As we start to ease our way out of this lockdown and the end of the pandemic starts to become visible, I just want to welcome you to the Spring 2021 Childminding Best Practice Newsletter.  I don’t really talk  much about Covid in here because it is everywhere except for some links to the latest legislation because frankly its nice to think about other things and remember why we are childminding which is about enjoying working with early years children and looking to the future.

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

Inspirational Best Practice – Ideas, Stories and Links

  • Revised EYFS guidance: The curriculum – what does that word mean to childminders?
  • Art Projects and the COEL
  • What is the one thing you wished someone had told you before you became a childminder
  • Role play – why is it important?

Crafts for Mothers’ Day and two crafts with EYFS observations

EYFS Paperwork, policy and legislation updates

Forest Childcare Association News

Free product updates

The next issue (Summer) will be coming out in June 2021.

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!


Inspirational Best Practice – Ideas, Stories and Links

Revised EYFS guidance – What does ‘a curriculum’ mean to childminders – contributed by Samantha Boyd

Where pedagogy is HOW you educate children, the curriculum is the WHAT you teach children. As a childminder, our curriculum is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage. The guidance focuses on communication and language as it underpins much of children’s learning.

Understanding your local community will help you develop a strong curriculum, as including ideas for English as an Additional Language (EAL) may be incorporated, and understanding local cultures and beliefs. Including rhymes, books and songs of the languages spoken in your local area, will support children with their communication and language.

Providing a stimulating and enabling environment so that children are able to choose their play and learning, knowing and understanding the children you care for – what they like and dislike; where they are developmentally; knowing what their next steps are and providing the resources and time for them to realise and master these steps will all be a part of your curriculum. You do not need to write anything down. You could make a statement of how you intend to provide learning experiences for the children. Remember that every child is unique and so each learning experience will also be unique so the knowledge of the child is the most important aspect of the curriculum.


Art projects and the Characteristics of Effective Learning

There are two Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL) that you can explore while you do art projects with small children. By changing the focus of the art project, you can change which COEL you hope to promote and observe.

Art projects with small children tend to come in two different types. The first type of art project is one where you set out purposely to make a specific project that you ultimately hope will at least vaguely resemble the model or idea you are copying. The second type of art project is where you set the children loose to simply play with the art materials, exploring them for their own sake. Both of these types of art projects have their place in childminding settings and in the activities you plan for the children.

When you set out to purposely make a specific project (like colouring a picture), then this is a great opportunity to make observations on how well the children can concentrate on a particular task. It is also an opportunity to witness them keeping on trying when difficulties persist and feeling proud of their accomplishment when it is finished. These are all ‘Active Learning (AL)’ observations.

On the other hand, 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 or scraps to build with, then you are observing them ‘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.


What is the one thing you wished someone had told you about childminding before you became one?

Real childminders share their wisdom and laughter here:
  • What multitasking really means. Yesterday I had a baby being fed his bottle in one arm, playing puzzles with another child and having a parents evening phone call for my own child at the same time.
  • That when parents say drop of at 8 and pick up at 4 what they really mean is drop of at 7.30 and pick up at 4.40 as they as they haven’t factored in time travel to and from work
  • However much a parent ‘loves’ what you do with their child/children they will still drop you without hesitation if you can’t do that extra day or actually want holidays
  • How hard it would be when a child left you.
  • You can never overestimate the time it will take to get 3 toddlers into car seats and school run time.
  • How lonely it can feel at times
  • That it would be so hard to get out of.
  • That every so often you will need to let a complete stranger into your home, engage with them, be available and able to answer their questions while showing that person how a normal day is at your setting and expect two year olds to think this is all in a normal day!!!!
  • That it rains everyday at 3pm
  • Parents will bs you to get out of payment sometimes or try for refunds, stick to your policies
  • Choose your placements wisely. Use settling in days for you to make up your mind too. I’m very fortunate to have great kids and parents but I’ve had trials where I’ve known it won’t work.
  • That it would take over your life, house and heart!
  • You don’t get to spend quality time with your own child
  • You will be used by some : don’t take it personally x
  • Parents think you’re a councillor too and can phone you any time, day or night
  • You will never be able to purchase a posh sofa
  • Parents can be tough at times
  • That kids drool a lot.

Why ‘waste time’ setting up complicated role play areas for children?

Why on earth, many of you may ask yourselves, would childminders bother to take all this time to set up role play for the children like the childminders in these photos have done? This is like asking mountaineers why they climb mountains! Because it’s fun to set up activities for the children, even though they are going to wreck them!  Because the children love it. Because you get paid to play with toys! Because you can!


Tips for Outstanding Ofsted Inspections

Mathematics is a biggie with Ofsted at the moment and it is important that you can show your inspector that you do activities in this area. Think about not only your range of toys (construction toys, sorting toys, jigsaws etc) but also the songs you sing (counting finger rhymes) and how you can bring mathematics into the art projects you plan with the children. Wherever possible you should bring maths into the everyday (counting out the food onto the plates, stairs, one shoe on each foot etc.) Impress the inspector by showing how maths is integrated into your setting at every opportunity.


Art and Activity Ideas

NEW: Childminding Best Practice Club – Themed Activity Packs emailed to you – £2.50 per month – March is ‘Mothers Day Themed’

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 Mothers Day themed activities like these:

Big Fish Little Fish free maths printable with EYFS Observations

How well do the children know what is ‘big’ and what is ‘little’? Can older children put the fish in order of size: big, medium, small? Make the picture and follow the guided learning observations.


Secret Picture folding project for promoting the COEL of resilience with EYFS Observations – free printable

Observe children’s reactions to trying new things while making (and folding) a ‘secret’ picture. Children love the idea of having a secret picture. Their reactions to ‘trying new things’ may surprise you.


Mothers Day Card – contributed by Teresa Boxall

diversity awareness logoHindu Festival of Holi – March 29thcontributed by Kirsty Bulpitt

I thought I would share with you what we are doing today. It is the Hindu Festival of Holi that celebrates Spring, love and good over bad etc.

I have a varied age group of 6 today in my setting and my assistant and I have read ‘Guess how much I love you’ and ‘Monkey puzzle’ to the children and we have talked about the emotion of Love. We have created a colourful picture suing paint sticks and then stuck another piece of paper over the top with a heart cut into it. This is their love pic and they have told us who they love and we have stuck pics or written on the cut out top bit the names of who they love. We went outside to mix lots of powder paint on the tuff tray and they loved how their hands and aprons were so colourful.

Holi for the year 2021 is celebrated/ observed on sundown of Sunday, March 28th ending at sundown on Monday, March 29th. Holi, also called the festival of sharing and love or the festival of colours is a Hindu two day festival in the Spring.


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.



EYFS Paperwork, Policy and Legislation News

Childminders for school-aged children

This week the Government has announced its plan to move the country out of lockdown. Childminders can continue to look after all early years children. Until 8 March, childminders should continue to only look after those school-age children (from reception onwards) who are vulnerable or children of critical workers. From 8 March, childminders will be able to look after vulnerable children as normal, and all other children where parents are using the provision to support them to work, seek work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or address a medical need.


Ofsted has cancelled plans to restart early years assurance inspections next month

Previously Ofsted had intended to resume inspections from 8 March, after suspending them in January at the start of the third national lockdown. However, the inspectorate has now said that routine full inspections will resume as soon as possible in the summer term, with the decision kept under review.


Vaccines by age group not profession

This week the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has ruled out prioritising people by occupation and will instead use an age-based delivery approach. Phase two will start with vaccination of adults aged 40-49, followed by 30-39 and finally 18-29. PACEY has been campaigning for early years and childcare practitioners to be prioritised as an occupational group to receive the vaccine once the most vulnerable are protected, due to the close contact that practitioners have with children, and the lack of regular home testing available to childminders and nannies.


Covid Resources – all free on my webpage

I try to keep this page on my website up to date with the latest news from the government on Covid relating to childminders. It also has free risk assessments, policies etc you can modify for your own setting.All of your


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.

Forest Childcare is great for adults too

Everyone agrees that visiting the great outdoors once a week is good for children. But don’t forget that it is also great for you too. After all, there are loads of terrible office jobs or shops you could be working in where you would be stuck inside all day, pinned to your desk, dreaming of an opportunity to get fresh air or exercise. As a childminder, you can go outdoors whenever you want to.

Doing Forest Childcare with small children gives me the ultimate feeling of freedom. I love walking and being outdoors!  It is good for my body and my soul. As a Forest Childcare provider always remember that you are keeping fit, staying healthy, and most importantly… being paid to be somewhere lovely!


Art in the woods – contributed by Ann Marie Pemberton

Forest Childcare is going really well thank you. Most fun was definitely in the snow but we also learnt about animals in Winter as we came across some ducks on a river, so we took them some bread and this led to us making our own bird food and hanging it in trees!

We are lucky to live in a semi-rural area and I came across a small area of woodland the other week with a small natural pond and holes in the ground which could be foxes or rabbits. I thought this would be exciting to explore so I took the children there to see if there was any frog spawn and to play with the trees and sticks. I took along some paper and a glue stick so we did some artwork out in the woods!


Forest Childcare Facebook Page – join our online community

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

Free Product Updates

There are no product updates at this time.

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.