Stages of Team Partnerships

Updated: May 23

Autumn is often a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. Many educators find themselves entering new team partnerships with colleagues amongst their programs or returning to former partnerships after some time apart. Positive educator teams are vital for high quality child care to occur. It is natural for teams to flow through four phases throughout their time together. Identified as Tuckman’s theory, teams will go through the following stages forming, storming, norming and performing.

Knowing what to expect and how to approach each phase will allow educators to create positive working relationships. Forming: During the forming stage, team members may be excited to work with each other or they may be anxious, unsure of what to expect. During this time, it is likely that team members will be polite and on their best behaviour.

During this time it is helpful to establish clear objectives for the team and create a clear vision for the team. Storming: During the storming phase, team members may begin to push boundaries against the established status quo. Many teams fail during this stage.

During this stage, the importance of building trust, safety and positive relationships with team members is vital.

Establish clear process and structures within the team, while also allowing for flexibility and adaptiveness. During this stage, resolving conflicts swiftly and respectfully is imperative to moving forward.


Once a team reaches the norming stage team members are able resolve their differences and can appreciate colleagues strengths. Providing opportunities for team members to take responsibility and contribute to the team’s success helps


At this stage, the team is running well. There is respect and value shared amongst team members and everyone is contributing to the success of the program. Team members feel respected and valued. During this stage, ensuring that there is continued clarity for who is responsible for tasks and projects and the workload is shared amongst team members. Continue to set goals as a team to continue to grow and develop with focus on the overall vision for the team.

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