Written by Hope DeLaRue
Shining Mountains Montessori School opened its doors to Buena Vista’s young children and their families in the Spring of 2022. “It was all a dream!” Lisa Lamb, the school’s founder, brings her hands up to her blushing cheeks. The Children’s House she created in the historic St. Rose of Lima church is furnished with darling child-sized furniture which she has collected for years. Each corner and shelf is decorated with art, Montessori learning tools and work stations. The space is immaculate, organized and serene. Lisa’s dedication to her dream of serving families and “guiding children in their curiosities and innate desire for contribution” is evident in every inch.
Lisa has been a resident of Chaffee County since 2013 when her “partner and love, Kirt,” got a job in Buena Vista. At the time she was teaching English in a small rural town in Austria but joined him in Colorado as soon as she could. “Feeling a safe sense of belonging and finding space to (re)discover one’s purpose easily defines our home: Chaffee County.” she states carefully while her eyes sparkle.
While the couple and their “furkids” (including two dogs and a guinea pig named Hamilton) have called B.V. home for a decade now, Lisa commuted to Salida for 7 years to work as a Montessori teacher. Meanwhile she brainstormed, dreamed and “steadily chipped away at a business plan” to open her own Children’s House in Buena Vista. It wasn’t until Covid that she really saw the desperate need in the community for childcare and sprang into action working with guidance from the “fabulous” town of Buena Vista, The Chaffee County Early Childhood Council and the Small Business Development Center to make her dream a reality.
Lisa, dedicated to the Montessori method (named for Italian doctor and educator, Maria Montessori) highlights the “genuine collaboration, respect, belonging, and joy of learning” she has seen and participated in all over the world. She would love to see a continuing increase of support for early childhood programs in Chaffee County and champions the essential and valuable workforce providing care for local children.
When she’s not working at Shining Mountains Montessori School, Lisa can be found enjoying the local hot springs, laughing with a friend over lunch or simply listening to the birds outside her window while sipping on some coffee in the company of her partner, Kirt. She giggles a bit when asked what more she’d like to see in Buena Vista in the future “A larger City Market and a Rec Center with a lap pool would be amazing!”