Role of the Practitioner

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ll early years practitioners have a role to play in quality improvement by developing their personal and professional skills as reflective practitioners. Linda Thornton and Pat Brunton discuss what you can do

The quality of provision in any early years settings is dependent on the skills, attitudes, knowledge and experience of everyone who works there. Reflective practice is the key to quality improvement as it helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different aspects of a setting’s provision.

Being a reflective practitioner involves thinking about how you currently work and evaluating what you do in order to improve your practice. The reflective practitioner stands back, takes a balanced view and recognises what works well, but is also able to acknowledge what could be changed. To be a reflective practitioner you need to be self aware and able to look as objectively and honestly as possible at how you work with children, colleagues and parents. This is not easy, but taking a proactive role, reflecting on and analysing your own practice is far more rewarding than relying on someone in a more senior position to do this for you. Evaluating your own practice helps to put you in control of the changes that should be made, enables you to identify your professional development needs and will increase your confidence and feelings of job satisfaction.

Reflective practice and self evaluation are fundamental to the Ofsted inspection process. By completing the Self Evaluation Form (SEF) managers and setting leaders are able to provide a snapshot of what happens in a setting. Through the SEF they can clearly identify the setting’s strengths and highlight what it does well. At the same time they can acknowledge any weaknesses in provision and plan the changes and improvements to be made. However, managers cannot achieve this alone. They are reliant on all practitioners in the setting taking responsibility for the quality of their individual practice and...
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