Childminding numbers “are absolutely falling off a cliff”
In just one year, between March 2022 and 2023, registered childminders in England fell by 3,500 (11%) – meaning a loss of more than 20,000 childcare places, data from Ofsted shows.
This leaves working parents with a real lack of choice.
Childminders are like “micro-nurseries” who have to follow an early years curriculum and do training in their own time, but they are sometimes not always recognised as the professionals that they are.
Childminders offer a range of benefits for both children and parents.
Here are some of the key advantages of choosing childminders for childcare:
Childminders typically care for smaller groups of children, allowing them to provide more personalised and one-on-one attention to each child’s needs and interests.
Childminders often operate from their homes, creating a familiar and comfortable setting for children. This home-like environment can ease the transition from home to childcare.
Many childminders offer flexible hours, accommodating parents’ work schedules and providing care during evenings, weekends, or unusual hours.
?Continuity of Care:
Childminders can offer long-term care, allowing children to build strong and consistent relationships with their caregivers, which can positively impact their social and emotional development.
?Small Group Interaction:
Children in childminding settings have the opportunity to interact with a small group of peers, which can promote social skills, cooperation, and friendship building.
Childminders can tailor activities and learning experiences to suit each child’s developmental stage, interests, and abilities.
?Exposure to Mixed Ages:
In multi-age settings, children have the opportunity to learn from and interact with peers of different ages, fostering a sense of community and promoting empathy and mentorship.
Childminders often follow children’s interests, allowing them to explore and engage in activities they find engaging and stimulating.
?Familiarity with Local Community:
Childminders are often familiar with their local communities and can provide children with opportunities to engage in neighborhood activities and outings.
?Close Communication with Parents:
Childminders typically maintain close communication with parents, providing regular updates on their child’s progress and well-being.
?Lower Child-to-Caregiver Ratio:
Childminders often have lower child-to-caregiver ratios compared to larger childcare centers, which can result in a more nurturing and attentive environment.
Childminders can be a cost-effective childcare option for families, especially if they have multiple children to care for.
?Support for Parenting Style:
Childminders often work collaboratively with parents to ensure consistency between home and childcare routines and to support each child’s individual needs.
?Regulated and Inspected:
In many countries, childminders are subject to regulation and inspection, ensuring that they meet safety standards and provide quality care.
Overall, childminders offer a valuable childcare option that provides a nurturing, personalised, and home-like environment for children, supporting their development and easing the demands on working parents.
I was shocked to hear Nikki Griffiths, Wirral Childminding Association, say that her local authority pays £4 an hour for three and four-year-olds, so with three children under the age of five, she earns £12 an hour before she has paid for anything else, including training, insurance, utilities and food.
It is no wonder childminders feel so undervalued.
We need to cherish, support & champion childminders and pay them for the wonderful job they do in supporting families.