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Urgent advice needed- meeting potential cm's today

(8 Posts)
ineedalifelaundry Fri 07-Aug-09 08:35:16

I'm going back to work in a few weeks and I've arranged to visit 2 potential child minders today.

Can anyone advise me on what I should be asking / looking for?

playftseforme Fri 07-Aug-09 08:42:14

Do they do food - i pay extra for meals and frankly it's a lifesaver. Not all CM's do.

Also, do they do overnights (as a one-off it's a great thing particularly as we don't have babysitting on tap)

Don't worry if you get a bit upset. I did when I was in your position. The childminder's house appeared like a mad house, with all the children scooting around. But when you look through that you see that they are all engaged with each other and in activities, and that the little ones are being involved by the older ones.

Ooh, one more thought, although an outstanding rating is clearly A GOOD THING, it's certainly not the be all and end all. Many CMs just can't be bothered with the red tape and form filling that goes with it, and I had a near miss with one (admittedly fairly newbie) CM who had the OS rating, but was more focussed on box ticking than really engaging with my child.

TheIronLady Fri 07-Aug-09 08:54:20

ineedalifelaundry: I'm a childminder, it's my day off today, goodness knows what I am doing on here when I should be catching up on paperwork!! but just downloaded this from the NCMA website for you, it should help.

Why did you decide to become a childminder?
How long have you been minding?
What do you like most about your job?
How long do you intend to continue Childminding for?

Do you have any children of you own?
If yes how old are they?
How many children can you care for?
How many children are you currently caring for? And how old are they?

What is a typical day for you?
What activities do you do with the children?
Do you take the children out in your car?
If yes what car seats have you got?
What regular outings do you take the children on?
Do you take the children on any special trips?
If so who pays for these?

Do you have house rules?
What do you think is unacceptable behaviour?
How do you deal with a child who has misbehaved?
Do you have any back up or emergency cover?
Do you celebrate any special occasions?
How will you keep me informed as to what my child does each day?
Do you provide meals or do I need to bring a packed lunch?
If you provide meals, do you have a sample menu?
What is your settling in procedure?
How much do you charge and what does this include?

Must Haves
 Ofsted Registration Certificate
 Public Liability Insurance (normally with NCMA/Morton Michel)
 Certificate for 12 hour Infant/Child Resuscitation First Aid Valid for 3 yrs,
 Car Insurance Certificate showing Business Use
 Ofsted Inspection Report (unless newly registered)
 Contracts
 Incident/Accident Records
 Medicine Records
 Attendance Register
 Permission Forms
 Emergency Medical Treatment
 Transport in Car
 Photographs
 Medicine
 Others

Should Haves
 Initial training Certificate (often an ICP)
 CRB Clearances (only those registered since 2002)
 Child Record Forms
 Certificates of training/Qualifications
 References/Thank you cards
 Contact Book (mainly used for 0-3 year olds)
 Policies
 Procedures
 Observations and development records
 Photographs

shoshe Fri 07-Aug-09 08:56:56

Here we are!

Alibubbles list

How long have you been working with children?

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

atworknotworking Fri 07-Aug-09 09:18:14

It's more of a gut instinct and this works both ways, you need someone who you can relate to and get on with as well as your child, from a cm point of view I check parents and children out as much as parents check me out, if someone visits me and it doesn't feel right or I feel that the children wouldn't gel I won't take them on, my first priority is the mindees I already have and their care.

When you visit their are some things that you will expect to be told or asked to do, if you visited me for example I would ask you to sign the visitors log, wear an ID badge and atm cleanse hands with bac gel (swine flu thing), I would then introduce you and your child to the other mindees and my assistant, take you around the playrooms and talk a bit about our routines, goals and expectations for the children, I would ask you about your own child, your routines, how you handle behaviour good and bad and what your childs favourite things are.

I would then introduce you to mountain of paperwork, policies, risk assesments, eyfs etc that is relevant to your childs age group, I then ask if you would like to ask me anything, usually parents like to sign up straight away and arrange settle in periods, if I'm not sure I will say something like can I give you a call later as I have to check those days / times.

If I'm not sure or your child had been in childcare before I would contact the previous provider to get some feedback, this is nothing personal but we do get serial non-payers a lot around here who just wander from one to the other, I also ask the other mindees if they enjoyed little x's visit or if they had fun playing together, this tells me a lot as occasonally I have had the children say things like they say naughty words, pulled my hair or wouldnt share, snatched etc. Occassionally I would do a home visit as well to clarify. Some of these things may seem a little ott, but bear in mind that mindees are often with me for 10hrs a day their happiness and safety is my main concern, so don't be surprised or offended if any of the cm's you visit do similar things.

Things you should look for as good practice is being asked to sign in & out, not being left alone at any time with the other children, pictures / displays of the childrens activities, children being comfortable approaching the cm and the other mindees, a good general routine with varied activities, Insurance and Ofsted reg displayed, crb checks for all adults, eyfs folders for the children, day books, risk assessments and policies, current first aid cert, and courses that the cm has done.

atworknotworking Fri 07-Aug-09 09:24:47

theIronLady I'm off too today grin I'm obviously catching up on paperwork.

Got some great info on hear from these lovely minders, print the lists off and take them with you.

ineedalifelaundry Fri 07-Aug-09 09:53:18

Thanks so much all- your suggestions are fab :-) I feel much better prepared.

Ripeberry Fri 07-Aug-09 20:28:31

Glad you've asked about what questions to ask.
I've met a few parents over the months and it's quite scary how many don't even ask anything. I just ended up handing them a list of questions for them to ask me and i just prattled on and engaged with their child (which is one of the most important things).
It's also got to do with gut feeling and does the CM actually play with your child?

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