Teamwork is foundational in ECEC - here's how to grow it
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > Teamwork is the foundation of ECEC – how to build, nurture and polish it

Teamwork is the foundation of ECEC – how to build, nurture and polish it

by Freya Lucas

October 05, 2023

Being part of a team is a foundational aspect of many parts of personal and professional life.


Knowing that there is a group of people working in harmony in the pursuit of a common goal not only helps to bring that goal one step closer, but also to bring out the best in each team member. 


In sectors like early childhood education and care, where children need a safe and nurturing environment, having a thriving team of professionals to deliver on that promise is paramount. 


Quality Area Seven of the National Quality Standard outlines the roles that effective leadership and teamwork play in ensuring educators provide high-quality ECEC, outlining the importance of respecting the pedagogical perspectives of each team member, and embracing new ideas. 


Educational leaders play an important role in supporting teams to have access to transparent and actionable teaching, learning, and care practices.


Establishing a strong and effective team may seem complex, however there are a number of resources available to support, along with some commonalities that successful teams share, which will be explored in detail below. 


Direction and trust 


To be a success, any team must have two things a common goal, and the trust that each person on the team is working towards that goal. 


High functioning teams are great at creating shared goals, and at having a clear vision of how they want to get there. 


Educational leaders can help this happen by having productive conversations with their teams, which challenge existing practice in a respectful way, and which promote reflective thinking, realigning practices to agreed goals. 


Clear communication


Every team member needs to have a voice, and to feel as though their voice is being heard and respected. Thriving teams have open and honest communication, and there is space for meaningful discussion. 


Educational leaders can support this by keeping the team ‘in the loop’ about any change in expectations, legislation, direction or standards. 


When conflict arises, strong teams will be able to hold space for differing points of view, and to ensure that each team member feels respected while this is resolved. 


Acknowledging the values, beliefs, feelings and opinions of others can be supportive here, along with engaging in collaborative problem solving, practicing active listening, and seeking knowledge from one another when working together. 


Practice positivity


Practicing positivity does not mean displaying only positive emotions, or suppressing anything negative, or not reacting to experiences which are challenging. 


Rather, having a positive culture means striving to create a workplace which prioritises the wellbeing of team members, offers support at all levels, and has policies and practices in place which encourage respect, trust, empathy and support. 


In positive workplaces change is viewed as a good thing, and as a chance to move closer to a goal. The voices of all are heard, values are upheld, and there is a spirit of unity and cooperation. 

Educational leaders can support this by having regular team building exercises, supporting relationships and connections between team members, and offering ongoing opportunities for connection. 


Focus on improvement


Strong teams know there is always more which could be done to foster improvement and to refine practice. 


Educational leaders can be role models for reflection, and can also support by providing tools and resources to assist their teams to reflect. 


Regular team meetings, goal setting at service, room and individual level, and generally “checking in” can support the focus on being a reflective team to grow. 


Sharing the load 


The smartest person in the room is the room. Each team member brings something different to their work, and leveraging this collective knowledge is one of the most powerful tools a strong team has. 


Teams who acknowledge and respect each other’s capabilities are teams that succeed, and having this respect as an embedded part of team culture is a recipe for success. 


Sharing the load of leadership with the educational leader by contributing to discussions, offering new ideas and resources and sharing knowledge with others is a hallmark of a thriving team. 


For more insights into educational leadership, access this ACECQA resource

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