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Have I made a big mistake......
This is a long one so bare with not sure if I've made a mistake or it will get better.
I've recently set up as a childminder, I'm full and even have a waiting list (so must be doing something right). It's been a crazy month as all the children came and settled in at the same time, thankfully were all settled now.
We've just been settling in getting to know each other. I use daily diaries to let parents know what we've been up to, I've done things like crafts, water play, toddler groups etc.
I e tried asking local childminders for help but it's so bitchy and no one wants to help unless you're part of the clique!!
I haven't done any PLANNING as I really have no idea where to start?!!?
I know the eyfs a bit but it's better doing it in practice rather than sitting and reading over and over.
My children range from 6 months to 8 years.
SO HOW AND WHAT DO I DO? DOES ANYONE HAVE A SAMPLE OF MONTHLY/WEEKLY planning?
What document do I use for the 0-5 year olds like the eyfs booklet thingy to record the development?
How many observations do I need to do?
OTHER THINGS I NEED HELP WITH:
Do I charge for days off I have? And for a full hour?
What to do about fussy parents demanding this and that making life difficult?!
What things do I need to record on the finance side? I've just registererd as self employed today.
HELP FROM A STRESSED AND OVERWHELMED MINDER
First take a deep breath and breath! My planning is very much child led and as long as you can show that you know what is need to extend each child's learning through a record system of some sort of next steps. I use books from QED which are tracker books in which I can check their progress against the development guidelines and incorporate next steps.
I also make up a photo scrapbook of the children in which I write comments about what the photos portray and can link them into areas of the EYFS.
Charging wise it is very much down to you what you do as we are self employed we set our own terms. I would charge either per hour or possibly half hour, but have a minimum fee for after schoolers of at least 2 hours to make it worthwhile financially.
If a parent wants to take a day off and you are available to work then they should pay you, however if you take time off you could either charge half fees or no fees as it is generally difficult for parents to cover from their holidays especially if it is short notice.
Finances wise I would recommend purchasing an accounts package like the one from Lisa Finlay which is then very easy to complete.you can also download guidance from HMRC on what childminder's can claim in the way of allowances against their tin come tax. Generally it is all expenses you incur, you need receipts for anything over £10 but is good practice to have receipts for everything. You are allowed 10%offset on your gross income for wear & tear plus percentage allowances against your council tax, water rates, Gas & electric bills which are pro-rare red dependent on how many hours you work each week. That is why Lisa's accounts package is so goo as it works it all out for you. If you just google her name and childminding accounts you should be able to find her website and purchase the package via PayPal. It only costs around £15 as a one off amount & of course can be put down as an expense!
If you want to ask anything else you just go ahead and do so
I will start by telling you how I do my planning. The local council have someone who comes round to help childminders and I have used her example.
The page is split into a grid for each week, so five days across the top, three sessions for each day, morning, afternoon and after school run, down the side. So pick an activity for each session. These activities are then colour coded, so a different colour for outside play, adult led activities, child led activities and next steps (with initials for whose next step it is). So, today the plans were, go to the park (outside), Mark making in the sand pit (next step) and Father's Day cards (adult led).
Does that make sense?
Contracts - this needs to be made really clear to parents, at the start so everyone knows wheree they stand. I don't charge for my days off and holidays, but I charge full if the child doesn't come in. This just protects my income. I know some parents round here don't charge if children don't come in or only charge half fees, but I don't see why I should suffer financially because I am holding a place they don't want that week.
What kind of thing are the parents demanding?
When I started as a cm there wasn't so much paperwork so it wasn't so stressful and the changes have been brought in gradually so it wasn't so overwhelming, but I can see exactly why new cms struggle to get their head round it all.
Do any of your children go to preschools/nursery, can you ask to see their development books to give you an idea of how other settings are doing things? I've found this to be really useful.
Well done on finding children so quickly!
Get some standard contacts from pacey or Morton Michel or somewhere and they'll guide you through thinking about what you charge for. Each of your families should sign and agree them. I find it easier to say I charge when I'm available - so full fee when the child is on holiday or off sick and no fee if I'm off. Some people charge for some or all of their holidays, some charge nothing when the child is not there.
Planning can be whatever works for you - a post it note stuck in the diary, a note at the end of an observation, even in your head (but that's harder to prove to Ofsted).
If you get the tracker books described above (I don't use them, butbtheybcoyld be useful while you're getting to grips with EYFS), then they will also help inform your planning.
Some observations will be planned and some will just be a WOW moment, where the child takes their first steps, or whatever. There is no set number, or timescale, just whatever helps you prove their developmental progress.
Photo scrap book is a brill idea as I take loads each day.
Ordered my accounts book this morning so can get my head around this soon as it arrives.
I do have contracts and I did put that it's full pay when I can't have their child due to illness eat and full pay when they don't need me but only 2 parents actually follow this!!!
I might look into these tracker books!
Ahhh so much to do!! (Mindee is snoozing I'm re searching like mad)!
Regarding the parents not paying you have to be strict. I would just send an email or letter out reminding them of terms, and how much they owe. Failure to pay in full by x date, assuming end of contract and childcare
Hello my local sure start has a childminder group with a coordinator who helps with advice etc. it's also a nice cheap group for an outing with mindees - 60p or so?!
My cm had a photo scrap book for my daughter, now she goes to pre-school and they have a hard back scrap book and use stickers to record EYFS development and brief observations . Occasionally they do a longer observation on a form and stick it in.
Hope that helps!
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