DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Team Teaching in Early Childhood Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice Uniit Carruyo COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Team Teaching in Early Childhood COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Team Teaching in Early Childhood Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice Uniit Carruyo COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Published by Redleaf Press 10 Yorkton Court St. Paul, MN 55117 www.redleafpress.org © 2017 by Uniit Carruyo All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted on a specific page, no portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or capturing on any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a critical article or review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper, or electronically transmitted on radio, television, or the Internet. First edition 2017 Cover and interior design by Ryan Scheife, Mayfly Design Cover artwork: “Teamwork symbol. Multicolored hands” © art4all/Shutterstock; “Textured background” © marinatakano/Shutterstock. Typeset in the Chaparral Pro and Whitney typefaces Printed in the United States of America 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Carruyo, Uniit, author. Title: Team teaching in early childhood : leadership tools for reflective practice / Uniit Carruyo. Description: First edition. | St. Paul, MN : Redleaf Press, [2017] | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016032112 (print) | LCCN 2016054522 (ebook) | ISBN 9781605544885 (pbk.) | ISBN 9781605544892 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Teaching teams—United States | Early childhood education—United States. Classification: LCC LB1029.T4 C37 2017 (print) | LCC LB1029.T4 (ebook) | DDC 372.21—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016032112 Printed on acid-free paper COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET This book is dedicated to Kristin Campagnolo, who taught me that to teach, you must first love. Every experience should do something to prepare a person for later experiences of a deeper and more expansive quality. That is the very meaning of growth, continuity, reconstruction of experience. —John Dewey, Experience and Education COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Contents Foreword   ix Acknowledgments   Introduction   xiii 1 Chapter 1: Foundations of Team Teaching  5 Define Your Setting   5 A Culture of Collaboration   9 Reflective Practice   11 Chapter 2: Team Roles in an Early Childhood Setting  13 Leadership   14 The Role of the Lead Teacher   22 The Role of the Assistant   30 Chapter 3: Teamwork in Action: Communication Strategies  33 Ask Questions   33 Offer a New Perspective   35 Reframe the Situation   35 Focus on Interests   41 Chapter 4: Foundational Elements of an Effective Classroom Team  47 Clarity of Roles   47 Meaningful Contributions   57 Group Norms   60 Trust   63 Common Language   68 Peaceful Conflict   70 Professional Development   73 vii COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL viii     Contents DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Chapter 5: Feedback  77 The Lead Teacher: Systems for Constructive Feedback   The Assistant Teacher: Engaging in Feedback   The Check-In Meeting   81 Using Surveys to Generate Feedback   85 Chapter 6: Team Meetings  95 The Facilitator’s Role   95 Clearing Protocol   97 Pair-Share Protocol   98 Speak-Listen-Observe Protocol   99 Self-Portrait Gallery Walk   100 Conclusion   101 References   103 Further Reading   107 Index   109 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 80 78 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Foreword I t is not surprising to me that this impressive and appealing book was cre- ated by Uniit Carruyo. When she was a student in the Leadership in the Arts program, a unique collaborative program between the Leadership department at the Bank Street College of Education and Parsons School of De- sign, she took an art course where her assignment was to make a short movie about her journey to class. She filmed the journey of her feet as she made her way through New York City to get to Parsons. This was an example of Uniit’s perspective on the world. She attended to the feet, often forgotten by most of us. She pointed out their hard work and used her artistic perspective to make the viewer pay attention and to consider their worth and the possibilities. In this book she helps us to see the enormous importance of the work done by early childhood educators who are passionate, but not often well-compensated, for their work. She points out the multiple challenges faced by professionals in the field. She brings her expertise as an experienced early childhood educator, leader, and artist to this important work. She finds possi- bilities and opportunities for professional growth within the day to day func- tioning of early childhood settings. The needs of the children and their families are at the center of her work. This book has a firm foundation in theories about leadership and child de- velopment. The focus is on the functioning of teams in early childhood settings. In the introduction, the author states that the reason that early childhood edu- cators work in teams is primarily logistical. This is not unique to early child- hood settings. Schools at all levels are expected to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population and individuals working in teams are expected to address the complex needs of the students. Teams bring people together. There is considerable consensus that teams can have significant positive impact on classroom practice and student achievement (Sather 2009, 7; Supovitz and Christman 2003, 8). ix COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL x     Foreword DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET The challenge in this work is to get a diverse group of individuals who work together to function as a cohesive team where everyone’s contributions are heard, appreciated, and used to solve challenges in educational settings. This challenge is compounded by the fact that in early childhood settings, there tend to be few opportunities for staff members to get together to grow into a team. What can leaders in educational settings do to begin the work to create teams to support the practice of the adults that will lead to strong outcomes for children and their families? This is the question that led the author to in- quire about how teams in schools can be more harmonious, satisfying, and productive, and it ultimately led to this book. Here, the reader benefits from the author’s journey. The work of the team begins with self-reflection by the participants. The guiding questions and templates that are used throughout the book support this work of self-examination, and this focus on the self brings clarity to the work of the team. The reflection questions are accessible but tap into deep be- liefs about roles, personal strengths, and practices. The answers have the po- tential to lead to greater self-awareness and compassion for the self and others. These questions and prompts are useful for all educators at all stages of their careers. Interwoven among the tools, reflections, and prompts are examples of the author’s practice and descriptions of the types of interactions that are com- mon to all educators. The author explains and highlights pertinent parts of the theories that support her work and then translates them into practical tools and strategies that facilitate reflection. There are tools for all the stakeholders in school communities: administrators, lead teachers, assistant teachers, and families. Certain tools are for lead teachers who are expected to lead the teams. Other tools are for assistant teachers and some of the tools are for both lead teachers and assistants. The tools are designed for multiple uses and reflect the complexities of this work. The book overall allows for multiple entry points and can be used as either a guide to support with the creation or support of a team. The tools can also be used independently to address a particular need or challenge within a team. There is a gentleness in this book. It is obvious in the lovely art that sur- rounds the tools and templates. The gentleness is in the content of the reflec- tive questions. The answers to the questions lead to the identification of strengths and positive attributes. This approach leads to a positive strength-based perspective on colleagues, administrators, children, and their families and makes the work more personally meaningful to all. This book pro- vides an important roadmap for leaders and teachers to ignite the flame that COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET fuels the work that we do. The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has stated, “You cannot transmit wisdom or insight to someone else—the seed is already there. A good teacher is someone who touches that seed so it can wake up, sprout, and grow.” This book can help teachers and leaders do exactly that. Ellis E. Scope, PhD Department of Educational Leadership Bank Street College of Education COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Foreword    xi DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Acknowledgments I would like to express my gratitude to the people who have made this book possible. I’d like to thank Kara Lomen, Laurie Herrmann, Jim Handrigan, Douglas Schmitz, and everyone at Redleaf Press for their patience with my many questions and for their invaluable insight and guid- ance in this process. Thank you to Ellis Scope and Cathleen Wiggins, who taught me what Bank Street leadership looks like and how to lead artfully, and to stand on the shoul- ders of giants when I feel small. I am grateful for Virginia Varga and Judy Joynt at the Center for Montessori Education (CME), who taught me to look at chil- dren with reverence and awe, and for Laura Graham, who has been my trusted colleague for more than twenty years of brainstorming, applauding one an- other, and imagining possibilities. I thank Gimme! Coffee on State Street in Ithaca, New York, for caffeinating me, always with a friendly smile, as I wrote this book. Thank you to Charles Abelmann and the Barrie School for leader- ship inspiration and encouragement. Thank you to Heather Frost and Sarah Wharton for their help and expertise in developing signs for use in teaching teams. I’m grateful for every one of my team members over the years, each of whom has taught me something unique and humbling. I wish to offer my heartfelt gratitude to Elizabeth Harrison, Joey Steinhagen, and Aram for of- fering endless sage advice, calming counsel, and hugs, in that order. And lastly, I’m grateful to my son, Kii, for being the reason my heart has grown big enough to fit in so many other people, too. xiii COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Introduction W e in early childhood work in a very particular and intimate way. We serve as an extension of the young child’s family. We create a home away from home for our youngest learners. We tend to the emotional, intellectual, and physical needs of these small people, support their parents and caregivers in their roles, and create learning environments where young children can succeed. And we do much of this work in teams of two or more adults cooperating to manage the daily operations of a classroom. This in- cludes supervision, curriculum development, maintaining the classroom envi- ronment, and communicating with families. The reason we work in teams is primarily logistical. State laws mandate certain ratios of adults to children. Children with special rights or specific be- havioral plans require one-to-one care. The safety of the children in child care centers and school settings is of utmost importance, and it takes more than one adult to ensure safety and best practices. Many and varied factors contrib- ute to creating a healthy, functioning team. This book seeks to address the need for more intentional conversation about what those factors are— thoughtful leadership with clearly defined goals and roles, compassionate communication, and regular feedback, to name a few. How many early childhood educators have found themselves in the role of lead or head teacher with no training on supervision, leadership, or adult de- velopment? Teacher trainings focus primarily on children’s learning, child development, and curriculum design. Offering teachers training on how to lead a team, supervise and orient new teachers in the classroom, and support adult learning is often overlooked. How many early childhood educators have accepted a position as an assis- tant teacher and been placed in a team with little or no training on collabora- tion, orientation to the program, or clarity about their role or the roles of other team members? How much more effective could teams be with a little invest- ment of time to support and integrate assistant teachers into the team? 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 2     Introduction DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET There are few other professions in which small teams of adults and groups of children spend every day together in one (often small) room. Early childhood education is an inherently intimate, familylike experience. Consider the nature of the work we’re doing: teaching Humanity 101. When we teach young chil- dren, we are really giving foundational courses to group after group of future adults, teaching them empathy, compassion, kindness, patience, self-confidence, self-reliance, resilience, independence, clear and honest communication, and self-reflection. Most of all, we are teaching them to learn for the sheer joy of learning. The work we do as early childhood educators requires us to be deeply aware of our personal strengths and weaknesses and to be willing to reflect on and refine our teaching practice from day to day and from year to year. All this work is required alongside other adults with whom we may not have much in common outside the classroom. Often a love of children is what draws people to work in early childhood education, not their experience or educational background. This creates a sort of hierarchy—spoken or unspoken—in which one person has had specialized training in teaching a certain age group, in a certain philosophy, or in a partic- ular educational method, and several other classroom teachers have varying degrees of education or experience. For example, in the Montessori school where I work, only one head teacher is required to have a Montessori teaching certification, and the rest of the team might come from any other discipline. In child care centers, there may be one lead teacher with assistant teachers. In public schools, there may be one lead teacher and paraprofessionals with vary- ing degrees of experience and education. Due to varying teacher education requirements, lack of formal leadership training for teachers, and scarce professional development opportunities that depend on external resources such as time and money, functioning as a pro- ductive team can be challenging for many early childhood educators. For in- stance, lead teachers may have had specialized training in the age of the children with whom they work, but they may not have had any training in lead- ing adults. Lead teachers who are perfectly comfortable leading a group of young children can feel quite intimidated by leading a group of their peers. Or other team members may have experience in disciplines that seem unrelated— for example, horticulture or finance—and need creative support to apply their experience effectively to an early childhood setting. When I was studying educational leadership at Bank Street College of Ed- ucation, I became very interested in team-teaching dynamics and what makes a good team. When I began researching these topics, I found that team teach- ing in early childhood settings is an overlooked area of education that war- rants some focused attention. I asked myself, Are teachers in certification COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET programs getting leadership training to lead their teams? Are teachers hired to be members of a teaching team given training on how to team-teach? Are teams encouraged to collaborate on a deeply meaningful level, or just to get the job done? What makes a team harmonious? And what impact does all this have on young children’s learning? This book is the result of that inquiry. It is intended to help any member of a team practice self-reflection to improve the experience of working in a team. This book is meant for the lead teacher and also contains useful information for the other team members. Within the pages of this book, you will find strat- egies for communication and reflection exercises to do alone and with your team to look more deeply at the group’s dynamic. Some of the reflections are geared toward leaders of the team, some for assistant teachers, and some for any team member. In doing these reflections together and taking the time to have these conversations with your team, you will uncover the potential for a more satisfying and productive team relationship. Throughout this book, for simplicity, I will refer to the lead or head teacher as the lead. I will refer to any teacher who is not the head or lead teacher as an assistant teacher. Because it is an accurate reflection of the current majority in early childhood, I will use the pronoun she to refer to teachers. I hope this book will provide an entry point to more conversation in your own setting, be it a Montessori school, a child care center, an independent school, or a public school. I will use my own setting as an example throughout the book, and my goal is to provide you with a malleable framework you can adapt to your unique setting and a foundation on which you can build systems to strengthen your team or the teams in your program. Strong teams ensure that the young children in your care have the best chance for success in their learning environments. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction    3 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Foundations of Team Teaching W hether you are just starting your work in a team or you find yourself in a team that does not function well, the time you invest now in un- derstanding the big picture will provide the foundation for ensuring that your team is healthy and harmonious. Define Your Setting The first step in outlining what an ideal, healthy team in your particular envi- ronment looks like is to look closely at your setting so you can define it. Step back and look at the big picture for your organization. In the day-to-day rou- tines of caring for children and families, it’s easy to focus on your own class- room and lose sight of the larger view. Recognizing the big picture will allow you to clarify your team’s role in the organization and your role in the team. The reflective questions included in this section will help you define your setting. They will do so by encouraging you to consider how your program’s work affects others, what deeper meaning you attribute to your work, and what your professional goals are. In my Montessori setting, the mission statement is as follows: “We nur- ture the spirit of each child through meaningful connections with families and our dedication to the principles of Montessori Education” (Ithaca Montessori School 2016). Our values as an organization are love, peace, respect, integrity, and excellence. Our mission and values provide a clear set of guidelines for professional behavior. The mission and values also provide a foundation on which the staff at the school can build our relationships with children and fam- ilies, shape curriculum, and represent our work in the community. We are a nonprofit Montessori school located in Ithaca, a small town in central New York. Because we are close to Cornell University and Ithaca Col- lege, many of our families include professors, researchers, and graduate stu- dents. Many families are bilingual, and most have two full-time working parents. Our school has children from three months to six years old. These de- tails make up who we are and define our identity as an organization. 5 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 1 6     Chapter 1 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Such defining details matter because when early childhood professionals know who their families and children are, they can provide a much higher qual- ity of care and learning for children. Defining context clarifies the priorities of the school community, so that teams can align their professional priorities and work together to deliver a curriculum that is truly relevant to the people it serves. The needs of a rural school community will be different from those of an urban one. The needs of a school where most parents work full-time will be different from those of a school where some parents do not do income-earning work. The needs of a school where families have access to many resources will be different from one where families struggle for resources. Geography, socio- economics, and culture affect whom a school serves and how. Recognizing your context and actively responding to it by shaping your professional goals will strengthen your impact on children’s learning. It will support your work in teams by ensuring you are all on the same page about why you are prioritizing parent education, a certain curriculum, fund-raising, or whatever you choose to prioritize. Let’s look at other early childhood organizations and investigate their mis- sion statements. We have already examined one small, nonprofit, tuition-driven example. A national, publicly funded example is Head Start. The vision of the National Head Start Association (NHSA) is “to lead—to be the untiring voice that will not be quiet until every vulnerable child is served with the Head Start model of support for the whole child, the family and the community—and to advocate—to work diligently for policy and institutional changes that ensure all vulnerable children and families have what they need to succeed. NHSA’s mission is to coalesce, inspire, and support the Head Start field as a leader in early childhood development and education” (NHSA 2016). Head Start clearly states its mission and values, and with this statement it provides a framework for its employees. The principles of leadership, per- sistence, advocacy, hard work, and dedication to the organization on behalf of children and families all shine through in this mission statement, and for those employed by Head Start, it is necessary to embody these principles. Even a few simple, descriptive words can help educators in an organization understand what the organization values. Schools use words such as dream, dare, be, engage, and empower to boldly describe their goals for children. When teams are aligned by such big-picture values, they can strive to embody these values in the work they do with one another, children, and families. For in- stance, if teams know their organization values daring, they can feel free to make bold choices in their work. If teams know their organization values de- mocracy above all else, their choices with children and families will reflect that commitment to democracy. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Foundations of Team Teaching    7 Take some time to reflect on what you most wish for the children in your care. Is the most important outcome for these children kindness, academic success, self-confidence, or something else? This reflection will inform all the decisions you make in your work as a teaching team, and it will help you align your goals for the children with your goals for the adults in your setting. Any educator will benefit from this reflection. If you are an administrator and your school already has a mission statement, do you think every teacher knows what it is? If not, what could you do to make this more visible to teachers? If you are a team leader, have you ever talked with your team about what quali- ties the school values? If you are on a team of teachers, do you feel your team is in line with the values of the school? Are there ways your team could make your values clearer to families? Ultimately, the work teachers do every day is about the children. We show up, struggle, and strive to be better because we believe that teaching young children matters. If you can bring every conversation back to what is best for the child, you will make decisions with integrity. By definition, a team is a group of people working together for a shared desired outcome. Any work your team does to clarify your shared professional goals will make your team stronger and more effective. When you frequently remind yourselves of the goal you are pur- suing together, and when young children’s learning and well-being are at the heart of that goal, you continue to more closely align intention with action. The following reflection will help frame your context. You can do this on your own or enlist the help of a trusted administrator or colleague. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Reflection: Define Your Setting What kind of program are we? What populations do we serve? What is our mission or vision statement? If we don’t have a mission or vision statement, what do we most wish for the children to gain from their experience at our program? What makes us unique? What are our strengths and weaknesses as an organization? How do we offer professional development? Can we improve upon this? What is my role in the team? Is my role in this team supporting the mission or vision statement or desired outcomes of the program? From Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo, © 2017. Published by Redleaf Press, www.redleafpress.org. This page MATERIAL COPYRIGHTED may be reproduced for classroom use only. DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Foundations of Team Teaching    9 Tools for Administrators If your program doesn’t have an established mission or vision statement, at your next staff meet- ing, ask the teachers what they think the values of the organization are. If the group is large, break it up into teaching teams. (The administrative team is a separate group.) If the group is small, as in a family child care, you can do this exercise in one group. Take turns sharing the values each group came up with and write down the words mentioned more than once, or those that are particularly striking. This activity will spark some great con- versation among the teachers and lead you to what your shared values are. Hopefully it will also generate more questions for you and your colleagues to consider together. Tie your values into the work you do with children and families. You can follow up this con- versation by using the words your community chose in future conversations. If you already have agreed-upon values, are you incorporating them into the conversation as much as you can? Could every member of your staff list the values? A Culture of Collaboration Culture is “the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time”; it is also “the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties es- pecially by education” (Merriam-Webster.com 2016). Inherent in this definition is the idea that culture is unique to a particular society, and it is influenced by the contextual elements of place and time. In the previous section, you spent some time defining your particular set- ting and figuring out what is important to your teams and families. The next question you can ask yourself is, “Can we educators shape the culture of our school for the better?” As an educator, you know that by collaborating you can take the best of ev- ery individual to create stronger teams and stronger learning environments for young children. But how do you achieve a culture of collaboration in an Even if you are not intentionally creating a culture in your program, a culture still exists. Silence and unspoken norms carry meaning to staff; however, individuals may interpret different meanings. Why not be deliberate and direct about your organization’s culture instead? COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 10     Chapter 1 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET organization? How do you create a school where all team members are invited to contribute their strengths, mistakes are seen as learning opportunities, and the team is valued over the individual? If you and your colleagues agree on a set of shared values, how do you make sure you are truly prioritizing those val- ues in your work with children and families? The first step in creating a culture of collaboration is to look closely at how you spend your time together as professionals. What are your meetings like? Does everyone have a voice, or do a few people do all the talking? These are some of the questions to ask yourself when you are looking closely at your school’s culture. It is too easy in a school or child care setting to become en- trenched in your own work, your own classroom and your own goals for chil- dren. It takes effort to think outside your own classroom and to think about the way your classroom fits into the larger picture. The time you spend think- ing about how your team fits into the organization is an investment in yourself as a professional. It also demonstrates your commitment to continued educa- tion. Schools are not just places where children learn; they are places where teachers and administrators learn, too. Tools for Administrators Look closely at how you organize your staff meetings. Staff meetings are crucial in the develop- ment of school culture, because rarely do early childhood educators spend professional time to- gether while not supervising children. Meetings are a time for educators to zero in on key aspects of the program. Meetings can be a time to inspire and reinvigorate one another. If your meetings are not lively and dynamic, consider restructuring how you spend this important time. Try breaking up into small groups, or pairs, for parts of the conversation, and then sharing ideas with the larger group. Often people who are uncomfortable speaking to an entire room will share more easily with a smaller group or in pairs. This strategy gives all the chance to express their opinions to their colleagues. At the start of the year, structure conversations so that teaching teams are the small groups. This way teams will have more opportunities for dialogue and building trust. As the year progresses, you can mix up the groups to make sure teachers are building rela- tionships outside their teams as well. Figure out how much of your staff meeting time is spent in purposeful, professional dialogue and how much time participants spend passively listening. You can ask a staff member to observe a meeting and track what percentage of the meeting is in dialogue and who does most of the talking. If meetings are mostly passive, consider devoting some meeting time to engaging in con- versation about your program, goals, and initiatives. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Foundations of Team Teaching    11 Place and time are defining factors of a culture. Since place and time evolve, so must we educators evolve and adapt to teach our culture to the next gener- ation. It is by being united about your goals that you will have the most effec- tive impact on children’s learning. You may work in a setting that is fixed in a particular mind-set. That mind-set may not feel open, transparent, and supportive. Short of finding other employment, what can you do? You can influence the culture of your school by starting reflective conversations with your team. The culture of your classroom can influence and inspire the work that others are doing in your set- ting. And who knows—you could start a revolution! Reflective Practice Reflective practice is asking questions, looking beneath the surface, and think- ing deeply to refine your practice as leaders or teachers. Imagine you are look- ing in a mirror at your reflection. You are looking with focus and scrutinizing what you see. Sometimes you like what you see; sometimes you find things you want to change. When you and your team reflect on your teaching practice— observing, analyzing, considering, and reconceptualizing experiences—you grow as professionals (Sullivan and Glanz 2005). You can refine your practice by observing the work you have done, reflecting on the process and outcome, and making the necessary adjustments. When you reflect on your practice with your team, the possibilities for learning multiply. If your team is a machine, with different parts of the machine working to- gether to function smoothly, reflecting together is the maintenance of the ma- chine. Without regular maintenance, machines break down, rust, and stop working. The same is true for teams working together day after day. Regular maintenance will keep your team running smoothly and efficiently. The graphic at the top of page 12 illustrates the cycle of observation, reflec- tion, and adjustment in a learning environment. (Remember, a learning envi- ronment is defined not just by the children’s learning but also by the learning of teachers and families.) Your observation leads you to ask questions, which leads you to make adjustments in your teaching practice or learning environ- ment, which then leads you back to observing to see how those adjustments affect your teaching or your learning environment. The word observe in this graphic means to observe the whole learning en- vironment: the children, the team, the relationships with families, the team’s connection to the school, and the school’s connection to the community. The word reflect means to look at what you have observed and ask questions of yourself and your team, to look closely and examine the learning environment. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL   ➧ O BS E R A   DJ U ST  V E   ➧   R E The word adjust means to make small or large changes based on how you and your team answer the questions you ask yourselves. You complete the cycle when you observe the impact of the adjustments you and your team have made and see how they affect the whole. Then the cycle starts all over again and repeats endlessly. Asking questions is essential to the pro- cess of reflection. This book gives you and your team sample questions on a variety of topics to get your conversations started. These questions are merely a jumping-off point for you and your colleagues. Many more questions will emerge as you dive into the reflective process with your team. As human beings—and especially as educators of human beings— we are never done learning. While there will come a time when you feel confi- dent, self-assured, and competent as an early childhood educator, there will never be a point at which you know everything. Factors such as how children learn, what families need, and what research is being done in our field are con- stantly evolving. When you demonstrate to your teaching team that you are curious, open, and a work in progress, you create an arena of learning where your teammates can feel safe to learn with you and from you. And what better example can you set for the young children in your care than being teachers who love to learn? F L EC T   ➧ 12     Chapter 1 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Teachers learn more     Children learn more Engaging in this type of inquiry with your team will also create a space for you and your team members to get to know one another on a deeper level and to generate a deeper sense of your shared experience. The work you do as early childhood educators is all about fundamentals such as trust, safety, and accep- tance. Reflecting together will support you and your team in defining what is fundamental about your approach to your classroom. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Team Roles in an Early Childhood Setting L et’s start our chapter on team roles by taking some time to identify your strengths. This will be your compass as you go deeper into the team reflec- tions. It will remind you of what you bring to your team. This reflection can be done in your team meeting. Devote the first twenty or so minutes to fill- ing out the forms individually, and then share your responses. Sometimes you will be surprised to hear what your colleagues consider your strengths, and vice versa. The Strengths Reflection is a safe place to start this work with your team because it focuses on what every team member is already doing well. This exercise will begin to build the trust necessary to share openly in your team and to grow personally and professionally. Strengths Reflection What are your strengths as a teacher? What are your strengths as a team member? What are your strengths in building trusting relationships with families? What unique qualities do you bring to your school? In what ways does your team rely on you? Why do you work with children? If you could not work with children, what would you do instead? 13 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 2 14     Chapter 2 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Leadership Inherent in the job description of lead teacher is leadership. The lead teacher leads not only the children but also the team of adults who is working in ser- vice of the children. It’s important to remember that the team serves the chil- dren, not the lead teacher. Framing the lead teacher’s role as “lead advocate for children’s learning” is a way to keep children always at the center of the team’s work. The role of the lead teacher is to have a vision for how best to serve the children and to inspire in her team a desire to move toward that vision. This is not to say that other team members cannot exhibit leadership; in fact, part of the role of lead teacher is to recognize emerging leadership in assistants and support their growth by encouraging assistants to make meaningful contribu- tions. The lead teacher is the visionary for the team and the one who holds the team in the frame provided by the mission and values work done earlier. Thomas J. Sergiovanni, a leading voice in educational leadership, defines a leader as a moral steward and facilitator of connections, as opposed to the tra- ditional definition of leader as an authoritarian who pushes and pulls mem- bers of the organization (Jossey-Bass Inc. 2000, 270). This type of leader elicits the best from teachers through team building, shared decision making, devel- oping leadership in others, and reinforcing the value of collegiality. This type of leadership, sometimes called “servant leadership,” is so called because the leader always makes decisions with the goal of making work meaningful for those doing the work. With a servant leadership model, an early childhood setting is a learning organization, or a community of learners—and the learners include the teach- ers and administrators. Peter Senge, founder of the Society for Organizational Learning, defines a learning organization as an organization in which people are committed to expanding their patterns of thinking, are encouraged to think beyond boundaries, and are continually learning how to learn together (Senge 1990, 13). This model works for a team of early childhood teachers because of the tasks we share over the course of a day in the classroom. At any time, a team member may be called upon to comfort a child, help a child meet basic needs, or mediate conflict between children. While some work falls directly to the lead teacher, enough responsibilities are shared that a more collectivist ap- proach to running a team is appropriate. While many different styles of leadership exist, any effective leader must possess seven virtues, according to educational leadership professor Jeffrey Glanz. Those virtues are courage, impartiality, empathy, judgment, enthusi- asm, humility, and imagination (Glanz 2002). On page 16 you will find a set of COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Team Roles in an Early Childhood Setting     15 reflection questions on leadership virtues for you to consider on your own or with your team. If you find that it’s difficult to answer any of the questions, that’s great! It means you have identified the areas you need to work on. The questions will help you focus on the areas in which you have the most poten- tial for growth. Team leaders are traditionally the givers of feedback. When leaders freely invite feedback, it sets an example for the team that all members are works in progress. For example, a team leader can let her team know that she is working on expressing more imagination in the classroom and invite input from her team. Team leaders could also work with other leaders in the school to com- plete this exercise. Perhaps all the lead teachers could attempt these questions together and talk about how leadership virtues are expressed in their own classroom environments. Assistant teachers can use this form to examine leadership virtues, too. A teacher who is currently an assistant may find she is on a path to more leader- ship. Or an assistant teacher may have no desire to lead and find that she pre- fers to take a supportive role on the team. Regardless of the amount of leadership a teacher chooses to take on in the organization, each teacher is an important part of the team, and the virtues reflection will foster a shared vi- sion for the team. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Reflection: Leadership Virtues How do I exhibit courage in my work with children, my team, and my colleagues? How do I exhibit impartiality in my work with children, my team, and my colleagues? How do I express empathy in my work with children, my team, and my colleagues? How do I demonstrate judgment in my work with children, my team, and my colleagues? How do I portray enthusiasm in my work with children, my team, and my colleagues? How do I demonstrate humility in my work with children, my team, and my colleagues? How do I express imagination in my work with children, my team, and my colleagues? What are the areas in which I can improve? Is there a leader in my setting who can help me improve in these areas? From Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo, © 2017. Published by Redleaf Press, www.redleafpress.org. This page MATERIAL COPYRIGHTED may be reproduced for classroom use only. DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Team Roles in an Early Childhood Setting     17 The Invisible Work of the Leader Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh uses the metaphor of a small boat crossing the Gulf of Thailand to describe a quality that I believe is es- sential in leaders. Nhat Hanh describes the many people who fled Vietnam in small boats after the war. These people often got caught in storms or rough waters. If even one person aboard stayed calm and demonstrated that sense of calm through facial expression, voice, and demeanor, then the entire boat had a better chance of surviving the journey (Nhat Hanh 1996, 12). It is that calm, peaceful quality that I call the leader’s “invisible work.” This work is not easy to see, but it has effects that ripple outward to touch everyone involved. The following reflection will help you define and practice this work for the benefit of your team. When you begin to practice this quality of peaceful composure, you will see the benefits to the children, to your team, and to families. On pages 18–19 and 20–21, you will find two sets of reflective questions focused on invisible work. One is for team leaders, and the other is for assis- tant teachers. Your team can approach these reflections in one of two ways, de- pending on the degree of trust you have built in one another. If you have built trust in your team, the team members could fill out the team leader reflection with you in mind. They could do this individually during a team meeting and then share their answers with the group. This is an oppor- tunity to give and receive feedback within your team and take an honest look at the climate you are creating in the classroom. If you have not yet built up that degree of trust, you can just fill out the leader reflection while assistants complete the assistant reflection, and then share all your answers as a group. This way each team member is focused on her own contributions and not neccesarily inviting feedback from others— yet. This exercise of shared self-reflection is the kind of activity that will build the trust neccesary to give honest feedback to one another. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Reflection for Team Leaders: The Invisible Work Read through the scenario and imagine your own classroom and team, and think about how you typically respond to this type of situation. It’s one of those days in your classroom! The weather has prevented you from taking children outside, and they are bursting with energy. Two children in your classroom seem to be pressing each other’s buttons and butting heads every few minutes. Someone just knocked over a vase, and water and flowers are strewn on the floor. As you turn to get some towels, someone slips in the water and bursts into tears. Freeze this moment to answer the following questions: What is the expression on your face right now? Are you moving slowly and purposefully, or are you rushing to put out fires? What is the tone of your voice? Is it low and calm or loud and agitated? From Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo, © 2017. Published by Redleaf Press, www.redleafpress.org. This page MATERIAL COPYRIGHTED may be reproduced for classroom use only. DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Are you making reassuring eye contact with your team or avoiding eye contact? Or are you rolling your eyes? Are you taking deep breaths, taking quick and shallow breaths, or holding your breath? Is anyone responsible for these mishaps? Are you actively modeling for your team how to respond in this type of situation? How are you indicating what the greatest priority is in this moment? From Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo, © 2017. Published by Redleaf Press, www.redleafpress.org. This page may be reproduced for classroom use only. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Reflection for Assistants: The Invisible Work Read through the scenario and imagine your own classroom and team, and think about how you typically respond to this type of situation. It’s one of those days in your classroom! The weather has prevented you from taking children outside, and they are bursting with energy. Two children in your classroom seem to be pressing each other’s buttons and butting heads every few minutes. Someone just knocked over a vase, and water and flowers are strewn on the floor. As you turn to get some towels, someone slips in the water and bursts into tears. Freeze this moment to answer the following questions: What is the expression on your face right now? Are you moving slowly and purposefully, or are you rushing to put out fires? What is the tone of your voice? Is it low and calm or loud and agitated? From Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo, © 2017. Published by Redleaf Press, www.redleafpress.org. This page MATERIAL COPYRIGHTED may be reproduced for classroom use only. DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Are you taking deep breaths, taking quick and shallow breaths, or holding your breath? Who or what is the most important priority in this moment? Do you look for direction in this moment, or do you act on instinct? What do you need to stay calm in this type of scenario? From Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo, © 2017. Published by Redleaf Press, www.redleafpress.org. This page may be reproduced for classroom use only. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 22     Chapter 2 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET The Role of the Lead Teacher What is the role of the lead teacher? On the surface, the role of the lead teacher is to create a learning environment for young children, develop and implement curriculum, and ensure optimum outcomes for the children in the classroom. The role of the lead teacher goes even deeper than this. To ensure optimum outcomes for the children, the teaching team must be healthy and efficient, and the The team The families relationships with families must be trusting. The role of the lead teacher, therefore, is a trio of The children equally important responsibilities. In early child- hood, the success of your work with children is inte- grally connected to the time and energy you invest in all three. The above figure represents the three elements of families, children, and team in balance. Part of the role of the team leader is to balance these three ele­ments. Communicating with your team regularly will help you achieve this balance. Like any balancing act, balance in a teaching team is not a static end goal. Rather, it is a process of paying constant attention to the state of the learning environment, with many microadjustments along the way. Working with young children is a big part of teacher training and prepara- tion, whether that means teacher certification, education classes, or years of experience working with children. But teacher training usually does not ad- dress team teaching specifically. And yet the health of the team is integral to the tone of the classroom. The role of the lead teacher starts by acknowledging that the time spent investing in building a strong team will improve the out- comes for children and families. Setting the Tone: The Families As the leader of the classroom, you set the tone for staff relationships with families. It is up to you to prioritize good communication with families, model partnering with caregivers, and demonstrate how to treat child-family rela- tionships with respect. Here’s how this looks in practice: warmly day at Greet time families to answer family every members’ drop-off questions and pickup. schedule a Make or time to answer their questions in person or via phone call. Respond to family questions in a timely manner. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Team Roles in an Early Childhood Setting     23 Give families multiple ways to understand their child’s day, whether by printed newsletter, report of the day, photos or anec- dotes about their child’s day, or classroom blog. Never undermine the child-family relationship—even if you dis- agree with their caregiving choices. While you spend many hours of the week with your students, no teacher can take the place of children’s relationships with their families. Notice and celebrate families for the ways in which they support their children’s growth and development. Help your team reframe difficult situations that come up and avoid judging, personalizing, or interpreting families’ decisions or behaviors in a negative light. This will help your team create a more positive work environment and help strengthen the bond between home and school. To learn and be at their best, the children in your care must first trust you. One step to building trust with children is for their families to demonstrate trust in you and the program. If family involvement or healthy relationships with families are impossible for some reason, it’s still important to respect children’s bonds with their families. Children are sensitive, intuitive beings, dependent on adults for their survival. They can perceive tension and judg- ment but cannot make sense of it. Part of making a safe space for children to learn is creating an environment free of assumptions, especially regarding their families. Regardless of what you think of family decision making, your role as an educator and a caregiver is to protect children from emotional harm and support their development. Too often, teachers engage in a subtle form of negativity in which they do not value the role of families or they judge family choices. While not all family members are as skilled with children as early childhood teachers are, a more productive strategy is to view family members as developing individuals, sim- ilar to the children (Riley et al. 2008). It is the challenging families in school communities who often need the teachers’ patient support. When you view family members as developing in their roles, you can offer research and experientially based strategies to sup- port their growth. You would certainly not expect a novice in any other role to be proficient at it; the same should be true for child rearing. There are no pre- requisites for raising children. Meanwhile, early childhood educators do in fact have special training to teach children or years of experience working with children. Remembering that you are the first and best resource to support families in their work as caregivers will help you develop compassion and COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 24     Chapter 2 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET patience for them and keep your relationships with them as positive and sup- portive as possible. Parents and caregivers are learning as they go, and keeping this in mind will help you be supportive in your conversations. When you demonstrate these practices as priorities, your team will follow your lead, and this will set the stage for the child’s learning in your care. For families, teachers are the only connection they have to their children’s school day. Young children may not have the language or memory to share details of their day with families at home. The team is the link between home and school, and the strength of that link is influenced by the tone the team sets in commu- nication with families. Setting the Tone: The Team Language is something we use so much that it can be easy to overlook the in- fluence of our language on one another. As the leader of your team, you set the tone of the classroom. Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, funny or serious, outgoing or reserved, the language you use with your team members affects their experience. You know you are always modeling expectations for the children. Be aware that you are also always modeling expectations for the adults in your classroom. Following are examples of respectful language to use with your teammates: 1. Instead of: “Milo needs help now” or “I need you to help Milo.” Try: “Will you please help Milo?” 2. Instead of: “We’re supposed to sit with children during lunch or snacktime.” Try: “Will you please sit with a table during lunch or snacktime? This modeling helps them learn how to sit steadily and stay on task.” 3. Instead of: “We can’t go home early because admin scheduled a meeting tonight.” Try: “We’re staying for a staff meeting tonight.” 4. Instead of: “Well, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed!” Try: “Are you okay? You don’t seem like your usual self today.” In examples 1 and 2, the leader is taking ownership of directives she is giv- ing to her teammates, not hiding behind passive supposed tos or interpreta- tions such as Milo needs. The lead teacher is asking her teammate to do something she thinks is important. By eliminating phrases like “I need you to,” COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Team Roles in an Early Childhood Setting     25 she makes the request for help about Milo’s needs, not her own. Also, the lead teacher is asking—not telling—her teammates what to do. Your team always has a choice about whether to follow your lead, and your job is to help team members understand why you would like them to follow you. This approach demonstrates respect for what they are doing and understanding that they are operating to the best of their ability at any given time. They already know they are in a support role and that you are in charge. Using respectful language with them shows them that you value their roles and see them as meaningful con- tributors to the collective work. Example 3 demonstrates not painting the administration as a common enemy. As the head of your team, you are part of the leadership of your school. If you disagree with something your administration is doing, it’s part of your role as head advocate of your classroom to go directly to the person in charge and have a respectful conversation about it. Simply by belonging to an organization with flawed systems, you are part of the problem—especially if you are a senior staff member (Heifetz and Linsky 2002). Identifying the way in which you perpetuate the problems you face is key to being an effective advocate in your organization and for your team. An integral part of your role as leader in your classroom is to create a reassuring tone for your team. They look to you as an example, and when you participate in a drama that puts your team at odds with leadership, you chip away at the culture of the school rather than build it up and strengthen it. Tools for the Team Agree on a set of nonverbal signs you can use to communicate with one another across a crowded classroom. A handful of American Sign Lan- guage (ASL) signs, such as those that follow, can go a long way in building camaraderie in your team and helping you communicate quickly with one another, while maintaining a calm tone in the room: Be right back. I need a bathroom break. Help, please. Thank you. Look at this. I’ll tell you later. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 26     Chapter 2 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET In example 4, the leader keeps her concern for her teammate at the fore- front of the conversation, rather than putting her teammate on the defensive by making assumptions about her state of mind. This gives the teammate the chance to respond, for example, “Yes, I would feel much better if I could grab a quick cup of coffee,” and in this way, avoid unnecessary conflict or stress due to a problem that can be fixed easily. Here’s where you can find more signs that you might be able to use: http://commtechlab.msu​ .edu/sites/aslweb/browser.htm Classroom Sign Language CLASSROOM SIGN LANGUAGE The letter I Used to show that you have a question. (“I have a question.”) The letter A Used to show that you have an answer. The letter C Used to show that you have a comment. Lights off. Lights on. I am ignoring you. (student-to-student) Thank you. May I use the restroom? Line up, please. One moment, please. That was off-topic. volunteer May I get a drink? Stand up. Sit down. Pencils down. Here’s where you can find more signs that we might be able to use: http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/browser.htm COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Team Roles in an Early Childhood Setting     27 Setting the Tone: The Children The third and most important way a lead teacher sets the tone in an organi- zation is through her work with the children. Early childhood educators come to this work because they love children. No one comes to this work for a high salary, accolades, or social status. We do this work because we love children and believe that devoting our careers to their education is a valuable use of our time. We believe, as Maria Montessori says, “the child is both a hope and a promise for mankind” (Montessori 1972). Knowing that this is what brings most people to the field of early childhood education, we must reflect on what impression we give our team in the work we do with children. Every time we interact with a child, we set an example for our team. If you are disrespectful toward children, this attitude is contagious, just as positivity and compassion are contagious. Following is a set of questions to ask yourself about the way in which you communicate with children. Try devoting one of your team meetings to this reflection. Allow twenty minutes at the beginning of your meeting to fill out the form individually, and then share your responses with your team for the next thirty minutes. If this kind of self-reflection is new to you, it will take some practice to step back and look at yourself objectively. Remember your strengths from the exercise at the beginning of this chapter (page 13), and keep in mind that to grow and become a stronger teacher, you have to bend and stretch. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Reflection: Setting the Tone for the Team: Working with Children What happens in my classroom when a child falls apart, whether the problem is missing a caregiver, having wet pants, or being overly tired or hungry? Do I model care and compassion by meeting the needs of this child, or do I let one of my teammates handle it? When a child presents behavioral challenges for my classroom, do I set a tone of compassion and sensitivity? Do I roll my eyes, sigh, or become exasperated? Do I fight for children in my classroom by adjusting my teaching style, changing the environment, or spending more time with them, or am I quick to pass them off as unmanageable? Do I dig deeper for the sake of a child with challenging behaviors by soliciting more information from the child’s family or other experts? From Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo, © 2017. Published by Redleaf Press, www.redleafpress.org. This page MATERIAL COPYRIGHTED may be reproduced for classroom use only. DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Do I complain about the children with my team or allow my team to complain about the children? Do I genuinely enjoy being with the children? Do I laugh and smile with them every day? Do I rush children? Do I talk to children with the same amount of respect I use to talk with adults? From Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo, © 2017. Published by Redleaf Press, www.redleafpress.org. This page may be reproduced for classroom use only. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET 30     Chapter 2 The Role of the Assistant The role of the assistant is, by definition, a supportive role. While the work is collaborative, and every team member carries responsibility for the whole, the assistant supports the vision of the lead teacher. All the tone setting discussed in this section applies to every member of the team, without the responsibility of leading. For some teachers, this is the sweet spot for teaching in a team. Assistant teachers get to be with children and do the work of early childhood without having the weight of leadership. For some teachers, being an assistant is a step on the path toward leadership. Either way, learning to communicate with one’s team, express one’s needs and opinions, and give meaningful con- tributions is essential for the health of the team. Following is a reflection specifically for assistant teachers. The purpose of the reflection is to clarify the assistant teacher’s role so that she can communi- cate better with the team and contribute meaningfully. The reflection is in- tended for teachers to do on their own and use as a guide for communicating with their team. Tools for Teams Encourage one another to practice mindful presence during the workday by keeping a small box with a lid for each team member with a note inside that says, “Place worries here.” Encourage one another to leave troubles in the box before entering the classroom so that each team member can be at her best for the children during the workday. Teachers can also put something personal in their boxes that reminds them to be fully present—a stone, a picture, or any other meaningful item. Everyone has bad days, and this is a way to make a habit of taking a moment before entering the classroom to pause, breathe, and put personal worries aside for the day. This also encourages camaraderie through a shared experience and reinforces the mission of the team: creating an en- vironment where children’s well-being and learning are the focus. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Reflection: The Role of the Assistant What are your responsibilities in the classroom? What are you contributing to the classroom that is unique to you? Does the lead teacher have a clear vision for the classroom that you support? If not, what would you like to see change? What do you consider the lead teacher’s strengths? Do you feel the communication in your team is clear and healthy? If not, why not? Do you feel your classroom is an optimal learning environment for children? Why or why not? What do you think your team is doing well? What do you think your team could improve? Do you feel comfortable giving feedback to the lead teacher? If not, why not? From Team Teaching in Early Childhood: Leadership Tools for Reflective Practice by Uniit Carruyo, © 2017. Published by Redleaf Press, www.redleafpress.org. This page may be reproduced for classroom use only. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Education & Teaching / Early Childhood DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM FOR PHONE OR TABLET Discover how to support collaborative teacher teams in early childhood programs eachers, children, and families benefit when teacher teams are able to work intentionally together with strong, thoughtful leadership. This guide is an important addition to any teacher training course. It is designed to help program administrators, center directors, and teachers develop healthy and confident teams. Team Teaching in Early Childhood covers a range of topics intended to cultivate concrete tools to form a robust team, including how to: Define your team roles in early childhood education Cultivate communication strategies Determine foundational elements for an effective classroom Develop meeting protocols Build and assess differentiated curriculum “Impressive and appealing . . . a firm foundation in theories about leadership, adult learning, and child development. This approach leads to a positive, strength-based perspective on colleagues, administrators, children, and their families and makes the work more personally meaningful to all.” —ELLIS E. SCOPE, PHD, Department of Educational Leadership Bank Street College of Education UNIIT CARRUYO has been an early childhood educator for more than twenty years and is Photo by Joey Steinhagen the director of education at Ithaca Montessori School in Ithaca, NY. She is also an education consultant for private home environments and school organizations through Wiggles & Wings. She holds an MS Ed in Leadership from Bank Street College of Education, a BS in Psychology from SUNY Fredonia, and an Infant/Toddler Montessori Teacher Certification from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education at the College of New Rochelle. ISBN 978-1-60554-488-5 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL $24.95