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.
My child has been attending MELC for 4 years and the experience has been wonderful. She has obtained a quality education that that is unbeatable. Parents and administration are encouraged to interact twice a year at the parent conferences, but the director is always available by phone, day or night. The parent club is wonderful, but not a lot of parent participation. I have always been able to get my child's progress from the teacher when I asked. Wonderful extracurricular activities. If they more available grade levels we would certainly continue.
We discovered the Montessori Early Learning Center when our son was 4 1/2, substantially beyond the age at which it would have been best for him to start there. However, the staff and faculty of the school welcomed him and made a commitment to helping him catch up and even excel in his education. Almost immediately, we saw him learning skills he had never even heard of before, and he began to read within months of starting to school there. He still struggled, but the faculty and staff were so very patient with him, and found effective ways to encourage him to keep at it. He developed a confidence in his academic ability that he never would have found elsewhere. Additionally, he had opportunity to participate in multiple arts opportunities that were unique to the MELC, and he discovered skills even we didn't know he had! We love this place!
I wish they would add the next plane of learning here. I would keep my child in this school indefinitely! My daughter has been attending since she was 3 and she has learned how to learn. I am sure she will be able to apply those techniques wherever we go from here. She has never been pushed acedemically. She is allowed to move at her own pace (which has been faster in some subjects). The extracurricular activities encourage the children creatively and socially. Parents aren't allowed in the classroom during instruction, but are allowed during open house with a full explanation of their time well spent. Our experience has been amazing.
The Montessori Center is the best school we found in this relatively depressed area of Columbia. While the location of the school is convenient, and the indoor and outdoor facilities are great, the attitude of the directress/owner is quite unpleasant. She complains about the low participation in the parent club, and at the same time goes out her way to keep parents away from the classrooms. The allowed time for parent-teacher communication is 20 minutes twice a year! If you try to exchange a few words with your child s teacher or make a minor comment, you are rudely reminded of the school rules drop your child at the front door and leave immediately . If you can put up with that, I believe you can expect your child to have good social skills (the Montessori method is great in that aspect), good academics, and participate in a number of extracurricular activities.
We love this school! When our son started at MELC, he was 3 years old and was learning little in public pre-school where the focus was on sitting still and being quiet, not on speaking to a kid's heart. When he started at MELC, we immediately saw a difference in his behavior. The school's teaching method allows our son to control his learning pace, he works on tasks that interest him and is encouraged to interact with the other children in his classroom throughout the day. The teachers are fantastic and care deeply about kids. Every decision made has children's interests as top priority. The teachers treat our son with respect, and in turn receive his respect. 1 1/2 years after starting at MELC, our son is now well behaved, reading, writing (in print and cursive), well spoken on other cultures, and takes ballet and gymnastics. This is a fantastic school!
While this school's intent is good, I found the teachers and director to be not open to questions or constructive criticism. While there is a parent club and parents can be involved in that respect, parents are not allowed in the classroom. There is little interaction with your child's teacher(only parent-teacher conferences twice a year and interaction by chance - if you run into the teacher outside of the classroom). You can view the classroom through two-way mirrors, but you are not allowed in (even during your visit/tour). This is to prevent distraction, which is understandable; however, as a result, you can only see what is going on, not hear what is going on. Good academic and extracurricular - push too hard though.
I have been absolutely amazed at the academic growth of my 3.5 year old since joining this school. She has been attending for 4 months. The parent tour really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what children these ages can learn. [Her] attitude has tremendously improved after being removed from a traditional daycare. She is learning and growing academically, but behaviorally as well. The teachers and director are all about helping the children learn to their fullest. I have and will continue to recommend this school for anyone with young children. The price is very competitive to traditional daycares and your child is far better off.
OCTOBER 2006 In my opinion the Montessori Early Learning Center is a great school. I respect how well the staff and director handled the children when the fire distroyed the school. Even with the limited resorces they had the children still were taught with the upmost care. The children of this school adjust well in what ever environment they happen to go into. The extracurricular activities are wonderful the children enjoy them greatly. All of the parents have adjusted to the situation as well as the children. Again this is my opinion. Thanks for your time.
The quality of academic programs at this school is excellent!. My twins started here when they were 3 years old. By the time they turned 4, Hailey was reading books and doing addition. Her brother is not far behind. I am amazed at the things each is learning. Both of them are way ahead of our older neighbors that are in public school. This is not a daycare. It is a private, year round school with high quality, certified teachers. The arts program is wonderful. The Columbia Childrens Ballet is housed here. Both children take ballet, gymnastics, and music class. The great thing about these classes are that they are held in the afternoon, while the children are still at school. This leaves our evenings open for family time. The parent involvement is at the level expected at this size of school. There are some parents that are involved and give 100%.
We've been at MELC from primary to current Second Grade (4 years). The school is totally student-centered and focused on instilling each child's love of learning and their achievement. It is a loving, safe environment with highest discipline. The students have self-control, great manners, respect for the Golden Rule, their country and each other. All extracurricular arts classes are on campus and during the afternoon--when I pick up my child she's already finished ballet, drama, piano and art. She's performed publicly since age 3, thanks to the school's expertise. Imagine your child coming home at and asking about the Taj Mahal, identifying all continents, and asking for help with 'research' for a report? Most Elementary students at MELC function above grade level and transition easily into gifted programs in public school. And swimming is a required activity in summer and computer use is taught. I wouldn't enroll my child elsewhere.
I personally think the school is awesome. For a school that suffered a fire, that have made a miraculous recovery. The school is absolutely beautiful and the education is wonderful. It is not often that your child has academic learning as well as learns practical life skills. The children that leave this school are almost always placed in the gifted program. Not only are the children strong in academics, but they have great social skills as well. I would highly recommend this school!
I have been very pleased with my child's experience at the Montessori Early Learning Center. The staff is extensive and well trained in the pure European Montessori tradition. They have a great Parent Club that I attend regularly and help with fund raisers such as Girl Scout Cookies and the Ballet Alliance. MELC gave my child a great start in reading, math and you can't beat the Montessori training in Geography. The arts program is extensive and my child is able to take music, dance and drama. They put on great recitals each year and the school houses the Children's Ballet of Columbia. Montessori takes dedication from parents. Each parent is encouraged to attend workshops in reading and other subjects that will help your child at home. It takes a lot of time, but was great for my childs development. I highly recommend this school to anyone considering a Montessori education.
The quality of this program in my opinion is not good. I did as much reasearch as I possibly could on montessori learning, but I should have done more on this particular school. My husband and I are very invloved with our son. We take an intrest in every milestone of his life. This school does not embrace the parent at all. The child will learn to read but they will not be able to mix well with other children once they are intergrated into other situations after leaving this particular program. The extracurricular activities are awesome. There is little to no parent involvement expected by the Director/owner.
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