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How To Build A Childcare Team You Can Be Proud Of

 

A successful team is a group of many hands and one mind. ~ Bill Bethel

Many organisations are trying to do more with less by relying on the efficiency of teams.

That means that teamwork is more important than ever, and it’s critical that teams work well together.

Failures in teamwork have caused serious workplace accidents. They’ve also caused planes to crash and businesses to fail.

The problem is that many teams are really a collection of individuals. A group of people is not a team just because they’re called ‘a team’.

For a group of people to become a fully functioning team, a whole range of psychological processes need to be nurtured.

While all teams are different, psychologists have discovered there are some things that all teams need. Here’s the low down.

1.   Social Skills

A study conducted by Wooley Et Al in 2010 found that group intelligence is:

“. . .not strongly correlated with the average or maximum individual intelligence of group members but is correlated with the average social sensitivity of group members. . . ”

And it’s not an isolated finding, this evidence emerges in research again and again.

So strong communication and social skills are critical to great team wok.

2.   Clear Goals and Roles

It might seem obvious, but clear goals and roles make a huge difference in teams.

A recent survey of 7,200 U.S. adults found that only 12% of employees set priorities with their managers. But that 12% were much happier than the employees who scored their managers’ goal setting towards the bottom of the scale.

Organisation goals and clearly defined team roles prevent confusion and increase stability in so many ways. In fact, clearly defined roles decreases absenteeism and lateness (KammeyerMueller and Wanberg, 2003).

Role clarity is particularly important during times of change. Teams with clear roles can adapt easily, but when individuals don’t know who’s responsible for what, chaos reigns.

3.   Trust

Whilst trust might seem obvious when it comes to team function, it’s more complex than that.

Research conducted by Naquin and Kurtzberg in 2009 found that people will base their assessments of team trust on the least trustworthy individual in a team.

So each member of the team must be trustworthy, and be perceived as trustworthy in order for people to trust the group. If not, the whole team suffers.

4.   Humour

As crazy as it might sound, Professor William Hampes has found that people with a strong sense of humour are perceived as more trustworthy.

Equally, teams with strong group dynamics will joke around together. Humour is a signal that groups are getting along well and has the added benefit of reducing stress, increasing team cohesion and increasing creativity (Romero and Pescosolido, 2008).

Don’t Do It Alone

Building and leading a team effectively is complex and challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone.

If you want to build a great team by cultivating your leadership skills further, join us for a professional development day just for Early Childhood Educators.

On the day you’ll:

  • Learn how to think deeper about your practice
  • Be inspired to turn your ideas into action
  • Discover how to harness the power of your team
  • Meet other Early Childhood Educators like you for potential collaboration and shared learning
  • Have fun with people who love educating children

The Day With The Best 2016 brought together Australia’s leading experts and is set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS

The only dissapointing aspect was I could not attend all workshops!   – L. Bateman g8 Education

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

How To Harness the Power of Critical Reflection

Confusing isn’t it?

Understanding critical reflection and knowing how to use it to implement a childcare program.

What is ‘critical reflection’?

How is it relevant to childcare?

How do you use it to meet Element 1.2.3 of the NQS?

It’s all so … difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be. There’s really three simple steps to getting it right.

So let’s unpack them, shall we?

1. Unpacking Critical Reflection

The first step is to unpack what is meant by ‘critical reflection’ and what is expected of educators in relation to the National Quality Framework.

This needs to be done effectively so you can distinguish between evaluation, reflection, and critical reflection. Once this becomes clear, you can apply the critical reflective process to a range of practical context and issues.

Getting crystal clear on this also allows you to identify a range of strategies for recording and documenting critical reflection.

2. Strengthening Early Childhood Programs

Critical reflection is more than just a process to be followed. It’s doing reflection at a more conscious level.

Critical reflection is the process of analyzing, reconsidering and questioning experiences within a broad context of issues, ideas, and values. Used correctly it strengthens early childhood programs.

But it requires a deep understanding of the process, and how to make it work for you. You need to be able to participate in reflective conversations, reflection on action and reflection in action

3. Developing a Growth Mindset

A key outcome of the critical reflection process is developing a growth mindset. Not just in yourself, but in your team, and the children and families you work with.

Developing a growth mindset changes “I can’t” into “I’m working on it”. It moves you from “impossible” to “I’m possible”. This is deeply transformational for both educators and families.

Developing this mindset increases creativity and eliminates boundaries. It makes almost anything possible.

How To Make It Easy

Understanding critical reflection is one thing, but harnessing the power of the process can be complex.

It can take years of discovery, setbacks, and experience to get it right. But there’s a shortcut you can take.

You can discover key strategies from experts like Stephen Gallen, Caroline Fewster, and Rod Soper. Their experience encompasses all aspects of early childhood learning, from classroom teaching to managing services, consulting and developing professional development programs.

They’re passionate about early learning and providing optimum opportunities for young learners to realise their full potential, and they’re sharing their knowledge and expertise with us at the Day With The Best.

The Day With The Best is set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators, so grab your place now.

Secrets Of Great Leadership

Leadership can make or break an organisation.

It filters into the very fibre of the organisation. It affects the morale, the efficacy and the overall success of a business.

So it’s critical to get it right. But what is right, exactly?

Leadership is more than just recruiting and managing a team, setting goals and delegating. It’s a blend of innate characteristics and learned skills.

Let’s take a look at some of the qualities of great leadership.

They Imagine The Future

Effective leaders need vision. They know where they are now, and where they’re going. And that requires significant knowledge of your profession because you need to be able to read the landscape.

It’s like a great driver needs to know more than just how to operate the car, and work within the road rules. They need to be able to see ahead, judge the environment and predict the unpredictable.

Effective leadership in an educational setting requires a vision for educational change. That’s not easy.

To do that well you need to understand both the purpose of leadership and the role of educational change. And then you need to understand the deep and transformative connection between the two.

They Manage Change

Great leaders understand that change is inevitable, and resistance to it is futile. Instead, they anticipate the changes that are coming and make plans to address them before they arrive.

They promote a positive organisational culture and encourage an environment of professional enquiry. This can be difficult when some of the team are resistant to change.

So great leaders also need great people skills. They need to be able to support, guide, influence, challenge and inspire the people in their team.

They need strong communication skills so they can guide their team through change – even if there’s resistance.

They Create Positive Culture

Effective leaders know how to create a positive workplace culture. They understand that people spend about one-third of their lives at work and that our work environment should be a pleasant place.

Unhappy workplaces are also unproductive workplaces. When people aren’t happy at work there’s increased staff turnover, higher rates of unplanned leave, they’re less productive and their work quality suffers.

A 2011 Harvard Business Review article stated that the level of happiness has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality.

Part of creating a positive culture is to recognise employee effort using strategies that cost little or no money, are easy to implement, and take only a few minutes to accomplish. Because recognising employees’ achievements results in improved morale, performance, and loyalty.

They Collaborate Successfully

Collaboration is a powerful tool when used well, but many people fail to get it right. It’s critical to understand the structure and processes involved and to know that some structures are better suited to achieving certain outcomes.

It’s important to know the pitfalls of collaboration, and not to use it as a façade for a predetermined outcome. It’s also critical not to ‘stack the deck’ with homogenous voices rather than the diverse opinions of all those impacted.

It’s not something that should be done because it seems like a good idea, and it’s not a quick fix. It’s a process that requires sufficient time and resources to get it right.

It’s also critical that leaders take their people on the collaborative journey because, without their support and enthusiasm, the collaboration will not succeed.

Want More?

If you want to cultivate your leadership skills further, join us for a professional development day just for Early Childhood Educators.

The Day With The Best 2016 brought together Australia’s leading experts. The event is  set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

A Fantastic opportunity to engage in PD to inspire and reignite passion in an early childhood educator. Ran very smoothly. Panel was a great idea to allow presentors to show perspectives – T Abbott Le Smileys

Gained confidence and knowledge on how I can improve my practices. –  J Bae Upper Coomera ELC

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS

How To Build Strong Relationships with Children

Early Childhood Educators are in a unique position. They’re trusted to help educate and guide children that are not their own and expected to have a deeper knowledge and greater understanding of childhood behaviour and psychology than the average parent.

Early Childhood Educators are expected to know how to relate to children effectively, and how to create strong relationships and deep bonds.

It takes many years and a diverse range of experiences to develop this understanding and knowledge. But we can expedite the process by hearing from other experts, and learning from their experiences.

Early Childhood Educators know how important it is to stay up to date with new thinking and approaches and hear about new research and how it can be applied in an early learning environment. And Government and policy makers are keen to support educator’s with their professional development and have committed to the sector over $200m via the Long Day Care Professional Development Programme (view more about this at LDCPD Programme).

With a commitment to advance thinking in our sector and challenge entrenched views,  Kool Kids Training College is sponsoring a one day Professional Development Event on the Gold on Saturday 16th July called ‘Day With The Best! PD Event.’

The following is a snapshot into a small selection of the issues and speakers at Day With The Best.

Understanding Complex Behaviour

Sandi Phoenix is the founding company director and Principal Facilitator at Phoenix Support for Educators.

Sandi understands that there are reasons that children act the way they do, even if their behaviour appears to have no reason. Often a child’s behaviour needs to be unpacked, but if we dig deep enough we’ll discover that their behaviour meets a need.

Behaviour, particularly complex behaviour usually fulfils a certain requirement that often relates to one or more basic human life needs.

Once we understand the need behind the behaviour we can help the child meet those needs in different and better ways. We can fill their metaphorical cup of needs more appropriately.

We can take a positive approach to guiding their expected behaviour and behavioural choices within the learning environment.

Giving Children A Voice

Carrie Rose is a member of the Logan Child Friendly Consortium and is currently engaged in the Logan Together project – a long term, whole of community effort to create the best life opportunities for every child in Logan.

Whilst Logan Together is a project based on a specific community, there are key strategies we can learn it. Particularly the way that sharing the competence of young children to the Logan community has influenced the shape of the project. These strategies can be successfully applied to other settings.

Involving the children of Logan in the Logan Together project was hugely successful and lead to a deeper understanding of how we can advocate for and with children in the community. Children can help create strong community ties and give us greater understanding of community needs and aspirations.

By understanding the importance of the relationship with children we can better support communities. We can work with children to ensure their voices are present in society, so they have a say in shaping the neighbourhoods they live in.

Building Strong Relationships

Strong relationships are based on trust and our relationships with children are no exception.

Whilst it’s tempting to use cute baby-talk with children, it’s not conducive to building a strong relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Utilising baby talk may seem fun, but it’s perceived as patronising, even by small children.

Louise Dorrat has extensive experience managing Early Year’s services including Inclusion Support, and she shares her perspective on respectful and authentic communication, versus cutesy and patronising.

Children want to be valued as individuals. They want their contributions to be appreciated and respected. They want to be understood and they want our responses to demonstrate that respect and understanding.

Invest in YOU

The above 3 speakers were involved with Day With The Best 2016. They, along with another 5 thought leaders in Early Childhood Education conducted 12 workshops at this one day PD event.

If you want to further develop your knowledge and understanding of the childhood profession, reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

The Day With The Best is created for Early Childhood Educators by Early Childhood Educators and it brings together Australia’s leading experts.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS

The only dissapointing aspect was I could not attend all workshops!   – L. Bateman g8 Education

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.