Spruce Tree Montessori School was founded on March 8, 2012 by Sabrina Binkley, an inspired parent, whose son attended Fairbanks Montessori School in Fairbanks, Alaska for three years (preschool and kindergarten, age 3 – 6).
During its inaugural year, Spruce Tree Montessori School welcomed seven students, in grades first and second. The following summer, Spruce Tree added an early childhood program for children ages 2 1/2 – 6 and created an authentic Montessori environment for preschool / kindergarten children. During the following years, community interest and demand, along with a dedicated attention to the ideals of Montessori education allowed the school to grow to 75 students by its fifth year, fall 2016, at which time the school relocated to the historic Fairbanks train depot after a significant renovation.
Spruce Tree currently employs five Montessori-certified educators with credentials from MACTE-accredited, AMS-approved teacher training sites, a Teacher’s Assistant & Educational Counselor with a Master’s in Education & Community Counseling, a PE teacher with a BS in Health Education, a Head of School with a BS in Petroleum Engineering and her credential in Montessori School Administration, a Spanish teacher from Peru with a BS in Economics, an after-school program coordinator and an administrative assistant, both attending UAF. The teachers manage all classroom activities and curriculum and the Head of School is responsible for administration and serves as the organization’s chief executive officer.
The school is primarily supported by tuition. A couple of fundraising events are planned each year in an effort to raise community awareness and funds for specific school items (we have hosted Book Fairs at Barnes & Noble for playground improvements and classroom materials and a Holiday Wine Tasting to bolster our library collection). We raise minor amounts of money through sales of school merchandise and our monthly Montessori Monday outreach and parent education program.
Strategically, Spruce Tree Montessori intends to develop its reputation within the Fairbanks-North Pole community by providing a top-notch experience for children and families. Creating balanced multi-age classrooms is a top priority in the short term. In order to solidify its place in the educational community, Spruce Tree added year-round educational opportunities Fall 2014 and began to explore the feasibility of an adolescent program (for students ages 12 – 15).