As I write this, summer is unfolding and I feel that relaxing sigh of relief as I anticipate a break from my usual schedule, a change of pace, a chance at recreation. Even though I still work on many projects in the summer, my schedule is more flexible than during the school year, and I give myself permission to slow down, reflect, and regroup.
I have observed that early childhood professionals tend to be busy, hardworking people, often wearing many hats. Sometimes it is difficult to allow ourselves to step back and ponder the big picture. Despite knowing the value of regrouping and reviewing, the process often feels a bit less pressing than the “to-do” list that sits, waiting and urgent.
The ECMMA Executive Team (which consists of the past and current president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer, and managing director) recently took time to step back and participate in a team retreat. Although the ECMMA board does most of our work through electronic means – video conferencing, emails, phone calls- we realize the value of gathering together in one place and interacting (much like we realize the importance of working directly with young children). As a board, we are tasked with guiding our association through strategic planning and providing leadership in executing that plan.
Values, Vision, Mission, Tactics—these are the words that dominated our thoughts during the recent ECMMA Executive Team retreat. We realized that when we took the time to articulate what we value and what we dream for all young children, our mission becomes clear and the tactics to carry out the mission are much more focused and realistic. Articulating this mission helps us in the difficult task of deciding what we can accomplish given our strengths, limitations, and scope.
The ECMMA mission statement contains both our values and our mission:
The non-profit Early Childhood Music & Movement Association (ECMMA) believes appropriate, purposeful music and movement experiences enhance early childhood development and seeks to support early childhood music and movement practitioners by providing resources, advocacy, professional development, and collaboration opportunities.
A vision statement would describe how we see ECMMA as it appears in a future successful state. Vision statements should be inspirational, bold, and challenging. I think most of us would agree on what we vision for young children—that every child has access and opportunity to develop their innate musicality and creativity. Out of this we see the role that ECMMA plays, as we strive to support the scholarly research in our field, connect that research to good practice, and empower the practitioners to serve children and their families, all the while advocating and educating parents, policy-makers, and the public in the importance of early childhood music and movement.
So, I challenge all ECMMA members to vision with us. What do YOU value and vision for yourself as an early childhood music & movement professional? What does ECMMA look like if we are successful in carrying out our mission? As ECMMA members how do we work together to serve this mission and vision? And after you reflect on the big questions of values, vision, and mission, I suggest this for the first item in your strategic plan: attend the ECMMA National Convention in Buffalo, NY, June 24-27, 2018. That is our primary opportunity to come together to watch, listen, play, and then create a better musical world for young children.
Keep singing and moving,
Diana Greene, President ECMMA