Tue 14 May 2019
Teamwork is one of the most important aspects of any profession. But when it comes to looking after children, working effectively with other staff members takes on a new level of importance. Children cannot look after themselves, so they require a well-run team who work efficiently together to provide good quality care.
So what makes an efficient workforce? The most important part of any team is communicating effectively. Without communication, the team is not a team, but a group of individuals. By communicating effectively, staff can ensure that children’s needs are being discussed, and how children are progressing. By coming together and talking to each other, it allows your ideas and suggestions to be heard. It might just trigger a brilliant idea.
Communication is also an important aspect of childcare as you will be communicating with lots of different people. Children, other staff members, parents of the children, even outside agencies that you might be involved with. It’s as significant to listen effectively as it is to speak effectively. Listening to each other allows information to be passed between staff and means that everyone’s views and opinions are being heard. There’s nothing worse in a workforce than feeling like you aren’t being heard.
Every workforce encounters conflicts between its staff. It’s a part of life. Not everybody will get on with everyone. There are going to be disagreements, fallouts, differences of opinion. What’s important when working with children, is that conflicts are resolved quickly and with as little disruption to the children as possible. Children pick up on tension straight away. They can feel the atmosphere change. When you work in childcare, you have to get on, even if you really don’t want to. The children come first, and that’s the way it should always be. Arguments should be kept away from children too. Children learn everything from what they see. The last thing you want is for two staff members to be stood screaming at each other in front of a group of children.
Children learn most of their behaviour from the adult’s that they interact with. They will probably spend more time at nursery than they will at home. This means the efficiency of the team should be of great significance. Displaying positive relationships between adults can only be positive for children. They will learn how to communicate with other children, what a good relationship looks like, and how to treat other people. This is going to benefit them greatly for when they reach the age of going to school. At school, children are expected to share everything. Their equipment, their feelings, their viewpoints. As a team, nursery workers have a responsibility to show children how a group of people can come together to work efficiently.
Working with children all day every day can take its toll on people. There’s only so much crying that you can take before you need a break. Staff should be aware of the mental state of their colleagues. When an individual has been rocking a screaming child for half an hour and they are clearly at the end of their patience, it’s important to step in and take over. Give that person a break so they can compose themselves.
It’s also important to be able to determine each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You can’t be good at everything, and there will be certain things that somebody can do, that others can’t. Having that knowledge of what your limitations are can allow the team to designate roles better and complement each other.
When choosing a team, there should be a diverse range of characters and personalities. It would be no use having 5 or 6 people that were very similar to each other. By exposing the children to different characters, it allows them to interact in a different way. Having a wide age range can be effective, as children play differently with different people. An older staff member may have a more caring and wiser approach. Whereas a younger person may bring more energy and creativity for the children. More experienced staff should also be paired with less experienced staff so that they can learn and develop.
An efficient workforce can have many benefits to the children. The staff will be happier if they work well together, meaning they are more likely to engage well with the children. Low morale can affect children in a negative way. Happy staff means motivation will be higher, and staff may be more likely to create more fun and creative activities for the children to participate in. Better activities mean that children will gain more from their play, allowing them to develop.
The efficiency of a workforce is paramount to children’s learning. Nursery workers have the potential to shape the next generation of young adults, and providing them with experiences of positive relationships and teamwork can start them off on the right path.