I've been enjoying engaging with educators and leaders on Facebook on various early childhood community pages. Many of the questions asked resonate from my work with educators and my own experiences. My comments often involve looking at current practice and reviewing how this could work more effectively for the educators, the children and their families.
The concept of self review has been around for a while. The idea that practice is observed, reflected on, discussed, analysed and changes made to improve practice. So how does self review work? How do educators and leaders take time from their busy day to undertake this process?
Self review involves educators and leaders taking a look at their practices and deciding what they would like to replicate or change by identifying what's working well and what's not. It begins by noticing some aspect of practice and wondering how this impacts on children's well being and learning. It is part of everyday practice to notice what is happening, educators do this hundreds of times each day and make practice decisions from what they notice.
The next step is reflecting on what was noticed and discussing this with colleagues, formalising those practice decisions. There is always room for multiple voices in these discussions so including the children's ideas is powerful. They can offer some insightful and creative comments! Together plan some aspects you want to look more deeply at, for example one of the recent topics of discussion was about transitions to group times.
For this topic educators might ask: How are children experiencing these transitions? How are transitions supporting how we implement our program? What are the children learning from the activities they are transitioning to?
Gathering information to answer the review questions is the next step. This can take many forms. Observations of practice; children's and educators' voices; video and sound recordings. The key is to have evidence that is a fair representation of the practice under review and that provides enough information to inform judgements about the practice.
Analysing the evidence gathered allows educators to see patterns or trends, issues that might recur and those gems from children. Being open to the information gathered allows the review participants to make good decisions about what to do next. This may be very different from the original idea for the review or the information may confirm current beliefs.
Taking action using the information from the review is a powerful way to improve practice. Evidence based reviews support leaders and educators to empower change, even in the most reluctant educator! Remember to record the review process and add this to your Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). Follow up on the changes made over time to ensure the actions taken are improving quality.
So there's a quick outline of steps you can take to review an aspect of your practice. I am in the process of developing some resources to support you further. Watch this space as I will be sharing these here.
Please contact me on 0452 374 733 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.