Head of School Welcome

Welcome to SPMA! Melinda Cotter - Head of School Welcome

Nestled amongst the forest preserve and Atlantic Ocean lies a beautiful school at the south end of Hilton Head Island. We are Sea Pines Montessori Academy. Thank you for showing interest in our stunning school.   Sea Pines Montessori Academy is truly an authentic, enriching environment.

We are South Carolina’s first and oldest Montessori school.   Mary Stone Fraser, wife of Sea Pines Plantation developer, founded Sea Pines Montessori Academy in 1968 as a (3-6 year old) one-room children’s house. Today, we celebrate classrooms for students, ages 12 months to 8th grade, a library, a Suzuki piano and violin studio, a dedicated Spanish language classroom, beautiful music room, renovated Middle School, multipurpose room, and many outdoor areas. In addition to offering a golf program at First Tee of the Lowcountry & Sea Pines Resort and First Tee of the Lowcountry, tennis with Van Der Meer Academy, and fitness classes, we extend numerous after school sports and clubs for all ages such as soccer, basketball, cross country, and golf.  We are incredibly proud of what we do at SPMA. Our school culture insures a safe, nurturing, and independent environment where multiple age groups interact in, not only their respective classrooms, but the school as a whole.

Choosing a school is easy. Choosing the right school is a challenge. As you peruse our website, try and imagine your child AND your family in the building, at school events, and walking into school each morning. At SPMA, we know that when we work together and become one unit, each child feels comfortable, safe, confident, loved, and most importantly, happy.  Our mission is to provide each child with the best foundation for character development and academic discovery while promoting leadership and confidence.

A Montessori school should feel like home, a “Children’s House” to be exact. When Maria Montessori opened her first classroom in 1907, she dubbed it Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House. It was “owned” by the children — materials, art, and windows at eye level, child size desks and tables, small sinks and toilets, and children of all ages in a familial setting. This is truly what sets Montessori apart from other schools. This ownership of the environment that the children feel contributes to their pride, independence, confidence, and love of learning. In the same regard, Montessori teachers are very special. They are trained for a specific age group and know that range in and out- socially, emotionally, academically, physically, and spiritually.

Having just completed 50 historic years, which included the planting of a time capsule, celebration led by our founder, Mary Fraser, gifting of a key to the Town of Hilton Head Island by the Mayor and Town Council, and a commendation from the Governor of South Carolina, we are looking to the future!

We invite your questions about our work, philosophies, and school life, and value the opportunity to begin this journey together on our school’s 52nd year!

Contact 843.785.2534 or office@spma.com to schedule a tour or meeting with me.


Melinda A. Cotter

Head of School


Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence. –Maria Montessori