As the pandemic continues, RECEs may be feeling the stress of various professional responsibilities during these challenging times. We know that many of you are assuming different roles, modifying practice and learning new ways of being and doing. Reflective practice is more important than ever.
What is reflective practice?
Reflective practice, as defined in the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (2017), is an approach used by RECEs to analyze and think critically about their professional practice. The intention is to better understand and improve your practice. Reflective practice is thoughtful, action-oriented and often a collaborative effort with colleagues, children and families. This approach also informs your professional learning, as it allows you to evaluate your strengths and identify challenges to support your continued growth.
“I don’t need to reflect right now – I’ll do it when practice is back to normal.”
With ongoing changes due to the unfolding pandemic it may feel like reflective practice is something that could be deferred until practice is ‘back to normal.’ However, reflective practice is actually essential to assist you with difficult situations and uncertainties. Critical reflection, especially in changing times, can help you and your colleagues evaluate situations, assess risks, solve problems and make important decisions in your daily practices. In addition, reflective practice is key to informing and using your professional judgment effectively. When you consider the Code and Standards, your current knowledge and lived experience, and reflect on your practice and the impact of your choices and actions, you’ll be able to adapt your practice to best support the health, safety and well-being of children, families, your colleagues and, of course, yourself.
Recently, the College has become aware that some RECEs are struggling to adhere to COVID-19 protocols such as:
- reporting when they may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms;
- not allowing families or other outside visitors into the child care setting; and
- screening and/or cleaning protocols and use of personal protective equipment.
Engaging in reflective practice can help RECEs adapt to these changes by identifying additional steps or adaptations that need to be incorporated into professional practice. It is important to participate in self-reflection and collaborative reflection to find:
- ways that you can support yourself and your team with self-care and well-being
- different ways to communicate with children and families (i.e., pedagogical documentation, email, phone calls, videoconferencing)
- moments and activities to help you share your ideas and concerns with your colleagues
- ways to discuss and normalize the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to increase the comfort of both children and educators
The following resources can help you engage in reflective practice. You’ll soon find that you’re not only equipped with the ability to make the best practice decisions for these times, but also become more aware of the strengths that make you resilient.
- Reflective Practice and Self-Directed Learning
- Communities of Practice
- Pause and Reflect scenarios within each of our Practice Guidelines
- Understanding Children’s Emotions in Extraordinary Times + How that Makes You Essential – A special presentation with Dr. Jean Clinton
- Technology Rich Inquiry Based Research, a blog by RECE, Diane Kashin
- Learning Together With Young Children: A Curriculum Framework For Reflective Teachers by Deb Curtis and Margie Carter (2008)
- Reflecting in Communities of Practice: A Workbook for Early Childhood Educators by Deb Curtis, Debbie Lebo, Wendy Cividanes and Margie Carter (2013)