Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 103–113 | Cite as

Moving Toward Teamwork Through Professional Development Activities



This qualitative study of three Head Start Centers analyzed surveys, interviews, and focus group data to determine how education coordinators, teachers, and teacher assistants believed professional development activities could support teamwork at their centers. The researchers sorted data related to teamwork into four categories: knowledge and understanding of teachers’ trajectories, how teachers referred to one another, frequency and quality of communication, and evidence of shared philosophy. A climate of trust, respect, open communication and clear organization emerged as important for the risk taking necessary for teachers to learn together. This climate depended on leadership that was willing to take on challenges, innovate, and make room for teacher autonomy. Teamwork thrived in a program that purposely built relationships among staff through opportunities for communication, the development of a shared philosophy, and the possibility of being known and feeling known by colleagues and supervisors. When administrators solicited and used teachers’ feedback about professional development, the teachers felt themselves a valued part of the teaching community.


Teamwork Professional development Head Start Leadership 


Ethical Standards

All human studies have been approved by the appropriate ethics committee and have therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki. All persons who participated in this study gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Borough of Manhattan Community CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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