Stimulate Your Child’s Curiosity

Team Teaching

Team Teaching

Staff photo 2 2011-1The staff at Sunflower Preschool successfully uses a democratic teaching approach, which we call team teaching. The opposite of this would be a classroom with one head teacher and the rest acting as assistants. Since the 1980’s the team teaching model at Sunflower has been evolving. As the school has grown, so has the concept of shared responsibilities and teacher “ownership”.

Team teaching demands constant communication between the staff and an ability to be honest and frank with each other. Teachers at Sunflower meet weekly at staff meetings to problem-solve, discuss, and brainstorm upcoming curriculum and review the individual development of children and the needs or concerns of our families. We communicate our intentions for the classroom and make decisions as a team. No one person gets to decide for the group without everyone agreeing or at least sharing their thoughts. If conflicts arise we support each other openly in a resolution. Respect for each others’ background and experience is crucial for our team building.

storysunflowerpreschool_lr-4603In regard to our curriculum, each Sunflower teacher is responsible for different curriculum areas or learning centers. Each teacher plans for her area, develops activities, collects or creates materials, and displays the activity or educational material for use by the children. In this way the workload of the classroom is evenly distributed and the teachers can contribute their own individual energy and style into the classroom curriculum.

With our approach to the children, we find it necessary that all teachers develop relationships with all the children. Children should trust that any teacher in the team can help them because we all contribute to their learning and development. The same is true for the parents; they should feel comfortable confiding in any teacher knowing that we make decisions together as a team and consult each other when circumstances arise.

In addition, as Debra has had the freedom to travel longer and further in the past few years, the Sunflower teachers have become more involved in the areas of administration and curriculum development. This sharing of responsibility has helped to create a professional and collaborative team teaching staff.

There are obvious benefits to the team teaching approach. First, the curriculum of the school is a collaboration of varied experiences and ideas, making it rich and exciting for the children as well as the staff. The responsibility of 20-30 children in our care can be shared evenly, ensuring that each child is recognized and honored. And lastly, that the teachers at Sunflower have a shared vision that enhances their experience and the quality of the school.

“Teaching is not only what I do but who I am” – Juley Harper