Operation Cooperation

Operation Cooperation offers children, their parents, and their teachers the chance to broaden their awareness of other faith groups, break down barriers, and increase skills in working together productively through exercises that foster and measure cooperation.  As our society rapidly becomes more diverse and the world becomes more interdependent, learning to work together and to win together is a must. This holds true for all children, including those who are being raised within a strong faith community. Providing children with the opportunity to communicate and problem-solve with a wide range of their peers helps them become more cooperative, more tolerant, and more respectful of others in their communities and the world.

Formal discussions of religious faiths are not part of planned activities. Instead, the EnTeam workshops give children and adults practice working together to overcome challenges through collaboration. Teachers and parents can answer questions in their own classrooms and homes after the workshops. Our goal is to provide positive experiences with diversity without engaging in discussion of theology.

Timeline

Operation Cooperation consists of four events throughout the year, each event taking place at a different school in the program.

September

  • Icebreaker
  • Play win-win games (90 min)
  • Snack & get-to-know-you time (30 min)

November

  • Icebreaker
  • Play win-win games (90 min)
  • Snack & get-to-know-you time (30 min)

February

  • Icebreaker
  • Link win-win games to future service learning (90 min)
  • Snack & get-to-know-you time (30 min)

April

  • Service learning activity (linked to win-win games) done together

The St. Louis Experience

Cooperation Operation began with workshops for teachers in 2001 and developed into the current format in 2002. Third grade students and their teachers and parents from four different faith-schools participate: Al-Manara Academy (Muslim), St. Monica Catholic School (Catholic), Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School (Jewish), Kirk Day School (Protestant, Christian).

  • Each school takes a turn hosting the other schools for a workshop lasting less than two hours.
  • Parents drive the students from their school to the host school and help facilitate the activities.
  • Parents do not solve the simulation’s challenges for the students. Parents and teachers let the students figure out solutions.
  • The workshops have three elements:
    – Icebreaker activities to get acquainted and prepare to work together
    – Collaborative problem-solving activities using EnTeam games or other games – followed by time for debriefing
    – Social time with snacks

  • The students are organized into teams that include representatives of each school
  • The role of parents is to serve as facilitator of a team of students. Each team has two parent-facilitators from different schools. Teachers assist the students and parents as needed.

Benefits to participating schools, students and parents

  • Students are exposed to their peers from other faiths.
  • Students learn to cooperate productively through win-win games that measure how effectively they cooperate.
  • Teachers and parents learn to facilitate win-win games and to understand the benefits of teaching cooperation to students.

Want more information?

EnTeam is looking to expand Operation Cooperation.  If you want to get a program started in your city or if you simply want more information please send us an email: enteam@enteam.org