Mentoring in the Early Years Edited by Alison Robins (Paul Chapman Publishing, 16.99, 020 7324 8703) Reviewed by Kay Jaques, manager of children's centres
This book gives a thorough, detailed account of mentoring, with accompanying case studies which will be invaluable to anyone undertaking the role. It will also appeal to anyone interested in reflective practice who wants to improve quality in their setting and outcomes for children.
The chapter by Kate Fowler and Alison Robin considers the degree to which reflection is intuitive and how much this can be developed by careful questioning. They also describe the purpose of both 'reflection in action'
and 'reflection on action'. Janet Murray's chapter helps the reader understand the value and difference between a 'professional critical friend' and a 'practice mentor' in order to decide which would be most beneficial to them.
In other chapters, Eryl Copp, Sarah Kelly and Sue Callan give prospective mentors, managers and students in early years settings an idea of what to expect from a mentor. Victoria Eadie and Melanie Pilcher's chapter is a detailed account of the role of the mentor in supporting students as they collect and collate evidence for study portfolios.
Overall, I feel that this book will encourage readers to develop reflective practice in their settings and that this will help to improve quality.