HOW LONG HAS ECMS BEEN IN OPERATION AT WILLIAMSBURG UNITED METHODIST CHURCH?
In September 1989, ECMS was created at Williamsburg United Methodist Church by Cindy Freeman. Over the years, ECMS has grown from two classes of four-years-olds to 54 weekly classes of children aged two months through nine years, and 6 classes of adult keyboard and guitar students.
HOW IS THE SCHOOL STRUCTURED?
The school uses curricula from Musikgarten for each sequential level of instruction, accommodating every developmental stage. Fifty-four class times are offered Monday through Thursday, starting at 9:15 am and ending at 7:15 pm. Children are assigned based on level of instruction, parents' scheduling needs, and teacher availability.
WHAT SETS ECMS APART FROM OTHER LOCAL MUSIC SCHOOLS?
The most important distinction is that ECMS is the only school operating as a ministry of the church. Others are for-profit businesses which rent space. As a non-profit organization, ECMS is eligible for grants and donations to support its outreach programs. Additionally, ECMS instructors are certified through the international Early Childhood Music and Movement Association and required to take graduate-level courses for re-certification every five years.
WHAT IS ELLIOT'S SONG?
Elliot's Song was launched in 1999 in response to the United Methodist Bishop's initiative "All God's Children". The goal was to assist teachers of preschool students in providing effective, early intervention for children who, because of financial disadvantages or developmental delays, were at risk for future academic failure. The program serves students at the Head Start programs of both York County and James City County, the Bright Beginnings program of the W/JCC school system and the First Steps program of Child Development Resources. ECMS has continued to provide this service free-of-charge through grants, donations and fund-raising activities. The memorial fund was named for Elliot Provoncha (1997-2005), who attended ECMS and was born with multiple disabilities, but was profoundly responsive to music.
ARE PROVISIONS MADE FOR FINANCIALLY DISADVANTAGED FAMILIES TO PARTICIPATE ON-SITE?
Definitely! Another important program of ECMS is the Jessie Elizabeth Scholarship Fund, which provides funding for 15-20 children to attend the music school annually, tuition-free, based on financial need. Jessie Elizabeth Owens Dail (1987-1999), granddaughter of ECMS faculty member Sandy Owens, was a student at ECMS. Jessie loved music and continued to sing and play the saxophone until her tragic death at the age of twelve.
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