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Our History

 

The oldest Montessori school in the Southeast, Springmont School was established in 1963 and provides the highest standard of Montessori education for students ages 18 months to 14 years. A group of visionary Atlanta parents, looking for an alternative to traditional education for their children, started a small Montessori classroom of eight students in the basement of Pace Academy. The parents sawed the legs off adult furniture to create appropriately sized seats and tables for the classroom. They sent a teacher to training in Europe. First Montessori Class of Atlanta, as it was then known, was born, becoming Atlanta's first Montessori school. A waiting list became necessary as word of the class, which had grown to 30 children by the end of the first year, spread.

Additional classes were added through the years, and the location of our school moved around the Buckhead area from churches to temporary spaces. Ten years after our founding, Springmont moved to our current seven-acre, wooded campus on Long Island Drive in Sandy Springs. The Main Building, constructed especially to promote and feature Montessori educational principles, was cited for excellence in design by Modern Schools magazine. It includes large outdoor garden spaces for all classrooms, so that children can study nature first-hand, while caring for the earth.

Our Middle School was opened in 2002 to extend the Montessori experience through the adolescent years.

For 50 years our school has built a proud tradition of providing authentic Montessori education to generations of Atlanta's children and families. It’s a heritage we are deeply proud of and one we honor each day as we continue our mission of providing a learning environment where diversity of thought and global perspective empower students to be inquisitive, knowledgeable, independent, compassionate and effective.

As we neared our 50th anniversary and contemplated the school’s next 50 years it was clear that we needed a name that better reflected our school. First Montessori School of Atlanta (and its often-used acronym FMSA) was a description of our school, not a proper name, and it was not a name that reflected the school’s role as a progressive leader in toddler through middle school education. 

After consultation with our stakeholders (students, families, faculty and alumni) and careful consideration by our leadership team (the Board of Trustees and our Head of School) the name Springmont was chosen. The name is inspired by the imagery of a wellspring, a new source of water that moves rapidly upward and forward, and of a mountain or “mont.” Springmont reflects the school’s strength in guiding childhood development as it springs forth from a source unique to each child who then ascends to a higher place. It pays heritage to our history in Sandy Springs and as a Montessori school. The name captures Dr. Montessori’s legacy and philosophy, reflected in her quote, “Free the child’s potential and you will transform him in to the world.”


FAST FACTS

1963 - Springmont is the oldest Montessori school in the Southeast.

Sandy Springs, Georgia - Springmont sits just inside metro Atlanta’s I-285 “perimeter” on seven wooded acres in a quiet, residential area.

Springmont Teachers have an average of 15 years' classroom experience, 50% hold master's degrees and all Primary and Elementary Teachers hold AMI teaching certificates in addition to bachelor’s degrees.

Atlanta is home to two AMI teacher training centers: Montessori Institute of Atlanta (offering Elementary level training) and International Montessori Training Institute (offering Primary level training). AMI training is rigorous and extensive and is internationally recognized for high standards and authenticity. AMI teachers have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of one year of AMI studies. The AMI diploma is recognized worldwide.

Springmont has 240 students, Toddler through Middle School, with 41% coming from international/ethnic backgrounds. Springmont is non-Sectarian.
 
Springmont has 12 classes:
  • 2 Toddler (ages 18 months - 3 years)
  • 4 Primary (ages 3 - 6+ years, PK3 - K)
  • 3 Lower Elementary (ages 6 - 9 years, grades 1 - 3)
  • 2 Upper Elementary (ages 10 -12 years, grades 4 - 6)
  • 1 Middle School (ages 13 - 14 years, grades 7 - 8)
Toddler options (ages 18 months to 3 years)
            Half Day: 8:45 – 12:00 p.m.
            School Day: 8:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
            All Day: 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
 
Primary options
            Half Day (ages 3 to 5+): 8:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. 
                         Early Care available 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
            School Day (3 to 6+): 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 
                         Early Care available 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
            All Day (ages 3 to 6+): 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
 
Lower Elementary options (ages 6 to 9, grades 1 - 3)
            School Day: 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
                        Early Care available 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
                        Extended Day available 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
            All Day: 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
 
Upper Elementary options (ages 9 to 12, grades 4 - 6)
            School Day: 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
                        Early Care available 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
                        Extended Day available 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
            All Day: 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
 
Middle School options (ages 12 to 14, grades 7 - 8)
            School Day: 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
                        Early Care available 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
                        Extended Day available 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
            All Day: 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, governed by a Board of Trustees and led by a Head of School, Springmont is tax exempt as described by Georgia statute and the Code of the Internal Revenue Service, and contributions to our programs are tax deductible as described by current tax law.

Springmont is accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). SAIS/SACS schools meet the highest standard in education for independent elementary and secondary schools. Springmont is reviewed by these accrediting organizations every five years.
 
Springmont is recognized by Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).  Lead teachers are AMI-trained, and classroom materials meet or exceed AMI standards. AMI reviews each program level every three years.
Springmont memberships include:
  • AAAIS:  Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools
  • GISA:  Georgia Independent School Association
  • ISM:  Independent School Management
  • MAA:  Montessori Administrators Association
  • MAG:  Montessori Administrators of Georgia
  • MISBO:  Mid-South Independent School Business Officers
  • NAIS:  National Association of Independent Schools
  • NAMTA:  North American Montessori Teacher's Associations
  • SAIS:  Southern Association of Independent School
  • SSPC: Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber
The State of Georgia requires programs serving children ages 3-5 longer than 3 hours a day to be licensed by the Department of Early Care and Learning. Springmont offers such programs in the Toddler and Primary levels, which have received a Good Standing designation, the highest level for complying with health and safety rules.
Over the years we have been impressed by the quality and difficulty of the class work. However, tying that academic work together with the lessons of grace, courtesy and community is what sets this school apart.

--Lara and Josh Tolchin, Parents, 2000 - 2014