Welcome to the Autumn 2021 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.
- Colouring pages promote self regulation
- What are the differences between childminder and childcare on domestic premises
- Inspection reports
- Working in partnership with parents
The next issue (Winter) will be coming out in Dec 2021 with my annual one page printable Diversity calendar.
Thank you to everyone who sent in contributions to this newsletter. I welcome contributions from readers on all aspects of childminding best practice.
Inspirational Best Practice – Ideas, Stories and Links
Colouring pages promote self-regulation
Colouring projects are great for young children which is why they remain a perennial childminding favourite.
Everyone knows that colouring pages:
- Encourage hand eye coordination and fine motor skills
- Develop strength in hands and fingers which will help children to learn to write
- Teach children how to grip a pencil or pen properly
- Promote creativity and self-expression
But colouring pages have a further important benefit. They are also great for promoting the characteristics of effective learning. Self-regulation is an important part of school readiness and is a new focus of the Sept 2021 EYFS. Giving children of any age tasks that occasionally encourage them to sit still and concentrate for a while, is a great way to help them to practise a skill that will help them to succeed in school and life.
Our brand new pack of 25 Colouring Pages for Childminders is designed to illustrate what is unique and worth celebrating about childminding. Jennifer Fishpool has designed 25 vibrant scenes that childminded children and their childminders will recognise – ordinary childminding scenes in ordinary homes brought to life for the children to colour! You can buy it here for £15 (or £11.25 for members).
8 Things Ofsted wants childminders to STOP doing – by Jennifer Fishpool
This new article addresses the Sept changes to the EYFS and how they relate to childminders.
Childhood vaccination really matters – please help by educating the parents of the children you look after
Diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella … these are just some of the serious infectious diseases babies and children will be protected from through vaccination. Research from around the world shows that vaccination is the safest way to protect a child’s health. Because we don’t hear about most of these diseases any more, parents often have questions about why their baby/child needs to be vaccinated and decide not to bother. Other parents have missed their normal vaccines due to Covid, leaving their children at risk.
In the UK, it is because of the effective vaccination programmes that the number of children catching these diseases is now very low. But these diseases will come back if children do not continue to be vaccinated. There has been an increase recently in the number of children catching measles in some parts of the UK and in Europe, due to children not being vaccinated. Please share information with parents from www.nhs.uk/vaccinations.
What are the differences between “childminder” and “childcare on domestic premises”? – contributed by Jennifer Fishpool
A childminder works on domestic premises and can have no more than two other childminders or assistants at any one time (i.e. up to three adults a day.) The rules have now been updated that you can also apply to work for 50% of the time from non-domestic premises which are approved by Ofsted.
A ‘Childcare Provider on domestic premises’ works on domestic premises with at least three other people (i.e. four or more adults.) The difference between this and childminding is the number of people working. In other words your business as a childminder can only get so big before you have to register as a childcare provider on domestic premises instead. Again you can apply to Ofsted to work 50% of the time from Ofsted approved non-domestic premises.
Childcare providers on non-domestic premises are settings that provide care for children in a premise that is not someone’s home. These are usually known as nurseries, before and after school clubs, etc. Childminders do not work on non-domestic premises for more than 50% of the time so if you are exploring this option for 100% of the time you will have to look into registering as a nursery instead.
Choking is one of the leading causes of deaths and hospitalisations in small children and one of the most reported first aid incidents that childminders have had to deal with. This is a free poster you can put up in your setting or share with parents.
What is the point of ‘working in partnership with parents’?
Before you can set up a working partnership with parents, you need to genuinely believe that you are doing something worthwhile. The first step is for you to recognise just how important the parents are to their child.
- Parents are the most important people in their children’s lives
- Parents are the main influences on their children’s lives
- Parents know their children better than anybody else. They know what their children like to do, what they like to eat, what makes them laugh and what they need to help them go to sleep.
While you may look after their small child for more of their waking life than their parents do, in the end you are the childminder. The parent will always remain the most important person in the child’s life. So the best way to ultimately help the child, is to establish a strong working relationship with the parents right from the very start. My Partnership with Parents Pack gives you all the tools you need to set up a strong partnership with parents including supporting learning at home, transition reports and letters for late payment, late collection and other awkward situations.
Tips for Outstanding Ofsted Inspections
One small idea that will go a long way towards making the right impression on the Ofsted inspector: introduce the children to the inspector. She will like that! People who introduce children to adults in general give the impression that they respect them as people. I love people who introduce children. In my opinion it is a skill and attitude that sets people apart and changes the way you see children and consequently, the way people see you.
Inspection report from childminder Natalie Smith
Natalie makes some great points here about the importance of standing back and observing children’s play. Natalie writes:
“I felt quite nervous as I don’t get on the floor and play with the kids. I’ve never felt comfortable doing that. But the inspector said she liked that I set up play areas – some with specific intentions, some without, modelled a small amount of play and then I sat back and observed. She mentioned that a lot of childminders feel like they have to get involved with the children’s games and she cringed when she saw them interrupting the conversations or flow and steering play in a way they wanted it to go rather than letting children lead. I have a work space with my computer set up in the play room and she said it was a great idea to let the children get on with their playing whilst I did my paperwork. I was really pleased about this as I’m of the belief that play is what children do when an adult isn’t directing them!”
Childminding Best Practice Club member Annette Pegg receives another outstanding
Annette writes, “Thank you for all your packs and ideas you send. Fantastic ideas and support. Just wanted to share my news I have had my Ofsted inspection and received an outstanding grade like last time which I am so proud of as I know it is difficult to achieve with all the changes in the framework! Thank you again for the self evaluation as I emailed this to my inspector which she really enjoyed reading as gave her insight into my setting before attending! Thanks again for your support and updates.”
NEW: Childminding Best Practice Club – Themed Activity Packs emailed to you – £2.50 per month – September is ‘Cinderella’ themed. October is ‘Halloween’.
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 Cinderella themed activities like these:
Scarecrow Craft with Guided EYFS Observations
Make a scarecrow picture and explore grains and beans while making observations of the children about their “Understanding The World”. Free template and guided EYFS observations.
Craft ideas for Autumn
Here are some activities sent in by childminders for Autumn.
Bonfire Night Ideas
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
2021 EYFS Statutory Framework
From September 2021 the new EYFS will become statutory, so please download a copy and start reading it through now. The key changes are to the early learning goals, and also more details about the educational programmes of your ‘curriculum’. There are also other minor changes to welfare requirements. I have written an article for childminders about the changes here
Dept for Education guide to the changes to the EYFS
The Dept for Education has put together a page with information about the changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in September 2021. There are resources and practical support for childminders, nursery leaders and pre-school practitioners. Also includes some activity ideas.
DfE have published a revised version of Development Matters, the government’s non-statutory curriculum guidance for the EYFS. Please note that changes to content are minor and no major changes have been made to the curriculum guidance under the seven areas of learning. However, they have really improved the layout, so if you haven’t already printed a hard copy for yourself, you can do so here for free.
Mental health resources for children, students, parents, carers and school/college staff
Children who were born just before the pandemic, or who have spent most, if not all, of their life living under social restrictions will have experienced a subsequent reduced level of socialisation than they would have otherwise had. There has never been a more important time to support all children’s mental health and wellbeing. This page has good resources you can use.
On 16 July, the Department for Education (DfE) have developed a new FAQs document to answer any outstanding questions from the early years sector following the move to Step 4. This covers:
- Outbreak management
- Information for childminders
- Soft furnishings
Public Health England have produced a library of online resources on the COVID-19 vaccine
These resources can help you support staff in early years settings to access official information about the COVID-19 vaccine. They include:
- Social media assets
- Video content
- Factsheets and an FAQ document
Children love learning and sharing what they have learned while you are on your Forest Childcare trips. Teach children the names for anything you know and help to build their vocabulary. Sometimes it is fun to look things up on the internet and learn more about the names of things you see on your trips. But always remember, you should go to the woods and take the children there, even if you don’t know anything about what you are seeing. You are taking them there so they can EXPERIENCE nature.
Forest Childcare – ‘branding’ outdoor time – contributed by Sarah Gill
Thank you we have been following for a long time. We have our own allotment which is accessible through wood lands and fields we love it. We have over 30 chickens and 3 ducks. We spend most of our time up there and when at home we have free flow access to an outdoor area. Love that you have enabled us to call ourselves Forest Childcare as we are so much more than a childminder. I looked into doing the forest school leader training may do it in the next few years.
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.
Getting Childminded Children Back To Nature – without Forest School Training
Why you shouldn’t let lack of ‘Forest school qualifications’ put you off taking childminded children to the woods.
Shelley’s Wellies Forest Childcare
Check out how Michelle Byrne uses the idea of Forest Childcare to promote her London based childminding service. She has a whole section on Forest Childcare to attract parents attention when they view her site as well as using the logo. I also love her friendly website and easy to use design created by https://www.mychildcare.co.uk/
Outdoor Play Idea: make a miniature garden – contributed by Reeta Bhola
Love Reeta’s clever little childminding garden. You could adapt this for any time of year.
Free Product Updates
Ultimate Childminding Checklist and Guided Self Evaluation Packs
These documents have been updated for the Sept 2021 changes to the EYFS. They were both updated in June and July. If you have bought these products previously and would like to get the free updated versions, then please email me. Please note that nothing has changed again since June/July and your cover of the most up to date version will say Sept 2021 version.
Progress Check Age 2 Pack
Minor updates have been made to this pack ready for the Sept 2021 EYFS. If you have bought the product previously and would like to get the free updated version then please email. Nothing major has changed about the structure or format of the Progress Check, but you are welcome to have the updated version if you would like it free of charge.
Minor updates have been made to this pack ready for the Sept 2021 EYFS. If you have bought the product previously and would like to get the free updated version then please email. Nothing major has changed about the content, we have just updated some of the templates a little to bring them more in line with the new EYFS.
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