Reflection refers to our ability to think critically about the quality of our practice, recognizing wins—and missed opportunities. We do this by paying close attention to how our actions have an impact on the people and processes around us.
During and after a CQI cycle, directors and teachers should reflect on all they’ve done to improve their practices and the quality of the early learning program. Each CQI cycle can provide new information about the strengths and weaknesses of the program or of a specific classroom. Importantly, reflection on CQI cycles can also tell you more about the needs of children, families, or staff to support future improvement efforts.
Reflection is the process of bringing all this new information to light by asking yourself questions such as, “What about this is working well? What isn’t working well? How do I know?”
Reflection can be difficult. So researchers have broken it down into four key steps:
Stopping to reflect throughout your workday is a powerful way to improve the management of your program or classroom. But it’s especially important to reflect on the specific quality improvement activities included in your CQIP.
After you create a CQIP, you will have action items to complete. These are often things like engaging in professional development, putting new skills into practice, and/or completing a specific requirement. What follows are some questions that you can ask yourself after completing each type of action item. The more you practice asking these types of questions, the better you will get at reflection!
After engaging in professional development
After putting a new skill into practice
After completing a specific requirement