This study investigates how full-time undergraduates in Early Years conceptualise and judge good practice and how they evaluate and reflect on their own performance. It examines how students use reflective processes, and how the teaching of reflection supports the development of their individual professional vision, values and ethics. Data were gathered from first- and second-year students using semi-structured questions in interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussions. They conceptualise good practice as a combination of academic knowledge, interpersonal skills and intuitive responses to individual situations and report that they understand the processes of reflection. However, students continue to rely on other people to confirm that their practice is competent or good, and are reluctant to use or trust their own judgements about their performance. This indicates that a new pedagogic approach is required to instil in students greater acceptance of their placement experiences as vehicles for learning, and more confidence in their own abilities and authority to judge professional practice.