Home » Childminding Best Practice Newsletter – Issue 25: Winter 2019

Childminding Best Practice Newsletter – Issue 25: Winter 2019

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Welcome to the Winter 2019 Childminding Best Practice Newsletter. I produce this newsletter four times a year to promote childminding best practice topics with a focus on safety, health, diversity awareness and childminding in the great outdoors (Forest Childcare). I also use it to highlight any changes to legislation or policy that may affect your childminding business.

Scroll down to read the newsletter online, or download it as a PDF.


Forest Childcare Association News and Stories

Crafts for Winter, Christmas and Process Art

Articles, blogs and information pages

  • Tips on how to get outstanding under the new Inspection Framework

Inspirational best practice

  • Free 2020 one page printable diversity planning calendar
  • Celebrating Chinese New Year
  • The Curiosity Approach – by Samantha Boyd
  • Tidy Shoes
  • What would you do if this happened to you: child won’t stop screaming
  • Complete list of things childminders hate

EYFS Paperwork, policy and legislation updates

Free product updates

The next issue (Spring) which will be coming out in Mar 2020.

Thank you to everyone who sent in contributions to this newsletter. I welcome contributions from readers on all aspects of childminding best practice.

Happy reading!



Forest Childcare Association News


Members of the Forest Childcare Association commit to taking the children on an outdoor outing to a ‘wild’ place once a week – even in the Winter! I love seeing children all wrapped up running around outside on cold and frosty Winter days. So much better for everybody than being cooped up inside all day.


Changing Seasons on the Farm – contributed by Sheila Dent

Over the months on our regular walks in the local countryside my charges and I have noticed the cows grazing in the fields. Next came the addition of tiny calves which was very exciting.

On our visit this week we noticed that the cows had all disappeared. We continued until we reached the farm. The footpath passes a large barn and there, sticking their heads through the metal bars were the cows, feeding on the silage. Their ‘moos’ echoed loudly against the sides of the barn and we could still hear them for a long while as we continued along the lane.

This is one of the ways we notice and enjoy the changing seasons while out and about in our village.


Forest Childcare walks in winter – contributed by Karen Corrie

The children & myself look forward to winter because of the forest walks. Doing Forest Childcare has made such a difference to my setting.

Muddle Puddle Suit Walks – contributed by Kathryn Haslam

We have had some lovely walks and days out and about this year which have included walks around our local reservoir at Hollingworth lake where we spotted lots of wildlife and even a young dear by the edge of the woods, we have visited lots of parks and played in the water fountains then hidden our painted rocks whilst looking to find more in the woods. We are very lucky to live by the local canal and farmland so can always find something interesting to see and talk about on our walks and there is lots of opportunity to run and climb and just play outdoors using our imaginations (it’s amazing the amount of things a simple stick can become!)

My favourite day was when we got our muddle puddle suits and wellies on and went for a muddy puddle walk to feed the swans, it was great fun jumping in all the puddles and listening to the squelchy sounds and splashes. I love it when children don’t have to worry about getting messy or dirty as they don’t always get that opportunity elsewhere.


Forest Childcare Facebook Page – join our online community

The Forest Childcare Association has its own Facebook Page. Please like my page and join our discussions, share your photographs and enjoy the links, stories, craft and activity ideas, poetry, photos and inspirational ideas we share.


“Here’s to winter and flasks of tea and hot chocolate” – contributed by Melinda Chantler

We’re still enjoying our forest outings, rain and shine, and hopefully soon there will be snow. Apparently one of the forests we visit has chanterelles growing, something to look forward to. We seem to have a lot of trolls around here too, under bridges, (lots of trip trapping over them) and in trees, even out in the open turned to stone! Along with the fairies of course.

It is nice to know there are others doing the same, even though you’re miles away.

Here’s to winter and flasks of tea and hot chocolate.


Use the Forest Childcare logo to promote what you do

Using the Forest Childcare Association logo on your website is a great way to show parents what makes your setting unique. Take a look at Samantha Boyd’s childminding page.



Art and Activity Ideas


NEW: Childminding Best Practice Club – Themed Activity Packs emailed to you – £2.50 per month – December is Christmas themed. January is Chinese New Year

Members of my new Childminding Best Practice Club are emailed a monthly pack of themed activities, plus activities that support continual professional development (CPD). Please join today to get templates and instructions for fun Christmas themed activities like these:

What is Process Art and how does it link to the Characteristics of Effective Learning?

Process art is when you give children open ended materials and let them create and enjoy the process of creating rather than focussing on trying to make ‘something’ in particular. There is no right or wrong way to do process art, no model to follow and the finished product is not important. Process art experiences allow for sensory learning. Process art is a pure expression of the child’s creativity.

Process art projects allow you to observe the Characteristics of Effective Learning: ‘Creating and Thinking Critically (CT)’. Time spent in this way gives children the opportunity to explore their own ideas, to make links between ideas, and to choose the best way to do something. It builds children’s confidence and decision-making skills. Children learn from trying out different ways to use art materials, so they can discover the process of creating art for themselves.

When you set the children loose with paint brushes and stand back and just let them paint, or give them random collage materials or junk to model, clay to play with or scraps to build with, then you are doing process art. You are not expecting a masterpiece that will hang on the fridge or anything that resembles… well, anything! You are letting them explore and create for the sake of creation.


Foil Modelling – a type of ‘process art’

Foil modelling is a fun sensory ‘process art’ idea. It isn’t the finished product that is as important as the fun of feeling how the foil scrunches up and moves differently when it is rolled from when it is flat. It also makes different sounds in different formats. We made: a spider, an alligator, a star, bracelets, a cup, a flower, some people, a boat, a basket, a snail, a butterfly, a duck and a fan. What can you make?




Here are some lovely craft activities you can try at Christmas.


I love these Christmas jumpers complete with mini hangers made by Bev Metcalf. Would make an ideal Xmas card.


Simple paper plate Christmas trees – by Sharron Roussel



Christmas display by Leanne Povey


Kay Woods Kids To Go

Articles, Blogs and Information Pages



Information pages   

I continually add new information pages to this website. You can search for information, articles, links, and support by topic including:

Remember to “follow” my blog to receive articles by email. You just need to enter your email address. Please note that the blog is not the same as my newsletter.

Tips on how to get outstanding under the new Inspection Framework.

Sharing my latest article with you. Don’t panic if you are being inspected any time soon, but make sure you read this and aim for outstanding. Good luck!


Please Like me on Facebook

Please like and follow my Facebook page. I share inspection tips, craft and activity ideas, news stories affecting childminders, articles supporting best practice, legislation updates and some funnies. Liking my Facebook page is also a totally free way to support my small business and I really appreciate you taking the time.


Inspirational Best Practice – Ideas, Stories and Links



Use my annual free 2020 Diversity Planning Calendar to ‘actively’ promote British values

British values continues to be a hot topic for Ofsted. One way to show that you are actively promoting British values at your setting is to plan to celebrate some multicultural holidays and festivals in 2020. There are so many awareness days and festivals to choose from! My free one page diversity planning calendar can give you some focus and help you to get started.


Celebrate Chinese New Year on 25th January – Year of the Rat

Chinese New Year is the most important of the Chinese holidays. The colour for Chinese New Year is red so a simple way to celebrate Chinese New Year with the children is to focus on the colour red. 2020 is Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac.


Chinese New Year Handprint Dragon – contributed by Jacqui Waterman

Here is what we did for Chinese New Year. We made this display of a Chinese dragon that was made up out of all of the children’s hand prints. The dragon was spread over 6 large windows and each of the windows was for the day of the week and that contained all of the hand prints that we had made with the children that were in our care. It was complete with Chinese lanterns and a large title at eye level for the older children to read and the younger to look at and trace the letters with their fingers. The picture only shows the first 4 windows as we couldn’t fit the whole thing into the camera frame!

We extended this activity over two weeks. In the second week we studied the Chinese dragon’s dance, by showing the children videos of the dancing dragon on the Ipad we then got them to make hand held dragons of their own to dance with to the music. They loved all of the dancing and movements that we learnt by watching the video clips. It was a brilliant way to incorporate music and movement along with a little bit of technology.


Chinese New Year Invitation to Play ideas – contributed by Cathy Smith and Kerry Dickson-Smith

Lots of areas of learning covered here in these invitation to play ideas.






How to write a year long plan for your childminding setting

This article takes you step by step through writing a year long plan. This is a really useful guide especially if you haven’t done this before. Make sure you don’t miss anything.

A Childminder’s perspective on The Curiosity Approach – contributed by Samantha Boyd

I started childminding over 7 years ago and went through a period of time of buying lots and lots of toys. I ended up with a play room full of toys, literally stuffed to the brim with resources, so much so that we didn’t use the play room to play in – it became a store room. The children were flitting from one activity to another, I was focused on adult led activities and losing my mojo. I could see all these amazing images of crafts that others were completing with (for?) their children and my job became competitive – I wanted to be the best, I wanted to be great at my job but I was focused on the end results and the children were not as happy as they could have been.

Then one day whilst wasting time on Facebook, I came across The Curiosity Approach. I was fascinated by the pictures and what they said resonated with me. Children do not need ‘stuff’. They need love, time, attention to be able to discover for themselves – this led to other avenues that I wanted to learn and understand about – Forest School (I completed my Level 3 Forest School qualification); schemas; deep learning; child led learning. I started to try out new things within the setting and found children’s interest and curiosity were sparked. I began to change things about, decluttered, gradually got rid of a lot of toys that were not being played with and replaced them with more natural and open-ended resources. The children became calmer and more involved in their play, their imaginations began to shine through.

I decided to take the plunge and signed up to complete the Curiosity Accreditation – this was going to be an investment I would never regret. The changes have been gradual but the impact has been huge. The hardest change was adapting how I reacted to the children – I follow their interests, if they ask a question we find out the answers together using different ways, I stopped completing perfect cards and pictures with (for?) them for all the big holidays throughout the year – I stopped anything where the children did not benefit from it, and the focus was now on the journey and not the end result. I talked to the parents, we discussed how to move things forward, what they wanted from their child’s time here.

The result? I am still completing the accreditation 15 months on – taking my time over introducing changes and making sure they are embedded before moving onto the next thing. The setting has adapted, even changing its name, and sharing good practice with others. The families have travelled this journey with me, supporting me and their children in becoming curious. I have fallen in love with caring for and educating children again. I wake up and can’t wait to start in the morning and am inspired by The Curiosity Approach to continue to learn and improve, as my passion for this is absorbed by the families, and they too love learning and being curious.


Tidy Shoes – contributed by Claire Toms

I decided to make these to stop shoes from being scattered all around the hall. I made them from chalkboard fablon from Homebase.

I think I might need one extra set for my husband’s shoes!


What would you do if this happened to you: 13 month old constantly screaming

You look after a 13 month old that constantly screams. You’ve soldiered on for 2 months but there has been zero improvement. The second you try to put him down the screaming instantly starts and continues until he’s picked up. You can’t physically hold him all day and by Friday you are aching all over. You are seriously considering giving notice but you feel horribly guilty for giving up.

Here’s what other childminders say:

It’s not in the childs best interests if they are screaming all the time, if they haven’t settled after 2 months then you may need to consider giving notice.

I had one like that. I stuck it out for 2 months then couldn’t take it anymore as it was affecting the other children. It was also making me mega stressed – I also used to dread the days she was in and wasn’t sleeping at all the nights before she was due which then made it even more difficult to cope. The mood of the whole setting lifted after her contract was ended and it was only then I realised quite how stressed I was with it. It’s difficult because you don’t want to let anyone down but you also have to consider the needs and wellbeing of the other children as well as your own wellbeing.

I had a 1 yr old that was like this and I put up with the screaming for 6 months. Then I just tried a different approach to it … took him by the hand and explained where we were going. I let him follow me everywhere but wouldn’t pick him up. It seemed to work. Now he is fine.

I had this for 6 months – but then whenever she screamed, I began to put her in a pushchair and tell her sternly no. I left her until she stopped/was happy, then gave her attention. If she started again when I took her out, I’d put her straight back in again. I did this repeatedly until it stopped. She is a wonderful child now.

I would try getting on the floor with him to play. Sit really close for a start so he still has the feel of contact. Move away little by little.

I would just put him on my back on a sling until he feels confident. I have done this before. It works.

I had the same problem. What I was advised to do was to put the child down and completely ignore the screaming. The minute they break (even for a breath) cuddles (not picking up) until they scream again…immediately let go and ignore. It took just a week of being consistent with this and it worked.


Tips for Outstanding Ofsted Inspections

If you want to get outstanding it is vital that you can demonstrate to the Ofsted inspector that you are giving the children opportunities to take part in a wide range of experiences that help them to value diversity. You should celebrate some multicultural festivals with children. If you live somewhere that is not very diverse then you may want some help choosing suitable festivals and getting ideas. Use my free diversity calendar as a starting point and my Diversity Awareness Pack can give you some focus.


Childminding Best Practice Club member, Elaine Navis, gets outstanding for the second time

“I have had my Ofsted and got another Outstanding so very pleased and have had a well-deserved. Thank you so much for all your help the packs have helped me so much to prepare and keep my Outstanding for the second time. They have helped me to feel much more confident under the pressure of the inspections as I think that inspections are most people’s worst fears.”


The complete list of things childminders hate

This list from real childminders makes me laugh out loud. Did we miss anything?

Felt tip pens with no lids

Converse on babies

Kids jumping/kneeling/falling/bouncing on my furniture





Kids emptying every box till they can no longer see the floor then resisting tidying up!!

Pull ups

Parents insisting their child is ready for potty training


Helicopter parents

Parents who show children no boundaries

Taking off socks and shoes on car journeys

Wet wipes ripping as you need to pull one out fast

Toys which make noises.

Noise sorting through Lego pieces makes.

Anything that gets stuck up my nails – clay, playdough, gloop, slime

Boys that can’t pee straight! Just the thought makes me want to disinfect my toilet again.

Mixing up the colours of playdough

Ofsted inspectors

Bad manners at meal time

Parents who walk in with their shoes on (when they’ve stood there and heard me tell their kids to remove their shoes) and then sit on the arm of my sofa!!

Cooked rice that falls on the floor

Wobbly teeth

Parents who mollycoddle their child

Parents who tell you their child doesn’t nap but then you find out that they nap at nursery

Parents who forget to tell you the child has an injury or you find out in a chance conversation that they have an inhaler or have had hospital appointments about a condition you know nothing about.

Being called a ‘babysitter’


EYFS Paperwork, Policy and Legislation News


How long should you keep records for childminded children?

This publication from the Pre-School Learning Alliance is worth keeping if you are unsure how long to keep medical records, staff records or your daily register etc. I’ve added it to my Official Document Links page – so do bookmark that page so you can find the most up to date versions of all the reference documents childminders need.


The Common Inspection Framework has been replaced with the Education Inspection Framework.

This new document came into force in September 2019.


New Early Years Inspection Handbook

This document came into force in September 2019 and replaces previous versions of the Inspection Handbook. There are some major changes to inspection areas you need to be aware of.


Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings

This document has been updated for Sept.


From Sept 2019 Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LCSB) are now “Safeguarding Partners”

Local Safeguarding Children Boards have been replaced from Sept with a team of Safeguarding Partners for each locality. These Safeguarding Partners will be a team of key professionals from three sectors: the local authority; the clinical commissioning group for any area that falls under the local authority; and the chief officer of police for any area that falls under the local authority. Together, these Safeguarding Partners will be in charge of agreeing on and implementing new safeguarding strategies in each area.

I have updated my Contracts, Policies and Forms pack and Ultimate Childminding Checklist with the new terminology.


Free Product Updates

Contracts, Policies and Forms pack

I have updated the policies document to reflect that the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board is now the local Safeguarding Partners. This is just a very minor change to wording in your policies but one you should make to your own policies based on whatever your own local authority is now calling itself.

50 EYFS Art Projects Pack

I have updated this pack with calendars for 2020-22. If you have previously bought this pack from me and would like the latest version (free update), please send me an email and request it.


If you like reading my newsletters, chances are your childminding friends will like them too. Please share this newsletter on social media such as Facebook.


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