Montessori Early Childhood Australia (MECA)
The Montessori Early Childhood Australia (MECA) division supports schools and centres offering programs for children up to six years of age. MECA’s main role is to keep abreast of current issues affecting the early childhood education and care sector to ensure that Montessori educators and services are informed and prepared for any changes or challenges. MECA delivers workshops around Australia to disseminate information and to gather feedback from the Montessori community. MECA’s goal is to build networks with other professional bodies and within the general community to raise the profile of Montessori education.
Through the work of MECA, Montessori is now recognised as a key stakeholder in the early childhood sector. MECA is represented on many ongoing government reference groups including the NQS Stakeholders Advisory Group, the Universal Access Stakeholders Advisory Committee and the Reference Committee for Physical Resources and Facilities. Many of these groups directly inform the Minister and influence decisions nationwide. MECA has been involved in the Second Tier Review committee for ACECQA enabling Montessori Australia to maintain a close relationship with this important agency.
Montessori Australia holds an annual early childhood education and care conference that attracts hundreds of early childhood professional from around Australia. The quality of local and international speakers has ensured a growing interest each year from professionals, sponsors and exhibitors.
Montessori Independent Schools Australia (MISA)
The Montessori Independent Schools Australia (MISA) division represents a diverse group of thirty-five Montessori independent schools across Australia. The largest MISA schools have several hundred children and offer programs from early childhood to secondary education. The smallest MISA schools are stand-alone preschools, which are registered for the first year of schooling. Schools also vary from parent-run schools to those governed by an independent corporate board.
MISA’s work is diverse, ranging from assisting schools with principal selection, governance issues or strategic planning, to research relating to future directions for independent schooling. MISA works closely with other divisions to support the development of Montessori Australia initiatives in quality assurance (MQAP) and public schools (MPSA).
MISA undertakes an increasing amount of representation work with federal and state governments to ensure the sector’s views are adequately represented in important educational matters. MISA enjoys its constructive relationships with government organisations such as ACARA and ACECQA, as well as ISCA and the state-based associations of independent schools.
Montessori Public Schools Australia (MPSA)
As part of working towards our strategic objective to support the optimal development of Australian children from all backgrounds, Montessori Australia has committed to the promotion and support of Montessori within the public education system through its Montessori Public Schools Australia (MPSA) division.
Montessori programmes have been delivered as part of the Australian public education sector for more than 20 years. However, 2015 was a landmark year for work in this area. It saw both the successful delivery of the first national forum for Montessori in public schools, and also the signing of MPSA’s first Memoranda of Understanding with individual public schools.
MPSA’s Full School Support Package was also launched at the forum. The Full School Support Package is a comprehensive set of services designed to strengthen and sustain public schools on the journey to deliver programmes with high standards of Montessori integrity. The Support Package is delivered by MPSA as the pedagogical partner working with public schools via a Memorandum of Understanding. Delivery is funded through the financial contributions and levies paid to Montessori Australia by the parents of children in the Montessori programmes with which it partners.
The Full School Support Package aims to enable new Montessori programmes in public schools to achieve the highest quality Montessori programming. From 0-3 programmes through to Montessori Adolescent Programmes, the Full School Support Package, includes the following elements:
- Programme design and establishment
- Staff training and development
- Quality assurance and improvement
- Funds administration
- Community education and support
Montessori Family Day Care Australia (MFDCA)
The Montessori Family Day Care Australia (MFDCA) division is a new division set up to support the growing number of Montessori family day care programs operating in Australia.