For reflective practice I would like you to explain your job role and responsibilities (you may have a copy of this with your contract), knowledge skills and understanding and then identify the standards that influence the way your role is carried out. i.e codes of practice, national occupational standards, policies and procedures. Please then assess your knowledge, skills and understanding of the standards, considering areas for personal development. Then I would like you to describe how you ensure personal attitudes or beliefs do not obstruct your quality of work.

Reflecting on practice is an important role within early years. Explain why reflecting on practice and work activities are important in order to develop knowledge skills and practice. Identify where you go for sources of support in your learning and development and describe the process for implementing a personal development plan at your setting and who should be involved within this.

My job as a nursery assistant plays an important role in assisting in the care of young children. I help to organize both fun and educational activities and take care of children’s personal needs; therefore I need to be punctual and reliable. As a Non-qualified assistant I need to be supervised during my work with the children, as I am training on the job and working towards my NVQ Level 2.

My responsibilities are: Taking care of, play with or teach children while they are at the Nursery in the day time. I must be highly trustworthy and attentive to children’s needs. I may have to take care of their hygiene needs.

Some of my tasks are: • Supervising children play time • Engaging children in learning and pay activities • Working with team members • Maintaining a high standard or operation • Attending staff meetings Skills: • Working and Playing with Children • Being Proactive and Motivated • Leadership and Organisation • Professionalism and Teamwork • Communication and Listening • Knowledge of Children’s Story and Nursery Rhymes • Being Flexible and Understanding • Being Happy and Funny • Stress Management and Control • Initiative and Time Management • Taking Care of children

Being a Nursery Assistant involves having extensive knowledge of children. It requires knowing what makes them happy; keeping them entertained and being able to teach them in a way that they can readily understand.

As an early year worker I need to be quick thinking as well as being ready to change my overall approach to meet the needs of the children. To work effectively within the nursery; it is important to reflect and to develop my practice as evaluation of personal effectiveness.

By learning through reflection I can increase my knowledge and skills. It is also a very good tool for contrasting what I say, what I mean and what I actually do.

Standards are a required level of quality, and I have to meet certain standards which include:

Codes of practice, they describe the standards of conduct and practice with which as a nursery assistant, I must carry out the activities and ensure that what I do is competent and consistent with the values of the school. Regulations: Regulations are the rules which the school, teachers and teachers assistant must follow. As a nursery assistant I am expected to follow all policies and procedures and regulations set out by the nursery, I am also expected to keep myself updated with any change in procedures and refresh my memory on old ones.

The national minimum standards for child care settings are issued by the government under section 23 of the care standards act 2000. These standards can be reviewed and changed at any time so the school needs to ensure they are up to date with this to ensure they are providing the care recommended under this act. All nursery staff must have regard to the standards and must also meet regulatory requirements and the conditions of their registration.

The standards focus on securing positive outcomes for children under five and reducing risks to their welfare and safety. Children deserve the best possible for their well-being and development. When parents leave their children with us in the nursery I am entrusted with the care of these children and it’s important that I give the best alternative care possible and that standards are maintained to ensure the safe and well-being of the child.

Taking care of children may include personal hygiene, safety, and other medical or physical needs. I always have to act in the best interest of the children and their needs. I have the duty of care towards myself, the children and my colleagues. As a nursery assistant I should:

Keep my knowledge and skills up to date. To keep any records I make as accurate as possible. To know what must be done to make my job as safe as possible. If I have any concerns about the children’s needs, I would need to make these concerns known. To get additional support and advice from colleagues about how to resolve dilemmas. To report any child’s concerns, taking into consideration his/her feelings and making sure that issues are deal effectively and promptly.

Despite an appreciation of a nursery assistant/ teacher assistant of the potential value of reflective practice, many new teachers assistants choose not to reflect on their practice constructively and critically, preferring to fall back on pre-conceived understandings of how they and the children should conduct themselves in the classroom. These ideas may come from a variety of sources: for example, from media, from positive and/or negative, images of their own tutors, some beliefs and perceptions can be so strong that they persist through time, and in terms of teacher education programmes may act as 'filters' affecting the ways in which such programmes are experienced and approached.

Analysing and learning new schemes and perspectives effectively protect the carers from challenging existing assumptions and beliefs, acting as a mechanism through which 'new' information; advice and experience are accommodated within the school. Without, of course, denying the importance and of practical experience in the learning process, that is to say, the important thing is not to see experience as something that 'lies ahead' and 'outside' of us, waiting for us to learn or not to learn from it, and possessing some kind of inherent value; but rather to concentrate on understanding how and why we experience things the way we do. Critical reflection needs to be a central part of the beginning teacher's early classroom experience.

The very fact of having to cope and survive in the unfamiliar teaching role may seriously and negatively impact our capacity and willingness to reflect constructively on our developing practice; we also take this in consideration: We need to think critically about what we are doing, even in the earliest stages of our professional development; if left unsupported such thinking can all too easily be (come) negative or destructive.

And that consequently it is appropriate for more experienced colleagues to offer constructive guidance on reflective practice that is more likely to lead to positive teaching and learning outcomes and to contribute to the personal and professional happiness of the individual. With teaching, it's not just how I see myself; it's about how I see how other people see me: how I see myself being seen. ... What I inevitably end up doing is looking at the children and judging myself through them.

In the beginning, I found I was trying to do my reflection at the end of the day when I got home, and I was thinking through what had happened in the classroom. But then…. what I started to do at the end of the session of my first practice was I would think about it immediately after the session and then, if I had the opportunity with the nursery teacher, I would maybe discuss issues with her, or if she had maybe observed me with the children then she will give me some feedback.

I think she was probably surprised that I wouldn't have written much down on paper, but I could remember ... whole episodes during the session, almost as they happened, and she was quite surprised that I remembered them so well. But my fault is that I will remember it very well "in nursery" and I just don't find it very easy to get down exactly what I mean on paper. And I do think reflective practice is kind of "up there", but in order for it to cause me to be more reflective I need to be able to write it down, because ... it's a bit like a brainstorm: you put one word down and it triggers off a whole load of other things as well, a whole new world of reflection.

I sort of go over things that have happened, over and over again. I find useful the work of Phil Race because it is so straightforward. He says keep it simple but remember that like ripples on a pond, things keep happening. E.g. whilst we are doing something we are digesting the information and planning what to do.

I have learned a lot from being left alone with the children about myself, because I've constantly being tested by the children. I like being in the environment of the classroom, it’s all about the children; we are learning together. This is a way of learning through reflection-in-action, tactics, and so on? Effective sites of reflection tended to 'shift' as I have become more experienced in the classroom and more experienced at reflecting on practice.

The whole idea of reflective practice is all very well, but it's very individual, and I think we fall too often into the trap of assuming that reflective practice is x, y and z when perhaps for other people it's different ... It's like with teaching: teaching for everybody is different. ... I have learned so much to be more reflective in my practice.

As teachers we get stuck in this same old pattern of whatever, and that's when we do stop reflecting properly. I have only just started reflecting properly, by observing, evaluating and by my life experience.