What is a childminder?
Childminders are self employed and are based in their own homes. A childminder is allowed to look after up to six children under eight years old including children of their own – but only three of them can be aged under five years old. All childminders are registered with Ofsted and deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Choosing a childminder:
First you will need to obtain a list of registered childminders in your area. This is available from the Nottinghamshire Families Information Service (FIS) at www.nottshelpyourself.org.uk just click on the childcare button.
Next, give the childminders a call to check if they have vacancies. At this stage you can also ask about your basic requirements - for example; opening hours and the types of food on offer. This will save you visiting too many childminders later.
Arrange to visit several childminders and arrange to visit when there are children around. This way you can get to know what you like and don’t like. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Is it clean?
- Is it safe for children?
- Is there a safe outdoor space for play?
- Are there plenty of toys, activities and books?
- Do the children seem happy?
- Is the childminder caring and welcoming?
- How does the childminder manage the children?
If your child didn’t come with you on the first visit you might want to arrange a second one to introduce your child to the childminder.
Don’t be afraid to ask if you can contact other parents who use the childminder to find out what they think.
If you find a childminder you like, tell them as soon as you have made up your mind because you might lose the space.
Remember to check all references and check out the childminders latest Ofsted inspection report which is available online via the Ofsted website: http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/
The childminder will draw up a contract which will outline what is expected of both the childminder and the parent/carer. The contract should include a start date, agreed rate, overtime, holidays, period of notice, extras and space for signatures of both the childminder and the parent or carer. It should also have a regular review date.
Top questions to ask a childminder:
- How long have you been a working with children?
- What are the ages of the other children you look after?
- What other adults will be in the house while the children are there?
- What relevant qualifications do you have?
- What kind of behaviour management strategies do you use?
- How often do you take the children out?
- What meals and snacks do you provide?
- Do you have insurance?
- What arrangements do you have in emergencies?
- Do you use a vehicle to transport children? If so, does it have seat belts, appropriate seats, insurance and up to date road tax and MOT?
There may be other questions you may want to ask – Take time to think of these before you visit.
Phone: 0300 500 8080
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm
Saturday: 8am to 12 noon