Spruce Pine Montessori School was established in 1972 as a preschool (for children ages 3–5) by three parents who desired a creative, active learning environment for children instead of a traditional daycare. For over twenty years the program was housed in several rooms in the basement of the Episcopal Church, serving thirty students with two teachers and parent volunteer participation. In 1993 several involved parents decided to help the school expand by creating and staffing an additional space for our 6 to 9 year-old classroom that began with four students. Demand for this program quickly grew, and a year later, it was moved into a small, nearby house purchased by some parents to accommodate the sixteen students in attendance. The following year saw the creation and staffing of a 9 to 12 year-old classroom, thus completing the expansion of the school into the elementary grades. Along with this expansion came the need to house the entire program under one roof. In 1997, Phillip and June Frye offered the school the opportunity to purchase an appropriate building and the adjacent two acres in a perfect “campus” location downtown. Through diligent work and a deep commitment by the school’s staff and parents, money was raised to meet the down payment and closing costs to make the dream a reality. All renovation and repairs to the building and grounds to create the classrooms and playground spaces were made by parent volunteers and through donations from foundations as well as in-kind services provided by local merchants, business, foundations, and contractors.
In 2007, the elementary program was quickly outgrowing its space and the need to further expand was identified. A rental house on the property was renovated to create a classroom space for the 9 to12 year-old classroom. The 6 to 9 year-old class also received some improvements, including a new front door and the addition of a new exit and exterior stair.
During the 2008-09 school year, the SPMS board made the (exciting) decision to expand our Montessori program to include a toddler program. During the summer of 2009, space in the main building was renovated to house a new toddler program for children ages 1 1/2 to 3 years of age.
Over the school's forty three-year history, the program has grown 10-fold from 6 students in one room in a church basement (operated as a parent cooperative), to the present 63 students in five classrooms.