Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

to find it interfering and even slightly sinister that my childminder wants to communicate with the school?

(143 Posts)
parakeet Mon 04-Jul-11 14:43:49

She's given me a (sealed) envelope, asking me to give it to my child's teacher. It has a note (to me) on the back saying she'd like to know about their lesson plans.

I asked my childminder what it was all about and she said Ofsted had told her to do it, so she can coordinate educational activities with the school. My (five-year-old) child is normally only with my childminder for two hours a day, two days a week (apart from school holidays). So I'm not really expecting my childminder to do anything educational with her, just pick her up after school, give her tea and let her wind down after school.

Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I don't see the need for other professionals to be bypassing me to communicate about my child. She doesn't have any SN. The teacher gives parents weekly sheets giving info about what they're doing that week and I offered to give a copy to the childminder each week, but no, she wants the teacher's lesson plans. I have a feeling the teacher won't particularly want to do this either, or is this standard?

Lucyinthepie Mon 04-Jul-11 14:45:12

Of course it isn't standard. Have you opened the envelope?

BitOfFun Mon 04-Jul-11 14:46:46

She sounds bonkers.

eurochick Mon 04-Jul-11 14:48:12

I'd definitely open the envelope...

bubblesincoffee Mon 04-Jul-11 14:48:42

It seems a bit extreme, but if she wants to be able to enhance the ducation that your child is getting at school, surely that's a good thing?

MissPenteuth Mon 04-Jul-11 14:49:09

Sounds odd. You could open it, read it, and then put it in a new envelope?

itisnearlysummer Mon 04-Jul-11 14:50:30

I'd open too I think.

I can pretty much guarantee the teacher won't be handing over weekly plans to your childminder!

Mumwithadragontattoo Mon 04-Jul-11 14:50:40

I wouldn't deliver anything to the school which I didn't know the contents of. I think you need to open the envelope. If it is as she describes and you are willing for a certain amount of coordination between the school and childminder then you can take it in in another envelope. If it is about anything else then you'll have to raise it with the childminder.

SarahStratton Mon 04-Jul-11 14:51:42

What does it say inside? <nosey>

No way would I hand that over, my 2 were with childminders on and off for a bit and I never heard of anything like that. How bizarre of her.

RitaMorgan Mon 04-Jul-11 14:52:15

Yes, it's an Ofsted thing - all providers are supposed to communicate with other providers about children covered by the EYFS.

Madlizzy Mon 04-Jul-11 14:52:23

Sounds like she wants to enhance and build on what the teacher is doing for EYFS. It's not unheard of for nurseries and childminders to liaise in this way with school.

Oh god you need to open it now!
You can't just start a thread on mumsnet about an unopened intriguing letter and leave us hanging! wink

itisnearlysummer Mon 04-Jul-11 14:53:36

But surely the weekly overview would be sufficient if she wants to keep her own planning relevant!

I still can't see the teacher handing over her weekly planning!

Terraviva Mon 04-Jul-11 14:53:44

Whoa! That sounds completely mental... Bonkers... Red flags a-waving!

Open the envelope.

itisnearlysummer Mon 04-Jul-11 14:53:54

Open the letter now and tell us what it says!

parakeet Mon 04-Jul-11 14:54:11

Oh Blimey, I was going to meekly hand it over but now I'm tempted to look inside. From what she said it sounded like this was absolutely standard and a requirement from Ofsted.

I'd open the envelope, read the contents, destroy/keep as apt depending on how mad/offensive/worrying it is and then find another CM because this one sounds barking.

Your child's education is YOUR affair, not the CMs and the CM is in YOUR employ. It is not for her to exclude you from matters regarding your child and it is not for you to be her bloody postwoman either.

iMemoo Mon 04-Jul-11 14:54:57

Hmm very bonkers.

itisnearlysummer Mon 04-Jul-11 14:55:00

Tbh, I wouldn't hand something to the teacher like this without reading it first. This is your child. She isn't owned by the school/childminder!

firsttimer84 Mon 04-Jul-11 14:55:05

Bizarre! Plus do the teachers really have time to do this? Imagine if they had to do lesson plans for every pupil who was being childminded.

I wouldn't want my child doing more educational stuff after school if they were 5, they need to play and be children for a bit before homework kicks in. (IMO)

RitaMorgan Mon 04-Jul-11 14:55:19

I don't think it's bonkers at all - Ofsted have told her she's supposed to share information and that's what she's doing. Maybe she isn't going about it the right way but Ofsted have a tendency to tell providers what to do but not how.

mo3d Mon 04-Jul-11 14:57:37

Open the envelope!

If you stick it back down your childminder will none the wiser and the teacher won't know that the childminder didn't open it and seal it again before giving it to you

It's about your child. Why wasn't the cm more specific? Or even let you read it before she got you to be her postie?

itisnearlysummer Mon 04-Jul-11 14:58:52

I think she should be satisfied with the weekly overview that the parents get. After all, the reasons the parents get it is so that they can support their children's learning at home. e.g. if they've been learning about capacity, you can ask your child to fill a bottle half full etc.

I'll say it again, the teacher will not be handing over her planning!

TwistAndShout Mon 04-Jul-11 14:59:31

It's just a way of sharing information between Early Years providers. It IS a requirement of Ofsted that information is shared. You might not like the way she has gone about it but it's ceratinly not sinister!

itisnearlysummer Mon 04-Jul-11 14:59:34

Have you opened it yet?!

RitaMorgan Mon 04-Jul-11 15:00:09

I feel sorry for the childminder! I doubt she wants the extra hassle of school lesson plans, she just feels that's what Ofsted want.

Just tell her you're not happy about this and she'll have to refer back to Ofsted.

strandedbear Mon 04-Jul-11 15:00:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

parakeet Mon 04-Jul-11 15:01:21

OK. I opened it (shame).

It asks for the teacher to provide her with a "copy of your planning and [child]'s next steps". It also says "Please let me know if you are particularly focussing on any area of her development."

For reasons I find hard to articulate, I don't like that last sentence.

I should add, that I have used this childminder for several years and have been totally happy with her in all the important ways. My children are happy there and I feel one of the staff-members in particular (it's a two-person operation) really loves the children, like they are her grandchildren. I would no way move them over this.

Not sure what to do next really.

BitOfFun Mon 04-Jul-11 15:02:11

I wouldn't especially want a childminder to be an educator, particularly if they only look after the child for a couple of hours after school. I would want somebody bosomy and kind who knows their way round a fish finger sandwich. That is amply sufficient, surely?

RitaMorgan Mon 04-Jul-11 15:02:38

Just give her the envelope back and say you're not happy about it ffs!

I agree with you firsttimer. I wouldn't necessarily want a CM continuing education at the end of a 5yos school day either. For 2 hours, 2 days a week in fact I'd be happy if she was collected, fed dinner and allowed to watch 90 minutes of childrens TV. If I wanted to supplement her education I would do it or find appropriate facility, such as a French club or violin lessons.

After all, OFSTED doesn't tell the classmate who goes home with his mum 5 days a week that he must be educated for the following couple of hours so why should a CM be any different? I would require a CM to mind not to teach.

flipthefrog Mon 04-Jul-11 15:04:09

is it some eyfs new thingy, they always seem to be mucking around with it.

ask on childminders topic too maybe, cause some people hide aibu

itisnearlysummer Mon 04-Jul-11 15:04:46

'Focusing on any area of her development' will refer to the early learning goals so, for example, they might be writing stories with focus on letter formation etc. That's not too sinister.

I suspect that the teacher will provide her with the same overview the parents get.

Sounds like she's got this advice from ofsted and is keen on doing the right thing, but that she's misunderstood exactly what they want. She doesn't need the teachers planning.

Besides, other people's plannng doesn't always mean very much!

parakeet Mon 04-Jul-11 15:06:09

Right, have to go now ladies. Thanks for your advice, and for making me open the envelope. I will probably take the coward's way out and just not hand it over to school, and see if I can get away with that.

I will also give the childminder the weekly sheets anyway. I'm sure her heart is in the right place.

Mumwithadragontattoo Mon 04-Jul-11 15:06:36

To be honest that sounds innocent enough to me and does tie in with what she told you. I would hand it over to the teacher and let him or her deal with it. The teacher will be able to say if there is anything further they can pass to the childminder in terms of planning. I don't think the second sentence is worrying just a slightly formal way of saying tell me anything else you think I should know.

So the CM is instructed by tosspotty OFSTED to share info, including the teacher's lesson plans.

Is the teacher obliged to cooperate?

And can anyone tell me please if they are equally obliged/would be equally willing to provide this to the parent upon request?

VelvetSnow Mon 04-Jul-11 15:08:53

The hand that rocks the cradle and all that.... grin

hmm sounds odd tbh, bonkers in fact.

Hand her back the envelope and say that you will communicate any "specific areas of development"

spamm Mon 04-Jul-11 15:09:18

I have to be honest and say I would be fine with this from my childminder (when I lived in the UK). I would definitely want to open the envelope, of course. But I would have no issue with this kind of communication with the teacher. I completely trusted my childminder, especially since I was prepared to hand over my baby to her daily, so I would not see anything sinister in this.

Do you think this says more about your relationship with your childminder?

swanker Mon 04-Jul-11 15:18:54

I'm not sure why you're uncomfortable about her request. Do you have othher concerns?

babybaabaa Mon 04-Jul-11 15:19:36

Firstly, as a childminder, it doesn’t sound particularly interfering or sinister but rather hasty and misguided.
Any information sharing like this between providers should only be requested with the parent’s full understanding and written permission and even then should not be a request for any personal, confidential information.
If I were caring for a child of this school age for those hours it would certainly be helpful to have a vague idea of the class topics/themes for each week. So that I could e.g. set up a pirate themed area in the garden or e.g. get things ready for dinner that all began with the letter ‘p’ if the class were focussing on any particular sound or group of sounds.
Or I might find an educational DVD about world dancing or get out some ice if reversible changes were being covered at school.
Sometimes in a classroom there isn’t that much quiet, unhurried time for the children to explore. I can compliment and enjoyably add to school topics in my home even if only for an hour or so.
It could be that a parent could pass on this information instead of the class teacher, but as a working parent myself I often have limited knowledge of exactly what topics are being covered in my son’s class so on balance I think it’s a good idea to share information – but just brief weekly or monthly topics not full lesson plans!

SarahStratton Mon 04-Jul-11 15:31:21

Good grief, when mine were that age they were far too exhausted to want to do anything but slump in front of the telly confused

Poor children, when do they get time to actually be children now?

lashingsofbingeinghere Mon 04-Jul-11 16:13:10

Oh lucky teacher, communicating with potentially up to 30 different childminders as well as 30 sets of parents.

LittleMissFlustered Mon 04-Jul-11 16:53:56

Sounds like the childminder has got a bit overzealous with the stuff they're being forced to do by Ofsted. I'd give her the round-up as you planned to. She really doesn't need any more.

I'd perhaps feel sorry for the childminder. Ofsted have had it in for them for years. Seems they want all children to be in a learning environment, regardless of parental wishes. I know several childminders who have quit because they never wanted to be teachers, but the ridiculous demands from Ofsted made them feel that they were forced to become them. A childminder is supposed to offer a home-from-home care setting, Ofsted are eroding that year on year.

Sorry, tangent over.

yy it's an EYFS requirement that the CM develops a relationship with other providers, and she is asking for lesson plans so that she can link activities she provides to what the current topic is at school. Asking for information about areas school thinks need more input will inform her planning too

Don't be hard on her, she is following current regs

I agree that it could be seen as a clumsy way of interfering but truly she holds the best interests of your child at heart; many CMs don't bother with building partnerships with school

DilysPrice Mon 04-Jul-11 17:02:16

Honestly it sounds fine, totally non-sinister, but just as if she's copied a phrase out of the latest OFSTED guidance she's been given. I'd hand it over to the school, who can answer it or say "no, sorry" as they think fit.

SusanneLinder Mon 04-Jul-11 17:08:10

Thank goodness mine are too old for Childminders smile.there is no WAY I would want my CM carrying on school plans with a 5 year old.

Let them watch Peppa Pig FFS. rolls eyes

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 17:08:15

I think your cm is confused though,by my understanding whoever has the child the most is the main care provider.

I don't do this with my school age children and I'm outstanding,slightly concerned now that I should be.

I've done transition documents for children once they start pre-school and liase with said pre-school but as I have my school age children now for only 4 hours per week I don't even keep folders of work as they're knackered and flop.School and home are in the driving seat so to speak.Ofsted were fine with this last visit as I double checked.

skybluepearl Mon 04-Jul-11 17:09:13

open it, read it and put it back in a new envelope, give it to school.

i'm sure it's nothing - just to do with levels etc but that is info you are entitled to know about

terby Mon 04-Jul-11 18:26:53

I dont like this at all. You will have to watch her and make sure she does not overstep the mark. I had a very bad experience with my childminder who over the years took more and more liberties. When I finally let her go for financial reasons, I found out that she was letting my ex husband into my house when I was at work, where he could leisurely root around my stuff. She then took legal advice on whether she could attempt to get visiting rights! There are nutters out there.

Numberfour Mon 04-Jul-11 18:50:00

I was going to add that it is an Early Years Foundation Stage requirement, not an OFSTED requirement, but BALD beat me to it! The EYFS requires childcare providers to communicate with each other but as a PP quite rightly noted about, it could become ludicrous with 30 CMs trying to get 30 individual bits of planning out the teacher!

I think that your CM is being a bit precious about the whole thing, OP, and I certainly agree that you were right in opening the letter before handing it over. No teacher would want to go into such detail with a carer, and after all, most school aged children in reception are shattered when they get back home or to the CMs or wherever they go.

Have a word with your minder again, and maybe your child's teacher if you like. A bit of overkill on the CM's part! Poor kid probably just wants to run around a bit or flop in front of the television for a bit!

Hope you get this sorted! Good luck.

hanaka88 Mon 04-Jul-11 18:52:46

You can't open it, it's someone else's mail. It is an ofted thing and my child minded does it with my full support.

Chaotica Mon 04-Jul-11 18:57:44

I don't think this is weird (as others have said, she's probably been told to do it). I don't agree with it, but TBH the first person your DC is going to talk to about school is the CM if she picks them up. My CM has helped with some things that we couldn't have because of this.

whatsallthehullaballoo Mon 04-Jul-11 18:59:06

I am a childminder and Ofsted grade the provision on the requirements of the EYFS. I actually got marked down slightly because none of my mindees attended other settings and therefore I could not prove how I was working in partnership with other settings.

Your childminder sounds very good and on the ball as to what her responsibility is. Most of what a teacher may tell her will just go in your dd's learning journal. Do not be upset about it - be relieved that you have a child minder that takes her job seriously!!!

This thread has highlighted just how much childminders are responsible for now and the lack of understanding about them sad

bubblesincoffee Mon 04-Jul-11 19:14:51

There is nothing at all wrong with the phrase 'focusing on an area of her development'

I can't see why you wouldn't like it at all, but then I work using the EYFS and it seems completely normal to me. She's just asking if she could help work on one of the areas of learing with the teacher. I doubt it would be any more harmless than, for example, the teacher saying they your dd needs to practice being able to say how many objects have been added or taken away in a set, and then your cm creating the opportunity by asking her how many people will be in her house when you come to collect her, and then how many will be left when you go.

It honestly does not mean anything sinister, and I think it's great that your child is being supported by a cm in this way. It can be hard for cm's because the EYFS is not that easy to interpret and put into practice, especially when you are working alone and may not get much opportunity to bounce ideas off other care providers. She does have an obligation to share information with others that care for your child, and it's good that as a cm she even knows the EYFS that well. Many cm's I know, actually know very little about it, let alone how to implement it.

BelfastBloke Mon 04-Jul-11 19:26:07

"I would want somebody bosomy and kind who knows their way round a fish finger sandwich. That is amply sufficient, surely?"

If you find her, BitOfFun, can you send her round here? She sounds my cuppa tea.

My childminder just got downgraded by OFSTED for not liaising with my daughter's pre-school. She and I were both shock. The inspector was more concerned about which bits of paper were missing from her file than how she took care of the DC.

Honestly, if school spoke to my CM instead of me I'd be a bit put out. I work most days and feel like I miss out on enough as it is.

LaWeasel Mon 04-Jul-11 19:41:26

When I worked for an afterschool club we lost marks with our OFSTED inspection because of this. (You would not believe how much of the inspection is looking at the paperwork instead of obs, none of the parents minded but the reception teacher wouldn't communicate at all and couldn't give a stuff because she had her own work to do.)

Anyway, it is for EYFS kids - if you are really not comfortable with it, write your CM a letter saying you want to opt out of the EYFS obs and assesment for her child. That way if OFSTED turn up she can show them that the reason she hasn't got that paperwork is because you requested that she not do it.

squeakytoy Mon 04-Jul-11 20:01:09

I would be furious that the babysitter that I hire and pay to look after my child for a couple of hours was being involved in my childs education.

quimbledonsemi Mon 04-Jul-11 20:05:53

I don't think childminders can win sometimes. Usually it's people complaining that their cm lets their kids watch tv but I think I've seen it all when a parent is complaining that a cm wants to find out how to best support their childs schooling!
I'm sure the cm isn't going to be giving after school lessons but the child might ask them things or have homework that needs doing (my 3 yo has homework so I'm sure 5 yos do).

WhenCanIWine Mon 04-Jul-11 20:08:35

Squeaky, can I ever so politely point out that a baby sitter is NOT the same as a childminder?

And breathe....

clam Mon 04-Jul-11 20:15:19

I speak as a teacher, and there is no WAY I'd be handing over my plans to any childminder, Ofsted recommended or not.
And I know what my HT would do with such a request.

LaWeasel Mon 04-Jul-11 20:15:21

It has nothing to do with them interfering.

Generally speaking the idea would be that you would tie in activities you were doing with school projects, so if they were learning about weather at school you might do some arty stuff recreating different types of weather, and in the process just chatting to the child about it. It is purely about reinforcing ideas and spotting any places where the child might have got muddled up, be struggling and passing that back to the parents if necessary.

MrsLukeDanes Mon 04-Jul-11 20:19:28

As a teacher I wouldn't want to give her my weekly lesson plans - NOT because I have anything to hide, but because they are very detailed, and they include initials/notes/first names of children who have IEPs, and others I might want to focus on that week, so that my TAs (who are given copies) know exactly who I want them to work with, when and on what particular objective. To protect these children, I would therefore have to adapt my plans just to give them to this childminder which I don't have time to do. I would say that she would have to be happy with the weekly outline, plus I would be happy to give her the targets for that child that they were working towards in Lit and Num for that half term/whatever. I am also happy to give out key vocabulary regularly that we are working on in class. Does that make me unreasonable?!?

OddBoots Mon 04-Jul-11 20:24:06

If she is 5 she only has a few weeks of EYFS left, this sounds like a 'tick that box' thing for her next ofsted.

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 20:26:08

It's ridiculous though (ex teacher and childminder) and I don't think OFSTED expect childminders to follow up and do further work on EYFS with a rec aged child.

A rec child will be at school 5 days a week doing EYFS 6 hours a day.Ofsted don't expect them to be doing further EYFS work during the 1 or 2 hours at a childminders house after school. Where does it say this?

The setting the children attends the most(ie school) is responsible for EYFS.

WhenCanIWine Mon 04-Jul-11 20:27:23

But clam, aren't you supposed to liaise with other professionals in contact with the children you teach? I guess you don't view childminders as childcare professionals.

LaWeasel Mon 04-Jul-11 20:29:57

Unless it's changed in the last two years, certain settings do regardless. They don't have to do the whole framework, but they do have to liase with the main EYFS people (ie school)

They really don't need the whole lesson plans, obviously, but a vague idea of what the class is doing is expected.

LaWeasel Mon 04-Jul-11 20:30:51

And they have to provide play opportunities that tick all of the different development boxes, and track the children's progress.

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 20:35:17

Childminders aren't the main provider though,I checked this with my inspector.

Where does it say that childminders have to liase re EYFS with school age children if they're not the main provider ie only take kids to school 2 or 3 times a week?

I was inspected 3 years ago so maybe things have changed hence my interest in where this is stated.

jugglingmug Mon 04-Jul-11 20:39:02

A friend has recently registered as a cm and has tried to liaise with her mindees school as advised during her initial OFSted registration visit. The school were like this hmm.

Squeaky, I find it disturbing that I have no choice in whether my child is educated by my chosen caregiver according to EYFS standards. Do you use any childcare? Particularly for care outside of school or pre school.

Littlepurpleprincess Mon 04-Jul-11 20:41:24

This thread shows the shocking ignorance so many people have of what childminders do.

FFS If I sat the kids in front of the telly every day after school all the parents would complain and ofsted would come down on me like a ton of bricks.

Childminders HAVE to liase with other professionals as it's in the best interests of the kids.

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 20:45:37

Yes childminders have to liase but not be privy to lesson plans. It's not necessary.

Littlepurpleprincess Mon 04-Jul-11 20:45:47

And she was hardly secretive was she? She told you what it was and GAVE YOU the envelope. She just wanted to know what they are doing at school so she can build on it at home.

For example, my mindees school is currently learning all about bugs. They have caterpillars that they have watched turn into cocoons, then butterflies.

So if I am planning to do an art and craft activity, I might do a butterfly collage, right?

So sinister....hmm

LaWeasel Mon 04-Jul-11 20:45:59

I don't know the specifics of childminder's, but after much debate after school clubs have to do all the EYFS stuff even though they are obviously never the main provider.

But it has been two years since it was my job to bang my head against brick walls trying to get anyone to tell us what we were meant to be doing when we were inspected in the first year of EYFS.

Not working atm, so not sure if it's changed.

Littlepurpleprincess Mon 04-Jul-11 20:47:45

She didn't ask for lesson plans, she asked for the child's 'next steps'. This is a small part of the paperwork that we do and the part you would be most likely to share.

It sounds like the OP has massively missunderstood the wording and should probably just ask her childminder what it means.

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 20:56:45

Littlepurple I'm not sure how a butterfly collage supports EYFS.Topics are lovely but have buggar all to do with how a child is progressing through EYFS.

With a school aged child I'd only request details from school if there were areas of EYFS I was concerned about(ie I'd check wether they wanted me/mum to support anything at home).I'd get it signed by mum like in the transition document.I'd also send in slips of achievement as and when.I'd speak to the teacher before and after school regularly to check all was ok.

When I was Ofsteded they were more concerned with relationships with pre-school and proof of my relationship. I was on the committee and described my frequent conversations before and after.My kids attend the same school/pre-school and I described how I approach teachers before and after,fill out transition forms.This was enough.

We are only talking about rec aged children????

Dnomaid Mon 04-Jul-11 21:02:35

I am a teacher who has been given a very similar letter in the past. I did find this rather odd because we were already liaising - as much as I do with all the (other) parents/ caters. I really don't think that I need to share with a cm any more than I would share with a parent on a day to day or weekly basis. My HT and our LEA contact agreed wholeheartedly saying the cm was making extra work for herself unnecessarily ( and potentially both myself and the child's keyworker).
In the end we agreed that the parent would share the early learning journal as often as they wanted to and that the cm would note any special achievements/ concerns etc above and beyond the ordinary - which is kind of what I'd have expected of someone in loco parentis anyway!?!

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 21:04:30

She said "she'd like to know about their lesson she can co-ordinate educational activities after school".

What educational activities should a rec age child be doing after school?

I explained to my inspector that whatever I put out after school they all crashed and requested CBBC for an hour.She was fine with that and sympathised saying their needs had to be met.I explained I checked regularly with parents as to wether they wanted me to force them into doing other activities.They don't.

I only have school children(non rec) after school 1 day a week.Even before school(strict no tv)2X a week they just want to "play" with my kids in their rooms.I can't force them into activities, surely there is no need if at school all day?

I got outstanding

LaWeasel Mon 04-Jul-11 21:05:56

I think the thing with EYFS is that it's still very new and the guidelines of who should be doing it and how they can prove it, how obs need to be done, were never hugely clear to start with.

So it is entirely possible that the CM is confused about the whole thing and just doing what she thinks she is meant to, or has been told to by her LEA contact, but that other LEA workers would say not to.

Littlepurpleprincess Mon 04-Jul-11 21:07:10

Their 'topics' are based on the childs individual interests. That was just a simple example to show how I might build on an interest that had been discovered at school IYSWIM. To show how my activities can be more meaningful to the children in relation to other things they are doing.

My point is every day communication needs to happen and is vital in caring for children. I have a good working relationship with both the schools I pick up from and talk to the teachers everyday. This has built over time, but it started with a letter! This is what the OP's childminder is trying to do I think. Establish a link so that she can build this relationship.

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 21:09:46

LEA's do enjoy a bit of scaremongering imvho.

Honestly it's this sort of thing that is seriously making me consider how much longer I shall be doing cming.

Obsessive,pointless paperwork is one of the reasons I didn't return to teaching.I don't really fancy doing the same for a fraction of the wages.

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 21:11:52

Surely "hello I'm ** childminder" at the school gate would do????

Littlepurpleprincess Mon 04-Jul-11 21:18:17

I think some people on here are thinking of 'education' only in terms of academics (math and literacy), whereas, actually children's learning is holistic.

'Just Play' is learning! A professional childcare provider (like your childminder) will understand that. Please don't think that by 'activity' we mean worksheets. An activity could be (an usually is in my house) free play but this can still be based on the child's developmental need and interests.

For example, Child A is struggling with forming letters so his teacher has asked me to incorporate activities that help to improve fine motor skills. Child A is also fasinated by trains. So I provide Brio, and encourage him to build the track for himself. Thus using communication with his teacher, and his interest in trains to indirectly improve his handwriting ability.

The child isn't forced to do the activity either, I just make sure it's available, and as I've planned it based on my knowledge of him, the chances are he will want to play that game.

The communication then goes back to the parent. "Child A had a great time playing with train today, he put the bridge up all by himself!" His teacher says that his writings coming on but could we please practise his fine motor skills at home?

Communication is SO important and I am quite frankly shocked that a parent would dissaprove of that. Can't you see how much the little things can benefit your child?

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 21:27:06

I don't think anybody is against communication.

Sorry but I think working towards EYFS goals isn't necessary after school.

As an ex rec teacher myself I know that if a child is struggling with letter formation they'll be doing an awful lot of activities that support it at school.The last thing most kids will want to do is carry on banging away at the same goals out of school after a 6 hour day.

After school most rec kids I know are grumpy and knackered. They want to choose their own activities as they've been steered all day.As school are responsible for EYFS that is fine.

parakeet Mon 04-Jul-11 21:28:43

Hi, it's the OP back again here. Thanks for all these responses, they have been so informative, especially about my childminder's motives, which I am now reassured are not at all suspect. In case anyone is interested, I am going to pass on the letter (reglued of course).

Considering the small number of hours a week my child is with her, it sounds like a lot of silly box-ticking to me, but I don't want to be responsible for her losing any Ofsted "points". Thanks again to all.

Littlepurpleprincess Mon 04-Jul-11 21:35:11

The last thing most kids will want to do is carry on banging away at the same goals out of school after a 6 hour day.

In my example, would the child have known that I planned this activity to be available in order to support the early learning goals? No, he wouldn't have a clue. He's 5. He'd have seen the Brio and thought "cool, trains".

They want to choose their own activities as they've been steered all day

Again, in my example, he is choosing, and I've been thoughtful enough to get out something I know he likes. There are plenty of other toys to choose from as well. I just don't see what your problem is.

Parakeet I'm really glad this thread was helpful. I'm sure your childminder is trying to whats best but maybe just didn't explain very well.

quimbledonsemi Mon 04-Jul-11 21:43:07

Mila - It's quite weird that you seem to think that all learning should be confined to within the school. Would you include having your child read to you in that? Do you really think that a child playing with trains or colouring in or threading beads on a necklace or doing other fun things, that also help with fine motor skills is, going to consider it extra work?

MilaMae Mon 04-Jul-11 21:56:08

In my experience of rec aged children after school(I have 3 of my own)they just flop.I have Brio,Lego,KNex,play dough(you name it we have it and all very accessible) but fine motor skill activities are tiring if you've been doing a lot all day.Many children(some of which will be 4) literally just want to flop on the sofa after an exhausting school day.One of my sons is left handed and believe me after a day working on his fine motor skills the last thing he'd want to be doing straight after school is threading beads,doing play dough or anything else intricate with his fingers.

Of course learning shouldn't just be confined to school but we're talking about the hour immediately after school and the walk home.I hear all of my 3 own children read every day but I sure as hell don't do it during the hour after school.During this time they're too busy shovelling a snack into themselves and chilling.It takes mine at least an hour to recharge.

My mindees are all collected at 5 so they go home for tea and read/do homework with their parents after some downtime with me. Their parents want to be involved and to support school themselves.


quimbledonsemi Mon 04-Jul-11 22:28:24

Well different kids are different aren't they. I'm sure most cm's don't force kids to do anything - nothing wrong with them making things available that they could do with practising. If they would rather flop then fine. My nearly 4 yo would draw/play with playdough etc morning til night if she could. No reason why the parents and the childminder can't be involved with educating the child - in fact I think they both should be.

quimbledonsemi Mon 04-Jul-11 22:29:12

Meant to add that the first thing dd usually wants to do when she gets home from school is read!

kalo12 Mon 04-Jul-11 22:36:56

what alarms me is that your cm gives you a sealed envelope about your child. you have a right to see all records/data/documents kept about your child. this behaviour seems utterly bizarre and somewhat creepy. she works for you!

clam Mon 04-Jul-11 22:54:47

What irritates me, as a parent, is Ofsted sticking its nose into what my child does when s/he gets in from school. Mine are, thankfully, too old for this now, but this would have been enough to deter me from using a childminder, if I thought they were being required to ask my child's school for such information. I know all the arguments about steering children towards activities that might help their development blah-di-blah, but it smacks of the nanny state to me and I'd steer clear.
Whatever happened to the good old notion of "using your common sense" when choosing someone you'd trust to take care of your children? Why does everything have to boil down to tick sheets and targets now?

<< old >>

cory Tue 05-Jul-11 07:52:12

Littlepurple, how do you deal with a child who comes out from school exhausted and doesn't want to choose a toy to play with?

This was a big problem for dcs with their first childminder: she was full of wonderful ideas of educational games and toys and they just wanted to flop. She was a great CM, but they were greatly relieved when we finally let them move to one who was less conscientious. They definitely felt with CM1 that they were not expected to flop- and that very feeling was enough to make them tired. A bit like coming home from a long day at work and having to entertain your MIL, every day.

Littlepurpleprincess Tue 05-Jul-11 07:57:43

Well clam it is changing. Have you heard of the EYFS review?

And it's not a case now of requesting written information in such a formal way. All OFSTED want us to do is have an open, friendly relationship, so at the end of the day the teacher can pass on any relevant information. IME the best way to start communication is by writting the teacher a letter when a child first starts with me. This has the added benefit of being written evidence for OFSTED to see as well.

MilaMae none of my children want to 'flop'. Ever. I can't quite believe that a teacher could know so little about children's learning and development.

Littlepurpleprincess Tue 05-Jul-11 08:00:26

Cory, if they want to rest of course they can. Mine rarely do though. They tend to calm down after tea and that's when they usually watch TV. That leaves me with an hour and a half to entertain them before tea. I don't know any kids who want to sit and do nothing from 3.15 until 6.00 at night.

cory Tue 05-Jul-11 08:00:49

Well, my children did want to flop after school. So was that because they didn't know enough about children's learning and development? hmm

cory Tue 05-Jul-11 08:01:52

sorry, cross-posted.

And now I see you let them watch TV. Our CM was far too conscientious for that: it was all play and educational activities, and dcs were far too polite to say they didn't like it.

Littlepurpleprincess Tue 05-Jul-11 08:04:44

I can see that you cross posted but actually YES it does mean your childminder didn't know enough about children's learning and development because if she did she would have recognised their need for rest wouldn't she?

A good childminder will facilitate play for those that need it, and rest for those that need it.

cory Tue 05-Jul-11 08:45:56

The problem was she was so enthusiastic about her provision that they felt it would be rude to say "no, we would just like you to leave us alone, thank you, and not provide things for us". So they pretended- just like they did at school in subjects they didn't enjoy, or as you do when you have visitors. So she never realised; she would have said like you "my charges never want to rest, they enjoy the activities I provide". So with this particular CM, the CM like a home environment never happened. It was fine with the next one, though.

MilaMae Tue 05-Jul-11 10:59:00

"I can't believe a teacher could no so little about children's learning and development". What a rude ridiculous comment.

I have a degree in early years,I was a literacy co-ordinator and I was graded "outstanding" during my inspection.I think I know plenty thanks.

As I mentioned before my children all leave at 5pm,they doflop(they go to a very full on school)and I have every activity under the sun all fully accessible should they so choose.I am in close contact with school and my parents who are also teachers and like Cory prefer their dc to be able to relax after a full day at school.

I simply don't think "lesson plans" "educational plans" are necessary for school age children who attend a childmind the best part of 4 hours a week.Ofsted clearly don't either because I checked with my inspector(who incidentally is the most rigorous inspector in our county)and she agreed.

quimbledonsemi Tue 05-Jul-11 13:13:29

But Mila no-one has said that kids should be made to do educational things - just that they should be available - which you agree with. All kids don't want to flop when they get home from school - I'm sure you are well aware that not all kids are exactly the same as the ones you care for.
As for the pp who said her mindees didn't let her know that they just wanted to chill out - this can be a problem with young kids and the best thing to do is work on their confidence so they are able to express their wishes to teachers and cms. If they won't speak up about activities it's likely they won't speak up aout other things either. It's hardly the cms fault if the kids put on a good act of enjoying her activities. She could equally have been bunging them in front of the tv when they wanted something more stimulating.

nobberish Tue 05-Jul-11 13:18:16

yes just another mad idea that ofsted have about sharing information with the schools so that the childminder can plan better what to do with your child. Crazy I know but not sinister. Poor childminder is only trying to keep to the ofsted regulations. Another reason I stopped childminding.

cuteboots Tue 05-Jul-11 13:27:30

Ive never heard of this before! Open the letter. Sounds very random to me

clam Tue 05-Jul-11 13:27:53

So, what qualifications do Ofsted require nowadays for childminding?
Serious question.

clam Tue 05-Jul-11 13:47:59

"But clam, aren't you supposed to liaise with other professionals in contact with the children you teach? I guess you don't view childminders as childcare professionals."

See my previous post.

I liaise with "other professionals" all the time, qualified teachers, INCOs, Educational Psychologists, DESC, CAMHS, Social Services.... none of them has ever asked me for my lesson plans.

MilaMae Tue 05-Jul-11 13:58:30

Clam childminders don't need your lesson plans either seriously.

Seriously as a teacher there is no way I'd hand them over either.Also the first person I'd be having any indepth conversations with re a child's progress would be it's mother(or father).If they requested (highly unlikely)me to give targets to their childminder then I would.

clam Tue 05-Jul-11 14:05:12

I wouldn't. I'd give the targets to the parents, and they could pass them on if they wanted to.

MilaMae Tue 05-Jul-11 14:10:24

You're quite right.Many childminders mind several children(maybe in the same class) and I think requesting/giving info/targets is treading on dodgy ground.

Also as a parent I'd go bonkers if my childminder was having conversations re my children and their progress that I wasn't privy to.

clam Tue 05-Jul-11 14:27:59

But I just don't see the need anyway. Why does a childminder need to see weekly plans (even if we accept that actual lesson plans are over the top) and "next steps" for learning/targets? If it's as simple as whoever said further back of matching an art & craft activity to something going on in school such as bugs, then what's wrong with a quick overview? How much depth is needed, fgs?
Not to mention the fact that with different children from different classes they're all going to be doing different things anyway.

MilaMae Tue 05-Jul-11 14:29:51

Also it does say in the framework that "The EYFS profile must be completed by the provider where the child spends the majority of it's time between 8am and 6 pm" ie school.It's thus the school's responsibility to request info if they want it not the other way round.Yes we have to liase and have activities available that cover the EYFS areas but the profile is the responsibility of school.

In working with the school I'd request my name was on the newsletter list,be available at pick up times,give a brief introduction,send in "I can do" slips if I noticed something really good that might be of use to the teacher for their profile.I'd check this was ok with mum first.

Littlepurpleprincess Tue 05-Jul-11 14:35:18

But no-one would do that MilaMae. I have written signed permission from my parents for me to talk to thier teachers or other childcare providers, in what way are the parents 'not privy to' the information we are sharing? I pass on any information the teacher has shared.

It's all very well saying the teacher should be talking to the parents but it's not the parents picking the kids up from school. I am. It's me who's there and sees the teacher every day and I cannot see what your problem is with that teacher saying to me, 'Child B liked the dinosaurs we played with today'. What could I do with this information that would be anything other than beneficial for the child?

MilaMae Tue 05-Jul-11 14:35:52

At our school they do masses of different things,they don't have 1 topic that covers anything.A teacher's lesson plans would be completely useless.It would be impossible to find out what maths/phonics/literacy/science group they were in,what every weeks target was for every subject area,how little Johny did and what would be useful to do next. Also many class teachers like to keep group lists private.

Littlepurpleprincess Tue 05-Jul-11 14:36:40

sorry cross posted again.

MilaMae Tue 05-Jul-11 14:38:47

Tecahers are sending out 30 kids,at our school just making sure they're all collected by the right person is a job in itself,they just don't have indepth conversations about what every child did at school that day.If parents want progress reprts they have 2X school reports and parents meetings.Teachers highlight any concerns in between.

Littlepurpleprincess Tue 05-Jul-11 14:46:50

I just think you may be over estimating how much information childminders want to share. No childminder I know would be asking for lesson plans or even the next steps.

In reality this is what information we really share.;
I write a letter to the school when I start picking up from new school, introducing myself and asking if the school agree to work in partnership with me. I get them to sign it and they keep a copy too.

Then in the past YEAR I have needed to speak to a teacher on probably 3 different occassions. 3. Thats it. One time was about a challenging behiavour issue. One was a child who is painfully shy and wouldn't talk in front of adults. The other time the teacher came to me and said could I please remind mum to provide appropriate foot wear for her child.

It is basic communication, that is needed to ensure the children's needs are being met.

cjbartlett Tue 05-Jul-11 14:47:53

So glad my kids don't go to a cm
They go to afterschool club where they ride bikes, play on the wii, watch tv or play with Lego
I do reading and homework at home
That is not a cm or any child care providers responsibility, it's the parents

MilaMae Tue 05-Jul-11 14:52:15

Littlepurple nobody is arguing with that hmm

Littlepurpleprincess Tue 05-Jul-11 14:57:10

Your kids could that as well at a childminders cjbartlett, no one has said they can't.

What about this situation?

I childmind a reception age child after school 4 days a week. That child is not picked up until 6pm. The parent then has to get a bus home, get the kids ready for bed and then in bed by 7pm. What time does she get to read with them?

She doesn't on those days. The school only have the staff to listen to each child read one to one, once a week.

So I offer to read with the child on nights that I care for her, if the child wants to. The parent is happy with this because the child is getting 3 extra one-to-one reading sessions a week.

The information I would need is what level reading is she at? This info could come from the teacher or the parent.

It's lovely if you have the time to read with your children but not everyone has that time everyday.

Littlepurpleprincess Tue 05-Jul-11 14:58:28

Well what are you arguing with then because that's all the information that childminders need? confused

clam Tue 05-Jul-11 14:59:25

Regarding how much info childminders want to share: we're going on what the OP said her childminder was asking for in a sealed request to the class teacher. She specified that the CM wanted more than a brief weekly overview and wanted lesson plans, areas for development and next steps for learning.

Bramshott Tue 05-Jul-11 15:01:44

I know that my CM got marked down by Ofsted because she didn't know what DD's 'next steps' were at pre-school . . .

MilaMae Tue 05-Jul-11 15:02:27

I thought we were discussing the requests of "lesson plans" by the childminder in the op.Also you mentioned requesting"next steps" and working towards goals like fine motor skills after discussions with the teacher.

As a parent I'd want any fine motor skills discussions to be between myself and the teacher and I'd want to be doing it with them as it would be my responsibility and his teacher's (the keeper of his EYFS profile) to help him with it.

I'd expect my child's teacher to say to the cm that she wanted a word if she had concerns. Then I'd ring in school hours or give her permission to ring me after school if I was unable to pick up.

Yes basic communication is what we all strive for but it's not what we were discussing.

LolaRennt Tue 05-Jul-11 15:07:29

Why would it be sinister?

clam Tue 05-Jul-11 20:13:52

Noone's answered my question as to what qualifications are required for childminding.

Littlepurpleprincess Wed 06-Jul-11 09:25:40

I think it depends on your local area but where I am you need a

NVQ level 3 or equivilent (or working towards it)
Unit one of the Dimploma in Home-based childcare
paediactric first aid
Advanced child protection
Food hygiene

So about the same as a nursery nurse

However you want to to be able to claim the 15 hours free entitlement you need to become accredited.

whatsallthehullaballoo Wed 06-Jul-11 12:28:42

The problem is not all Ofsted inspectors are the same. My (extremely strict) inspector marked me down for not having any children that attended other settings for me to liase with even though I have a Working in Partnership with Other Settings policy and gave plenty of information in my SEF.

Now - when I have children attending other setting I too will send a letter to introduce myself and perhaps pave the way to striking up a rapor with regards to the mindees learning and development. MILA - just because your inspector didn't think it was necessary, does not mean that other inspectors feel the same way. They blow hot and cold and always have their 'thing of the month' to get tough with.

The child minder was covering all areas of Working in Partnership.

Julie66 Wed 06-Jul-11 13:28:41

Speaking as a childminder I dont think it's sinister, but I personally wouldnt have put it in a sealed envelope, I would have shared it with the parent. Having said that Childminders are advised to liase with schools/nurseries etc to offer continuation of care. We have to follow the same guidelines as nurseries. I agree with the mums who want the children that attend a childminder after school just to come as if they were at home, have a snack and a drink and a play/rest, and tbh that is what most childminders would prefer ( of course I can only speak for myself and the ones I know). I want my home to feel like a home for them, but we have so many rules and guidelines and paperwork, it's getting a bit out of hand. I do my job because I love children.

altinkum Wed 06-Jul-11 13:43:55

"she works for you!"

Kalo12 - No the childminder does not work for the parents!. CM are self employed and offer a service, in the same way a electrician, plaster, etc... do.

ragged Wed 06-Jul-11 14:05:02

I feel sorry for the CM, probably just sealed it out of habit and is only doing what Ofsted told her to do.... which is ridiculous anyway imho, as A) plenty of teachers haven't got the detail down until last minute, and don't want the faff of regular copying to others, and B) CM shouldn't be asked to do more than most parents would do in same situation with an afterschool child on premises.

Friggin' Ofsted & EYFS.

chabbychic Wed 06-Jul-11 14:44:02

My jaw hit the ground when I read this thread title - doesn't often do that!

I will be back when I have a minute!

quimbledonsemi Wed 06-Jul-11 19:22:03

Oooh is chabbychic the cm in the OP?

chabbychic Wed 06-Jul-11 20:40:55

Right I am back and despite the fact that this thread has died I am determined to have my little rant.

I am appalled by this thread and am very offended.

I am going to comment on some of your RIDICULOUS statements.

"Your child's education is YOUR affair, not the CMs and the CM is in YOUR employ" Er fuck off. I work for myself. I am registered as self-employed. Education begins at birth. Of course it is our affair. Plonker.

"I wouldn't especially want a childminder to be an educator, particularly if they only look after the child for a couple of hours after school. I would want somebody bosomy and kind who knows their way round a fish finger sandwich" Do you REALISE how offensive this is? Quite apart from the fact that there are MALE childminders.

"I dont like this at all. You will have to watch her and make sure she does not overstep the mark" shock She is doing her job. She is liaising with other professionals about the child in her care.

"squeakytoy Mon 04-Jul-11 20:01:09

I would be furious that the babysitter that I hire and pay to look after my child for a couple of hours was being involved in my childs education." Fuck off squeakytoy I am not a babysitter. I am actually a graduate, a qualified teacher and currently doing EYPS (know what that is?! Thought not).

"clam Mon 04-Jul-11 20:15:19

I speak as a teacher, and there is no WAY I'd be handing over my plans to any childminder, Ofsted recommended or not.
And I know what my HT would do with such a request." Well you clearly know nothing about liaising with other childcare providers. No I don't ask for lesson plans but I do ask for termly plans and work my planning around them.

"this behaviour seems utterly bizarre and somewhat creepy. she works for you!" As I may have said before.... Fuck off.

Of course my afterschoolers watch tv if they're tired. But we do plenty of other things and they are always having fun and PLAYING. You can learn through PLAY.

No wonder 12 childminders a day are leaving. No respect.


clam Wed 06-Jul-11 20:54:49

If 12 childminders a day are leaving, I suspect it might be less to do with "no respect" and more to do with the ridiculous and unnecessary requirements made of them by Ofsted.

clam Wed 06-Jul-11 20:56:41

"Well you clearly know nothing about liaising with other childcare providers."
I refer you to my post of Tue 05-Jul-11 13:47:59

chabbychic Wed 06-Jul-11 20:57:02

I didn't say I agreed with all the paperwork. I am saying the cm in the op was doing her job, and doing it very well.

chabbychic Wed 06-Jul-11 20:59:59

I have a link book between myself and the teacher/nursery worker which the Ofsted inspector thought was great. I got Outstanding.

PotPourri Wed 06-Jul-11 21:19:43

chabbychic, the only post that made my jaw drop was yours! Such language!

chabbychic Wed 06-Jul-11 21:25:55

God forbid that someone should swear on mumsnet.

berkshirefem Wed 06-Jul-11 22:00:00

You naughty girl chabby

I don't know a lot about it but part of the EYFS thing is that childminders should monitor childrens progress up to 5 (or when they leave reception? not sure) And having a strong link with the school makes this a lot easier. Okay, so parents aren't asked to do this so I suppose and arguement could be - then why do childminders? But childminders are not parents, they are doing a professional job just as any other self employed person who you may engage would do (only it's about the most important job there is!) If they want to do it to the best of their ability then I'm not sure what the problem is.

I hand over my most treasured possession to my childminder every day, I'd be more concerned if she wasnt interested in her education at all.

Your childminder sounds great OP, if you want a childminder who doesn't give a shit and sees her role as that of fishfinger sandwich provider then you could always go elsewhere.

But as you said, your childminder is really good, so I don't see why this should bother you.

indigostarfish Thu 07-Jul-11 07:00:00

I am seriously falling about laughing at this thread, presumably all the people saying 'Oh my god it must be something sinister' and 'teachers wont communicate' are parents and haven't got the foggiest idea what is required from childminders and teachers BY LAW!
This is a result of the Every Child Matters papers and is one of the ways professionals work together for the well being of your child. Childminders, health visitors, social workers, nurseries, preschools, reception classes etc all HAVE to work together under the EYFS rules. If your childminder wanted to do something 'sinister' she could communicate directly with the teacher or social services and by pass you completely...

If you are worried about what is in the envelope, open it, its your child. You will probably find its nothing more than a permission form and request to share data.

DS childminer had to prove 'what' she was doing with when he was in her care. She had him an hour (max) before/after school.

We drew up our 'own' list. eg road safety, fine motor skills etc as areas of development. Some days she walked him home from school and I'd collect him 15 minutes later as he was still having a snack.

Your CM is just getting a little to zealous but is doing the right thing. I agree though the school is the main service provider.

And anyway I'm presuming your DD has 3 weeks of year R left? Well she won't be doing EYFS after that,

ElizabethDarcy Thu 07-Jul-11 08:49:26

At an inspection the OFSTED inspector WILL ask us CMs how we go about sharing information with schools etc. There is nothing sinister/untoward about it.

As a CM I would have explained this in a bit more detail to the OP, as she didn't know exactly what it was about understandably, and was dubious.

As to whether the teacher will share anything/a little is a different story, the CM can at least tell OFSTED (when asked) that she has requested sharing of information... FOR THE GOOD OF THE CHILD IN HER CARE. Whether she actually receives anything from the teacher is out of her hands.

And for all those that think CMs are glorified babysitters... please DO read up on all a CM needs in place today, professionally, personally, resource-wise, course-wise etc. before (ignorantly!) responding to a thread as this. Loads needs to be in place to provide this important service, trivialising is highly unfair and inaccurate.

quimbledonsemi Thu 07-Jul-11 09:00:26

For those who missed it the op did open the letter and it said exactly what the cm said to her.

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