So, why choose a childminder?
There are many advantages to hiring a childminder as opposed to using commercial childcare such as a nursery. One of the main reasons is consistency; it is hugely positive to have the same person look after your child and have the home from home environment your child is used to, here at KidsRock Childminding in Stockpot we feel we make every effort for children and parents to feel part of a loving family.
It is especially useful with young children and babies to be cared for in a childminder setting such as ours as a nursery can be too busy and they can find it stressful. One of the main advantages of using a childminder is that your child will be one of a small group. This means they will have plenty of individual attention.
Here at KidsRock Childminding and most other childminders in the UK we can only care for six children younger than eight, including our own. Only three of these should be five years old or younger unless caring for twins, and only one should be under one year old.
Childminders usually have mixed age groups. If your child doesn’t have any siblings, this is a great opportunity for them to be around older and younger children as both age groups will benefit from learning or teaching one another. If you have two or more children, they can all be cared for together by the same childminder similarly to how they would be cared for at home.
Many childminders are parents themselves, so you'll know you're leaving your child with someone who has experience and confidence when caring for children, I see all the children in my care as an extension of our own family and will be treated us such.
Your child will have at least the same opportunities for learning and development as children in other childcare settings such as nurseries as we all have to follow the same EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) curriculum. We are inspected regularly by Ofsted and our local Childminder Stockport team to ensure that they provide good quality care.
How can you find a childminder?
All childminders have to be registered and inspected by OFSTED in England or CSSIW in Wales, giving you peace of mind that they are carefully regulated. This means they are professional child carers who have undertaken training and professional development.
What qualifications to look out for
Childminders are required to follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS) which provides a structure of learning and care for children from birth to five years old. This ensures that they are trained to create a stimulating environment for your child just the same as a nursery.
They will also be expected to provide toys and activities suitable for the ages being looked after.
Childminders must complete first aid training, Safeguarding and a course that covers topics such as child nutrition, food hygiene and health and safety. Some childminders also complete extra courses to extend their skills.
Here at KidsRock Childminding I have gone on to do courses such as Speech and Language Development, Montessori teaching, learning through play and am also currently studying my Level 3 in Children and Young Peoples Workforce.
Every childminder must be checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service previously called a CRB Check along with all adult members of their family who share their home. They will have their home properly inspected by an appropriate authority, such as OFSTED.
How to make the big decision
You should always meet up with a potential childminder in person at least before deciding to hire their services. This is important for both parties to get to know each other and make sure it feels right for everyone. Not everyone is perfect for your family and I would always tell a [parent to go with your gut instinct.
There are a few cons to having a childminder that be mindful of before you decide if that is the route for you. For instance childminders can't guarantee back-up childcare if they're ill or on holiday, or if they have an emergency, even if they're part of a local childminder network. You should always have your own backup plan in case of an emergency.
Children wont be socialising with larger groups of children whilst with the childminder although here at KidsRock we do team up with other childminders in Stockport and the surrounding areas and attend lots of playgroups and play centres to combat this.
Here are a few helpful questions you should consider asking when visiting other childminders.
How long have you been working with children?
Why do you enjoy being with children?
Have you undertaken any training for your job?
What qualifications do you have?
Can I see the rooms you use for childminding?
Do you have any outside play space? (If there is no outside play space, ask how they will ensure your child gets the chance to play outside i.e. local parks).
What kind of food and drink will you give them?
What will my child do during the day?
How do you encourage good behaviour?
Will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they? How will their timetable fit in with my child?
What happens if my child is unwell?
Do you have a welcome pack/leaflet that tells me about your service?
Can I see your Registration Certificate/SCSWIS Inspection Report/Public Liability Insurance Certificate?
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