The Early Care and Education Association (ECEA), formerly known as the Upper Valley Child Care Association, has recently revisited and revised its purpose, mission and vision. This internal assessment revealed that although the overall intent of the association was still relevant, the need for a more formal and formidable association was necessary.
Couch Family Foundation Funding
The development of this network of directors has been reestablished with funding from the Couch Family Foundation. This support began with Couch Family Foundation sharing an experienced early childhood consultant who provided outreach and organizational needs to begin to formalize the network. This organizational support continued through 2019.
Driving Principle & Chief Goal
The driving principle of the network is to support professionals working with children from birth to age 5. Though the initial focus of support will be on center-based programs, early childhood support services and family services, this will not exclude family-based or after school programs from participating in the network meetings or relevant training and advocacy opportunities.
The chief goal is to create and sustain a network of early childhood professionals that demonstrates the collective power of collaboration in “moving the needle” on efforts to sustain, expand and improve equitable access to developmentally appropriate early care and education in the region.
The strategic planning process began in January of 2019, using a previous version of the organization’s strategic plan as a guide. This plan reflects the network’s commitment to reducing isolation of centers with outreach and communication strategies embedded throughout the plan.
In the Spring of 2019, the ECEA was awarded a “bridge grant” to support the momentum of the network in maintaining relevant training opportunities and to complete the work of strategic planning.
The Executive Committee was joined by two more directors to form a six-person Strategic Planning Committee. This committee dedicated more than 130 hours (collectively) in 2019 alone, to produce a comprehensive strategic plan and governance documents that will guide the organization into the work of 2020.
As part of the plan for sustainability, these documents are considered “living documents” that will be revisited regularly and updated as necessary to reflect the current needs and priorities of the network.