holds her Montessori pre-primary certification from the American Montessori Society.


Mrs. Lynn MonaghanMrs. Lynn Monaghan graduated with honors from Arizona State University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree. In 2012 Mrs. Lynn was inspired to vacate her career in banking and finance in order to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. She holds her Early Childhood Teaching Certificate from the American Montessori Society.

Owl Class Staff

Mrs. Kathleen Mrs. Lynn
Mrs. Kathleen Mrs. Lynn
Mrs. Maria Ms. Juli
Mrs. Maria Ms. Juli

Eagle Class Staff

Mrs. Julia Mrs. Catherine
Mrs. Julia Mrs. Catherine
Ms. Pamela Mrs. Arminder
Ms. Pamela Mrs. Arminder

Art and Spanish

Mrs. Layla Mrs. Mayra
Mrs. Layla Mrs. Mayra

Administrative Staff

Mrs. Meaghan McClung Mrs. Mariann
Mrs. Meaghan Mrs. Mariann
Mrs. Krystle
Mrs. Krystle

Support Staff

Mrs. Lorie Mrs. Marianne
Mrs. Lorie Mrs. Marianne
Mrs. Kim
Mrs. Kim

Mission Statement

Ahwatukee Foothills Montessori is a Montessori oriented family comprised of staff, students, parents and administrators working together to enhance each child’s social, emotional, physical and academic qualities.

How Do You Tell If It Is Really Montessori?

The Montessori name is not protected by copyright, so how do you know if a school is a “real Montessori?”

Here are some things to look for:

  • Certificate of Affiliation
  • A Five Day Program
  • Montessori materials
  • A “Hands-on” Approach
  • Montessori Trained and Certified Teachers in every classroom
  • Classrooms That Hum
  • An Atmosphere of Respect
  • A “Family”
  • Confident, Independent Children
  • Social Interaction
  • Individualized Programs

Montessori Education

Dr. Maria Montessori distinguished herself not only as the first female medical doctor in Italy, but also as a dedicated scientist and educator.

She established the first “Casa dei Bambino” (Children’s House) in Rome in 1907, and through extensive observation and insight, developed an approach to child education which encompassed a new philosophy of education.

The teacher’s role is to connect the child to the Montessori materials and resources of the classroom and to maintain a calm, peaceful classroom environment to aid concentration. The children learn through concentration on, and interaction with, the Montessori materials.

Excitement over the Montessori method of education exploded in North America with the publication of an article in McClure’s Magazine in 1911 entitled, “An Educational Wonder Worker: The Methods of Maria Montessori.” The first North American Montessori School was opened in New York in 1911 by Dr. Montessori’s first American student Anne George. Today Montessori’s philosophy and methods of education are respected and practiced world wide.

Dr. Montessori continued to lecture, write books and train students in her teaching method until her death in 1952.

The Program

Our program is designed for children 2½ years of age through kindergarten. In order to be enrolled, all children must be able to use the bathroom independently.

The children in Ahwatukee Foothills Montessori spend a good portion of their time during the day involved in both group and individual lessons using Montessori equipment.

Additional lessons include Spanish, Art, Art Appreciation, Music and Movement.

Special events such as visits from professional storytellers, magicians, environmentalists/nature lovers and musicians play an important role in the children’s education.

Our student/staff ratio is 1 adult for every 7 students.

Montessori education employs a mixed-age grouping so that children may move at their individually appropriate academic pace while staying with their social peers. Children also have the opportunity to teach and assist others with subjects they have already learned about. This provides a review of their skills while developing confidence and self-esteem. The mixed-age group also mirrors the world they are preparing to enter, and provides opportunity for fully developing the skills required to live effectively in our society.

Parents are encouraged to continue the child in Montessori through their kindergarten year in order to receive the maximum, long term advantage from the experience.

The Curriculum


The sensorial materials in the Montessori classroom are perceptual, didactic materials. The materials help the child develop organization skills and help refine the use of all five senses in learning. Many of the sensorial materials are based on mathematical concepts.


The language program stimulates self expression and confidence. Through a phonetic approach, a firm basis in spelling and reading is developed. Because of these acquired skills, reading becomes effortless and pleasurable. The Montessori approach allows the child to develop a very natural and comfortable relationship with language.


Math has been a stumbling block for some children, not because of its nature, but because of the way it is presented to the child. Montessori materials allow the child to see, concretely instead of abstractly, the quantity and later the function that he or she is performing. This hands-on approach allows the child to experience, rather than memorize math.

Practical Life:

This introductory area includes care of self, care of environment, grace and courtesy. Montessori exercises for these include the dressing frames, sweeping and greeting. While the child is learning these practical skills, he or she is also developing concentration, advancing his or her independence and increasing his or her small muscle control.

Social Studies:

The study of geography begins in the pre-primary classes with the use of large puzzle maps and the simple globes. Social Studies includes the needs of man and the acceptance of every human being’s special gifts.


The study of science is pursued through real life objects in the classroom. Plants and animals are studied in the classroom, and experiments with magnets, water and plants are undertaken as a group, or individually. Cards for studying botany, zoology and physiology are always available to the child.

Creative Arts Program:

  • Art & Art Appreciation
  • Music, Rhythm & movement
  • Crafts
  • Spanish

Parents as Partners:

Studies have shown that children whose parents take an interested, active role in their education have a greater chance for academic success and improved social development.

At Ahwatukee Foothills Montessori we work as partners with parents. All head directresses have one late night each week to be available for parents between formal conferences.

We also involve parents in the following ways.

  • Three new parent meetings every fall
  • Christmas family sing along
  • Parents are invited to parties and special events
  • One way observation windows in each classroom
  • Open observation policy
  • Parent appreciation brunch

Come Visit & Compare!

An informational video and guided tour of our classrooms by one of our experienced directresses is available monthly. Call the school for date and time.

Tuition Schedule

Click here to view the tuition schedule.

Enrollment Application

Click here to print and view the Enrollment Application.