Provided by Everbrook Academy
How soon is too soon to learn about collaboration? Most babies get their first inkling of teamwork by the time they’re six months old, old enough to enjoy a rousing exchange of peek-a-boo.
“From our earliest years, collaboration builds our critical thinking capabilities and introduces us to different ways of solving a problem as we work toward a shared purpose,” said Dr. Susan Canizares, Chief Academic Officer at Everbrook Academy. “It develops social and emotional skills, hones communication skills and improves a child’s self-confidence. As they share ideas, children learn to recognize and respect others’ abilities and opinions.”
While it might seem counterintuitive, working together also fosters independence, according to Canizares. “Studies show that children who are able to collaborate are stronger independent thinkers. This is why we develop lesson plans that encourage children to work together and build on each other’s knowledge.”
Teamwork starts at home
Here are some activities that can help your child develop collaborative skills at home:
- Dig in – Gardening teaches children to take care of living things and develops patience. It also sharpens fine motor skills, supports math skills and builds hand-eye coordination. Start with a few seeds or plants that grow quickly, such as sunflowers, beans or peas. Your budding botanist will enjoy a growing sense of accomplishment working with you as the garden evolves.
- Cooking up hands-on fun – Cooking with the family is among the best ways for children to feel they’ve contributed as they develop skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives. Helping wash vegetables, pour, peel, squeeze, mix and knead – these are all kid-appropriate, important jobs for little hands to do in the kitchen. Following a recipe together also gives children a meaningful way to apply math skills.
- Score with chores – Giving children household chores at an early age has long-term emotional, social and academic benefits. Household responsibilities help develop self-respect and promote independence. Set a challenge to see how many toys can be put away before the buzzer sounds. Fun tools such as a short-handled broom or hand vacuum make tasks more appealing. Be consistent with your expectations.
- Be handy and DIY – Involving kids in home improvement projects empowers them and helps develop problem-solving skills. Painting is easy and rewarding for children; they immediately see the results of their work and mistakes are easily correctable. A four-year-old can help build ready-to-assemble furniture, peel wallpaper or tile a backsplash. Be sure tasks are properly supervised.
- Break out the board games – Make game time a family tradition. Board games and outdoor games encourage cooperation and teamwork while helping children learn to think for themselves. Be sure the activities are age-appropriate for the youngest participating, and that everyone understands the rules and object of the game. Give it your all, because your child will be attuned to your level of enthusiasm.
Tips to support collaboration
- Who’s next? – Getting along with others in social situations starts with learning to take turns, follow instructions and share. Build turn taking into playtime and wherever else you can in your child’s everyday routine. Acknowledge good sharing.
- Waiting is the hardest part – Sixty seconds is an eternity for a 3-year-old. Engage your child in another activity while they wait for their turn. Using a timer makes waiting exciting as children watch the sand fall or anticipate the buzzer. Each turn can also last as long as a short song or nursery rhyme.
- Kindness counts – Encourage good sportsmanship and keep competition friendly. Being excluded from a project or team can be upsetting. Help your child grasp the idea of empathy through teachable moments. Kindness can be as simple as passing the ball, or sharing a box of crayons.
Classes Begin this Month at New Everbrook Academy Preschool
Starting in late February, Children in Bristow will be among the first in the country to hone their critical thinking and collaborative skills at Everbrook Academy, an all-new 21st century preschool. The premier early education experience is designed to prepare young learners to navigate a changing world. Emphasizing hands-on learning in STEAM – science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics – Everbrook Academy connects academic skills to practical application, bringing concepts to life in ways that are meaningful for children. It nurtures children’s critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration – four essential elements that will be integral in shaping their future.
Everbrook Academy offers individualized care and active learning for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. Its proprietary School Readiness Pathway provides a clear roadmap for learning and development, empowering parents with options to meet their child’s educational needs for a smooth transition into kindergarten. For more information, please visit everbrookacademy.com and check out this YouTube video showing learning in action at Everbrook: youtu.be/Y7l13hEyOjs.