Building Future Leaders: Encouraging Teamwork in the Daycare Setting

Building Future Leaders: Encouraging Teamwork in the Daycare Setting

Daycare might seem like all finger paints and naptime, but it’s where kids learn skills that will shape them for life. Teamwork is one of the most important! It’s the foundation for success in school, future careers, and all their relationships. Let’s explore how to make your daycare a teamwork training ground!

Why Teamwork Matters at Any Age

  • Problem-Solving Power Two heads are better than one, especially when those heads are full of wacky, outside-the-box ideas! Kids learn to compromise, brainstorm together, and discover that there’s often more than one way to build a tower or solve a puzzle.
  • Building Empathy Working together helps little ones see things from another’s viewpoint. Understanding why their friend is frustrated, or how they can help, is a cornerstone of being a good person and forming strong bonds with others.
  • Communication Skills “It’s MY turn!” A classic phrase, but an opportunity. Learning to express their needs respectfully, listen to others, negotiate, and work through disagreements…these aren’t just daycare skills, they’re skills for navigating any workplace, and life in general!

Simple Strategies, Big Impact

  • Intentional Play Spaces Block areas with enough for everyone, cozy book nooks built for two…the way you design your space subtly encourages kids to interact. Think about different types of spaces too – active building zones, a calm dramatic play corner, etc.
  • The Power of Shared Goals “Let’s make the biggest painting EVER!” Focusing on a group achievement, however silly, teaches them the joy and power of collaboration. Make sure to celebrate those wins enthusiastically, emphasizing their effort and how they helped each other.
  • Let’s Talk About It Conflict WILL happen. Instead of just swooping in to fix it, help them talk about how they feel (“You sound mad, what happened?”) and brainstorm solutions together.You’re giving them the vocabulary to manage big emotions and resolve issues independently.

Teamwork for All Ages

  • Infants & Toddlers Parallel play (alongside each other) is the start. Taking turns with a favorite toy, mimicking each other’s silly sounds, or engaging in simple call-and-response games build a foundation for cooperation.
  • Preschoolers Role-playing is HUGE! Setting the stage (“Let’s be astronauts!”) lets them practice assigned roles and working towards a common goal. Group building projects (a giant mural!), and games focused on fun (not competition) are key. Start giving them “helper” roles for classroom tasks, making them part of the daycare team!
  • Adapting for Mixed Ages Having a range of ages IS real-life, and a great learning opportunity. Older children can be “buddies”, modeling teamwork for little ones, and gaining leadership skills. Adapt activities to have elements anyone can participate in, regardless of age or skill level.


  • “What if a child always wants to play alone?” That’s okay sometimes! But gently offer opportunities to include themselves (“Can we build a road for your car to the castle?”). Observe to see if it’s shyness or a preference, and tailor your approach.
  • “How do I make it fair with different skill levels?” Focus on effort over outcome. Praise the process (“You worked so hard together!”) more than the finished product. Everyone having a role that matters is key.

Resources Section

Play Environment Products

  • Large Building Blocks [Amazon Product] (Enough for several kids to work with simultaneously, variety of shapes)
  • Collaborative Art Supplies: [Amazon Product] (Giant pads of paper, chunky “teamwork” crayons or markers)
  • Sensory Table [Amazon Product] (Perfect for group exploration, especially with water or sand)
  • Cozy Book Nook Supplies: Pillows, blankets, even a kid-sized tent [Amazon Product] create an inviting shared space.

Activity Resources

For Teachers/Caregivers


The best teamwork often looks like joyful chaos. By giving kids the space, tools, and a little guidance, you’re setting them up to be not just good classmates or coworkers, but good friends, partners, and leaders in their communities. That’s a win that goes way beyond the daycare years, and one you should be proud to be part of!