We are both academics who support our students to reflect within practice-related courses at the Open University (OU). Reflection has established itself as an important part of theory and practice with children and young people. It is an activity that practitioners can do alone or with others to evaluate and learn more about the practices with which they are engaged. Practitioners can also model a reflective approach and facilitate children and young people’s reflection on the world around them. Reflecting on and within practice necessitates the provision and consideration of different kinds of space. In this chapter we consider reflective spaces (physical, relational and philosophical) where knowledge, theory, values and meaning are critically shared, applied and developed. A reflective space can be a dedicated place designed for personal or collective reflection, such as a journal, blog or team meeting, but it can also be an entire setting such as a classroom, playground, or a care environment for children and young people who are Looked After. Our exploration of how children and young people are integral to the reflective process draws upon ideas from the Reggio Emilia approach including the ‘listening context’ and the use of ‘documentation’. Here we look at the nature of reflection and its relationship to these different kinds of space. We argue that for reflection to achieve its potential, attention must be given to the creation, meaning and maintenance of these spaces, recognising that for practitioners there can be many practical and organisational barriers to be overcome if this is to be achieved.
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