As an early childhood leader, motivating your educators is essential to ensure they feel valued and work as a cohesive team. Here are 5 simple activities to add to your team building toolbox.
Use them when running professional development sessions, at staff meetings or when inducting new teachers. These activities stimulate communication and foster working relationships, as educators collaborate, problem solve and laugh together.
Two Truths and One Tall Tale
A great ice breaker classroom game for students, use it with educators to enhance working relationships. It exercises the imagination and motivates people to learn new things about their colleagues. Each person has to introduce themselves using three “truths” – two are true and one is made up. Participants then try to guess which of the three is a tall tale. Note: The secret is to make the truths seem as outlandish as the lie.
Six Degrees of Separation
This activity is an excellent way to create team bonding and practice communication skills. Here’s how it works: Each educator works with a partner. The goal is to make a list of five things they have in common with one another. Once the list is completed, each person must find a new partner who shares at least one of the things on their list. Then, they make a new list of five things in common. This continues until every educator has at least one thing in common with everyone in the room.
Jump in Jump Out
Mark Collard at Playmeo has a range of team building activities designed for educators. Jump in Jump Out is for teachers/educators “who want to integrate play and adventure-based/experiential activities into their established programs and curriculum”. One person communicates the actions – and it gets more and more difficult for the team to follow the instructions.
Create a World of Art
Materials: Large piece of paper, crayons, paint or markers
Play and creativity are as important for educators as they are for children. Take an artistic approach to brainstorming a shared goal or challenge. Decide on the theme for the artwork. Spread a large piece of paper on the floor and have educators collaborate as a team to create a piece of artwork based on the chosen theme. Encourage educators to share ideas and communicate to create a masterpiece.
Mindfulness – Rainbow walk
Mindfulness is a way of being and seeing intended to slow down busy minds and encourage awareness in the present moment. Early childhood environments come in all shades of the rainbow and can be filled with noise, so this mindfulness activity gets the body moving while the mind rests.
Take a walk around the buildings (inside and outside) when the children aren’t there. Notice something red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Keep going through the rainbow, in order, until the end of your walk. After the walk, encourage the team to discuss what each educator noticed. This activity is also great for collaborating and evaluating spaces – do different areas feature one hue more than others?