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Did they drag out a textbook to answer questions and lecture?
You left the classroom feeling energized and empowered.
Your favorite teacher didn’t talk at you.
They made you a part of something.
Great teachers respect and challenge you.
We are a community. A community that believes children should ask questions. An academic community with support for both individual and collaborative learning. More importantly, we are a social community that honors the personalities, talents, and strengths of each student.
Research shows that Montessori middle-school aged students handle social situations better than their traditionally schooled peers.
Testing skills are critical for future school success. We embrace the challenge of preparing students for testing in high school, college, and beyond. SPMA teachers continually work with students to develop and advance their test-taking abilities throughout the school year.
Socially, it was our hope that the environment at SPMA would allow our daughters to delay encounters and issues that are typical of Middle School today elsewhere, allowing them to mature in a safe setting. This paid off incredibly well as they entered Hilton Head High. The surprise that they felt in situations that seemed normal to their counterparts from other schools made them appreciate the fact that they had this time at SPMA. Academically, our girls were prepared for the work. The biggest adjustment was in having many teachers, classes, and understanding their style. It was easy for them to talk to their teachers and work through any issues, which I believe came from their experience at Montessori as well.
We are pleased with our decision to keep our daughters at SPMA through 8th grade.
John Dogger is the Lead Middle School Teacher at Sea Pines Montessori Academy.
He is dedicated to adolescent education, curriculum development, and Montessori research.
A middle school teacher since 2012, John also coached Cross Country for several years and coached at CTF.
Mrs. Cotter is the Head of School for Sea Pines Montessori Academy. She is dedicated to advancing the academic success, social and emotional development, and independence of each student at SPMA.
Melinda enjoys reading, creative writing, and art, and believes that these activities provide a foundation for literacy. An outdoors enthusiast, Melinda can be found hiking a mountain trail, playing on the beach with her German shepherd, Hampton, or visiting new parks/nature preserves in her travels.
“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.” – Maria Montessori
Read Melinda’s Head of School Welcome here.
Ms. Wolfe is the Art Educator at Sea Pines Montessori Academy. She is dedicated to helping students appreciate the creativity of others.
Kalen wants students to develop an appreciation and understanding of how Art reflects and impacts life and individuals. In addition to helping students create art, she teaches students to respond to art in a responsible, respectful manner.
Her qualifications include:
Kalen is passionate about Art. She believes the arts help children learn to say what cannot be said and that the arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience discover what we are capable of feeling.
Dean St. Hillaire is a music teacher at SPMA and dedicated to seeing more children involved in the arts.
Passionate about teaching music to kids, Dean is also a very successful local musician and works with some of the area’s top artists. Dean teaches guitar instruction (individual and group) to the students. Additionally, he helps with the school musical.
He is a graduate of Greenville Secondary School.
Katherine G. De Freitas is the Music and Suzuki Piano Teacher at Sea Pines Montessori Academy. She is dedicated to enriching every child with a love and appreciation of music.
Her qualifications include:
Katherine loves to sing, dance, and play all types of music. She enjoys the quality time with SPMA students and is passionate about teaching music.
With a child who attends SPMA and one who will as soon as she’s old enough, family and quality education are Katherine’s priorities.
True to the Montessori educational approach, the Middle School Program offers a multi-age classroom setting that encourages collaborative learning and instruction. Hands-on experiments ensure students truly understand math and science concepts. Teachers are accredited, qualified, and work with students one-on-one and in group settings.
Our curriculum comes from Columbia Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project which stresses how literacy and writing skills connect. Reading and writing projects create young people who are “life-long, confident readers and writers who display agency and independence in their future endeavors.”
Teens continue with an advanced math curriculum using a combination of Montessori materials, nationally recognized textbook series (Larson Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and II, and Geometry for STEM careers), and independent projects. Through project-based learning, students apply foundational skills to real-world problems ranging from architecture to space flight, from computer science to engineering, and from finance to art. The Algebra I,
Through project-based learning, students apply foundational skills to real-world problems ranging from architecture to space flight, from computer science to engineering, and from finance to art.
The science curriculum has been developed by Dr. Baird through the lens of her professional life as research scientist.
Inquiry-based methods are used to explore major scientific questions in physics, chemistry, biology, and geology.
Teens work in small groups, individually, or as a class to develop relevant experiments to answer the question at hand. The data are collected, analyzed, and then discussed to extrapolate a conclusion.
Students present their findings in multiple modes: oral presentations, formal research papers, and two- and three-dimensional models.
Our science, social studies, and language arts curricula are based on primary source materials, not textbooks.
Students become technologically literate through the use of Google Chromebooks (one per student), and the Google Education Suite for paperless assignments and unique classroom collaborations.
Through the integration of media arts with our Art Teacher, Kalen Wolfe, students present their research in many ways – movies, songs, slide decks, murals, dioramas, and more.
In addition, students can choose to learn to program in RobotC language with Lego robotics and Java using Alice 3, both from Carnegie Mellon University.
In conjunction with our science curriculum, teens study social studies thematically, not linearly in
Thematic studies include the Revolutions, Exploration, Government Structure, Economic Systems, and Balance of War and Peace. Each theme includes local, state, national, and international components. By studying history topically, students understand the characteristics and reasons behind important movements and eras, not just the facts about the events and who participated.
Students also learn multiple historical perspectives in their unfiltered research of primary source materials, unlike traditional school use of textbooks for historical narratives.
Montessori middle school students always learn concepts through real-world situations or contexts. Angeline Lillard, the foremost modern Montessori researcher, says, “Montessori education…capitalizes on unique individual interest. Children pursue learning that is of personal interest to them—not in a manner that excludes large swaths of curriculum, but in a manner consistent with how we know the very best learning takes place.”
SPMA offers a variety of electives within the school day and outside of school to address the diverse interests of our curious students. All students participate in art and music classes weekly. Art classes cover media art, drawing, painting, engineering, photography, and more. Music instruction covers music theory, percussion, voice, and composition. Students also do independent study in areas like French, robotics, computer programming, and media arts.
Middle school students can participate in local and regional cross-country practice and meets, volleyball, and other sports with enough interest. SPMA Middle School has daily physical education with student-led games and activities. We utilize our green space, court, nearby Sea Pines Forest Preserve, and beach access for constant outdoors experiences.
While we do not have traditional sports teams that are found in larger schools, our students excel at team sports. M.S. graduates have gone to university with sports scholarships. Our small community is social and safe, with access to team sports just right down the road.
Middle School students participate in daily and weekly curriculum enrichment. Your child's extracurriculars are tailored to their needs and interests:
Financial aid is readily available to qualifying families. Contact us, and let's work together to find the right school environment for your child. All inquiries are held in the strictest confidence.
...SPMA set him [Phillip] on a positive course to thrive in a public high school. He has repeatedly expressed gratitude at the myriad ways in which SPMA prepared him well...