Published 29/11/2022

Issue 37: Winter 2022

Welcome to the Winter 2022 Best Practice Bumper Newsletter.

Scroll down to read the newsletter on-line or download it as a PDF here:


Ofsted have published the first of their research reviews. There has been a lot of criticism of it already from respected Early Years leaders, but I expect we have not heard the last of it yet. If you would like to read it for yourself you can find it here:

Safeguarding News

Did you know that children face a greater risk of domestic abuse during a football world cup. The NSPCC has conducted research on this and is trying to promote awareness of the problem:

The Domestic Abuse Act of 2021 means that children are now officially recognised as victims of domestic abuse whether they see, hear of experience the effects of abuse. If you think a child has witnessed or been affected by domestic abuse, you must record and report it the same way as you would deal with any other form of abuse. The NSPCC has advice and a helpline on their website here:

Childminding Best Practice Club News

I have had lots of lovely feedback about the new look Childminding Best Practice Club Toolkits:

‘Thankyou! After looking through this my Christmas stress for sorting totally ‘doable’ activities has lifted as we so often set ourselves up with unrealistic goals especially at this time of year!! And breath!!!Ha! Thanks again. Lisa x’

‘I’ve used Kay’s ideas for years and now yours to help with my planning and crafts. I like the baby ideas you have added too. It’s good to know you are there when I need inspiration. Fab job! Thank you. Liza Ps I’ve also kept my outstanding grade at this year’s inspection!’

‘Is so much better, so many more areas you are covering which helps less experienced, but also experienced childminders, like me, thanks for that, much appreciated.’ Karen

New ideas for the very youngest children in your care

The new section on Planning Ideas for Children under the age of two has been a popular addition to the toolkits. I felt this was an important thing to include as there does not seem to be as much support or training regarding the very youngest children in our care, even though looking after children this age forms many childminders main income. I still see posts form childminders on social media saying things like ‘you don’t need to do much with babies,’ or ‘you cannot teach babies anything,’ both of which are completely untrue.

I am therefore thrilled to be able to say that Suzanne Hobbs and her childminding group, Patricia Santos Flatt, Claudia Santos, Priscillah Lancaster, Susana Gomez, Itohan Uhomoaguina were so inspired by the pages that they have introduced a special under 2’s themed day for their little ones and have also joined the team as Toolkit contributors! Look out for their first ideas in the January Toolkit.

What is coming up next:

Work has begun on the toolkits for 2023 so look out for some of the following themes, features and ideas coming up over the next year:

  • New stories by published author Ruth Snowden, written exclusively for Childminding Best Practice Club members
  • Learn about Diversity themes including Holi and St David’s Day and learn how to make authentic Welsh cakes.
  • Find out about process art.
  • New posters by professional photographer Emily Grey to print out and display
  • Resources to print out and make story sacks to share with your children and their parents.
  • New themes including Bees, Cars, Autumn, What we Wear and Families.
  • Plus all the regular features on Communication and Language, Personal and Social Development, Physical development, British Values and Diversity, Inspection support and preparation, maths and stem, working in partnership with parents and more.

It is going to be a great year!

If you are not yet a member of the Club and would like to find out how to receive the monthly toolkits plus a special New Member Welcome Pack including a CPD logbook, as well as a 25% discount off other Kids To Go resources then follow this link:

Oops! The December Christmas Themed Toolkit was so bursting with goodies that there was not room for this year’s Calendar Template! Instead you can download a copy here:

Inspection Tips:

Tip One: If you have an inspection don’t forget to sell yourself to the inspector. Let them know why you are doing what you are doing and the things you are proud of. If you get nervous talking to people practice on a friend or in the mirror. (This helps if you are nervous when meeting new families too!) Have a ‘story’ that you can tell about each child. What were they like when they started with you? What have YOU done to help them progress? Where are they now? What are their next steps?

Tip Two: Know your safeguarding! This is said a lot but it doesn’t make it any less important. Do you know if there are any specific concerns in your local area, for example county lines? Do you know your Local Safeguarding Board website or how to report a concern? Ofsted have a document that you may find helpful to read:

The NSPCC also has lots of helpful resources on its website including information about on-line abuse and support if you suspect a child is being abused:

Get ready for your inspection with the help of the Kids To Go Inspection Pack and save £6.50

‘I used these a while ago for my last inspection and I got outstanding thanks to them.’ Natalie

Find out more and buy your pack here:

New Products and Offers

If, like me, you are completely disorganised unless you have things written down, you may find the new Childminding Facts Calendar and Childminding Planner handy.

The brand new ‘Kids To Go Calendar and Childminding Planner 2023′ features 12 of the popular ‘Childminding Facts’ along with a cheerful and eye-catching image. Great to put on our parent’s notice board to keep track of important dates.

Also included is a planner helping you keep on top of things like monthly tasks and safeguarding revision.

Find out more here:

New MEGA £99 Bundle Deal

The MEGA Bundle contains all of the essentials, including:

  1. The Ultimate Childminding Checklist
  2. The Guided Self Evaluation Pack
  3. The Contracts, Policies and Forms Pack
  4. The Super Summative Assessment and Gap Tracker Kit
  5. The Progress Check at Age 2 Pack

You will receive a link to instantly download these five products when you complete your order. However, the MEGA Pack is too big to fit on one download so we will also email you directly your choice of three of the following products:

  • The Be Safe Be Healthy MEGA Pack
  • The Diversity MEGA Pack
  • The Partnership with Parents Pack
  • The Characteristics of Effective Learning Pack

PLUS Free Calendar Offer

Buy a MEGA Bundle before Christmas and you will also receive a 2023 Kids To Go Calendar and Childminding Planner worth £7.50 as part of your bundle.

Click the link below to get your Mega Bundle and Free Calendar deal:

New Blogs:

Have you read these blogs yet?

Eight Essential Books for Childminders of very young children:

Books are a must have in every childminding and early years setting. I love children’s books and have a vast collection that I picked up over the years, from classic early years books that everyone will recognise through to rare books that are out of publication and on to brand new books which have just hit the shelves in bookshops. I am still discovering beautiful new books all the time and could probably end up filling my whole house. I think it is very important to introduce books to children as soon as possible so my collection also includes lots of books aimed at the very youngest children. However, if I could only have eight books for babies these would be my absolute essentials:

Read the rest of the blog here:

Good (and terrible) ways to use themes:

When planning your curriculum it is important to think about how you are going to introduce children to new ideas and experiences.

It is important that children have access to a highly ambitious, broad and rich curriculum.’ (Paragraph 171 Early Years Inspection Handbook 2022)

Ofsted want to see that you are providing a broad and rich curriculum and if you only ever follow children’s interests, you are a risk of not doing this. After all children can only be interested in things they know about. (They cannot be expected to be interested in pangolin’s if they don’t even know they exist!)

Using themes can help expose children to different ideas and vocabulary, to different ways of life and important subjects such as oral hygiene. So, what is the best way to use themes?

Read the rest of the blog here:

Supporting Children with Transitions at their Childminders

One important role a childminder or other early years practitioner, performs is to support children through transition periods in their life. There are many transitions a child may go through. For example, starting at a new childminder’s, moving house, the birth of a sibling or starting school.

All transitions have an effect on children. It is useful to share information with parents about what the potential effects can be so that they are not too alarmed if any of the following happen:

Read the rest of the blog here:

New 2023 Diversity Calendar

Every year Kids To Go give away a free simple Diversity Calendar to help you plan meaningful activities and this year is no different! The calendar design has had a refresh and extra dates have been added. You can download a copy here:

Why not print out a copy and stick it on your fridge?

Contributors wanted:

I am looking for contributors to the Diversity section of the Childminding Best Practice Club Toolkits. Past contributors have talked about religious festivals that they have been involved in, or something that is special to the area or country that they live in. Whether you have an experience you want to share, a special recipe or custom or even a religious festival or event that you would like to tell people about I believe information is much better if it comes directly from the people that it relates to. If you have something that you would like to share I would love to hear it. (Commission may be available for longer or more detailed pieces.) Email me at

Forest Childcare Association News

Have you been following our posts on our Forest Childcare Page? If not it is well worth a look. Here is a previous one:

Moss is often overlooked completely, or even worse, deliberately got rid of from our walls and lawns. But did you know that moss provides a home for countless tiny species of insects and other animals? And that it soaks up huge amounts of carbon dioxide, making it very important in counteracting global warming?

There are 700 odd species of moss in the U.K. alone, and many of them are intricately beautiful when you take time to really look at them. Why not take your little ones out for a moss walk, armed with a magnifying glass for a closer look?

Children love making miniature gardens, using moss to make lush green lawns, and bits of twigs and pebbles for trees and bushes and paths. All you need is an old tray, or a shallow bowl, then set them free to experiment, making their own designs.

In some countries, such as Japan, moss is used to make beautiful, sumptuous lawns. Have you ever tried walking barefoot on moss? It’s like walking on luxurious glowing velvet!

A new activity idea – just for newsletter readers:

Winter is a good time to study trees, and their protective bark is often a help in identifying them. It comes in all kinds of colours, such as brown, grey, green, white, even red. The texture of the bark is another clue to look out for. Some trees have noticeable breathing pores in the bark – these are called lenticels and they often join up to form channels on older trees.

The picture shows the bark of a common tree in Britain – the silver birch. As the name suggests, the bark is silvery white and often peels off in strips.  Here are a few more common trees to look out for:

Beech – smooth, grey bark

Cherry – horizontal rows of lenticels

Aspen – diamond shaped lenticels

Ash – intersecting vertical ridges

Scots pine – separate plates of bark

See what other kinds of trees you can identify. If you take a few sheets of paper and some wax crayons, the children can make some bark rubbings for a display. Just press the paper against the bark and rub carefully with a crayon to see the interesting patterns emerge.

NEW Intentful Forest Childcare Association Winter craft

Make a weekly weather tree.

Use this activity to talk about days of the week and weather.

Download your activity here:

Christmas Ideas

You will need:

  • An old CD
  • A tea light – you can usually pick up Christmassy colours or shapes quite easily.
  • PVA glue
  • Glitter, sequins, gems scraps of tinsel.


The children can do this with very little help.

  1. Spread plenty of PVA glue all over the shiny side of the CD.
  2. Place the tea light in the centre to cover the hole.
  3. Decorate with the gems, sequins, whatever scraps you have to hand.
  4. Sprinkle with glitter.
  5. Leave to dry.

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