Activating Reflections and Using it Within Your Setting
Tapestry Reflections is designed to facilitate and support your reflective practice. It provides a place to gather your thoughts and actions, for staff to connect and have conversations, to evidence your reflective journey and staff professional development, and to celebrate and build on the positives in your setting. Together, your reflections will contribute to improving the outcomes for your children and their families.
Reflections allows you to record what you are thinking, why you are thinking it and what you plan to do. You can link observations or other reflections and add comments, creating your own reflective timeline. This can be about your own personal practice, about the practice of the team as a whole, about specific children and groups of children, or about the practicalities of the learning environment. You can return to edit your reflection at any time, choosing how to share it and what stage it is at. Flags are available to organise your reflections into categories for easy sorting later.
Let’s take a look at some of these functions in more detail.
Choosing the Visibility and Status of your reflection
Tapestry Reflections allows you to select who you would like to share your reflection with through the Visibility options. The default setting is Author and All Managers. You can change this to Author and All Staff so the whole team can join in with the reflective journey.
You can also use the Status choices to let your colleagues know what stage the reflection is at. For example, you can choose ‘Not Ready for Discussion’ when you are still in the early stages of having your ideas. If and when you are ready for others to join in, you can change the status to ‘Ready for Discussion’. Doing this will send a notification to anyone included in the Visibility selection, telling them your reflection is there. You can also choose the status ‘Embedded in Practice’ when you feel you or the team have built on the positives and any changes are now part of everyday practice.
The final status option is ‘Abandoned’ for those reflections that didn’t gather steam! Changing the status of a reflection doesn’t alter the visibility choices.
Linking children to your reflection
Your reflection may be about a specific child, a group of children or it may not relate to any children at all. For example, you may have a small group of children in your setting with a hearing impairment and you have reflected that you would like to increase the number of staff who can use Makaton signing, and work with one of the parents who has a hearing impairment. In Tapestry Reflections you can choose to link the specific children you would like to support to your reflection. Or perhaps you are reflecting on how you would like to make the outdoor construction resources more accessible to the children. In this case you would stay with the default option of ‘Does not relate to any children’.
Linking your reflection to observations or other reflections
Tapestry Reflections builds up a visual timeline showing your reflective process. You can link any prompting observation or reflection to your current reflection. In the timeline, these will show up before the reflection you are making, evidencing why you are having your thoughts. Any observations or reflections that are dated later than your current reflection will show up after it in the timeline, providing evidence for the impact of your reflection. For example, you may have a couple of observations of the children working with the member of staff who can use Makaton signing, and one about how the children were teaching the signs they know to another member of staff and children. These prompted your reflection, which you then create. A few weeks later, you may have some observations of three staff members signing with those children and perhaps one about the children’s self-confidence and self-awareness since Makaton signing is being used more by everyone. These show the impact of your reflection and come after it in your timeline.
Flagging your reflection
The Tapestry Flags are designed to help you categorise your reflections so you can find them later! They are taken from education and research vocabulary and you can choose the ones you would like to use on your account. They include types of Play, Characteristics of Effective Learning, Management and Operations and the Learning Environment. You can then search for all the reflections with that flag – this can be useful if you are planning a staff meeting, in house training, or getting ready for any important visitors!
You can add photos or videos to your reflection. You can add single or multiple files, and be given the status of the upload(s). Once they’re uploaded you always have the option to delete any files as well as editing the media, such as cropping or rotating pictures. This is really useful if you’re used to writing or noting down ideas, and want to upload a picture of your note, with a commentary alongside it, especially if you are getting used to Reflective Practice, or don’t always have an iPad to hand!
Recording the Impact
At some point on your journey you will be ready to record what has happened as a result. Reflections provides an Impact box for this. You can return to your reflection much later to make notes on what went well, what you will carry forward, and perhaps any unexpected outcomes – this may begin another reflection!