In 1983, six families banded together to found the Montessori School of Columbia, the oldest Montessori elementary school in Columbia, South Carolina. These families sought to provide their children with a rigorous, self-paced and individualized Montessori curriculum.
That first year, six children and two teachers gathered in a leased space at a small church in Five Points. Two years later, as demand for the program grew and grades were added, the school bought its first building on Oceola Street. In 1999, MSC expanded again, this time to include an early learning curriculum for children ages three-to-five. Remarkably this program was housed at a site seven miles from the campus.
Fast-forward to 2006 and 2008 when MSC purchased two small residences facing South Maple Street, directly behind the elementary school. The houses, in near-total disrepair, were ultimately demolished, allowing the vacant land to be added to the elementary playground. In 2012, two additional homes were purchased and remodeled into much-needed classroom space to accommodate the growing pre-school. This expansion brought all MSC’s programs onto one campus. The school was on a roll.
In 2014, MSC converted two more homes on nearby South Maple Street into a designated Upper Elementary building and administrative office space with additional art and foreign language classrooms. With the closure of one block of Oceola Street, MSC now included two acres of campus space in the historic Rosewood neighborhood.
Today, our school serves more than 115 children in pre-school (3K) through 6th grade. And the school continues to grow. To support these efforts MSC has launched Strong Roots, New Branches – a capital campaign to raise $250,000 for the construction of our new Elementary building.
In our classrooms we offer an authentic Montessori education that challenges students academically and fosters each child’s innate love of learning. The new Elementary building provides ample space for our teachers and students to work independently or come together for group lessons. The former Lower Elementary building can now be used by our three- and four-year-old pre-schoolers during the afternoon work cycle. This gives the younger children a designated space in which to rest or continue with work, while the Kindergarteners maintain a more focused, intensive work cycle. The former Lower Elementary building will also be used for after-care and summer programming.
Our new Elementary building will be funded through a combination of bank loans and gifts from our generous donors. When completed, this new space will have two elementary classrooms, five bathrooms, a shared hallway with cubbies, and covered decks for working outdoors.
Few times in our lives are we given the opportunity to make a significant contribution to dramatically improve an institution – one that will be long-lasting and impact so many. As a school community we have such an opportunity before us. This folder chronicles the ambitious hopes and dreams for the Montessori School of Columbia. Strong Roots, New Branches will add to our reputation and our ability to provide an outstanding, state-of-the-art Montessori education for all our students.
Click here to download the pledge card.