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We All Need a Supportive Team
December 2, 2021
It always seems impossible until it’s done.
-Nelson Mandela

Today, more than ever, early care and education practitioners need to feel they are part of a supportive team. Michael Koetje and Peter Blair, in an article that’s part of the Exchange Essentials collection, "Building an Effective Team," offer ideas for strengthening a sense of community. Here are a few:

  • "We both conduct team meetings with a focus on professional development rather than the minutia of schedules and regulations.
  • We use the word team to include the cook, janitor, and bus driver. They are part of the team and we have high expectations for their interactions with children and families as well. Very often early childhood folks think of community in limited terms, including only paid employees or volunteers in our definition. Instead, we think of our community of learners as made up of every person who steps into the life of our center: teachers, parents, children, administration, community members, extended family, and subcontractors. Everyone who contributes to the life of the center is a member of our community…
  • Treat each person with respect and listen to their opinions. While we may not agree with each other on every decision, we try to listen to one another and understand their vision and how it fits in with our own.
  • Use inspiration. Michael often begins meetings with a poem, a song, an inspiring speaker, or a story that offers a provocation to help staff reflect. He asks everyone to bring scenarios, or wonderings - ‘something that went on with a child or family during the week’ - to discuss with the group.
  • Discuss the BIG issues. We dialogue about our beliefs about children, childhood, families, and community. We talk about how we see our role as educators of young children."

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In our large collection of Exchange Essentials article collections, find resources on subjects such as administration, child development, curriculum, environments, family, and leadership.

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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Tiffany Peckham · December 03, 2021
Lincoln, NE, United States

Andrea, thank you for the comment and sharing! We really appreciate it.

-Tiffany at Exchange

Andrea Dekker · December 02, 2021
United Way of Tucson & Southern Arizona
TUCSON, AZ, United States

What a beautiful way to start your meetings. Focusing on what you believe about children, etc. is a great way to keep the team focused on what is best for children! I wish I had been as enlightened in the years I was a director. I will share this!

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