The Importance of Reflective Practice in Early Years Apprenticeships

The Importance of Reflective Practice in Early Years Apprenticeships

Early Years Apprenticeships play a pivotal role in nurturing the development of young minds, shaping their cognitive abilities, and providing a solid foundation for future learning. In this dynamic and critical field, continuous professional development (CPD) and reflective practice are indispensable components for aspiring educators. We have looked into the significance of reflective practice in Early Years Apprenticeships and explored how it contributes to fostering growth, improving teaching methods, and ultimately benefiting the children under their care.


Why Take CPD?

Continuous professional development (CPD) is an ongoing process of learning, acquiring new skills, and improving existing ones, all while staying up-to-date with the latest research and methodologies in the early childhood education domain. In Early Years Apprenticeships, CPD is not just a box-ticking exercise but a pathway to becoming a more competent and confident practitioner. CPD allows apprentices to:

Early Years Lead Practitioner Level 5 apprentice supporting child


  • Stay current: The field of early childhood education is constantly evolving, with new insights and discoveries emerging. CPD ensures apprentices are well-informed about the latest practices and theories, enabling them to provide the best possible care and education to children.

  • Enhance professionalism: Engaging in CPD demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and a passion for personal and organizational growth. By seeking out learning opportunities, apprentices exemplify dedication to their profession.

  • Broaden Perspectives: CPD exposes early years apprentices to diverse ideas and methodologies, encouraging them to think critically and creatively about their approach to teaching and learning. This broadening of perspectives enriches their educational practices.

Effective CPD

To make the most of CPD opportunities, early years apprentices can follow these guidelines:

  • Set Clear Goals: Define specific and achievable CPD goals that align with personal and professional aspirations. Clear goals provide direction and purpose to the learning process.

  • Diversify Learning Methods: Explore a variety of CPD formats, such as workshops, online courses, conferences, and reading materials. Diversifying learning methods ensures a well-rounded and comprehensive development experience.

  • Implement and Evaluate: After engaging in CPD, apprentices should implement the newly acquired knowledge and skills in their practice. Regularly evaluating the impact of CPD on their teaching methods ensures effectiveness and growth.


How to Be Reflective

Becoming a reflective practitioner requires dedication and the willingness to engage in a continuous learning process. Here are some steps that early years apprentices can follow to foster reflective practice:

  • Keep a Reflective Journal: Maintaining a reflective journal can be a powerful tool for recording daily experiences, thoughts, and insights. It encourages apprentices to analyse their actions and emotions, leading to a deeper understanding of their teaching practices. At Best Practice Network we use an online journal website called Penzu, that you will record your practice and reflect on experiences. 
The reflective Cycle


  • Regular Meetings and Discussions: Collaborative discussions with colleagues or mentors can be incredibly valuable in gaining fresh perspectives and generating new ideas. Group discussions foster a culture of learning and promote self-awareness. During your apprenticeship, you will have reviews with your Apprenticeship Tutor once every 6 weeks, where you can reflect on your practice. We also encourage sharing practice in our monthly webinars with other apprentices from across the country. This is a great opportunity to share experiences and learn from your peers.

  • Questioning and Challenging Assumptions: Early years apprentices should question their assumptions and challenge established practices. Embracing a curious and open mindset will lead to innovative and more effective teaching methods.


Feedback and Reviews

Feedback and reviews are integral to the reflective practice cycle. Early years apprentices can seek feedback from multiple sources, such as supervisors, colleagues, parents, and even the children themselves. Constructive feedback helps identify areas of improvement and validates successful strategies.

In the realm of Early Years Apprenticeships, reflective practice and CPD are not optional extras but crucial components for professional growth and improved outcomes for children. Embracing reflective practice enables apprentices to evolve as more effective, compassionate, and insightful educators. By consistently striving for excellence through CPD and reflective practice, early years apprentices can create a positive and lasting impact on the lives of the young minds they nurture.

Find out more about our Early Years Apprenticeships 

We have three levels of Early Years apprenticeships for practitioners at all levels of their careers. Reflective practice is important at every stage. Please click the link below for more information on our programmes. 

Early Years Apprenticeships