Create fun teamwork activities that increase skills

[ms-user]

Campfire Stories

A classic activity that inspires storytelling and improves team bonding. Teams gather in a circle and share their workplace experiences. Along the way, they learn things about each other and relive old memories.

  1. Create a set of trigger words that can kick-start a storytelling session. Think of words like “first day”, “families”, “partnership”, “nature play”, etc. Add them to sticky notes.
  2. Divide a whiteboard into two sections. Post all sticky notes from above on one section of the whiteboard.
  3. Ask a participant to pick out one trigger word from the sticky notes and use it to share an experience (say, about his/her first day at the centre). Shift the chosen sticky note to the other side of the whiteboard.
  4. As the participant is relating his/her experience, ask others to jot down words that remind them of similar work-related stories. Add these words to sticky notes and paste them on the whiteboard.
  5. Repeat this process until you have a “wall of words” with interconnected stories.

Make Your Own Movie

What better way to stimulate creativity than to get your team to make their own little movie?

This fun activity can be done indoors or outdoors. It requires just 2 or 3 iPadsor a phone and your team will love it! After all, who doesn’t love movies?

  1. Setup the iPads / phones onto camera mode.
  2. Divide participants into teams and each team needs to work together to divide responsibilities (screenwriter, actors, camera operator, director, etc.).
  3. Optional:Introduce a theme such as a promotional movie for your Centre. If that seems too constricting, ask teams to pick their own topic/theme linked to their role.
  4. Ask teams to write scripts for their own 5-7 minute movie.
  5. Teams to create movies based on the script.
  6. Screen all finished movies at the end of the exercise!

Develop ideas and events for teams

Are you feeling like your team needs a lift?

Quite often teams will go through phases of ups and downs.

Try some of these great ideas to lift the spirit of your team and bring them together. These ideas work well when implemented consistently throughout the year to keep the team feeling good about themselves, recognised and appreciated.

  1. Staff lunches – every now and then organise a nice healthy lunch for your team. This is a nice way to have the staff come together to share in some food and enjoy a break together. Often, staff may enjoy bringing in a plate of food to share for a special lunch.
  2. Positive quotes – have a special area in the staff room where you can display positive and uplifting quotes for your team.
  3. Organise a staff appreciation week – take the time to show your team that you appreciate their hard work and dedication. You can organise some treats, fun games, small gifts, thank you notes. Parents and children usually love getting involved in these weeks as well.
  4. Social activities – organise some bonding time outside of work. Staff dinners, going to the movies, having a games night. This can be a great way to really get to know each other and build relationships.
  5. Board games and activities – provide your team with some fun board games and activities in the staff room that they can enjoy during their break times. Uno, Connect 4, Chess, Guess Who, colouring competitions are just some ideas of getting your team to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.
  6. Staff member of the month – this can be a great way to keep staff motivated throughout the year and feel appreciated. There are many ways that this can be organised and lots of different options for rewards. Have the staff individually put in votes for who is the staff member of the month and why they are deserving.
  7. Appreciation Wall – Have a permanent spot for an appreciation wall where educators can write appreciation or thank you notes to each other. Families love to join in on this one as well. Kind and thoughtful words is a great way to lift someone’s spirit.
  8. Staff meeting Shout Outs – Open or close your staff meeting with some positive ‘shout-outs’ to your team. Let them know that you are watching them and that you notice all the great things they do.
  9. Random Acts of Kindness – This can be done in many different ways. Staff pick names out of a hat and have to do something nice for that person over the next week. Have a different theme every month or perhaps a different staff member to focus on.
  10. Celebrate Birthdays and special events – take the time to make your staff members feel special on their birthday or any other special event in their life such as getting married, having a baby, educational achievements like graduation. Make a card for them, share in a cake and sing them Happy Birthday or throw them a party. This is a great way to develop a sense of belonging to the group.
  11. Postcards and letters – This may take up a bit of time, but it is something that would make your team feel very loved and appreciated. Write a short ‘thank you’ letter or create a ‘thank you’ postcard and mail it home. This would be a lovely surprise for your staff when they check their letterbox and I am sure it would make them feel great at the end of their day.
  12. Positive self-reflection notes – Stick up some positive self-talk notes around the mirror in your staff bathroom. When your staff head to the bathroom and look at themselves in the mirror while washing their hands, they can read a whole lot of positivity e.g. you are looking great today! Your smile has just made a child’s day! You are an awesome teacher!
  13. Fun Competitions – Competitions can be a great way to get teams working together. Think of some fun competitions throughout the year such as vegetable growing competitions, class projects, art competitions, team sports day, cooking competition.The ideas are endless!
  14. Educator in focus – Write a piece on a different educator in your monthly newsletters highlighting their achievements, skills and talents, and what makes them a wonderful educator. This is a great way to build the relationships with families as well.
  15. Themed dress up days – A great way to bring a bit of fun to the centre. Get your team involved in some dress up days and have special awards for most creative and best dressed.

What are your favourite ideas?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________


[/ms-user]

Time for some action planning!

[ms-user]

Now we are going to go through a process of designing the best fun based team

What does a fun team look like?

List everything you think makes a fun team of educators.

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

Designing your best fun team

Let’s imagine we have shaped, inspired, taught and mentored a group of people to be the best fun team of educators. You produced the perfect fun team.

How did you produce the perfect fun team?

What were the main issues you needed to solve to get the perfect fun team?

_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

You’re looking at the perfect fun team and you see they’re innovative.  What makes them innovative?

_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

Again, looking at the perfect fun team you see unusual traits in them. What are they?

_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

What needed to be communicated to the fun team to make them perfect?

_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

What was the best way to communicate with them?
Was it in pictures, practice, demonstration?

_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

How did you ensure educators knew how to be a part of the perfect fun team?

_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

What couldn’t you explain in a practice or words?

_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

Exploration/Refinement

Simplify the perfect fun team to their most basic state. Strip the details and embellishments.

When do you begin to impair their functionality so they’re no longer the perfect fun team of educators?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

When does the perfect fun team of educators begin to lose their identity?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

Having removed as much as possible without transforming the perfect fun team of educators into another (imperfect) fun team of educators, describe the perfect fun team of educators in the simplest way.

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

Conceptualisation

Describe the perfect fun team of educators metaphorically (using language that refers to other concepts) ie “They’re (like) a . . . “.

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

Now think of ways to describe the practices of the perfect fun team of educators.

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

How would you describe the perfect fun team of educators if you had never seen anything like it before?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

Identification – Use the results from the above steps to write a brief for the process on how you trained the educators to be a part of the perfect fun team of educators.

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

Briefly describe the perfect fun team of educators. What is their nature?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

Why is it necessary to design the perfect fun team of educators?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

What was the problem that led to you designing the perfect fun team of educators as the solution?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

What are the benefits of the perfect fun team of educators?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

How does your design of the perfect fun team of educators solve any problem that you may have identified in the previous question?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

Now how are you going to put this into practice?

_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________

[/ms-user]

Tips to promote a sense of ownership across the team

[ms-user]

  1. Don’t cherry-pick tasks! It can be tempting to choose only those tasks that seem easier, or ones that offer more benefits. But if you choose more difficult responsibilities and accept what’s offered to you, you’ll learn whilst you earn and gain a reputation for being a hard worker and team player which will pay off in the long term.
  2. Support other people on your team by offering positive feedback and providing help if they need it. Your willingness to collaborate and help others will make a good impression across the team and the children will reap the benefits!
  3. Share information and resources with your team. Remember, you’re all there for one purpose – and by keeping everyone informed, you contribute to the common goal. If you have past experiences or knowledge that can help others, then offer it. They’ll appreciate the help.
  4. Keep a positive attitude. If you complain, delay, or leave the tough jobs to other team members, people will notice – and they may start to avoid you. A positive attitude can be a refreshing change, and it will help others stay focused and productive as well.

Educators and staff often come together from various background, cultures, experiences, qualifications, beliefs, skills and talents. Respecting and utilising these differences can enhance the effectiveness of the team.

A team needs to have a common vision to establish what they are working toward. Perhaps they have an overall goal however they may be currently focusing on one particular aspect. Maybe they are working toward an element of the National Quality Standard that they know they have not yet met and it may be an identified issue in their Quality Improvement Plan.


[/ms-user]

Foster creativity and increase learning across the whole team

[ms-user]

Describe ALL of your skills and attributes and list how you use them as an educator.

__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________

1. Name group strengths

In your group, name each strength out loud and discuss how those strengths might be applied in your roles in the team. Write down each strength:

______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________

2. Apply individual strengths to achieve the Centre goals

In your group, speak to the strengths of each individual team member and suggest how the team might take advantage of others’ strengths and listen to what the team has to say. Look beyond your daily role to the role of the Centre to see whether demonstrated strengths can be used in neglected areas of the business.

______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________

3. Assign team tasks based on team members’ strengths.

You would never intentionally assign tasks based on weaknesses, but you might overlook strengths unless they’ve surfaced. In your groups, collectively discuss all strengths as a team and where they fit on a daily basis. How could others learn this strength / skill?

Educator’s strengths identified How this strength could be utilised on a daily basis based on Centre needs How could this strength be implemented across the team to increase learning and support professional development

4. Encourage team members to act as “strengths advocates” to help others use their talents and gifts more fully.

Identify members of the team to be leaders and motivators within their roles. Consider cross-training among teammates who have specific strengths by forming mentoring relationships. This cross-training lets strong team members develop their training abilities, while the mentees receive some good modelling and a chance to strengthen their skills.

Developing your teams’ individual competencies has other benefits, but watching team members grow into their roles and develop their skills can be one of the most rewarding experiences in a career.


[/ms-user]

Let’s start by getting to know the unique you!

[ms-user]

What do you value most? What’s important to you in your career? Helping others? Being creative? Teaching? Circle your values:

Ambition

Attention to detail

Authenticity

Work life balance

Being kind

Calmness

Challenge

Change and variety

Collaboration

Community

Compassion

Competence

Courage

Creativity

Cultural diversity

Decisiveness

Empathy

Excitement

Experimentation

Expertise

Fairness and social justice

Family

Financial security

Flexibility

Frankness

Fun

Generosity

Growth

Happiness/positive attitude

Harmony

Having a say and a voice

Health

Help others

Honesty

Humour

Imagination and creativity

Independence

Inner harmony

Innovation

Inspiring others

Integrity

Intelligence

Kindness

Knowing your vales

Knowledge

Laughter

Leadership

Learning

Living your dreams

Love for myself

Love for others

Making a difference

Making decisions

Massive wealth

Moral fulfilment

Music

Nature

Open communication

Passion

Persistence

Personal growth

Perspective

Physical challenge

Play

Power and authority

Professionalism

Protecting the environment

Quality of life

Quiet times

Recognition

Reliability

Respect

Results

Risk taking

Security

Self respect

Stability

Sunlight

Support

Taking responsibility

The big picture

Tidiness

Trustworthiness

Understanding

Wonder and awe

From that place bubbling with unlimited possibility, write up to 10 reasons why you became an educator!

  1. _______________________________________________________
  2. _______________________________________________________
  3. _______________________________________________________
  4. _______________________________________________________
  5. _______________________________________________________
  6. _______________________________________________________
  7. _______________________________________________________
  8. _______________________________________________________
  9. _______________________________________________________
  10. _______________________________________________________

Do you know what you do best?

Perhaps you’re incredibly organized. Or, you might excel at motivating people, helping resolve disagreement, or researching hard-to-find information.

What are your strengths?

_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

Whatever your strengths, you have something valuable to offer. Find a role within your team that allows you to do what you do well. This will help you make a meaningful contribution – and increase your chances of doing a great job. Plus, it’s usually much easier, and more satisfying, to do tasks when you’re naturally good at them.

When a team works well together, creativity levels are generally higher, as people tap into one another’s strengths. This often leads to increased productivity, and an inspiring sense of collaboration and cooperation that moves everyone forward.

The most successful teams don’t just combine different technical skills; they also allow members to take on more general roles that cross traditional functional lines.

What responsibilities as an educator are you confident in performing and enjoy? Why?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

What responsibilities as an educator are you not confident in performing? Why not?

___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

Use the following template to design your job description as an Early Childhood Professional. Remember, you are not just an Educator. You are a role model supporting the development of children for their future.

Now share with your team why this is relevant for a fun based team.

[/ms-user]

Use team members’ strengths to create a fun working environment

[ms-user]

Have you worked for teams where everyone pitches in, and you all work together in perfect harmony? Do you always play to your strengths in a team, or are there times when the group you’re in just doesn’t gel?

What does this mean for you? Teams are an integral part of how things are done in your centre. If you show that you have the ability to work well with others, this will have a major impact on the overall success of the Centre for the children and the Educators!

Do you recognise that others in the team have strengths and experiences that can complement yours and those of other team members?

Can you identify them?

Where do they come from?

For example, before becoming an educator:

  • I was born and lived in England
  • I worked at Pizza Hut
  • I worked at a Bakery
  • I worked in a Supermarket on the check-out
  • My father was an architect
  • My mother worked in childcare as a cook
  • I studied to be a scientist
  • I worked internationally in Clinical Research
  • I studied Early Childhood Education & Care
  • I am apublic speaker

Your knowledge of each educator’s strengths and experiences is invaluable to your team and the children. These strengths can help achieve the goals of the team. Do you value them?

An educator’s thoughts….

When leaders value the strengths, talents and interests of a team member:

  • They empower that person to use and share their strengths. This creates a “social constructivist learning community” among the team which benefits the children, families and the service
  • They can create an enthusiastic team who feel valued and committed
  • They can enhance leadership opportunities by placing people in roles that complement their strengths, then expand these roles into future leadership positions. By encouraging leadership succession opportunities they plan for the profession of tomorrow
  • Learning among team members becomes embedded and valued
  • They empower the team to achieve shared visions and to get the job done
  • They promote happiness, productivity and retention
  • People perform best when working in their strength areas, and teams perform best when the team itself has a balanced, complementary set of strengths.

Every educator is different and diverse and comes to the setting with skills, talents and experience that are as unique as they are.


[/ms-user]

Where are you now in relation to teamwork?

[ms-user]

The checklist keys to use.

E = Embedded I do that ALL the time
K = I know I need to do that, but I don’t do it all the time
T = Please teach me how to do it or improve my understanding of why I need to do it.

Professional Collaboration Educator
Communication
Do you communicate clearly, openly and honestly?
Do you always interact with others in a polite and positive way?
Do your responses show others that you respect their views, beliefs and suggestions?
Do you react positively when receiving praise or suggestions for improvement?
Practices
Do you plan curriculum, goals and activities and solve problems together with other educators and staff?
Do you actively value and use the skills/interests of other educators when planning the Curriculum?
Do you often share your knowledge, experiences and strengths with other educators and staff?
Are you willing to mentor or support new, casual or less experienced educators?
Do you look at the needs of team members, and step in and help if there is an immediate need?
Are you willing to ask for help if needed?
Do you actively contribute to your training plan to ensure areas you wish to strengthen are covered?
Do you regularly complete professional development/training to improve practice, regardless of your current knowledge and skills?
Do you always work to achieve the three exceeding themes of the NQS: embedded practice, critical reflection and engagement with families and community?
Are you always willing to try new ways of doing things to continually improve practice?
Do you regularly contribute to the service QIP?
Do you regularly reflect critically about children’s learning, your practice and service operations, both individually and as a team, and help to implement resulting changes?
Do you reflect on your own beliefs and values to ensure they’re not hindering effective teamwork?
Do you respect the confidentiality of information shared by other educators?
Do you participate in all relevant team or service activities?

[/ms-user]