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Building A Team That Works!

Team Building is an ongoing process that helps your employees become one cohesive unit. As you lead your employees toward a "team mentality," it's important to remember that teams require regular nurturing and maintenance in addition to the nurturing and maintenance you give to your employees as individuals.

There are many reasons to include Team Building Activities in your Manager's Toolbox. Team Building Activities can improve morale, communication, friendliness, productivity, and effective collaboration among your staff.

Set an example to team members by being open with employees and sensitive to their moods and feelings. Your role is to act as a harmonizing influence as you look for chances to mediate and resolve minor disagreements before they become large problems that get in the way of the goals you have for your Center. As you mediate, counsel and encourage, keep everyone focused on the team's higher goals. As the team(s) begins to take shape, pay close attention to the ways in which team members work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation, trust, and especially respect in those relationships.Emphasize the importance of each team member's contribution and demonstrate how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal.

Encourage team members to share information. The beauty of this is that it is a win-win for everyone. The teacher who shares an idea for classroom management, an art activity, a workjob or game, or even a fresh idea for handling a difficult child feels appreciated and empowered. Her co-worker who received the advice feels cared for and connected to her team members.     

Ideally, Team Building Activities will be met with enjoyment and enthusiasm - not dread, eye rolling, anger or embarrassment. Let's start with a few tips about what to avoid when planning a Team Building Session for your staff: 

  • Don't choose activities that violate people's dignity, privacy or personal space.
  • Understand that some people are naturally more introverted than others. Do not put these people on the spot. They are happy to participate by observing rather than being the center of attention.
  • By the same token, some people are naturally more athletic while others may be more cerebral than others, Your Team Building Activities should not focus on only one strength.
  • And finally, for goodness sake, make it relevant to the work your employees do. The only thing worse than having to give up a Saturday morning and spend it with the same people we've already spent more than 40 hours with that week is being forced to spend it doing "trust falls" into their arms or going bowling.

So, what does make for a good Team Building Activity for the staff of a child care center? First, serve good food - something really yummy like breakfast tacos and a variety of salsas attractively displayed, or a variety of hot muffins and coffee.


Set up several round tables or just circles of chairs. Assign seats so you can divide your staff into groups of people who do not usually associate with one another. Partway through the meeting or activity ask every third person to switch to a new seat. Later, ask every fourth person to switch. You get the idea.

Start with a fun Ice Breaker such as having everyone bring in a baby picture or pictures of themselves when they were the same age as the group they teach. (If you have them give them to you ahead of time, you can be sure no one forgets and you can also scan them into a PowerPoint presentation for easier viewing.) As you show the photos, ask everyone to guess who it is and then ask the person pictured what she was like at that age or to share her favorite childhood memory. (Put a time limit on this; 30 seconds or 30 words, etc.) For more great ideas click here to read 40 Fun Icebreakers for Small groups.   

 

"A boat doesn't go forward if each person is rowing his own way." ~ Swahili proverb

Then discuss a few Teamwork Slogans such as:
"A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle" ~ Japanese proverb
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success" ~ Henry Ford
"One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team"
Kareem Abdul Jabbar
"A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his own contribution to praise the skill of the others." Norman Hidle
"You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note" ~ Doug Floyd
"Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." Andrew Carnegie
"I have seen, that in any great undertaking, it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself." Isna-la-wica, Teton Sioux
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea" Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of 'The Little Prince'
"Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." Vince Lombardi
 "If you can laugh together, you can work together." Robert Orben

Print these on handouts and ask each group to choose a slogan and explain how it pertains to their work at the child care center. Remind them to get input and opinions from everyone in their group because that's essential to teamwork.

Next, present your coaching speech about the importance of teamwork, what behaviors, habits and improvements you would like to see in the Center as well as what you would like to never see or hear about again! In other words, share with your staff why you felt the need for this Team Building session and what you hope it produces and what it will eliminate.

Ask questions like:
What do we really care about in performing our job?
What does the word success mean to this team?
What actions can we take to live up to our stated values?
Give your employees a clear idea of what the team needs to accomplish; that everyone agrees on the standards for success; that you establish clear time frames; and that team members understand their responsibilities as you set objectives, solve problems, and plan for action.

Set ground rules for the team. These are the norms that you and the team establish to ensure efficiency and success. They can be simple directives such as "Team members are to be punctual, appropriately dressed and groomed, and have a cheerful and enthusiastic attitude each day." "Team members are expected to be overtly friendly and respectful of all other team members." "Problems with team members are to be discussed only between the team members involved. (No talking about each other behind each others' backs.)" "Team members are expected to maintain current enrollment by providing quality care and education appropriate to the age groups they teach. Team members are expected to increase enrollment by providing quality care and education so that our best advertisement is 'word of mouth' as current customers brag about the excellent child care center their own children attend!"

End with the main activity. This should be an activity that will make a difference in the employees' lives right away such as pairing up and re-doing bulletin boards or making workjobs or games and centers for the classrooms with ideas from Pinterest, creating  flannelboard stories, organizing/rearranging classrooms, etc. Many hands make light work and they'll get to know each other in the process.

Please note that Team Building Activities do not take the place of a good ol' sit down "What the heck is your problem?"  conversation. If the Team Building is meant to fix bad attitudes, poor work habits or goal achievement problems, it's probably not the right solution. Those issues require management to step in and take direct action with the individual parties involved before the Team Building activities take place. Think of it as tending to individual seedlings before you can enjoy the garden.

 

 

2014 Spring Training Conferences

Friday Management Session

Director's Boot Camp #22/$99.00 per person

"The Difference Between Supervising and Managing Your Staff"

(8:30am-1:30pm/5 clock hours)

Being aware of what your staff is doing is one thing, leading your staff is another. This session will go over multiple techniques such as evaluating job performance, guiding and rewarding staff, and preparing for quality assurance, all imperative to be successful in today's competitive market.

 

Saturday MANAGEMENT Session  

Management Session "Directors Round Table"/ $99.00

Hiring& Firing: What Every Manager Needs to Know

Successful Hiring: Use these practical, proven techniques to

avoid hiring mistakes that stay around to haunt you for years.

Successful Termination: Effective methods and proven

procedures for disciplining and discharging that won't backfire. 

Saturday STAFF Session/$29.00 per person    

*Group Discount: 10 or more staff- $25.00 per person*

(9:00am-1:00pm 5 Clock hrs. Each attendee will receive a 1 hr. take-away training module)

"Top Ten Secrets to Being Successful in Life" 

In this energetic training, attendees will learn the latest

information available to the Child Care Industry on topics

such as: Minimum Standards and how they apply to the

caregiver with focus on risk management and supervision

techniques for the new and experienced teacher & MUCH MORE...

 

Fri & Sat, March 7th & 8th

Grand Texan Hotel- 4300 W Wall Street 432-618-9000

MIDLAND, TX 79703

Fri & Sat, March 28th & 29th

Holiday Inn- 318 W. Cesar Chavez Blvd. 210-225-3211

SAN ANTONIO, TX 78204

Fri & Sat, April 11th & 12th

Holiday Inn Park Cities- 6070 N Central Expressway 214-750-6060

DALLAS, TX 75206

Fri & Sat, April 25th & 26th

Hyatt Place - 1909 Research Forest Dr. 281-298-4600

THE WOODLANDS, TX 77380

Fri & Sat, May 2nd & 3rd

Radison Fossil Creek- 2540 Meacham Blvd. 817-625-9911

FT WORTH, TX 76106

Fri & Sat, May 9th & 10th

Hilton Hotel- 6780 Southwest Freeway 713-977-7911

HOUSTON, TX 77074

Fri & Sat, May 16th & 17th

Best Western- 2200 S IH-35 512-444-0561

AUSTIN, TX 78704

Click here to view more info on these and other conferences!     

Visit www.thechildcareconsultinggroup.com to download 

the registration form under the CONFERENCE tab,  

or call 972-979-0282 for more information

on these exciting training sessions.

 

 

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See you next month with more new and exciting ideas and information!

Staff News Header

Click to download one of our favorite
Staff Handouts -
revised & updated -

"Guidance Skills!"

Encourage your staff to post this handout in their classrooms for quick reference. It's a nice visual reminder to use before frustration and exasperation set in!

More Team Building Ideas  

Divide employees into groups that break up their "cliques" and team employees with others that they do not usually communicate with. Assign to each group a different real-life workplace situation you are struggling with, or have struggled with more than once in the past. Ask them to come up with three solutions for each one.

Divide the groups into departments based on the age groups they teach and have them set monthly and annual goals.

If there is an area where the center is failing, ask for your employees' opinions and suggestions to make them feel part of the business! They can help with ideas to cut down on wasting supplies, reducing costs, and increasing enrollment.

Team Building Activities that can be done during work hours:

 

Lunch meetings during naptime with parent volunteers or subs watching the nap rooms. The Center buys lunch. A good lunch - not just pizza. If you do order pizza, at least provide a wonderful salad and scrumptious dessert!

Although it's not ideal, instead of having volunteers in the nap rooms, you could have two meetings: one with the Infant, Toddlers, Two and Three Year Old's teachers watching the nap rooms while you meet with the teachers of the Four Year Olds, Pre-K, Kindergarten and After School classes, then switch groups a day or two later and have the same meeting for the other group. This is not a perfect solution, but most members of your staff will probably prefer it over giving up a Saturday morning or weekday evening with their families. Ask them. They'll appreciate being asked.

Seriously consider adding Teacher In-Service Days into your school's annual calendar. In-Service Days for your staff in January, May, August and November work well. These are days when the employees are required to report to work for all or part of the day, but the Center is not open for child care. These are wonderful opportunities for Team Building Activities. The staff do not resent being there and they feel valued to have a work day where their needs are the primary focus. January naturally lends itself to resolutions for improvement, May is a great time to revive enthusiasm before the summer program begins, August is the time to plan goals for the new school year while giving everyone an "enthusiasm booster shot," and November can be a more social "getting to know each other" team building event if you also make it your Holiday Staff Party. Your employees will appreciate the fact that it takes place during working hours and is early in the season so it serves as a holiday "kick-off" instead of just one more thing they have to do at Christmas time when they are already too busy!

Ongoing Team Building Activities

 

Hang a white board or large picture frame with pretty (but subtle) wrapping paper behind the glass in or near the staff bathroom(s). Ask staff to submit to you on paper or via email or text, problems and issues they need fresh ideas for dealing with in their classrooms. Post a problem on the board once a week. Whether you include or leave off the name of the person who submitted the problem is up to you. Ask staff members to write solutions directly on the board or glass as they take their potty breaks during the day. Include a clever way for other staff to "Like" a solution Facebook style. During the last week of each month, the Director can submit a "center-wide" problem and get staff feedback on that, too.

Written employee surveys and feedback activities are a great way of breaking the ice and encouraging the employees to speak freely. It makes the employees feel wanted and gives them an assurance of the fact that their opinions are valued. Just be sure that your surveys and feedback activities refer to situations, policies, and issues - not specific people or job titles. This is not the way to get feedback on how well or how poorly your assistant director is doing.

Reward staff who carry over into their classrooms and day-to-day conduct what they learned during the Team Building Activities. Small gifts are always appreciated, but pleeez no candles or bath salts or body lotion! Give them two tickets to a movie, a gift certificate to Target or WalMart or a nearby popular lunch spot, or even highly-coveted tickets to a sports game. Make sure to check in with your employees about what they think makes a good reward in advance. (This would be a good thing to work into a Team Building Exercise! Ask for their feedback: "What would you buy for yourself if you had $10 to spend? What would you buy for your classroom? How about $20? $50?") Your employees won't be as motivated if they aren't excited about the gifts and prizes you give out.

Have a drawing for two or three people to go out to lunch together once a month, your treat of course. This will help people feel less isolated and can help them get to know each other. The only rule is "No "witchin'" about work! Hint: Search "Conversation Cards" on Amazon and buy a set. Hand a few to the lunch winners as they head out the door. Some are fun, some are thought provoking and some are just plain silly.

Have a "come & go" ice cream "happy hour" for your employees to enjoy as they relax, chat and laugh during their lunch break. You might include a poster listing "Get to know you" questions such as favorite TV shows, dream vacations, or "one thing my co-workers would be surprised to know about me."

Hippity-Hop!

Hippity-hop, hippity-hay

Five little bunnies went out to play.

Hippity-hop, hippity-hay

One little bunny hopped away.

Hippity-hop, hippity-hay

Four little bunnies went out to play. (Continue until all bunnies hop away.) Adapted Traditional

This rhyme easily adapts to acting out with five children at a time or as on a flannelboard activity.

 

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  • Training Materials  
  • and more. 

You can purchase our products online right here!

 While visiting our website, be sure to click on "Newsletter" and scroll to the bottom of the page

to view newsletters from 2010. More great ideas you can use right away!   

 

You'll also want to visit our  document center for free information you can print and use today!

 

Parent News logo 

Consider an alternative to the usual Easter Egg Hunts with Bunny Baskets this year. Obtain a large basket for each classroom and decorate them with cute Easter themed ribbons. Attach a letter to the "Easter Bunny" to each one that includes a wish list for the classroom. Something like, "Dear Easter Bunny, Thank you for bringing delicious treats to our homes! When you visit us at school this Easter, would you help us fill our basket with glitter crayons, scented markers, hot wheels cars, Mr. Potato Head and glue sticks? Thank you!" Include a simple secret explanation in your Parent Newsletter advising them where to stash the treats!   

 

WE OFFER: 

  • On-site Training for Staff and Management
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For information visit www.thechildcareconsultinggroup.com or call 972-979-0282


Previous Newsletters
 
February 2013 Newsletter March 2013 Newsletter
April 2013 Newsletter May 2013 Newsletter
June 2013 Newsletter July 2013 Newsletter
August 2013 Newsletter September 2013 Newsletter
October 2013 Newsletter November 2013 Newsletter
December 2013 Newsletter January 2014 Newsletter


    
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