The Montessori Community School of Charleston was founded in 1989 to provide quality Montessori education.
MCSC settled at 2120 Wood Avenue in the Springfield subdivision in 1994 as its second location. The school leased space from the Low Country Academy for three years and then, in August 1996, purchased the property. MCSC owned 4 1/2 acres and two buildings totaling 6400 square feet.
The school has drawn students from a wide geographic area. In the 1996/1997 school year the 44 children enrolled come from Summerville, Hollywood, Wadmalaw Island, Johns Island, Seabrook Island, West Ashley, Folly Beach, Mount Pleasant and Sullivans Island.
In August of 1996, a proposal was made to the Charleston County School District that MCSC become a public Montessori Magnet school as a "school within a school" at Springfield Elementary School.
MCSC would be open to all children in Charleston County ages 3-12 and would accommodate approximately 90 children with a possibility of future growth up to 180 children.
Also in 1997, a major renovation was planned for that summer with the addition of woodland trails, future landscaping with native and heirloom plants, children's gardens and composting would all become extensions of the lessons of the classroom. The 5000 square foot building was renovated to reconfigure classrooms, provide additional light and ventilation and bring the building up to code for Charleston County Schools.
The curriculum of the Montessori Community School of Charleston would be Montessori methods of teaching. All classes would follow the Montessori method of teaching and utilize Montessori materials. There will be multi-age grouping of children to include 1 Primary class, 1 Lower Elementary Class, and 1 Upper Elementary Class. Advancement to the next level will be based upon the development and readiness of the child and not merely on the age of the child.
Montessori class time will not be divided into short segments but long work periods. Students will proceed from lesson to lesson as the teacher deems appropriate. Evaluation will be based on observation and portfolio assessment, there will be no use of the traditional grading system. CCSD accepted standardized tests will be given to children ages 9-12. All teachers will be certified by the Association Montessori Internationale. 3-year-olds: At this time, MCSC stated that it was essential to the success of the Montessori program to include 3-year-olds in the school. The activities of the 3-year-olds are a fundamental building block to their future work and lessons. Funding for this age group was sought through grants, Title 1, Child Development and on a fee-basis.
Beginning in 1989, all enrolled families committed to spend 20 hours per family in volunteer service to the school. In 1997, MCSC stated to Charleston County School District that this policy will continue into the future as this important commitment of time directly involves parents in the school. It leads to a sense of empowerment, investment in MCSC and partnership in their child's education. One of the strengths of the Montessori Community School has been the willingness of parents and friends of the school to contribute many thousands of hours of "sweat equity." It is these hours that, quite literally, built the school. Just a few examples include:
Rolling shelves for all of the classrooms - all built by parents.
Tables for Primary Class of 30 children - all built by parents.
Walls knocked out and room re-painted to enlarge and improve classrooms - all by parents.
New curtains for two classrooms - sewn by a parent.
Floors stripped and waxed - parents again.
Where we are now:
Grades 7-8 have been added and the 3-year-old program is no longer fee-based.
In 2012, construction began on a new state-of-the-art school for Montessori Community and occupancy of the building was planned for August 21, 2013. The original building at 2120 Wood Avenue was scheduled to be demolished the second week of June 2013.
In 2013, Montessori Community School of Charleston became Montessori Community School. We moved into our new building at 2122 Wood Avenue.