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      Children's Museum of the Lowcountry adopts new 5-year plan

      CHARLESTON, S.C.{}(CML) -- The Children's Museum of the Lowcountry (CML) has announcedits new strategic plan to help guide the Museum in its planning, activities andinitiatives for the next five years. The detailed plan identifies threestrategic goals on which to focus CML's energy and resources through 2018.

      The final plan was unanimouslyadopted by the Board of Directors and has been put into action by Board andstaff. As part of its new plan, CML will focus on the POWER OF PLAY and itsnecessity and benefits for the well-being of all children. CML will work to customizeexperiences to engage the interests of its most important audience groups whilefocusing on its current site to help refresh and re-imagine experiences thattake place at the Museum. In addition, CML will work to develop moreconnections with families, partners and the community at large to ensuresuccessful integration of the plan. The strategic framework focuses CML'sactivities, capabilities and resources on serving children ages Birth - Tenyears in families of all backgrounds living in or visiting the Charleston area,with a primary audience of children ages Birth - Five years. {}{}

      This plan was developed with the help of Jeanne Vergeront of Vergeront MuseumPlanning, who is also known as the "Godmother of Children's Museums"due to her extensive knowledge, work and experience in the field. Vergeront wasalso involved in the Museum's initial launch in 2003. The planning processlasted more than nine months and included thoughtful input from CML's Board ofDirectors, staff and volunteers along with a variety of organizational andcommunity stakeholders. In addition, the Museum took a survey of current CMLstrengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities while conducting anenvironmental scan of current and future community opportunities and challengesrelated to the Lowcountry's children.

      The plan's outcome is areflection of Museum leadership's dedication to the well-being of areachildren, and CML's deliberate effort to outline priorities in order to delivergreater value to its audience groups.

      "Our new strategic planfocuses on the full spectrum of our beliefs, including our dedication toensuring that CML remains a cornerstone of education and play to the Lowcountrycommunity," said Denis Chirles, Executive Director at the Children's Museumof the Lowcountry. "All of the Museum's activities will stem from theprinciples outlined here and will give us the direction to grow our facilityand organization in the best possible way to serve the future leaders of ourcommunity."

      Anne Marie Hagood, CML BoardPresident, noted, "The Children's Museum has proven itself to be a neededand welcomed partner to the Lowcountry's educational community, and we believethe goals and direction outlined in our new five year plan will enable us tocontinue to achieve our aspiration to be counted among the best early-childhoodeducation partners in the Lowcountry."

      With a sharpened focus on itsvision and mission, CML has outlined the following strategic goals for the nextfive years:{}

      • Play Framework: Explore, consolidate and advance CML's understanding of and distinct approach to play for its audiences; how it will translate its expertise into play and learning experiences and environments and customer service; and how it will communicate its value and benefits to stakeholders and partners.{}{}
      • Early Connections - Birth to Three: A comprehensive set of services, experiences and supporting practices that enables CML to fully serve its youngest audience and their grownups; contributes to the area's early childhood resources; and distinguishes CML from other early childhood venues through developmentally, "just right" play-based experiences and environments that engage and make young children's potential visible.{}{}
      • Families Together: A broad, flexible approach to engaging families of all backgrounds with varied interests and children of different ages that is capable of serving the family as a cohesive, on-going group as well as supporting relationships and interactions among family members.

      The strategic plan also introducesCML's new mission and vision:

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      MISSION: Engage youngchildren's potential by inviting families of all backgrounds to exploreenvironments and experiences that spark imagination and stimulate curiositythrough the power of play.

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      VISION: The Children's Museumof the Lowcountry and its stakeholders believe that in the next generation, theCharleston area can become a community where all children enjoy an increasinglevel of well-being, because:

      • It shines a bright light on its youngest citizens as capable, creative and full of promise.{}{}
      • Its families actively connect around common interests and priorities for their children.{}{}
      • It values and invests in life-long, life-wide and life-deep learning.{}{}
      • Its families of all backgrounds appreciate its shared civic, cultural, historic and natural assets.{}{}
      • It prepares its children to participate in the region's expanding economic opportunities and career prospects.

      The full strategic plan can beviewed on CML's website, www.exploreCML.org.

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      About theChildren's Museum of the Lowcountry

      TheChildren's Museum of the Lowcountry is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizationwith a{}mission to engageyoung children's potential by inviting families of all backgrounds to exploreenvironments and experiences that spark imagination and stimulate curiositythrough the power of play. Open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 7p.m., Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundaysfrom 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 per person, $8 for SC Residents andfree for children less than 12 months of age. For more information please visitour website, www.exploreCML.org.

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