Montessori Journey to Excellence (MJ2Ex) Te Ara Ki Hihuatanga: 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 1990’s by MANZ focused on the development of 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 and 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 over 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 foundations of our nation. It also recognises the growing cultural diversity of learners in Aotearoa, and supports quality Montessori for all age groups 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. Where there are specific indicators for individual age groups, based on developmental differences, these are specified. 

In carrying the Montessori torch, at all levels, we recognise our commitment to Educating for Peace. 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!

It is our hope that these Essential Elements and Indicators will help to 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