Choosing a childminder near me is a big step for both you and your child. Make sure you give yourself enough time to talk and visit a range of childcare settings before you decide where to place your child.
The key thing is to find someone you trust – and this means asking plenty of questions. It’s also important to choose a childminder with the same values as you do, so they can help you support your child’s learning and development.
A childminder is a registered and qualified childcare professional who provides a range of activities in their own home for children. They follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum and are fully regulated by Ofsted.
They work mainly during the day and can offer flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, as well as overnight care. They are often more flexible than centre based childcare and can offer more individual attention to children, with low adult/child ratios.
In England childminders must be registered with Ofsted; in Scotland they are registered with the Care Inspectorate; and in Wales they are registered with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate (CSSIW). They need to complete a first aid course and local authority-approved childminding training courses.
Choosing a childminder can be a bit of a minefield, so here are some things to bear in mind:
You will need to sign a contract with your chosen childminder. This is a legally binding document and should outline the terms of their service, fees etc. You should always read the document carefully and keep a copy safe.
A childminder’s rates can vary, so check your local council’s website for up to date information. You may be able to use your childcare vouchers or tax-free childcare to help with the cost of care.
There are also various types of childcare providers available, such as nannies and nursery schools. Nanny care offers a more holistic experience and can provide childcare, household management, education and enrichment. They usually have a degree in education or nursing and are usually career childcare professionals.
School-aged childcare is an option for older children, and can include breakfast clubs and after-school clubs (hours may vary between providers) and holiday play schemes during school holidays.
These providers are mainly run by independent schools and can vary in their staff numbers, qualifications and curriculum. They are mainly for children aged four and above but can be open to younger children.
Using a childminder is a great way to ensure your child receives high quality, safe, fun and educational childcare. They provide a range of activities to meet the needs of your child and can also support you in your parenting. They can also provide a more personalised service and can fit around your working hours, which is a real benefit to busy parents.