Team Building in Child Care
(Is it important? Yes, yes it is.)
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ~African Proverb
No teacher is an island. Oftentimes teachers will interact with not only children and their families, but also fellow teachers, assistant teachers, directors/administrators, and/or specialists who come into the classroom to support children with specific needs. It is very rare in which a teacher is wholly by themselves, whether it is in instruction or lesson planning, or even prepping for the next day's lesson.
In a way, working in a child care program is team building in itself: supporting children's development while keeping them safe requires all staff to be fully involved in the program's day-to-day operations. Not every day is going to look the same, and all staff must be ready for any situation, good or bad, as they come. Every staff in a child care program works together every day to make sure that children are learning and thriving.
But why is team building so important in early childhood education? Team building is more than activities to make everyone feel welcome in the workplace. When a program takes the time to plan and implement team-building activities for their teachers, they are creating a welcoming, supportive, trusting environment for staff to also grow as professionals. Nurturing and maintaining a strong team culture reaps many benefits, including employee retention and a decrease in interpersonal conflicts. Administrators and teachers aren't the only ones to gain from team building: children, too, gain much from their teachers creating a collaborative team culture! Children are sensitive and will respond to their teachers depending on the latters' moods and body language. Children will react positively to teachers they sense are happy, and will react negatively if they feel that their teacher is disengaged or frustrated.
Team building creates an environment in which staff can nurture healthy, trusting relationships with one another, leading to open communication and improvement in teachers' performances. Team building also promotes collaboration among teachers, even across ages, and encourages them to think innovatively about how to plan and implement instruction that will challenge the children under their care. Staff then create another learning community within the same program, except that it is for staff.
ChildCareEd is pleased to offer a team building Instructor-led training titled TEAM: Together We Achieve More! This 2-hour training highlights the importance of implementing team-building activities, and offers fun and exciting strategies to build a happy, supportive team in your program! Log on and sign up today!
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