Teacher trainings at your child care center don’t need to be complicated or boring. Keep the spirit light, the morale boosted and the learning fun with these fresh ideas. You want your staff meetings and teacher trainings to be interesting and fun, something your team looks forward to! So it’s important to start them on the right foot and keep up the momentum throughout.
Some of these ideas come from our on-site training’s we go do for some of our clients and some come from Child Care Success Academy members that have totally been rocking it in this department. Get ready to plan a Super Saturday, an evening training, or professional development day to create your very own awesome Teacher Training with these tips!
Fun Meeting Themes & Topics
CPR & SCHOOL POLICIES REVIEW
A huge shout out to one of our Child Care Success Academy members, Jennifer, from Miami for providing us with this idea. She had experimented with closing her school for a day to do a total teacher development day and it was a huge success. One of the ideas from this day was to have the local fire department come in for CPR training and research into your current policies for safety. Review all of your school handbooks, including employee handbooks and parent policies & procedures so that all staff can get reeducated and ignite discussion. Get feedback from staff and have them be involved in the process. Ask them what they do in certain situations. Sometimes they might have better ideas than what is in the handbook. Are there any changes that can be made in the future to make things better for your staff and school?
ANONYMOUS Q&A TO IGNITE DISCUSSION
Hand out index cards for staff to anonymously write down their questions. Staff can question where the school is headed, plans for the future, different policies and why certain things are being done, and the answers will be read out in front of everyone. Sometimes people may feel silly asking certain questions, and anonymity allows for a better comfort level and encourages your staff to open up.
BRING IN A PROFESSIONAL
Invite outside professional trainers to your school. They can do a session (or a series of sessions) at your regular monthly staff meetings. Partner with your local resource and referral agency. They are usually willing to come out or send an expert or two your way at little or no charge. It is their mission to help better the quality of care for the children in their area. You could also see if a teacher from your local high school, or professor from the community college in your town would be willing to come in and provide your staff with some training. Other professionals you could partner with include a pediatrician, family counselor, art or dance instructor, etc. Get creative and see who is available and willing to speak to your teachers on a subject that relates to the health, safety, development or growth of children.
CORE VALUE EXCERCISES
Using a whiteboard to map the ideas, get your staff to talk about what the core values are within your child care company & what you stand for.
This is a really positive and touching activity that can really connect you to your teachers. It makes your core values part of the fabric of your center when everybody is crafting them together. A very empowering & culture-shifting exercise!
CHILD CARE CONFERENCES
Send team members to area conferences or training days. Pay them for their time and for their entrance ticket. When you are surrounded by the same people every day, it’s easy to forget you are part of a bigger picture. There is something inspiring about seeing SO MANY other professionals with the same mission in one place. It can hit the reset button and sent the message that the work they are doing is tremendously important and worthwhile. Plus, there are usually some pretty awesome presenters, and your teachers will come back refreshed and excited to do their best work.
Outside of early childhood trainings, leadership trainings would be extremely beneficial for your admin team and lead teachers – or anyone you see has some leadership qualities that could be further developed. Good leadership qualities are essential when managing people, and developing this skill in your key staff will benefit you in so many ways.
Ideas for Icebreakers & Team Building Exercises
Positive emotions at work lead to better results. If you want your workplace to be an environment where people thrive and think happy thoughts, plan some amazing staff meetings or team trainings. When you start your meeting out with something positive, the rest of the meeting is more likely to be more fun.
THE ROSE, ROSEBUD, & THORN
Metaphorical team building activity to open communication. Have your staff write these points down: The rose is what is going really well within your company, the thorn is what may not be going very well, and the rosebud is your hope. You can have your teachers do this separately, and when you come back together with the team most often you will realize that most of you are on the same page, and have the same answers/strength/weaknesses. This opens the lines of communication to set goals together.
PAPER ON THE BACK
A fun team building exercise that is one of my favorites! Everybody sticks a piece of construction paper on their backs with tape then walks around the room and have each member of the staff write things about that person on the paper- positive words, phrases, or funny things! At the end, everyone gets to see their paper and gets to feel really good about what their co-workers wrote.
THE PENNY GAME
Everyone grabs a penny from a jar and shares something monumental in their lives that happened that year. Just make sure that the years on your pennies are relevant, especially if you have a younger staff. This is a great way to get your employees to open up and learn something new about each other.
DESERT ISLAND PICKS
You’ve heard the old, “If you were stranded on a desert island what one item would you have with you?”Well find out! It could be books, music, food, etc. Again, this is a silly icebreaker, but a real way for people on your team to get to know each other better.