The College of Early Learning is a privately owned, Montessori primary, elementary, and secondary school operated in Columbia, South Carolina, by the New Banner Institute. The Institute began operation of the school in 1972 as an integral part of its ongoing research into the fundamental nature of human consciousness. The Environment for Discovery was developed and maintained in order to study the processes whereby the individual child acquires those sensorimotor skills, perceptual powers, psychological traits, cognitive abilities, and philosophical perspectives which constitute his unique achievement of human potential.
The aim of the Institute was to conduct such studies in a research environment which provided to each child the best opportunity to maximize the achievement of his human potential. Four years of preliminary investigation, begun in 1968, had led the Institute to the conclusion that such an environment should include activities which provide a wealth of training in unconscious processes (sensory discrimination, motor skills, pattern recognition, phonics, musical technique, etc.), but a dearth of indoctrination with respect to “accepted” truths and methodology.
This conclusion is consistent with the mission of the school's owner, whose primary objective is to promote acceptance of and adherence to the principle that each person is intellectually and morally responsible to independently validate the ethical principles that guide ones choices and actions. By contracting with the Institute to develop and maintain its Environment for Discovery at the College, the owner is able to operate a school which provides a quality education to the individual student at a fraction of its actual cost.
This conclusion is also consistent with those concepts of free will and objectivity expounded by philosophers from Aristotle to Ayn Rand, who held that each individual must discover the facts of reality independently. The pedagogy advanced by Dr. Maria Montessori was found to prescribe for each child the optimal environment for the independent discovery of his own personal identity and of the nature of the real world. Her strict attention to the scientific preparation of each child’s environment and her profound respect for his individual liberty and human dignity are the hallmarks of the Environment for Discovery at the College of Early Learning.
The parents of students enrolled at the College are themselves enrolled in series of seminars in philosophic inquiry, where they engage in open-forum discussion, logical analysis, and basic research in fundamental principles of developmental psychology and early-childhood education which are tested and practiced at the College of Early Learning. Montessori educators work in close cooperation with parents to nurture the intellectual curiosity and genuine self-esteem of children who prepare themselves to enter the twenty-first century with rationality, productivity, and pride.