Montessori Journey to Excellence (MJ2Ex) Te Ara Ki Huhuatanga: Essential Elements

The development of Montessori Journey to Excellence (MJ2Ex): Te Ara Ki Huhuatanga has been a journey in itself. Early work in the late 1990s by MANZ focused on developing an accreditation system for Montessori early childhood services and primary schools. However, influenced by the introduction of teaching as inquiry (TAI) and self-review during the 2000s in the New Zealand education system and the requirement for teachers to show evidence of professional learning using the then Registered Teacher Criteria, MANZ  moved from an accreditation model to developing a co-constructed approach to building a collaborative inquiry community. 

In 2011 a Montessori Journey to Excellence Working Group was established. The Essential Elements and quality indicators for Montessori education were developed and printed as DRAFT 2012, Montessori Journey to Excellence (MJ2Ex): Te Ara Ki Huhuatanga. The aim was to empower MANZ member schools and early learning services to deliver excellent Montessori programmes and guide ongoing development. The document was used in a pilot from 2013-2014.

At MANZ Conference 2018, expressions of interest were invited for a re-working party to review the published DRAFT 2012,  Montessori Journey to Excellence (MJ2Ex): Te Ara Ki Huhuatanga and extend it to include  Essential Elements and indicators for ages 0-3 and 6-18 years. From this interest, a Re-Working Party was established.

This 2020 version identifies Essential Elements of Montessori which are aspirational and relevant to the context of Aotearoa. It recognises the influence of leadership in sustaining quality Montessori education and includes a stronger emphasis on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the bicultural foundation of our nation. It also recognises the growing cultural diversity of learners in Aotearoa and supports quality Montessori for all ages from birth to 15 years.

The revised document is intended to be an all-encompassing document for kaiako of all levels and within that context to be responsive and reflective of the educational landscape of Aotearoa. These are specified when specific indicators for individual age groups are based on developmental differences.

We recognise our commitment to Educating for Peace by carrying the Montessori torch at all levels. This approach is through an integrated and holistic delivery, which addresses, through Cosmic Education, the Discovery of the Cosmic Task of the child. We further endorse our mandated directive to ‘follow the child’ based on disciplined, scientific observation in a conscientiously prepared environment. We acknowledge the divergence of quality rather than a convergence of conformity and so celebrate the many pathways toward Montessori education, respecting the principles of approach as recognised by professionals trained in this field. 

The majority of the indicators demonstrate alignment of the universal principles of Montessori across all age groups, highlighting that there is more that binds than separates us!

We hope these Essential Elements and Indicators will help light your path on this journey as Montessori kaiako working with tamariki and whānau within Aotearoa, New Zealand.

E kore te tangata e pakari runga i te wai marino.
A person who remains in calm waters will never get strong

MJ2Ex Re-Working Party 2020