Practitioners are increasingly being expected to engage in their own research and work towards quality improvement. At the same time, professional learning for continuous improvement is expected and sometimes mandated for early childhood educators. This Research in Practice Series title focuses on critical reflection and showcases how educators can think about issues more deeply and in divergent ways to support practitioner research. This is important for early childhood settings and forms a crucial part of educators’ professional learning processes because it provides a scaffold for examining thinking, issues and events, and allows educators to move beyond ‘usual practices’ and unexamined thinking. It provides a platform to begin constructive change.
When critical reflection is used alongside action research, it can be transformative for practice at personal and whole-service levels. A practical explanation of action research is included in the book to support educators in their professional learning journey towards becoming critically reflective practitioner-researchers. Two case studies are included that show action research projects. These will assist educators in imagining and planning their own practitioner action research aimed at improving quality in centres.