Lately I have been pondering the idea of readiness and timing. It has been another mild winter in New Jersey. At the end of February into early March, we were teased with hints of spring and a few days of near record high temperatures. I am always ready for spring after the cold of winter and I thought perhaps it was actually time for spring, albeit a bit early. But a week before spring arrived on the calendar we were blanketed with 20 inches of snow. Clearly it was not yet time and nature was not quite ready. So, it is back to waiting and watching for the true arrival of the season in its own time.
In early childhood education, we regularly speak towards how appropriate music and movement activities contribute to the readiness of children in preparing them for formal schooling. But we are also very aware of how important it is to plant the seeds of learning, water and nurture them, and wait for them to grow in their own time. We wait for the child to guide us and indicate their readiness. And what a delight when they blossom! Most of us have experienced the joy when a child suddenly finds their singing voice, moves rhythmically, or improvises their own piece vocally or instrumentally.
All this takes much patience, observation, and a willingness to release some of our own expectations so that we see the real fruits of our labors, sometimes being delightfully surprised by the unexpected. In the meantime, we stay the course and continue to provide an environment rich with potential for growth, creativity, and learning. As I read Alissa Chitwood’s article on Process Praise in the last issue of Perspectives, I realized we can implement this not only in our behavior towards children, but also in our self-assessment as ECM&M practitioners, giving ourselves positive reinforcement by praising the effort and process while we await the blossoming of our work.
In the life of ECMMA we are waiting and watching for the fruition of some new projects and ideas that we implemented at the start of this board term. Some of them need more time and so we continue to guide them effectively towards readiness. Others, such as regional conferences and events have been restructured into a more flexible model and are on the verge of springing forth. By the time you read this, events will have taken place in Ohio and Colorado. Summer events are scheduled in Baltimore and Atlanta. The Executive Team will meet in early June and evaluate the past year and do strategic planning for the near and distant future, working towards insuring the growth and health of ECMMA.
Many thanks to the board, staff, Membership Committee, local chapters, and ECMMA members who work to make these events and projects possible. Your efforts and expertise are worthy of praise! Our work supports the total child, their families, and eventually our society. If you are not involved yet in any of these ECMMA endeavors, ask yourself, “Am I ready? Is it time”?
Keep singing and moving,
Diana Greene, President ECMMA