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What We Do

We are very aware that when people first hear the career title 'Childminder' their first thought tends to be that we 'watch the children and occasionally play'. These are words we have had said to us. Which yes, if you aren't in the childcare industry, it is totally feasible to think this, so we have added Twinkl's description to our website so it can be fully understood what we do with the children we work with and their families too!

What is a childminder?

 A childminder is a type of early years' provider, normally one of 1-3 adults who look after children in a setting, usually a home. Typically, the home will belong to one of the childminders, and the other adults may be people who live with the childminder (siblings, partner, or their own children), or people the childminder employs to assist with their business. To be classed as childminding, childcare has to take place for at least two hours in a single day.

 Childminding can be an alternative to a nursery or after-school club. Young children who are not yet at school age may spend an entire day with their childminder, whilst older children may just be there for a few hours after school.

What are the two main types of childminding?

Here in England, there are two main types of childminding:

  1. Early Years Childminders - These childminders look after children from birth until the 31st of August following their 5th birthday.

  2. Later Years Childminders - Later years childminders look after any children over the age of 5.

Each type of childminding has its own legal register that childminders must be on. It is possible to be on both registers if you look after a wide range of children.

What does a childminder do?

A lot of people think a childminder’s daily duties simply revolve around meeting children’s needs. They are expected to keep

them fed, clean, safe, and happy. Of course, this is part of what childminders do! But a childminder's duties and

responsibilities cover lots more, too.

A Childminder's Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Childminders provide day-to-day care for their children. They change nappies and keep children comfortable, clean, and safe. Childminders have a duty to take note of allergies and specific needs when providing food and care, too.

  • Planning fun activities to make sure children’s needs are met. Often they encourage social time with other children, making sure activities are age-appropriate.

  • Their top priority is keeping children safe while their parents are busy or unable to do so. A childminder has a responsibility to provide a safe environment that is free from dangers - from dangerous surfaces to allergens.

  • Childminders must offer an emotionally safe space. They help children to feel happy and safe while with them and work with families to support children's mental health and wellbeing.

  • Much of a childminder's time can include paperwork. For example, writing and following risk assessments and emergency procedures. Childminders will often be in charge of their own documents. They'll organise a routine with clients, sort out personal data for families, and adhere to data protection.

There's another often overlooked part of a childminder's duties and responsibilities that takes up a lot of a childminder’s time. An equally important part of the role is assisting with children’s learning and development. All childminders registered with an early years childminder agency must follow the EYFS statutory framework. This is in the exact same way that early years practitioners, nursery teachers, and school staff do. This means that a large part of what childminders do revolves around supporting young children’s development and education. Following this government guidance, childminders also have a responsibility to:

  • Plan and provide activities, experiences, or educational programmes. Their activities should cover all areas of prime and specific learning. These should be age-appropriate and informed by each child's needs.

  • Help children work towards early learning goals (ELGs). The aim of these is to ensure they have the appropriate level of knowledge, skills, and understanding by the time they’re five years old and begin school.

  • Observing and assessing children regarding their progress, and reporting this back to parents and carers. They may be involved in planning the next steps to help each child on their own learning journey.

Skills and Qualities of a Childminder
 It's important to us to note that Louisa and Hannah both hold a Level 3  qualification as Early Years Educators. 
To learn more about us, please click here.

Working as a childminder requires a variety of key skills and qualities.

  • Patience and Understanding - Like all jobs working with children, having patience for the children and families you work with is key. Whether that's while a child is adjusting to a new space, while you're working out how to communicate with a new family, or just over a stressful day.

  • Love for children - If you're a childminder, you're going to be working with children a lot! Having a love for children is a helpful quality to motivate a childminder and help them enjoy their day-to-day work.

  • Flexibility - Childminders may care for a range of children, from toddlers and very young children to providing holiday or after-school care for older children. Flexibility around children's needs, changing interests, daily temperaments, and even the weather is key.

  • Working Well Under Pressure - Like any job working in childcare, there will be some periods of stress. This might be day- to-day stresses like building up to pick up time, juggling food at mealtime, or looking after children of multiple ages at the same time. But childminders must also be prepared to deal with accidents or emergencies if and when they arise. Being able to provide safe care and respond quickly and calmly in a high-pressure situation is a key skill for childminders to be able to respond in a way that keeps children safe.

  • People Skills - Of all the skills and qualities of a childminder, having people skills is one of the most important. Childminders work face to face with children and families; building relationships as clients and as key figures for growing children. This enables you to build a strong professional relationship, which helps when starting off and building a business as a childminder, whilst making the experience enjoyable for you and your families.

  • First Aid Training - Ofsted requires registered childminders to have at least one member of staff with first aid raining working at all times. This allows childminders to work to safeguard children and respond to emergencies quickly and
    appropriately.

  • Safeguarding - Ofsted requires registered childminders to hold a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
    certificate which comes from a day's training. More inofrmation on what this intails can be found here.

  • Basic Technical Skills - Whether a childminder works for themselves or with a wider agency, being able
    to use technology like computers is regularly required. This might be for contacting and communicating
    with parents and families, or keeping paperwork and records up to date and organised. This might mean
    the papers a
    nd policies like risk assessments which are needed, or even looking after financial records.

 

How is childminding regulated?

Ofsted

Similarly to UK schools and nurseries, childminders are subject to Ofsted inspections. The main goal of these inspections is to ensure that the childminder and anyone over the age of 16 who may live or work with them are suitable to care for children. The inspectors will also make sure the home the childminding is happening in is a safe and child-friendly place.

Ofsted inspectors are also responsible for making sure that childminders on the early years' register are able to meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

Childminders can then use their Ofsted rating when advertising their services - this lets people know that they are correctly meeting standards, so they know that their children will be happy and safe.

 

What are the benefits for children?

Whether you're looking for a childminder for a whole day or for after school purposes, going to a childminder can have many benefits for your child:

  • Your child will have all the comforts and security of a home. This will include anything your childminder provides to entertain them

  • such as toys, books, or TV time - just like being at home!

  • There may be other children for them to play and socialise with.

  • A childminder will usually look after fewer children than there would be in a nursery class. This allows your children to develop
    a closer bond with them, as well as allowing the childminder to better understand their needs and the support they may

  • require.

  • Since there are fewer children, this also allows for greater flexibility in regard to trips! This could mean time at the local play
    park etc.

What are the benefits for families?

  As parents, it can be difficult leaving your child with someone new for extended amounts of time, especially if its the first time. 
There are many benefits to choosing a childminder over a setting such as nursery, preschool or school , these are some of them:

  •  Due to the personal nature that a childminding setting can provide, we can ensure that each child and parent creates a close relationship with us. This includes updates, photos and contact regularly throughout the day and outside of work hours if needed (when reasonable).

  •  We are here to support you as much as we are the children. We offer a helping hand, advice and support as and when you may need it.

  • Our hours and days are a lot more flexible compared to that of a nursery, preschool or school.

  • Often childminders are cheaper than a larger setting.

  • There are plenty of opportunities for a chat around collections or personal meetings can be arranged if needed.

  • We are trained to safeguard both adults and children around us.

 

How to be a registered childminder:

If you’re wondering how to be a registered childminder in the UK, here are the essential steps you need to take and the memberships you need to obtain. Firstly, you must be over 18 and have no previous bans or disqualifications from working with children. You'll need an enhanced criminal record check with DBS to verify this. You'll also need first aid training and childcare training, which can be obtained through your local council.

Then, to become a childminder, you need to register with Ofsted or a childminder agency. It’s required that you register as a childminder if all the following statements apply to the childcare you wish to carry out:

  • You’ll be looking after children under the age of 8;

  • Childcare will take place for more than 2 hours a day;

  • You’ll be caring for children in your own home;

  • You’ll receive payment (of any kind) to care for the children.

There are costs involved when becoming a registered childminder: The Ofsted registration fee is £35 for the Early Years register and the Childcare Register, or £104.00 for just the Childcare Register. Fees charged by childminder agencies will differ depending on the agency you choose, and the services they offer.

 - Majority (but not all information), sourced from https://www.twinkl.co.uk

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