Spotlight on the 4 Cs – Collaboration

 

This is part two of a four part series on the four Cs of STEM. New here or want a review of what STEM or the 4Cs mean? Check out this article!

 

Building off of our last chat about the 4Cs, it’s time to put all those communication skills to the test with collaboration! In order for kids to be able to collaborate effectively, they rely on solid communication skills. Sharing their ideas in a way that makes sense to others, along with actively listening to their teammates allows collaboration to happen. 

Just like our own endless Google Docs and miles long email chains, we practice what we preach when it comes to collaboration! Parents today see the value in being able to work together and be sure everyone’s ideas are included because it’s a part of our everyday lives. The old motto “no one is smarter on their own than we all are together” totally rings true here.

What Does Collaboration Look Like for Kids?

But for our kids, working together can often feel challenging. During late preschool, kids begin to understand that their peers have thoughts, ideas and opinions. With that comes the realization that not everyone agrees with them – which can be a total shock! Practicing the art of compromise in a safe, supportive environment is a perfect place to start. 

Note - This skill can be one that takes a lot of time and patience for some kids to develop. Remember that practice makes progress but don’t expect 0 to 60 overnight :)

What Can We Do at Home?

-MODEL MODEL MODEL! You’ll hear us suggest this a lot but it’s completely true – our kids are always watching! Making a decision with your partner in front of your kids? Show off your collaboration skills with a calm conversation that shows off your awesome communication skills.

-When faced with a problem, ask for your kids’ input! Lead with open ended questions, like “What should we have for dinner?” can be a great way to think about everyone’s preferences and come up with a solution that will be best for the group.

-We love the term notice and narrate – repeat what you see to help kids understand the big picture. An example – “I notice you’re not sure what to build next with Legos. I wonder what plan you’ll come up with that will be best for the team!”

-Be there to support! Feeling like you aren’t getting your way can be really tricky for kids and can cause big emotions. Acknowledge when you see your kids working hard to be a team player, even if the outcome wasn’t what they wanted.

So What’s Next?

Now that you’re armed with the tools to develop strong communication and collaboration skills - we get to test them out! Next up is critical thinking!

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