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Childminders’ Focus March

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By Allison Leechildminder, author and tutor.

Allison Lee advises on writing policies; explains when it is necessary to have parents’ signed permission; and provides some ‘Growing’ activities to enjoy at home

Expert advice

Writing policies

Prior to any child starting in the setting, childminders need to decide what their boundaries are going to be and how they intend to implement them. Writing policies is a good way to ensure that both the parents and children are aware of what you will not tolerate.

Policies are not just useful in a childminding setting – they are essential. However, they will be very personal and unique to each practitioner. You will need to think carefully about your aims and goals and write your policies to reflect these.

Consider writing policies for main areas such as behaviour, confidentiality, equal opportunities, and sick children in order to ensure that parents and children completely understand what is expected of them.

Your policies should be clear and concise and leave no room for misinterpretation. Provide parents with a copy of your policies and display copies on the wall of your setting or place them in your portfolio to refer to as and when necessary.

When do I need to obtain signed permission from parents?

There are certain times within a childminding setting when it is necessary for practitioners to have signed parental permission allowing the childminder to carry out certain tasks. Signed parental permission must be in place before:

  • seeking medical advice for a child
  • taking the children on planned outings
  • taking photographs of the children in your care
  • videoing the children in your care while taking part in, for example, a concert or birthday party
  • transporting children in a car.

Your contract may cover some or all of the events which stipulate that signed parental permission is necessary. However, if you are in any doubt, it is always better to seek permission from parents before carrying out the activity.

Activities: growing

Growing seeds

Grow your own cress

Knowledge and Understanding of the World

What you need

Cotton-wool pads; cress seeds; sterilised egg cartons.

What to do

Dampen several cotton-wool pads and place them inside the ‘cup’ of an egg carton. Invite the children to sprinkle a few cress seeds on top. Place the seeds in a bright position and leave for several days. Encourage the children to check them each day so they can see how the seeds are developing. Let the children add more drops of water when necessary. After a short time, the children will be able to see the seeds begin to germinate and grow.

Check for any food allergies and dietary requirements, then invite the children to use the cress to mix with boiled eggs to make some healthy sandwiches.

Through the ages

Make a photo collage

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy

What you need

Selection of the children’s childhood photographs; piece of card.

What to do

Ask parents to provide six photographs of their child at different ages and stages of development. Invite the children to make a collage of their early years by sticking their photographs in order of their growth on a piece of card.

Talk about what the children could do at each stage. For example, did they walk at 12 or 18 months? How old were they when they could talk? and so on.