I have worked as a childminder for over 21 years and have gained extensive knowledge of child-development through training and working with other professionals which I use when making decisions about children’s progress and support. All children entering my setting are assessed as a starting point, in consultation with parents and carers so I can monitor their progress and development. I do this through observation and recording in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) set out by the government. I will discuss with each parent any concerns I may have about their child’s development and share the pre-school learning journal on a regular basis. A 2-year-old development check is undertaken jointly with parents to review progress. At any time any concerns can be discussed with me and if necessary referred to other professionals for further specific advice.
Working predominantly alone I am responsible for all the children in my care and overseeing their well-being and development. If a child already has an Education, Health and Care Plan, then I will work in partnership with the parents and professionals to support their child and maintain regular reviews. Reviewing children’s progress and working in partnership with parents are key to supporting any child but if that child needs SEN support then they should have clear goals and targets to enable them to reach their full potential. This can be achieved by using the cycle of: assessments, plan, do and review.
I use Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum as a guide for each child's development. When planning an activity I will take into account each child’s abilities and stage of development and use their interests and preferences to encourage participation. I try to spend a lot of time outdoors where the children can explore and I have a designated area for pre-school children to access all year around. I also take the children on regular outings to places of interest; which can be tailored to each child’s abilities and interests.
As a parent/carer you will be kept informed continually about your child's progress and achievements. This is managed through daily discussions and their individual learning journals containing observations and assessments that I then use to plan next steps. I also take lots of photos to share with you of your child’s day with me. If you wish to make an appointment to come and discuss your child’s journal or any other concerns I am happy to do so. I can also suggest support groups and activities for you to do with your child at home. If I have any concerns I will discuss them with parents first and we can then decide together if further advice or referrals are needed.
My aim is to offer a safe, comfortable and stimulating environment where a child can feel ‘at home’. To this end I have some simple house rules in place that are shared with the children and a range of policies in place, which are shared with parents. I promote positive behaviour that is reinforced constantly with positive praise and sticker charts if relevant. Children are encouraged to manage their own personal care but will be helped discretely by me should they want or need it. All outings are risk assessed and I take the safety of the children, both physical and emotional very seriously. Medication is stored safely out of reach of the children and my husband (who is my assistant) and I are both first aid trained. Children are encouraged to discuss any ideas for outings or activities with me and we try to sit down at snack time each afternoon and talk about ‘our day’. I also have a ‘worry’ box should children wish to write a concern down. I have under taken child protection, food hygiene, risk assessment, manual handling and health and safety courses as well as achieving the PAT Mark stamp of excellence.
I am a member of PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) which enables me to access advice from a SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) or other specific professionals. I have worked with speech therapists, social workers and portage and liaised with school staff whilst supporting children in my care.
I have a level 3 NVQ in Early Years Care and Education and have completed level 4 assignment modules run by the University of Gloucestershire in Special Educational Needs. I have also attended communication skills training, child protection, Understanding, working with and supporting children’s behaviour, HIV and AIDS awareness, Speech and Language therapy, Early Language Development Programme, What makes a childminder “Steiner inspired,” Autism awareness and introduction to Makaton. I access specific training as the need arises to ensure my professional knowledge and development is continued.
As a childminder I have an inclusive service and this is naturally extended to all activities outside too. I risk assess each outing and write to parents in advance of an outing to somewhere ‘new’ to ask if you have any specific worries or concerns. Excursions are planned with each child’s needs accounted for my Inclusion policy is always put into practise.
My home is accessed via a flat driveway and a small step into the front door, which is not wide enough to access a full sized wheel chair. Access is wider through the rear garden French doors but also has a small step. The garden is all one level and has a small patio area and lawn. I have a down stairs toilet, kitchen and playroom without any steps. I do not speak any language other than English but am always happy to learn something new. If possible we could speak through an interpreter, family member or friend.
Once a parent and child have decided that they would like to attend my setting, usually after one or two visits I go through all my relevant paperwork, contact forms, permission forms, policies and contract. We then arrange for the child to attend some ‘settling-in’ sessions leading up to their start date. The settling-in sessions give your child the chance to meet other children in my setting and experience time with my family and I, away from their own family. Children moving on to another setting or school will take their learning journal with them and of course, with your permission I am happy to meet and/or discuss with other professionals your child’s time with me. I am also happy to accompany your child for any visits that may be available.
I can provide Government funded early years education places for eligible 2 year olds and also all 3 and 4 year olds. This is a maximum of 15 hours per term week. Additional funding can be claimed for children with special educational needs. I will work with the family to identify and obtain other specialist equipment where required.
Decisions about your child are obviously made by you in consultation with me based on the observations and assessments I have made during the time your child has spent with me. We may have involved the FIRST team, doctors, speech and language therapists. The amount of professional support your child receives would depend on the outcome of involving other professionals.
Parents are welcome to visit my setting as much as they feel necessary to support their child whilst settling in. I will discus their child’s progress each day with them and keep a learning journal for pre-school children. I am happy to keep a daily diary including photos as well or for older children. Parents are invited on occasions to come and meet other parents for a coffee and a chat with out the children.