As an early year’s professional, you wish to ensure that the children in your setting receive the best possible care and learning during their time with you. This can be easily achieved by adopting a dedicated reflective practice approach to childcare. Reflective practice provides numerous benefits for children and parents, you personally, and your team and nursery.

Reflective teaching practice promotes your professional growth by giving you a better understanding of your strengths and development needs as a teacher by taking a few minutes to reflect every day after teaching to note down your positive experiences along with any challenging ones. Giving yourself time to consider and find ways to improve problem areas at a later date will help you to improve your teaching practice.

Reflecting on a child’s observation will help you to think more deeply about a child as an individual learner with unique needs. It will help you to analyse your children’s learning, behaviour and needs, while learning about their personalities and traits. It will also help you to develop techniques for your children with additional focus requirements.

Reflection encourages self-evaluation, and informed discussion to identify settings strengths and priorities for development. Practitioners should be encouraged to gather observational evidence rather than just data, engage in cycles of planning and review regularly which are informed by accurate observation and other records you have recorded.

It encourages you to reflect on what you have noticed to help you understand the child/children and to consider how best to support a child in their development and learning.

How can the ILD help me reflect?

The ILD allows you to reflect in different ways to help you improve your knowledge about a child, improve your teaching methods and your environment.

Child reflection

It allows you to reflect on any of your observations through the Observation Manager, helping you to gain a deeper understanding of what you have observed related to a child, how they learn and allows you to highlight their strengths and areas that require additional focus. Each reflection will be added to the child’s timeline, next to the observation, for reference and evidence of your deeper understanding of the child’s individuality.

A reflection can be written based on a child’s behaviour or learning through the reflection module, helping you to gain a deeper understanding of a child’s personality and individual needs.

A child reflection can also be written from the planning module when reflecting on your planning and teaching at the end of the day or the week. This will help you to identify any children who are working above, on track or below your level of teaching. You can reflect on which children have achieved the learning intention and those who may need additional support in a specific area.

Practitioner reflection

You can reflect on your practice under the reflection module. All practitioner reflections will remain private to you as an individual unless you wish to discuss them with your colleagues or line manager. This will help you to identify your strengths and development needs to improve your practice and help you grow as a practitioner.

The weekly planning module allows you to add private practitioner reflections so you can reflect on your planning, your teaching practices, and methods, helping you to identify what went well and any areas that could be improved.

Environmental reflection

Environmental reflections can be written from the reflection module, helping you to identify where you can improve the environment where you teach. All users can access the environmental reflections so you can work on these improvements as a team. Taking the time together to reflect on your surroundings creates an environment which puts the child at the centre of their learning, enabling them to reach their full potential. Sharing all ideas and resources from your team enables you to become innovative, confident, engaged, and responsible.

The weekly planning module also allows you to reflect on your environment and the resources used in your planning. Allowing you to ascertain which resources needed improving on and which you would reuse.