Building on community strength
The Montessori Children’s Foundation’s goal is to make Montessori programmes available to children in Australia, who, for a multitude of reasons, would not otherwise be able to access them. MCF currently focuses on Indigenous and remote communities where the need for quality education and support is intensified by vast distances from the centres of Australian government decision-making, service-delivery and economic activity, and by histories of invasion, appropriation, and neglect. Despite this, in these communities there is a strong desire for a better future, and a deep awareness that the future lies with its children. MCF’s core area of business is early childhood and this is underpinned by four key principles Partnership, Sustainability, Quality and Flexibility:
Partnering with key organisations in communities drives ownership and commitment, and connects us to the work of other organisations committed to children’s wellbeing.
Remote community programmes are only sustainable if the skills to manage, develop, and deliver them are located within the community. Providing Montessori training, especially in 0-3, and 3-6, and building a foundation of local knowledge and expertise, is one of MCF’s two key areas of investment.
Quality practice needs time and support, and is usually developed in a workplace where experienced professionals provide support and assistance to those at the beginning of their careers. Such a body of Montessori experience and expertise is not available in remote communities, making mentoring our second key area of investment.
The complex circumstances of remote communities mean that the taken-for-granted ways of establishing and managing Montessori services and programmes, and providing training and mentoring, are not possible. Flexibility is essential in the design and delivery of training and mentoring, hand in hand with maintaining quality and fidelity of practice.