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Childminders: The Ultimate Guide & Benefits to using a Childminder

Life is full of difficult decisions.

Looking into childcare options for your little ones is right up there.

If you are reading this, it is surely a dilemma that strikes a chord, no-doubt you will have heard about the options of "Childminding" and "Nurseries", which both can be fantastic choices.

But, what is a Childminder and what are the pros and cons of using their service?

In this article we aim to give you and insight into our world so you can make an informed decision. We may be slightly biased (only because it is our passion and privilege), but for those of you who are new to parenthood we hope you find this useful.

So, What is a Childminder?

A Childminder is a self employed person who gets paid to look after children, from a domestic setting.

A childminder must register with either Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education) or a Childminding agency, if all of the following apply:

  • the children are under the age of 8

  • they look after them for more than 2 hours a day

  • they look after them in their own home

  • they get paid to look after them - including payment in kind

The Childcare Act 2006 says that childcare is ‘any form of care for a child, including education or any other supervised activity’.

Most providers caring for children under 8 years old for more than 2 hours a day in England must register with Ofsted. If you’re a childminder, you can register with a childminder agency instead.

To register, you need to be 18 or over and have the right to work in the United Kingdom.

It is a criminal offence to provide unregistered childcare, or on unapproved premises, if you are legally required to register. Ofsted is responsible for making sure that only people who are suitable and ready to provide childcare are registered. source: GOV.UK

Registering with Ofsted.

Even before registering with Ofsted we must show that we are suitable and qualified to look after your children:

  • Training which helps us understand and implement the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

  • Introduction to child protection course

  • Paediatric first aid (minimum of a 12 hour course)

  • Complete a health declaration form

  • Complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) for ourselves and anyone living at our address over the age of 16.

There are then two Ofsted registers we need to join, the Early Years Register (EYR) and the Childcare Register (CR). We must join the EYR register if we are caring for children aged from birth to 31st August after their fifth birthday.

We must meet all the safeguarding and welfare and the learning and development requirements of the 'Statutory requirements for the early years foundation stage'.

The Childcare Register then has 2 parts:

  • Compulsory – for providers caring for children from 1 September after the child’s fifth birthday up until their eighth birthday

  • Voluntary – join this if you are looking after children aged 8 and over, or if you are choosing to register voluntarily (for example, if you’re a nanny)

What do Childminders actually do and what are the benefits?

Childminders provide a ‘home-from-home’ environment, that can be flexible for you as parents especially when it comes to drop off and collection times. (some of our members can even do pick-ups and drop offs!)

Generally it is a smaller environment, than say a nursery.

Being a small setting childminders know their mindee’s very well and can ensure their individual needs are met both emotionally and developmentally. We are able to build close, special relationships with our children and their families.

As well as following the EYFS framework (which sets standards for the learning, development and care of children) we are able to go on outings, such as parks, the beach, zoo's and toddler groups.

“ we all get to enjoy the beautiful countryside around us Heavens Gate,  Shearwater, Nunney Castle, Vallis Vale to name but a few. So many learning opportunities can be taken when out and about exploring.  Nothing is more fun than jumping in muddy puddles!" Frome Childminder

Research, funded by the Department for Education, tracked 6,000 children from the age of 2 since 2014.

It found that childminders had a particularly positive impact on young children's cognitive development and verbal ability.

Children attending a childminding setting were also found to have fewer emotional symptoms, such as anxiety and stress, and behavioural self-regulation.

The study revealed that children benefit from formal and informal early education and care, with those from disadvantaged backgrounds likely to benefit even more.

"I would say the pros are endless. Children get to make close relationships with not just the childminder but a few close children too." Frome Childminder

Are there any downsides to using a childminder?

To ensure this guide is actually helpful to you we thought it would be best to state if there were any reasons you might not use a childminder..

As a childminder is often a single person working from home, illness or annual leave, may leave parents without any childcare (nurseries often have several members of staff that can cover this)

Here in Frome we believe this isn't really a problem as we have our childminding network, we are able to offer support to each other and provide emergency cover when required.

"Cons - well I can’t really think of any. We are trained in safeguarding, first aid and do any CPD training we believe will help us." Frome Childminder

Some children particularly in preparation to starting school, benefit from being in a larger more structured environment, although many of the children in our care sail into school having come from small settings, never having attended a nursery.

We hope you have found this guide helpful, if you have any questions or would like to get in contact please do so, we would be delighted to here from you. Also please feel free to comment below

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