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How will my childminder help my child settle in?

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

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Your childminder will find out as much as possible about your child by talking to you and your child if she can. They may give you a little booklet for you to fill out with your child so they will have a good idea about their interests and routines at home.

Your child may start by visiting visit her at their house for short periods with you and then on their own, gradually build up the hours that they attend the setting over a couple of weeks etc so that everyone can get used to the idea.

Your childminder may ask to visit your child at home.

There is usually a settling in period on the contract. (usually a couple of weeks to a month) just to make sure everyone is happy with the arrangement before the full contract starts. During this period the normal notice period is not necessary if the arrangement is not working.

It may help your child to settle in if you bring your child’s comforter to the setting. (e.g a special toy, a dummy or a muslin etc. Your childminder will look to see what activities your child enjoys and what they are interested in and by giving your child the opportunity to build on these, so that they can help your child to settle wherever possible.

As the childminder has your contact details, they are able to contact you easily while your child is being minded if they need to. They will also let them know how you are getting on by talking to you frequently, possibly writing a little diary which they see, or showing them photographs of what your child has been doing.

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As Registered Childminders, we are legally required to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework while caring for children from birth up to 5 (the end of their reception year at school). Our policies and practice within our settings have to reflect the welfare and learning and development requirements of this framework.

To find out more information about The Early Years Foundation Stage see




What is PACEY?

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PACEY, the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (formerly NCMA) is the national membership organisation for childminders and other Early years professionals in England and Wales. Childminders can choose whether to belong to this. Some childminders choose to get their public liability insurance through PACEY and buy their ‘tools of the trade’ such as contracts. Other Childminders choose to have personalised contracts and public liability through companies such as Morton Michel.

If you want to find out more, there is a section for parents on the PACEY website www.pacey.org.uk

What does it cost?

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As Registered Childminders, we are self employed & we each set our own fees so there are regional & more local variations. (Variations could be as great as £3 to £5 per hour possibly greater! ) When setting fees we take into account the many overheads we need to cover including our annual Ofsted registration fee (or future Agency registration fee), public liability insurance, membership of PACEY (optional), cashbooks, contracts, medication books, diaries, learning journals, purchasing & maintaining equipment and resources( e.g. buggies, car seats, high chairs, travel cots, safety devices, stair gates). Other costs include food, petrol, outings and toiletries and possible extra demand for heating, lighting and wear & tear on our home. We often incur costs associated with mandatory & also recommended training. We take care of our own tax & national Insurance contributions. In addition to our contracted hours within our opening times in most cases we work additional hours, setting up, preparing & planning and also and clearing up after the children have gone. We also have paperwork to do producing diaries / learning stories, reviewing risk assessments and policies etc, meeting potential clients, contacting parents to discuss things, doing our childminding accounts & attending weekend and evening training

Individual childminders have different arrangements

Fees may be hourly, daily, monthly with variations for unsocial hours, evenings, bank holidays, term only & holiday time.

Sometimes partial fees are payable

Fees may be payable in advance or arrears & be by cash, cheque, internet banking or child care vouchers or in some cases government funded places for 3 year olds. There is also some government funding available for 2 year olds who meet the eligibility criteria.

If you want a childminder to hold a place available for your child you may be charged a retainer fee as your childminder may have to turn away parents who would have used the place straight away. This fee is not taken off future childminding charges & it protects the childminder in case you later decide not to use their services. This fee is may usually less than the normal childminding rate until you choose to start using the place.

If one of us is expecting a vacancy to come up in the near future & you wish to reserve this place for your child that childminder may ask for a deposit & you will agree a future start date on the contract.  The childminder keeps the deposit if you decide not to take up the vacancy. Otherwise the deposit is usually taken off future childminding fees.

How do you work with other settings?

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We work in partnership with the parents to ensure we can provide the best care for children that we childmind.

We also aim to build positive relationships with other settings that the children might attend. This helps the children with their transitions when they are moving up to Puddleducks or the Children’s Centre or attending Mulberry Bush Nursery for some of the time. It also helps when the children start infant school or move onto junior school. The local Early Years providers including Childminders all make contributions to a community scrapbook which also helps keep us informed about each other’s settings. Sometimes we are able to support or build on themes that children are doing in other settings. In some cases we have a contact book between childminder and preschool or Nursery. We are required to get parental consent before sharing any information.

What about contracts?

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We are required by law to have a written agreement with the parents or guardians of each child that we look after. We discuss this contract in advance so that it is clear what all parties involved can expect from the business relationship. Once the contract is signed it is a legally binding document. It is usually reviewed every 6 to 12 months.

Contracts may be long term, short term for temporary or emergency childminding or possibly for occasional minding. Some local Childminders use the PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early years) contract while others devise their own. There will be some differences between the contracts of different childminders within our group.

Typically a contract will cover the following:

• Days of week/ Hours of minding required (contracted hours)

• Childminding fee (charge per hour, day, month, unsocial hours etc and extras) amount, when and how it will be paid.

• Whether fees are payable during child’s holiday or sickness/ absence from setting

• Whether fees are payable during childminders holiday, bank holidays or when she is unavailable to work e.g off sick

• Notice periods required for holiday (Childminder and child)

• Notice period required to end the contract (Childminder or parents/guardians)

• Settling in period (notice period usually waived during this time)

• Under what circumstances the childminder requires a retainer fee or a deposit (amount, how and when paid and whether deposit is refundable when the child takes up a place

• When the contract will be reviewed

• What happens if you are late picking up your child.

These are just a few examples of areas dealt with on a contract. There may be a lot of other things to discuss & paperwork to fill out e.g consents for various things and child health details and any specific requirements you have.

How many children can a childminder look after at a time?

The number of children that a childminder is able to care at any one time for is determined by:

Ofsted & is displayed on his/her registration certificate

Local Planning regulations etc

The number of her own children on the premises

The size of the setting (house/ garden etc)

For the purposes of registration the numbers of children are broken down as follows:

• Children over 8 years old

• Children under 8 years old (this is often 6)

In practice, some childminders may have just a couple of children on their books who attend every day whereas other childminders may have, for example, more than 10 children on their books but each attend only for 1 day a week.

Variations and exceptions:

1) The Early years age group includes children up to 31st August after their 5th birthday. A childminder may get permission to exceed the ratio for Early years age group with children who are 4 and are in full time education.

In special circumstances a childminder may be allowed a ‘Variation’ to allow her to exceed a ratio usually on a temporary basis e.g  It may be to take on twins who are under 1 or to ensure continuity of care for a particular child. All variations have to be acceptable to Ofsted.

The restrictions on numbers of children that a childminder may care for influence how childminding fees are set and why retainer fees and deposits etc are necessary. 

Childminders may also be caring for children over the age of 8 at the same time as younger children but the childminder will take into account the needs of the younger children and local planning regulations when deciding how many of this age group will be cared for in the setting.

Where a childminder employs an assistant this will often mean that more children in the under 8 age group cam be cared for in the setting.

This number gets broken down so that of these children under 8 years old only a certain number may be in the early years age group (often 3)  (see note 1)

The number of children in the Early years age group is then further broken down to specify how many of these children may be under 1 year of age (normally only 1 child can be under 1 year old)

How can I contact you?

If you are interested in receiving childcare in Mulbarton, or just want to find out more about childminding, our contact information can be found on the About The Group page. Also, don’t forget to look at our What Is Childminding? page.

If you are having trouble viewing the website, contact the webmaster at timothy.ross.kelly@gmail.com.

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