Looking for a childminder can be a stressful. You need someone who will meet your requirements in terms of hours and days, someone who will provide the care and experiences for your little one to be happy, to learn and develop. More importantly you need to feel happy entrusting this person with the care of your little ones. 7
To help you through this minefield we have written some pointers on looking for a childminder to suit you.
When looking for a childminder…
Allow plenty of time to arrange visit and a chat. Where possible arrange for a settling in period to ensure a smooth transition for your child and yourself, after all you are leaving one of the most precious little people with a new person and you do not want to rush into this decision.
Childminders are individual, independent businesses and you will therefore find that what they offer in their setting can vary from person to person. In order to get a feel for what fits with your family circumstances, we would advise you visit a few different settings. At the end of the day looking for a childminder and choosing the right one is very personal to you and your little one and you need to feel safe, and secure with the childcare choices you make.
Always choose a registered childminder
Childminders should be registered with Ofsted or an Ofsted registered childminder agency. This ensures that the quality of the childcare provision is regulated and monitored. Just like a nursery or pre-school, childminders a legally bound to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to ensure your child has the best possible start in an early years setting. You may find there are some differences to an Agency Childminder and Ofsted Childminder but both are fully regulated and must have – with no exception.
- Public liability Insurance
- Up to date Paediatric first aid
- An enhanced DBS – this is a national check carried out on all those who are 16 or over and live or work in the property
- Their property must have been assessed for risk by the agency of Ofsted
- Safeguarding training
- Knowledge of the EYFS and Statutory framework
All childminding agencies are regulated, inspected and graded by Ofsted. If the childminder has chosen to join an agency, they will be under a more structured programme of events which will include support in their business and assistance to develop their practice, they are also visited on a more frequent basis than an Ofsted registered childminder. All agency childminders must complete at least 20 hours of professional development (training) each year, they are visited a minimum of once a year to ensure relevant standards are in place and Rutland Early Years will give an Ofsted recognised grade to the childminders at the appropriate stage.
If you choose a childminder registered and regulated by Ofsted, they are inspected by Ofsted once per inspection cycle (roughly every four years) where they will be issued with a grade. There is no further requirement for the childminder to complete further training and they will not receive further visits unless an untoward situation occurs such as a complaint is raised against them, where they may turn up unannounced.
How do I know I have found the right childminder?
When making the phone call to arrange a with a childminder, be conscious that if you call in the day, the childminder may be a little distracted as they will be caring for children. It may be pertinent to ask at this stage if the childminder has space and is able to accommodate the hours and dates you require.
Whilst on your visit, you may want to look around the property, you should consider are you happy with what you see, for example, are the resources clean and safe, are there plenty available to your child inside and outside, if you have a young child are you comfortable with the sleeping arrangements etc. It may be an idea to take your child with you, so you can see how the childminder interacts with them. Childminders will often show you lots of information about the service that they offer, it is a good idea to have a list of questions ready to ask your childminder, below are a few examples to give you some ideas:
- Are you registered with an Agency or Ofsted? – ask to see the latest report
- How long have you been childminder, and how long do you intend to continue?
- How much time off have you had in the past year?
- Do you have any early year’s qualifications or completed any training?
- Can I see your DBS, public liability insurance certificate, First aid Certificate, Does your car insurance cover business use, is your MOT up to date?
- Are there any parent references you can see, or a phone number to contact a parent?
- How many children do the currently look after, and apart from the children are there any others in the property when your child will be there?
- Can they describe a typical day, what type of activities will they do, do you take the children out away from the property and will they go in the car?
- Do you have any pets?
- How do you manage behaviour?
- How do you let me know about my child’s day and how they are progressing?
- What happens in case of accidents and emergencies, either with my children or your family?
Rutland Early Years believe in choice we support childminders who are registered with ourselves or with Ofsted. If you are at all unsure about where to start, please do get in touch with us and we will be happy to help.