The National Quality Standard (1.3.2) states that "Critical reflection on children's learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, drives program planning and implementation."
Critical reflection is a key aspect of an early childhood educator's professional and reflective practice. However it takes time to develop the skills of critical reflection and can feel confusing at first. Rather than being overwhelmed though, you can tell yourself that you're learning and ask your manager and other educators for help when you need it.
And even for experienced educators, it's important to keep growing professionally and revisit your skills of critical reflection and to "reflect upon your critical reflection."
We encourage you to use the questions below in your team or staff meeting, alone or with a partner to keep learning and growing your skills and knowledge regularly and systematically.
As an individual, with a partner or with a group of other educators, discuss the following to explore your understanding and practice of critical reflection:
● The Guide to the NQS says that "[Critical Reflection] takes reflective practice to a different level". What do you think this means? How would you explain the difference between critical reflection and reflective practice to others?
● Would critical thinking normally take place before, during or after an activity, event or experience?
● What are some examples of how you practice critical reflection individually and as a group at your service?
● What strategies do you use to critically reflect regularly? What do you think regularly means in this context?
● How does critical reflection help you build on your knowledge and skills as an educator? How does it help you to improve opportunities for children's learning?
● How do you document your critical reflection?
● How do you use critical reflection as an ongoing practice at your service? What changes have been arisen and been implemented out of critical reflection?
● Describe a recent time when you critically reflected on something? How did you use "analytical and diagnostic thinking"?
● If you had to tell a new educator two things about critical thinking that you wish you'd known when you started, what would they be?
● Do you find it helpful to use a template and/or standard questions when you're reflecting critically?
● Why is it important to be honest during critical reflection? Why could an educator be worried about being honest in this area?
● What do you think the barriers are to the regular practice of critical reflection?
● Where could you find more information about critical reflection and reflective practice in general?