Childminders: Where Love and Learning Find a Home!

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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:

?Individualised Care:

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.

?Home-Like Environment:

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.

?Flexible Hours:

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.

?Individualised Learning:

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.

?Child-Led Learning:

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.

?Cost-Effective Option:

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.

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