Laying the Foundation for Teamwork
Learning how to work together and collaborate as part of a team are social and emotional skills children can begin to learn as young as preschool. Teamwork can be taught through collaborative play and active learning activities. Since active learning involves children working together as they think, explore, create and share, it helps them develop a deeper understanding and engagement with material which can also help boost achievement. In addition, it also helps foster the motivation to learn.
Collaborative/Active learning activities should include as many of the following elements as possible:
- Student Directed (with Teacher Support): The teacher sets the parameters of the activity, but the students work in pairs or small groups to reach the common goal of solving, exploring and completing the activity.
- Sharing/Discussing: While children work together, they learn to take turns sharing ideas and roles within the group. By explaining the teacher’s directions and what they have learned in their own words, they are able to “be the teacher” which helps them strengthen their own understanding and mastery of the material.
- Creates a Sense of Community: Since students are focused on helping one another to achieve a common goal, it encourages them to help each other instead of competing against one another. They learn to negotiate, compromise and listen to each other.
- Problem-Solving: For children to accomplish their shared goal, they must be able to follow rules, brainstorm, try new things, organize and communicate their thoughts.
Almost any activity can be turned into an active learning process as long as it includes the aforementioned elements. Some specific activities particularly suited to help develop teamwork and active learning are:
- Music such as creating a band with different instruments or singing a song in a chorus.
- Dramatic Play such as pretending to make a meal in a kitchen or restaurant or playing house.
- Collaborative Art Projects such as creating murals or illustrating a story.
- Games such as Follow the Leader, Simon Says, Parachute, Relay Races, Jigsaw Puzzles, Building with Legos or Blocks
- Classroom/Home “Housekeeping” such as putting away toys, cleaning up and sharing the responsibility for classroom jobs.
For more activities that encourage collaborative play among preschoolers, check out:
Any questions? Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com. Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.