How is Teamwork Important in Childcare?
As is true for most workplaces, teamwork is also a building block for successful early years settings. The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) sets the National Quality Standard (NQS), a national benchmark which assesses childcare services across seven quality areas to provide an overall rating. Quality Area 7 – Governance and Leadership outlines the roles that effective leadership and teamwork play in ensuring educators provide high-quality childcare.
High-quality care providers practice and develop collaborative and co-operative efforts to expose
young children to a safe and nurturing environment. Strong childcare teams create achievable goals,
respect each team member’s work styles, and embrace different backgrounds and perspectives.
Such teams administer effective leadership through a specialised educational leader who ensures
there are transparent and actionable teaching, learning, and care practices in place.
Childcare services build successful teams through several elements which combine to enrich and
empower team members, enabling better quality care for children. Establishing a healthy team may
seem a lengthy and arduous process, but the outcomes are certainly worth the effort. In this post,
we explore six elements found in successful childcare teams to help get you started.
6 Elements of a Successful Childcare Team
1. Clear Vision
Great teams collaborate to create shared goals and develop a clear vision of how they want to
provide their care services. When team members align their individual goals and claim collective
ownership of their team vision, they can deliver more enriched and directed services.
Educational leaders should regularly hold staff meetings to ensure organisational goals are up-to-
date, aligned to each team member, and encourage collaborative planning and execution. Having
productive conversations which challenge existing work practices and professional standards will
ensure goals remain relevant.
2. Open communication
Healthy communication ensures that all educators voices are valued and that there is room for
meaningful discussion. Educational leaders should always outline changing expectations and
standards. Each team member should be aware of healthy communication practices to prevent any
Team members should acknowledge each other’s values, beliefs, feelings, and opinions, engage in
collaborative problem solving, practise active listening, and seek knowledge from one another when
working together. Team members can also apply these internal communication practices with
children and their parents to help create a more harmonious environment.
3. Continuous improvement
Having continuous improvement processes in place allows childcare teams to provide high-quality
early childhood care. Educational leaders should have an effective self-assessment and quality
improvement process for their team. Reflective practice enables useful conversations about how
educators can enhance their services and continually improve their skills and knowledge. It also
helps educators to consider new ideas and approaches which may benefit their work.
Continuous improvement requires regular team meetings and ongoing goal setting, which the
educational leader should facilitate. Teams should not be afraid to try new ideas and tweak existing
process where opportunities arise. They should also consider children and their families’ opinions
when changing processes or adding new ideas into day-to-day activities.
4. Positive culture
Successful teams thrive off a positive culture and should embed it across all aspects of early years
settings and reflect it in team practices. Strong teams develop a healthy culture by encouraging
change and new ways of working where required. They should also engage all team members in the
decision-making process, and map out set values of importance.
Educational leaders must hold regular team-building exercises to promote unity and collaboration.
When team members create stronger relationships amongst themselves, they can also enhance
their relationships with children and their families. Like goal setting, creating a positive culture
requires ongoing meetings and development to ensure team values continue to align with members.
5. Shared leadership
Shared leadership is a concept where a team member’s knowledge, skills, and expertise influences
leadership. It works most effectively in strong childcare service teams as educators in such
environments already acknowledge and respect each other’s capabilities as an embedded part of
their culture. Educational leaders can promote and encourage shared leadership by motivating and
challenging educators to seek additional skills. They should also uphold a positive culture with
continuous improvement standards.
Regular team check-ins help ensure everyone is on the same page and allow everyone to acknowledge any room for change or new ideas. The benefits of shared leadership and teamwork include strengthened morale and improved job satisfaction. Shared leadership also enhances communication, developing stronger relationships with children and their families through increased ownership.
Teamwork is important in childcare as it paves the way for high-quality care. The NQS highlights the
role of effective leadership and strong teamwork in enabling improved experiences for educators
and in turn, children, and their families too. There are many elements which form a successful team
in early childcare settings, including:
- A clear vision with collaborative goal setting,
- Open communication with respectful dialogue,
- Continuous improvement marked by a willingness to change and try new ideas,
- A positive culture driven by mutual respect and understanding,
- Professional development guided by an effective educational leader, and
- Shared leadership as a reflection of each team member’s unique skills and capabilities.
Are you an early childhood educator who is ready to join a successful team that provides high-quality care? Check out our career opportunities now.