Grace Montessori Academy was founded by Pam Purcell, Mary Beth Gregory, and Linda Hart in 2007 with a desire to provide a quality alternative education in Billings.
Purcell and Gregory both felt strongly that God has led them to organize Grace Montessori Academy. The private school combines Christian principles with the principles of the pioneering educator Maria Montessori, who believed students learn more from exploring their environment and from each other than from traditional textbooks.
“There are quite a few Christian-based Montessori schools across the country, but this is the only one in our area that we’re aware of,” said Gregory.
The school’s first building was located on the West End of Billings in an office building behind Target, on a 1-acre site with a playground and garden. The outdoors is an important part of Montessori.
The program in the opening year consisted of an early childhood program for children ages 3 to 6 years old with an all-day kindergarten and a lower elementary program for children ages 6 to 9 years old. Within two years, the school added upper elementary (9 to 12 years old).
In January 2014, the school moved to it’s new location on 48th and Grand Avenue on the far West End of Billings after a year of fundraising to acquire land and and build especially designed facilities for Montessori classroom layout and space.
The new building allowed the school to add on three new classrooms, and within a year new construction was already started for a new addition to enable the addition of three more classrooms, including a Middle School program – which opened in the 2015/2016 school year.