How to become a childminder
Childminding services will always be needed. With parents working, they are looking for safe and stimulating
childcare for their children.
And this is where a professional childminder comes in. Many parents favour this approach for younger children
from birth to age 5 because they feel that in these early formative years, their children are better stimulated and
challenged in a one-to-one or smaller group setting.
Expectations are high from parents and thus, it makes sense for a professional childminder to access a variety of childminding courses not only for initial training but as part of their continuing pro-fessional development.
But, is it all playing with soft dough and painting glittery pictures, or is there more to it?
Step 1 – Research registration as a childminder
Before you can start offering your services as a paid childminder, you will need to register with the relevant authority.
In England, childminders are regulated by OFSTED. In Wales by CSSIW (Wales) or in Scotland the SCSWIS, formerly the Scottish Care Commission. Check the relevant regulatory body’s website for information that is local to your local authority area, as it is with your local council that you will need to register.
It is the law that anyone who care for children for more than two hours a day for reward is registered and inspected by OFSTED, CCSIW (Wales) or SCSWIS.
Many local education authorities and schools also promote a higher level of qualification for teach-ing assistants, called the Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA).
Gain experience in the classroom – many schools will welcome volunteers into schools. With the correct Disclosure and Barring check (this replaced the Criminal Records Bureau check), many schools will help you gain experience in the classroom, from being part of a lesson to helping with reading and so on.
Step 2 – Get qualified
Like schools, playgroups, nurseries and crèches are inspected against a set of professional standards, so are childminders.
The professional standards framework sets the standard for the early years; again, the name of this important document will vary but in England it is called the Early Years Education Framework. Childminders fit into this framework as they care for children from birth to age 5. After this, most children will be in some form of formal education setting, or home educated.
This framework covers numeracy & literacy, learning, development, communication skills, physical and emotional development, as well as caring for the child or children.
A childminder is normally self-employed, setting their own terms and conditions and writing their own documentation such as policies and procedures. They will also:
- Need to be registered with the correct registration body in their country
- As a minimum, a childminder will need to hold an Introduction to Childminding – in some areas, local authorities will not accept registration unless the person has completed this course (this can vary, so check)
- You must also hold an up to date paediatric First Aid certificate and safeguard training
- You will need to display or be able to show parents, and an inspector, your current registration certificate for Ofsted (in England)
- You will also need to be part of the Childcare Register if you are working with children over the age of 5 years
- You will also need to have a CRB certificate, also known as a DBS check (Disclosure Bureau Service) to show that you have no convictions that prevent you being safe to work with children
- You can only have a maximum of six children under the age of 8 at any one time.
- You must also hold relevant insurances, such as Public Liability
- You will need to always work within the boundaries of the Early Years Framework
Step 3 – Take the plunge!
Once you have completed an Introduction to Childminding course, you can apply to join the register. There is a fee as well as an annual renewal fee too.
You will need to attend a pre-registration briefing session.
Look for details on your local authority website. These are friendly sessions from which you will gain valuable information relating to the registration process, forms to fill, inspections and so on. The registration process can take around three months.
Step 4 - Career progression
There are a lot of responsibilities when it comes to looking after and nurturing children. If you think that childminding is an easy job, you need to think again!
You will need to ensure that you carry on providing a high level of service to the families that you work with and so many people continue to study courses that expand their knowledge and professional horizons.
Continuing your professional development with home study courses offers numerous benefits:
- you can continue practicing as a childminder, using your evenings or weekends to study
- you study at a pace that suits you
- you can specialise in key aspects of childcare and this can make you professional childminding services more valuable e.g. offering a specialist service for autistic children and so on.
Rewarding, fun and hard work
There is no doubt that spending your day surrounded by children is incredibly rewarding, and a fun career. But it is hard work too, with a level of responsibility. Are you cut out for a career as a professional childminder?
How to train with NCC
Choose one of our many suitable childminding courses, and opt for either online or paper-based course. You can opt to pay in full or, for a small deposit (usually 10%) of the total course fee you could start your course sooner than you think!