What is Reflective Practice in Childcare?

Reflective Practice in Childcare

As an early childcare provider, staff at Eikoh encounter various weird and wonderful situations throughout the day, as we offer children the opportunity to learn, play and grown under our care and attention.  

So what is reflective practice in childcare, and how do we implement this within our Seminar centres? This article will delve into the topic to help you understand the different types, benefits and examples of reflective practice to give you a better understanding for you and your child.

Table of Contents

  • What is Reflective Practice in Childcare?
  • The Different Types of Reflection in Childcare
    – Critical Reflection
    – Meaningful reflection
  • The Benefits of Reflective Practice in Early Learning
  • Examples of Reflection in Childcare
  • Conclusion

What is Reflective Practice in Childcare?

Reflective practice is the process of learning from everyday situations and concerns that arise while working in an early childhood setting. It’s all about taking a step back and critically examining not only what happened, but why this happened.

This guides future decision-making and helps us learn from, and improve, our practice hereafter, as we can see what parts are working well, and what can be improved upon. We analyse different components of the experiences we offer to the children in our care, so we know what to repeat, extend or make changes to. This practice involves actively seeking out information, analysing and interpreting it to improve our approach, and ultimately provide better care for the children in our campuses.

What is reflective practice in childcare

The Different Types of Reflection in Childcare

There are different types of reflective practice that we use, including reflection-in-action, reflection-on-action, and reflection-for-action.

Reflection-in-action happens in the moment, when we make decisions in response to our current surroundings and the situation at hand.

Reflection-on-action involves thinking about experiences after the event. This gives us the chance to question how and why a practice helped or hindered a child’s learning.

Reflection-for-action is a proactive way of thinking about future action. When doing this, we will look at different approaches and finetune our existing practices to improve future outcomes.

There are different ways of “reflecting” but this all boils down to the same ongoing process: observing, listening, thinking about what you have observed and heard, then using the information to inform future practices to help enrich a child’s quality of learning while building our own knowledge.

Critical Reflection

Critical reflection in childcare involves learning from everyday situations and problems by regularly asking questions of yourself and your actions. This will help you strive to understand how things happened to better inform future planning. This is key to making improvements that will support children’s learning.

This practice encourages educators and staff to think about their provision of education and care from alternative viewpoints and gather information from different perspectives to gain a deeper understanding of the work carried out. This will then help identify a caregiver’s strengths and highlight areas where there is room for improvement. 

Meaningful reflection

Reflection is an important part of learning that pushes the learner to think more deeply or differently, so what is meaningful reflection in childcare? This involves thoughtful consideration and analysis of an educator’s actions, decisions and interactions with the children in our care.

By encouraging educators to examine the underlying principles, values and outcomes of their teaching methods and practices, it will help improve the quality of care given.

benefits of reflective practice

The Benefits of Reflective Practice in Early Learning

Ultimately, the goal of reflective practice in childcare for educators is to gain a better understanding of teaching and learning to improve the teaching practice, and there are many benefits to this.

Not only does it provide evidence of where improvements are needed in certain areas, but it also helps to identify the barriers which may be having an impact on an individual child’s ability to learn effectively.

By forcing teachers to stop and think about their actions, it encourages change. This will result in a plan being put in place to better a child’s experience, and it can help the educator identify the best ways to do this. This will also improve on the teaching itself, as it promotes better self-awareness.

The child will benefit from this practice, as it allows those in the role of care to gain a better perspective on their individual strengths and abilities.

Examples of Reflection in Childcare

So, how do you implement reflective practice in childcare into your daily routine?

Reviewing interactions means reflecting on things that have happened and considering what worked well and could be improved, for example, analysing how to handle a conflict between two children. Being aware of these events is the first step in critical reflection. Analysis can be improved by seeking advice from others to gain a deeper understanding of a situation.

This can also be done by asking questions that help children explore and expand on their ideas and thoughts as well as using verbal instruction to demonstrate a task that will help a child’s comprehension.

By showing a genuine interest in a child when they communicate their feelings, it helps build their self-confidence when communicating how they feel. Furthermore, by monitoring a child’s progress, you are providing a supportive framework  for them to approach challenges and grow.


By engaging in reflective practices, educators can refine their approach and the quality of care given to children in our Seminars. This helps contribute to the positive outcomes for children in early childcare settings.

If you’d like to find out more about our North Shore Sydney Centres, located in Normanhurst, St Ives, Roseville, and West Ryde, then get in touch today. We are committed to delivering reasonably priced, high-quality education and care to all children in our care.