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Team building among staff helps create an environment of trust, camaraderie, and creativity. A childcare center with a strong team is able to work toward a common goal of quality childcare, where children, parents, and center staff can all benefit.
1. Foster a Team Environment
Create opportunities for caregivers to gather outside of the classroom. Provide an inviting space for breaks. Bring food for staff meetings and celebrations such as birthdays or holidays. Consider holding a ‘year-end’ dinner or monthly book group and invite all staff.
2. Plan Together
Teachers who have time to plan together work like a well-oiled machine. Have a regular meeting time and work hard to protect this and stick to it. Planning time can include a regular ‘check-in’ with your co-teacher asking the question, ‘What can I do this week that would help you?’
3. Practice Team-Building Activities
Simple team-building activities during meetings or workshops can help build staff morale. An example might be to give each person a piece of paper and ask them to write their name. Then, ask all staff to walk around and put one positive adjective about each person on their paper.
4. Communicate with Kindness
Smiling and using humor helps relieve stress and enhances communication. When working with a co-teacher, be aware that you may have different temperaments, philosophies and points of view. Focus on what your co-teacher does well and try to compliment him or her each day.
5. Divide Tasks
Create a system for dividing up classroom tasks. Begin the year by creating a list of all classroom tasks from setting up lunch to diapering. Discuss which jobs each teacher prefers. Spend time creating a schedule that divides tasks in a way that will feel fair. Review the schedule often.