I have a DS who will be one next month and I'm wondering about upping my hours at work. I've sent for the list of registered childminders in my area from the council and there are four (is this a lot or not many? I live in west London), but one lives in the next road to me, which would be fantastic.
I'm getting my head round the idea of leaving him with someone I don't know very well - I've decided I'd rather he went to a childminder than a nursery because he can be quite timid and I'd worry about him at a nursery more I think.
What can I expect from a childminder and she of me? What questions should I ask of her? Is it reasonable to ask whether she can do one half-day a week (my mum looks after DS the other weekday I work and neither she nor DS would be happy to stop that!)?
Alibubbles left a lovely list of questions to ask a C/Mer I'll post them in a minute.
Half a day may work for some childminders but not for others. I can normally fit a half day in - but a colleague only accepts f/t children. It will probably take longer for your DS to settle in with only a half day a week - so be aware of that.
What training have you had? Any qualifications? Are you part of a network, achieved a quality assurance qualification, look at registration certificate, insurance details, business use for car. First aid must be no more than 3 years old, food hygiene certificate, Certificate in Childminding practice or NVQ 3, Contracts and record forms
Do you enjoy being with children and why?
Can I look around, see the rooms and outside play space? If there is no outside play space - how will you make sure my child gets the chance to play outside?
Where will my child rest?
What kind of food and drink will you give? Can I see a menu?
What will my child do all day?
How do you encourage good behaviour?
Will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they? How will their timetable fit in with my child?
How will you make sure I know how my child is getting on?
What hours is she open?
How much does she charge?
What about when my child is sick, holidays, days off
What do you do in an emergency?
When was her last Ofsted, can you see the report?
Top 10 Quality Pointers
When you visit possible childcare options, look for these Quality Pointers:
Are the children calm, safe, happy and busy?
Do children play and talk together?
Is the childminder listening to the children and answering them carefully?
Is the childminder friendly and proud of her work?
Is she joining in joining in with what the children are doing?
Are there lots of fun activities planned to help children learn and play? Can children plan some of these activities themselves?
Are there plenty of clean toys and equipment for children to use?
Is the premises clean, well kept and safe for children with a fun outside play area (or will the child go to parks and other places regularly)?
Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their children?
If there are other things you want to know, don't be afraid to ask. Good childminders expect you to ask questions and will be happy to answer them.
Always take up references. You could ask for names of other parents to talk to about the service
Listen to your child and find out more if he/she is unhappy
Always trust your own feelings about your childcare - you know your child best
Whereas I insist that the children eat my food and we all sit down at the table together and eat the same meal. I produce a monthly menu and discuss the childrens likes/dislikes/allergies at the interview and have brief update (like mindee1 poops a lot after peas) occasionally to make amendments to the food offered.
and the fact that the minder is flexible and just does ordinary "mum" things is good too. You know not afraid to load the washing machine or go to sainsburys with your child. The fact that c/minders do ordinary things is a big plus.
I am between KMc and RTKM I provide meals once children can eat what I would call a 'family meal' If they are <1 then they bring there own but the 14mth old I mind still eats jars of baby food so the mum supplys these
Can I just ask one more question? There's no mention of Ofsted registration on the list I've been sent from the council - I take it they do have to be registered with Ofsted to be recommended by the council? God, I'm SO stupid with this!!
The ones I've been sent have vacancies, I think (there are only four in the local area otherwise, which is unlikely as it's west London!). But yes, you're right I should check vacancies - I am very flexible with when I can slot in as I can adjust my hours at work to suit (this is the theory anyway...!).