Collaboration is one of the four Cs (along with communication, critical thinking and creativity) of 21st-century skills—skills put forth by the National Education Association as most important for K – 12 education.
We all want our children to grow up ready to thrive and collaborate in today’s complex life and work environments. But how do we impart this critical skill?
At Galileo Camps, being collaborative is one of five mindset elements at the core of the Galileo Innovation Approach—the backbone of our programs. We use the following three I-statements to help children understand and activate their powers of collaboration.
- I value the unique perspectives of others.
- I build on the ideas of others.
- I use my strengths to support the work of others.
At home, one way to focus on the meaning and importance of being collaborative is by sharing stories that highlight these sensibilities, your own or those from books, and then discussing how similar themes come up in your child’s world. Below are some of our favorite “Be Collaborative” books:
Duck! Rabbit!, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Based on the well-known optical illusion, two unseen narrators debate a pivotal question about the identity of the book’s adorable main character: is it a duck, or is it a rabbit? Readers will undoubtedly find themselves in one camp or the other and, through clever illustrations, come to appreciate the perspective of the other side. You can watch a read-aloud here.
Wolf in the Snow, by Matthew Cordell
This Caldecott Medal winner tells the heartwarming story of a girl who gets lost in a blizzard on her walk home from school and a wolf pup separated from his pack in the same storm. When the girl encounters the lost pup, she braves the elements to bring the wolf home to his pack. The wolves then help the girl by howling to beckon her searching family. A cross-species collaboration! You can watch a read-aloud here.
Big Pumpkin, by Erica Silverman
In this not-just-for-Halloween book, a witch wants to make pumpkin pie, but she can’t pull hard enough to remove her gigantic gourd from the vine. One at a time, a parade of creatures—a ghost, a vampire and a mummy—try their hand to no avail. Then a tiny bat flies in with an idea. Loosely based on the Russian folktale “The Gigantic Turnip,” we see how anything is possible when individuals combine their strengths to reach a collective goal. You can watch a read-aloud here.
Claymates, by Dev Petty
After the sculptor leaves, two talking lumps of clay start molding themselves, stretching their bodies and their imaginations into increasingly hilarious forms. As they transform, they build on each others’ ideas and then try to return each other to their original state before the artist comes back. By working together, they make something wonderful—including a magical supportive friendship. You can watch a read-aloud here.
Journey, by Aaron Becker
In this stunning, wordless picture book, a lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and escapes into a wondrous world where she creates what her adventure requires with a red crayon. When she frees a caged, purple bird, she is captured by a sinister emperor who throws her crayon into the abyss. This time, it’s the purple bird who lends a hand. In an ending that’s sure to speak to readers of all ages, we learn that behind the purple bird, there’s a new friend with a purple crayon—the girl’s collaborator on this imaginative journey. You can watch a read-aloud here.
Written by Pamela Briskman, Galileo’s Vice President of Education. Pamela has worked in education for more than 25 years and leads the extraordinary team of educators, makers and engineers who create Galileo’s curriculum and the rich design projects you’ll find at camp.