A Historical Snapshot of the
Montessori School of Mauldin
In the late 1960s, Mallika Vejay completed her AMI primary certification at Sri Lanka’s Good Shepherd Maria Montessori Training Centre. Her trainers were directly certified by Maria Montessori. As a young teacher, Mario Montessori, Maria’s son, visited Mallika’s classroom several times.
In 1973 Mallika married Cumar Vejay, and she emigrated to the U.S. to build their life. The young couple settled in Greenville and had their first child, a son named Deva. When Deva was three, Mallika sought a quality education program for him. Not satisfied with the options available at the time, which mostly offered daycare, Mallika started a Primary classroom in their basement for him and one other child in January 1977.
When numbers began to increase, the Vejays rented space at Glendale Plaza off of Bon Air St. in Mauldin for her growing classroom, which included 14 children by July 1977. The Montessori Children’s House, as it was originally called, quickly acquired the entire strip mall to allow for expansion. In the early years, Mallika worked long hours teaching, cooking lunch for the children, cleaning while they were napping and staying late to lock up the school. With an MBA and a mechanical engineering background, Cumar handled licensing, payroll and bookkeeping.
The school blossomed at Glendale, and after about 10 years, they added a Toddler program, so families could bring their younger children to the school. As the Primary grew, a building was erected at the school’s current location to house one part-time classroom. The Vejay family expanded, too, when their daughter, Samantha, was born in 1981. When she was old enough, Samantha attended the family school, which fully relocated to its current location in the mid-‘80s and continued to flourish, eventually adding an infant environment.
When Samantha reached elementary age, after a year in a traditional first-grade classroom, the school’s Elementary Program was born. After college, Samantha was drawn to Montessori Primary training, which she completed at Washington Montessori Institute (WMI). Following graduation and her Masters coursework, Samantha took over her mother’s classroom. Her experience teaching Primary inspired her to return to WMI for the Elementary training, and she eventually took on a Lower Elementary class and the directorship of the school. Samantha is now teaching at a Montessori school in Atlanta, but retains close ties to the school.
Today the Montessori School of Maudlin boasts an Infant class, two Toddler classes, three Primary classes, a Lower Elementary class, an Upper Elementary class, and an Afterschool Program. The school continues to be under leadership of owner, Mallika Vejay; and director, Becky Thomason. Since its humble beginnings, the school has upheld its values of authentic, affordable, year-round Montessori — not just for some, but for all.