Reflective practice is a key part of working with young children. Early Years Practice by Elaine Hallet features a great first chapter on being a reflective early years professional. The book is dotted with “stories of practice” to put theory in context and the below is one such story that perfectly illustrates the value of reflective practice in developing as an early years professional.
Story of practice: a reflective educator
Marietta is an early years educator working in a toddler room in a daycare setting. Here, she reflects on her recent appraisal with her manager who described her as being reflective, and on how this helped change her practice. Marietta considered how she had done this and realized that the following three questions helped with her reflective thinking and change in practice when she reviewed the snack-time routine:
What is happening?
Marietta observed that some children did not stay for very long at an activity, sometimes not long enough to fully complete it.
How is it happening?
Adults were interrupting children’s concentration, by taking children away from their activity for the snack.
What can change?
A change in snack time from a fixed routine to a flexible routine, where children can go to the snack area when they are ready, would help children engage in their activity learning in a sustained way. The change in routine would make snack time more child-centred, the routine fitting around the child, rather than the child fitting into the routine.