So, what’s in a Mission Statement? Why should you have one and how do you begin to formulate it?
At this time of the year preschools are gearing up for another year of care and learning, preparing lessons plans, talking to parents, welcoming children, meeting with staff.
All of the above can be helped and enhanced simply by having a Mission Statement.
What is the ethos of your facility? Why did you get into childcare in the first place?
What matters most to the children, the parents, and the staff?
Having all this condensed into one simple statement gives you something concrete to refer back to no matter what area you are developing or dealing with.
So, how do you go about devising one?
What are some of the words that spring to mind when you picture your ideal preschool setting?
Child centered. Caring. Innovative. Parental involvement. Learning. Fun.
Nurture. Cooperation. Diversity. Excellence. Quality. Stimulating. Safe.
Development. Families. Support. Home from home…….
In order to write your own Mission Statement, which needs only to be a few sentences long, you need to really evaluate what your service offers and what is important to you in your work with young children.
It should try and encompass everything good about the care you provide.
Once your mission statement has been formulated you can print it out, laminate it and hang it up for parents and staff to see. It serves to pull your awareness to what is really important – what matters most – and this will help to guide you in every area.
We constantly face challenges in our day to day work with young children
- keeping up to date with new guidelines, developing and planning an appropriate curriculum, coming up with fresh new ideas, dealing with children’s challenging behaviour, concerns over child welfare, problems and interactions with parents. The list can often be endless.
However if you can refer back to one simple statement it can help to focus your thoughts and ideas and remind you of what really matters.
In planning your curriculum layout for the year ahead, for instance, you will have a clear idea of what your goals are and where you would like to guide the learning and experiences of the children.
It will help you to keep in mind the different areas which are important to you and the children in your care.
For example if your mission statement features “diversity” how do you make sure your curriculum for the year reflects this, what will you include and how will you go about implementing it?
In September you may spend time focusing on where the children in your group come from, are there different nationalities, are there any relevant festivals coming up, how can you show the children and their parents that their differences are welcomed, appreciated and respected?
Your Mission statement can help you to keep in mind what matters most to each individual group – parents, children and staff.
Of most importance to children is feeling safe, happy, having fun, learning and exploring and making friends.
For parents it may be a feeling of working together with you, reassurance that their child is happy, being listened to, and keeping in touch through newsletters and information days.
For staff it is important to stay motivated, involved, to have their ideas listened to, keeping informed and up to date on guidelines and training.
A Mission statement can be written by anyone working within the childcare sector. Obviously if you own or manage a facility then you will want to develop one to reflect the ethos of the whole centre. You can work with staff to make it feel inclusive and comprehensive so that it reflects the ideas and qualities of every member of the team.
If you are a childcare worker with your own room or group of children you can develop your own Mission Statement to help you in your day to day work and in overcoming any challenges you may face.
The Statement is a positive, powerful reinforcer that can bring us right back to what is important in our work with young children. What matters most?
In these changing times when faced with new guidelines and regulations, inspections and paperwork it is vital to have something to fall back on to help us reflect on what the fundamental basis of our work is.
That is – The Child. Everything else falls into place once we remember this.
Your statement is unique to you, it will remind you of your goals and principles. Keep it simple and clear. Begin with the reason for your service and work with young children. Then identify what you will do to reflect this, how your work will benefit the children and parents and finally list the values which are the foundation of your work or service.
It is a small thing to do but it can have a very big impact on our very valuable, sometimes challenging yet always rewarding work.
“Our Mission is…..”