Hi my name is Dani I am on the last unit for the Level 3 Early Years Educator pearl.course. One of the questions asks me to discuss the importance of reflection in relation to professional development with others in an online forum. To do this i have to share my research and was explore this with others and find out their thoughts on the importance of reflection in early years practice. Since starting my studies, I am constantly re-evaluating what I do and looking at ways to improve my practice. However this something that I discovered I do naturally. Do others feel the same or do they approach it as more of a formal process? MY research : There are two main theories that have influenced people’s understanding of the process of reflection, in relation to professional development; Kolb’s learning cycle and Gibbs’ reflective cycle. These are outlined below. Kolb’s Learning Cycle Kolb suggested that there was a learning cycle, which could be used to help people reflect on their learning. The cycle includes four processes which Kolb suggested need to take place for effective learning.Concrete experience – ‘doing something’. In an early years setting, this could be teaching a child how to use some scissors. Reflective observation – ‘reviewing and reflecting’ on the experience. Which elements of teaching the child were a success and which didn’t work so well? Abstract conceptualisation – ‘developing new ideas’. This might mean thinking of activities involving cutting that link to a child’s interests, cutting out pictures of things that interest them, that will lead to discussion. Active experimentation – ‘putting in to practice’ the new ideas. Carrying out the activity using the new ideas.The cycle means that once we have carried out our new ideas, we reflect on these once more and so the cycle continues. In relation to professional development, it is thought that the cycle allows you to reflect on your practice, think of new ideas, put these in to practice and reflect on these; a process of continuous evaluation and reflection leading to improvements in practice. Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle Gibbs adapted Kolb’s work to develop a more structured approach which could be used to help people reflect on their responses to certain situations, and come to conclusions about what they could do differently next time. The cycle suggests that following an incident or situation that arises, you think about what happened and how you felt at the time. You then evaluate it considering whether it was it good or bad and why. You then go on to analyse why it happened and what conclusions could be reached. An action plan is then drawn up.In relation to professional development, Gibbs’ reflective cycle provides a structured approach for practitioners to reflect on how they react or manage a situation or incident.You would consider, for example, how a situation could have had a different, more positive outcome considering a range of questions that may have impacted on the situation. For example, how was the practitioner feeling at the time and did this this effect his / her response? The evaluation step asks the question if the response was the right one and if not the analysis allows us to understand why this could be and what we could do to improve this. The conclusion brings together the information about the incident in order to form an action plan to prevent this situation happening again. This could be gaining knowledge about the development of a child of this age and ways to manage unwanted behaviour, strategies to diffuse a situation such as this.In my own practice I can see how both cycles can be effectively used in day to day practice to evaluate and improve. Firstly, Kolb's reflective observation encourages me to consider how well an activity went, what was a success and what could be changed this helps me to plan future activities better and what changes could be made to resources and the change to my own approach , these changes will be made to the activity so that the learning experience is improved for the child. The Gibbs reflective cycle concentrates more on the reasons for the children's behaviour. For me this cycle encourages deeper reflection about my own feelings and emotions and the impact these had.