The Childminder Finder (Sarah finds you a Childminder)

The Childminder Finder

What is The Childminder Finder

The Childminder Finder is a list of childminders in Andover. It was started, because Sarah was being contacted by many parents needing not only a childminder, but advise as to what to look for in a good childminder.  At the time of contact, her setting was full, so she offered to try and put each parent in touch with some childminders. Sarah was finding that parents were put at ease with her methods, they were also trusting of her connections. Soon more and more parents were contacting her. The Childminder Finder is a FREE service. If you would like contact with any of the childminders on the list, Sarah would be happy to help. Please take a look at our website www.thechildminderfinder.weebly.com .

Who is on the list?

Currently other than Sarah herself, their are 14 childminders and 1 assistant on the list. All of the childminders have been chosen due the bespoke way in which they work. They have been chosen because of the high quality of care that they give children. All have been observed in a working environment, and are recognised for their unique way in which they come across both as people and also in the way in which they deal with the children in their care.

The ethos

The ethos Sarah uses is simple, she would never forward a parent to a childminder who she would not feel 100% happy leaving her own daughter with. This is paramount.

Now, although Sarah makes this clear, she also will not recommend anyone either. Sarah simply forwards details of childminders that she has observed working with children.

Many parents ask Sarah, how can she tell a good childcare provider?

Well, you can’t 100% know if any childcare provider is good, but its very easy she says to get a very good feel. “When you have spent 26 years in the childcare profession, and childcare is a pure vocation to you, you can tell”. It takes Sarah very little time, when observing an individual to know. When you see people daily its easy to see !!

Key points in recognising a good childminder .

(1)  A  childminder should do her job because she generally loves working with children.

(2)  A childminder is their to focus on your child 100% during the day, nothing more, nothing less, this is what you as a parent are paying for.

(3)  How does the childminder verbally speak to the children in her care?

(4)  What are her discipline methods? Does she just shout the word “no” constantly to children so that it becomes white noise, or does she bark orders? Does the childminder have a relationship with the children in her care that involves having a conversation, caring about how they feel, and teaching them about right and wrong?

(5)  How does the childminder present themselves when they take part in day to day activities with the children?

(6 )  Mobile phone usage! (Highly important).  All childminders will be observed using their phones for taking photos of children or sending the odd text message. They may also be observed making the odd phone call, but, if they are seen on their phone at any length of time when tiny children are awake, this is wrong. They may be doing all their paperwork instead of watching the children or simply surfing social media. Allot of childminders have a nursery software system on their phones !

(7)  Is the childminder constantly following smaller children round in public places, or are they sitting at tables drinking tea and having a chat whilst your child is roaming alone with the possibility of being injured? Children aged 3 years and younger should be in the presence of the childminder 100% of the time, Sarah calls this shadowing.

(8)  Is the childminder leaving her children in the care of other childminders while she goes off to do things. This is against Ofsted regulations and a breach of the EYFS mandatory regulations. Even if a childminder has a signed document by a parent stating another childminder can watch her children, this is still not allowed by Ofsted. Children must at all times be in hearing and viewing distance of their own registered childminder.

(9)  Are the children being left constantly in buggy’s at attractions while the childminder meets up with friends?  A common issue raised recently by parents Sarah has spoken to, is their concern with childminders visiting attractions such as soft play etc in the school holidays. The childminders have lots of older children with them as well as younger ones, the older children happily go off playing for the day, but the little ones are left in prams or at the table in high chairs so that the childminder can chat with other childminders. Sarah advises parents, all children should be playing at outside attractions. Even if its very busy, as long as the childminder and the children are together and the childminder is shadowing the children, everything should be perfectly safe for even small children.

(10)  Is their a child in the childminders care crying, if so, is it crying and being given love and affection, which probably means the child is either teething or settling, or is it crying for love as its been abandoned either on the floor or in a buggy and its being ignored? Be aware some children may be in time out due to bad behaviour which is perfectly normal.

(11)  Finally, Sarah advises, when you are looking for a childminder, try not to be blind sighted by the childminders house over the childminder herself. It is very common practise nowadays for many childminders to deck out their houses to look amazing. Allot go to the extreme’s of building extension’s or outside play sheds and equipping an entire room with Ikea products. They try to make it look so amazing that a parent may view how wonderful the house is over the minder. Remember, you are going to visit the childminder and how she herself cares for the children, not the building she lives in. Having said this, do make sure the childminders house is hygienic and safe.

Just remember, a childminder is in her own home, she is NOT a nursery and nor should she be attempting to make her house look like a nursery, this is something Ofsted are adversed to.  You are going to view and get to know a childminder, a person, just because a childminder has spent an absolute fortune on transforming her house to look like an Ikea show room, does not make her a good childminder. Remember substance over style, not style over substance.

Sarah feels that their are so many ways to know if a childminder is acting in a professional capacity, and giving your children the attention they deserve. But she hopes this list will help parents when they need to choose a minder for themselves.

Interview or home visit

Sarah urges parents, rather than asking a childminder questions, sit back and observe. Get the information you need about the setting after the visit via email. Watch to see if the childminder in question is acting towards her children in the setting how you would like, after all, that is the way she will be acting towards your child should you choose her. Don’t be hung up about grading, you need to make sure you have a childminder that is a grade ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, no lower, but don’t be to hung up over the ‘Outstanding’. A childminder is only an ‘Outstanding’ by doing excessive paperwork, childcare is about being practical with children, not sitting at a table writing about them while they are their in the day. As long as a childminder completes the mandatory learning journals required by Ofsted, along with her mandatory paperwork for her business to operate, this is what is important.