What is a Childminder?
Registered childminders are childcare professionals who work in their own homes caring for other people’s children. Childminders who care for children under 8 years of age are required by law to be registered and inspected. In England, Childminders are inspected by Ofsted (Office for Standardsin Education). Childminders who care for children aged from birth to 7 years will be required to join the Ofsted Early Years Register and the compulsory part of the Ofsted Childcare Register. They must adhere to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to ensure they provide a professional, inclusive service to each child that attends their setting ensuring their welfare and learning and development needs are met effectively and that they make good progress towards the Early Learning Goals, given their age, ability and starting points. For more on the EYFS, please click here www.foundationyears.org.uk.
All registered childminders must have taken introductory training in childcare and many go on to take further qualifications in children's care and education. All childminders must also hold a current Certificate in Paediatric First Aid.
Checked and insured
Registered childminders and all those over the age of 16 who live in the Childminder's house will have had a police check called and enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) (formally known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check), checking that they are suitable to work with Children. Their homes and gardens are regularly inspected to ensure that they are safe, welcoming and child friendly. Childminders must also hold public liability insurance.
What are the benefits?
In a home environment, they can be more flexible than some other forms of childcare. Your child will be cared for in a childminder’s home where the children can easily enjoy real-life learning experiences like cooking, shopping, gardening, sharing meals and going out to the park and library. Caring for children at home rather than a nursery or centre lets child carer’s be more spontaneous, too. A sunny or unexpectedly snowy day is a great opportunity for outdoor play and learning.
Many childminders can be very flexible and some can offer full/part-time care, weekend cover, early mornings and late evenings. If stated in their registration, overnight care may also be provided.
As childminders only care for small groups of children, this allows children more individualised care. Caring for mixed age ranges also means brothers and sisters can be cared for together, making life easier for the whole family. And being with children of different ages helps children learn to work and play together.
There are childminders in every community and from all cultures and walks of life. Your child will be able to take part in local activities such as Childminding groups. They will also get to know the sights, sounds and often residents of their local community.
Childminders are often flexible in their hours and may provide care before and after school – including picking up and dropping children off. In the school holidays childminders may care for your children while you’re at work and will usually offer a host of different activities to keep them occupied whilst educating them at the same time.
If your childminder is a member of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), they show committment to their profession. They also agree to work towards quality standards covering all aspects of childminding, including safety, nutrition, managing children's behaviour, inclusive practice and good business practice.