Do you have new staff in your center? Do you have staff that have been working in your program for many years? This next question might be a weird one to ask, but do your staff know each other or even talk to each other? I asked that last question because I have been to programs where the preschool staff are separated (different parts of the building) from the staff that work with the younger children and none of those teachers have ever had the chance to talk to each other! Why do you think it’s important for ALL staff to communicate with each other?
In The Visionary Director by Margie Carter and Deb Curtis they explain that “adults bring a complex web of experiences, knowledge, skills, and attitudes to the learning process”. As adults, we all have various backgrounds that have shaped who we are, how we think, what our values are, and how we respond to others. As a director, it is important to take the time to get to know your staff, recognize what they know, what their interests are, and be meaningful about how you train your staff. It’s also important that all staff have the chance to come together during staff meetings and share ideas and learn from each other.
An activity such as True Confessions in Four Corners is a great team building game that could get the teachers talking about their experiences and points of view. Below are the instructions for playing (taken from The Visionary Director).
- Have participants get up and move for this activity.
- Tell the group you are going to ask a question and then designate each corner of the room with a possible answer to choose from. There is no right answer, and everyone gets to determine their own meaning for going to a particular corner.
- Once the staff get to a corner, ask them to explain why they are there. This is an easy way to acknowledge differences among your staff!
- Remind everyone to make a mental note of how each of their coworkers needs to be supported in their learning process.
- Follow this first round with another round that acknowledges another potential area of difference among staff members. The authors of The Visionary Director suggest making use of metaphors to encourage deeper thinking. For example, “My family or my cultural values have taught me to respond to authority figures like one of the following animals.” (German Shepherd, giraffe, parrot, ostrich).
You can play as many rounds of this game as you want. The point is to allow the time for your staff to talk to one another and get to know each other. As a director, these types of games are important to play with your staff because you can use the information you learn about your staff to examine more closely your staff’s personalities, ways of thinking, and attitudes and beliefs about their roles as educators. Lastly, games during staff meetings are meant to be fun, bring laughter, and lighten the atmosphere which in turn, creates relationships among all your staff.
Check out the resource mentioned in this post:
The Visionary Director. A Handbook for Dreaming, Organizing, and Improvising in Your Center, by Margie Carter and Deb Curtis
More ideas for team-building games: