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Montessori Early Learning Center

Private | 200 students

 

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Living in Columbia

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $99,200. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $740.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

5 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 5 ratings
2013:
Based on 2 ratings
2012:
Based on 2 ratings
2011:
Based on 12 ratings

Teacher quality

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53 reviews of this school


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Posted March 3, 2011

During our initial interview we were totally amazed by all the fantastic programs and opportunities that are available for all the children at MELC. I cannot thank Ian Fort, and her staff enough, for looking after and nurturing my child . You see it's not just the "academics" it's everything. We have seen such a change in our child. She is so independent, she shows such a determination to achieve and she says things like " May I be excused?" without prompting. Mrs. Cindy, her teacher is amazing, my daughter raves about her. We hear all about the dynamic way she delivers lessons and encourages participation. She is such a kind and supportive soul. I could just go on and on about her love of Miss. Brittany, how the office staff is so supportive and helpful, not to mention how much our little girl enjoys her ballet and music classes. We just want to personally say thank you, to all of the staff at MELC, as a collective, they are helping build the foundation for our daughter's path towards a lifetime of improved academic achievement, focus and social interaction. This impact is so significant. It will help her for the rest of her life. We will be forever grateful.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 5, 2009

My 5 year old is learning to swim like a pro! The Directress is also the swim coach. She takes time with every student and teaches with patience and care. It was truly amazing to watch my 5 year old swim for a blue ribbon in the arms of the teacher who hugged every single student!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 29, 2009

One the great things that MELC offers is free swimming lessons for its students during the summer for children aged 4 1/2 and older. My daughter began lessons in June and when we went on vacation in mid-July, she amazed us with her swimming skills. She was able to swim half the width of the pool (underwater) and dive for weighted fish at the bottom of the shallow end (3 ft)...after just one month of lessons! This is just another example of the creative & innovative way that MELC educates children and builds their self-confidence. I continue to be thankful that I 'stumbled' upon this jewel of a school when we moved to Columbia 2 years ago!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 15, 2008

My daughter was born extremely pramture. As parents, we were concerned about her development and the type of education she receives. Given the possibility of her falling extremely far behind her peers, Ms. Ina and the teachers at MELC worked diligently on her development and education. For 3 years, our daughter has progressed in all levels of development. She is now on and above level in all areas of development ans education. This school is a perfect fit for all children, especially those that are like our daughter.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 3, 2007

I was referred to MELC by a friend when my daughter was 2-1/2 years old. Upon joining the MELC family we knew immediately that we had made the right decision for our daughter AND our family. I became very involved in the school activities, classroom support and the larger MELC community. Through partnership and love the MELC faculty helped us establish a child-friendly Montessori home that was nurturing and physically equipped for 'small hands'. From simple home recommendations such as establishing one corner in each room for your child's enjoyment, to after hours parent education, to in-class education.... we just could not have asked for anything more! After completing three years at MELC and a move to Atlanta, we are still in touch with our friends and family at MELC. There doesn't seem to be a day that goes by where we don't reference Ms. Mangala or MELC. Blessed friends forever!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 26, 2007

My son got a late start into the Montessori learning style but I couldn t be more pleased with the results thus far. I looked into enrolling my son in the South Congaree Early Education Program and had reservations regarding a required home visit and lack of responsiveness from the staff in returning my phone calls prior to the school year. One visit to MELC for a tour was all it took for me to enroll my son and feel confident that I had made the right choice! Ms. Ina is no nonsense and will tell you exactly like it is. She will not accept a child she feels will not succeed in the program. She is in it for the children and that is obvious. My son is getting the attention he deserves and a quality education. I would highly recommend this school and the Montessori learning style to anyone!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 13, 2007

The Montessori Early Center & School of the Arts is fabulous and beyond compare. The opportunities that this school has afforded our daughter over the past 5+ years have been vast. While the school is top notch academically and offers an education in the arts second to none, it is more importantly a safe haven for our daughter. In my experience, there is extensive parental involvement and the administration of this school is terrific. Ina has had 30+ years of success, and the children always come first with her. And, the results speak for themselves...my daughter loves this school, her fellow students, and the faculty. I know that being part of this school will serve her well in life.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 9, 2007

Putting my daughter into MELC when she was 3 was the best thing I ever did for her! She received nurturing care that she would not have received anywhere else, while learning reading, math, music, art, ballet, swimming, and how to get along with others. Ina Fort runs a tight ship. If you can step back and let her do what she does best, you will end up with a child that has truly been given all the best advantages early in life. My child ended up a year ahead when she went to public school, which was right for her, but not for every child. She is 9 and still begs every year to go back to MELC for the elementary summer program to get the nurturing she doesn't get in public school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 9, 2007

Montessori Early Learning Center is a GREAT school under the leadership of Ina Fort. All the kids love her, they hug her as she goes by. The teachers help each child to reach their full potential. Parents are given the opportunity to be involved as much as they desire. We highly recommend this school as being on of the very BEST.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 6, 2007

Montessori Early Learning Center has met and exceeded our expectations. The teachers and staff are caring, attentive and extremely quailified in the principles of Marie Montessori. The classrooms are peaceful, welcoming environments that stimulate young minds. The programs offered also develop independence, good manners and respect self and others. A variety of extracurricular programs are available at reasonable rates. These activities include art, music, gymnastics, speech and more. These programs are offered in addition to after school care. Our son has loved the summer swim program. The Parent's Club is very active and offers oppurtunities to raise addtional funds to enhance the school parents and students. Finding MELC was a blessing, and we are thankful for the leadership of the directors for establishing and continuing a quality Montessori program in the Columbia area.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 6, 2007

My child attends this school, I have read the reveiws and agree totally with them. We love this school. My child is doing great. It is more than 5 stars. Connie Maxwell Cann
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 6, 2007

Both of my nieces, now age 6 and 8, have attended MELC. My older niece has graduated from MELC and my younger niece still attends. Ms. Ina and her school are amazing!! The girls are confident, outgoing, well-rounded, and self sufficient. I am truly impressed with this school and its programs.


Posted August 2, 2007

My daughter is a graduate of the Montessori Early Learning School and my husband and I could not be more pleased with how well the Forts and the teaching staff prepared her for grade school. We are so confident in Ina Fort's Montessori program that we have enrolled our three year old son as well and look forward to watching him flourish under the Montessori method practiced by Ms. Fort. This program considers the total child. The students there are self confident, capable, and have a perpetual eagerness to learn more. Mrs. Fort cares for each child at her school as though they were own and we are so thankful for educators like her and her staff. If parents consider this program for their child, they will not be disappointed.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 2, 2007

My 5 yro daughter just completed two years at MELC. In that amount of time, she gained a love for learning, learned to read and then read 60 readers, began writing stories and learned cursive handwriting, and found a love for math. She has blossomed under Ms. Mangala and Ms. Heather's guidance. Ms. Ina has been a Godsend to my daughter and I. I would highly recommend this school to anyone interested in having a loving, nuturing, safe, and challenging environment for their child!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 31, 2007

MELC is a great school. It is a wonderful learning facility for any child and parent eager to learn new and exciting things. The teachers are great and very caring. Not only is education the main focus but also communication skills and everyday life skills. I am very pleased with the relationships the teachers and the parents have with one another, even the students. I would recommend this school to any parent who wants the best for there child/children.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 31, 2007

This school is a fantastic place for children. All 3 of my children have attended, and I would not have considered placing them anywhere else after looking at other programs in the Columbia area. The first thing that made a strong impression on me is the how well mannered and intellectually engaged the children are in the classrooms. My kids enjoyed going to school everyday. Over the last 8 years that one of my children has been attending the school I have loved seeing many of the same staff members who are caring and wonderful teachers. The headmaster Mrs. Ina Fort-Lightner is very hands on and is very engaged in every aspect of the school. She is compassionate, meticulous, good-natured, visionary, approachable, and straight-forward. Whenever I have needed to schedule a conference with a teacher, I just made an appointment. My kids really love learning to swim in the pool.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 31, 2007

The academic program at MELC is absolutely exceptional! The teachers are patient and kind. They work with each child on his/her level. I have had a child at MELC for the past 4 years and I could't be more pleased with the atmosphere. The kids have so much fun they don't even realize how much they are learning in the process. The swimming program that is held each summer is first rate as well. There are also numerous extracirricular programs available.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 30, 2007

MELC has a wonderful learning environment. The children are encouraged continuously and are taught the joy of learning. The director and its teachers are extremely protective of the learning time. I respect this because I sent my children to that school because of its learning environment. Parents are not allowed to go into the classrooms but are able to watch their children through a mirror at anytime. Teacher conferences are scheduled twice a year, but a meeting can be set up with a teacher at anytime during lunch. I have also found the director, Ms. Ina Fort, to be very accessible and concerned about the welfare of my two children. I would highly recommend this school. Keshia Elder
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 30, 2007

I'm a grandfather of one of the students and I think this school is absolutely fantastic! My granddaughter learned to read very well and she was great at using a computer. If I were 65 years younger I would certainly enroll in this school and boost my knowledge and social skills as has my grand daughter.This has got to be a No. 5+ rated school.


Posted July 30, 2007

Both of our daughters attended the Montessori Early Learning Center and School of The Arts. I was drawn to the school due to it's unique approach to teaching children and the Arts program.The concept of focusing on a child's individual learning ability was interesting;they fulfilled that objective.I also found the building to very clean, colorful and well organized. I was pleased with their reading program. The Montessori approach which teaches children to initially focus on sounds and not just learning alphabets,provided the foundation for both daughters to excel in reading. My daughters also benefited greatly from the Arts programs. Both got their start in ballet at MELC, which not only assisted with their social skills, but also provided them with the confidence to perform in public, today. I found the staff, including the Director to be professional,friendly and caring. And,they adhere to strict guidelines to protect the students. The school certainly deserves five stars.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 67% 50%
Black 18% 43%
Two or more races 10% N/A
Hispanic 2% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 1% 0%
Asian 1% N/A
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 1% N/A
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander N/A 1%
Source: NCES, 2009-2010

College readiness and student pathways

Students typically attend these schools prior to attending this school home
church nurseries
small in home centers
Read more about resources at this school
Source: Manually entered by a school official.

Oops! We currently do not have any teacher information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

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Special education / special needs

Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Hearing impairments
  • Other health impairments
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Speech and language impairments

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Painting
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
Performing and written arts
  • Dance
  • Drama

Language learning

Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered
  • French
Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • Spanish

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • Gifted / high performing
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 7:30 a.m.
School end time
  • 6:00 p.m.
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school
  • Before school
School Leader's name
  • Ina Fort
Gender
  • Coed
Special schedule
  • Year-round
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Fax number
  • (803) 772-4414

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Gifted / high performing
  • Montessori
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • French
Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Hearing impairments
  • Other health impairments
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Speech and language impairments
Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • Spanish

Resources

Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
School leaders can update this information here.

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Sports

Boys sports
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
Girls sports
  • Soccer
  • Swimming

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Painting
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
Performing arts
  • Dance
  • Drama
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Uniforms
Parent involvement
  • Parent booster club meets monthly to enrich the school and help with special projects such as sorting valentines, hiding easter eggs, etc.
More from this school
  • The Montessori Early Learning Center and School of the Arts is an unmodified, pure, European based,Montessori School for children 30 months to 3rd grade. We have a 31/2 acre playground with peaceful, landscaped areas, as well as a splash park for children too young for the in ground pool. All of the artists in our Arts school are conservatory trained. We develop the total child.
School leaders can update this information here.

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What are your chances?

Students typically come from these schools
home
church nurseries
small in home centers

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
St. Peter's Catholic School
Heathwood Hall
Hammond Academy
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

1101 Balsam Road
Columbia, SC 29210
Website: Click here
Phone: (803) 772-2262

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