Childminding Best Practice Newsletter

Issue 15: Summer 2017

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Welcome to the Summer 2017 Childminding Best Practice Newsletter. I produce this newsletter four times a year to promote childminding best practice topics with a focus on safety, health, diversity awareness and childminding in the great outdoors (Forest Childcare). I also use it to highlight any changes to legislation or policy that may affect your childminding business.

Download this newsletter as a pdf

In this issue:

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First aid pop quiz – what is the first thing you should do for an unconscious child?

Free fire drill record form and fire safety checklist

How to hold a childminding sports day 

The next issue (Autumn) will be coming out in Sept 2017

Thank you to everyone who sent in contributions to this newsletter. I welcome contributions from readers on all aspects of childminding best practice.

Happy reading!



Could you make a commitment to weekly outdoor outings?






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Forest Childcare Association news


Members of the Forest Childcare Association commit to taking children on weekly outdoor outings to ‘wild’ places. Forest Childcare is an ongoing commitment because frequent, regular time spent outdoors is more valuable to children than occasional big day trips as it allows them to build familiarity with nature. Most importantly, Forest Childcare teaches children to fall in love with wild and beautiful places so they will grow into adults who will protect them for the next generation.

Urban Forest Childcare – “making the most of what we have” - contributed by Silvia Bouakkaz   

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We live in central London but we just love the outdoors and try to make the most of what we have. We do not have the seaside but we have the river Thames we went. It was a fantastic day out, as you can see on the pictures we went on a treasure hunting on the Thames foreshore just behind Tate Modern. We managed to find a few items on our list, it just felt like we were in the seaside. FANTASTIC !!!! 

Put the Forest Childcare Logo onto your Facebook Page

Take a look at how Christine uses the Forest Childcare Logo on her Facebook page. It’s a great way to advertise to parents that you are a Forest Childcare provider. Many parents are willing to pay more for providers who offer weekly outdoor outings to ‘wild’ spaces, so you should promote the outings on your website and Facebook pages as much as you can.  

Our First Forest Childcare Walk – contributed by Venetia Jones

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“All the children got stung by stinging nettles but hopefully they will soon know what a stinging nettle looks like!" 


Today I took the children out on their first of many outings into our local woods which I have never done! We had a fantastic time. The children loved it as did I. I read all the information and set off well prepared. All the children got stung by stinging nettles but hopefully they will soon know what a stinging nettle looks like! Again a big thank you the information in the guide it has been great and given me the incentive to get out in the woods each week with the kids.

The Bumblebee Trust

You will find lots of interesting facts and activities about bumblebees,, including tips on how to spot bumblebees and identify different types.

The Danish school where children play with knives 

Video shows just what you can do with children with a proper risk assessment and a bit of common sense.

NEW: Forest Childcare Facebook Page 

The Forest Childcare Association now has its own Facebook Page. Please like my page and enjoy the links, stories, craft and activity ideas, poetry, photos and inspirational ideas I share. Liking the page helps support the Forest Childcare Association.

Tree Explorer Packs from the Forestry Commission



 The Forestry Commission has lots of lovely, FREE good quality downloadable tree-related activity packs you can download.

Forest Childcare at Loch Ness – contributed by Karen MacKenzie

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We have been very busy and spend so much time outside. Den building of any kind is always a huge hit with all ages in my care. We also had fun building Fee our lovely scarecrow. This is the view over Loch Ness, where we live, whilst out for a wee hike one day over the Easter holidays when I had older children....with views like that on your doorstep who would want to be inside!

“Bushcraft Day” at the outdoor activity centre– contributed by Clare Duval

Recently I took some of my children on a trip to a local outdoor activity centre that caters for the learning of Bush craft and forest activities. We took children ranging from 20 months to 8 years and whilst at the centre the children took part in many activities, including making camouflage crowns with leaves and twigs, and making shelters for toy animals using only things from the wooded area we were in. They also toasted marshmallows over an open fire and enjoyed drinking hot chocolate. We played hide and seek in the trees, rope games and pretended to be woodland animals. The children had a go at climbing trees and were looking for insects amongst the leaves. We had a fantastic day and the staff at the centre were terrific, gearing the activities towards the younger children whilst including the older ones by getting them to support those younger.

I would very much recommend anyone taking advantage of this type of activity if they have access to it. The day has also given us some ideas of activities we can recreate on a smaller scale at home so the children who could not attend can have a little experience as well. Of all the extra activities we did this was by far mine and the children's favourite this summer.

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Childminding Best Practice Club – monthly activity packs and membership

Art and Activity Ideas

NEW: Childminding Best Practice Club – Themed Activity Packs emailed to you - £2.50 per month

Members of my new Childminding Best Practice Club, which I have only just started in June are emailed a monthly pack of themed activities, plus activities that support continual professional development (CPD). I think you will find it is incredibly useful to have themed activities and art projects with templates emailed to you each month. There is really nothing else quite like it out there aimed just at childminders. If you enjoy reading these newsletters or like my other products, then for only £2.50 each month I think you’ll be find the quality is excellent and the service worth it. Please join today!

Fathers’ Day – Sun 18th June

I love these ideas for Fathers’ Day cards and crafts sent in by readers

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Plates and cards contributed by Cathy Smith
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“I love you to the moon and back”, contributed by Jenny Fox.




Articles, Blogs and Information Pages

Information pages on    

I have lots of searchable information pages for childminders on my Childminding Best Practice website where I also publish my blog articles. On this site you can search for information, articles, links, and support by topic including:

Remember to “follow”my blog to receive articles by email. You just need to enter your email address. Please note that the blog is not the same as my newsletter.

Childminding in small spaces

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Tips and ideas for childminders who don’t have dedicated playrooms for keeping childminding from overrunning your house. [more]  

Rediscovering the pure pleasure of paper – for over-digitised childminders

Because the most efficient way of doing things in childminding is not always the best. Article looks at why childminders might reconsider paper-based diaries and learning journeys [more]

Bee Safe Bee Healthy

Get art projects, colouring pages and activities for 15 safety and health topics for childminders with a Be Safe Be Healthy Pack.









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Free fire drill record form and fire safety checklist



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Safety and Health

First Aid Pop Quiz

You’re at a children’s party when a child you know has diabetes appears to pass out and is lying on the floor unconscious. What’s the first thing you should do?  

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CLICK HERE or scroll down to reveal the answer

Childminders, it is not ‘your husband’s responsibility’ to check your smoke detectors    

 Those chilling public safety adverts they put on TV give the impression that it is somehow a man’s responsibility in a house to check that smoke alarms are working. It isn’t!  

If you are a childminder, fire safety is really important. And it is part of your responsibility as a childminder. Also, it’s not a one-time responsibility you can then forget about, but an ongoing commitment. There’s no point fitting smoke detectors if you don’t regularly test they are working. If you really can’t go up a ladder and press a button yourself, then you need to nag your husband regularly until he does it for you!

You also need to hold regular fire drills, at different times of the day and with different children present. In the event of your smoke alarm going off, you and every child needs to know what to do every time. 

As a childminder you have two statutory responsibilities in terms of fire safety. You must:   

1.     Have appropriate fire detection and control equipment

2.     Have an emergency evacuation procedure    

 Click here for a simple free checklist you can use in your setting for fire safety and to download a free fire drill record form.

Child Safety Week: 5th – 11th June 

Free action pack and posters from the Child Accident Prevention Trust. It’s the essential guide for anyone who wants to get effective messages out to children and families about preventing accidents. You can download everything you need here.

Preventing unintentional injuries – a government guide for anyone working with under 5s

This new booklet focusses on the leading causes of accidents in this age group and gives you some practical advice on how to prevent them.

Talking About A Generation 

This report from the Communication Trust called Talking About a Generation highlights research showing that by the age of five, 75% of children who experienced poverty persistently throughout the early years are below average in language development, compared to 35% of children who never experienced poverty. 

First Aid Pop Quiz - Answer

A child with diabetes has passed out at a children’s party and is lying unconscious on the floor. You check for danger to yourself and the child before rushing over to her. The unconscious child has not responded when you call her name and tap her gently on the shoulder.

Your very first priority is to shout for help then check that she is breathing.  

To do this, open the airway by gently tilting the head back and lifting the chin. Then look, listen and feel for normal breathing.  

Do not try to give an unconscious child anything to eat or drink.  

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If the child is breathing, you should put her into the recovery position to keep her airway open then call 999 for an ambulance.

If the child is not breathing, you will need to perform rescue breaths and chest compressions. Follow the video and instructions on the St. John’s Ambulance website to remind yourself how to do this.

If the child with diabetes comes round on her own then she could have fainted from low blood sugar. Give her a sugary drink or sugary snack.


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My new Characteristics of Effective Learning Pack is tools, activities to put the CEOL into practice

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Inspirational best practice - ideas, stories and links

How to hold a childminding sports day – contributed by Jude Wood  

At Jude Wood's Childminding today we held our very own sports day! The local school was holding its sports days this week so we decided to join in the fun.

Three children participated in the event ages 2, 3 and 4. Thankfully we had dry weather for it so all activities could be held in the garden as planned.

First of all we did an egg and spoon race! Followed by games involving bean bags such as throwing them in hoops and balancing on our heads (I participated in the races too!). The favourite event of the day was the main game involving water. The children had to use a sponge to get water from a bowl and fill up a bucket. We also did games involving bubbles.

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After the events were all finished each child was presented with a medal for joining in (plus a small packet of sweets!). The children had very much enjoyed the games and continued to play with the water and bean bags during the rest of the day.

Do Ofsted award more outstandings in the summer?

I had a great question from a childminder the other day. With all the emphasis on outdoor play, she wondered if any research has been done to see if more outstandings are awarded in summer? I posted the question onto Facebook and was very pleased to hear from many childminders who had been inspected on miserable rainy days and cold days and had still got outstanding. However although a few people said they got outstanding and ‘hadn’t gone outside at all’ the vast majority took the children outside despite the cold weather (wrapped up warm) or the rainy weather (and let them play in puddles). So, while you’re lucky if you get a summer inspection and can have a lovely sunny-day-in-the-garden type of inspection, don’t let bad weather panic you. Whatever time of the year, on inspection day I wouldn’t risk staying inside!

Free Training Courses for Childminders – really useful new page from childminder Clare Maher 

Keeping up with your Continuous Professional Development as a childminder is a requirement of the EYFS. It is a way to show you are constantly striving to provide the best care by staying up-to-date with changes in legislation and practice and improving your knowledge. Here is a list of free training courses.

Two books by Teresa Marshall

Childminder Teresa Marshall has just published two books. She writes, ‘Being with children all day every day is a pleasure, watching them grow and develop is the joy, so writing books for children is a natural progression for me. I have begun this fully illustrated set of easy to read books.  Spike the friendly spider is the first book and can be bought from Amazon or ordered from any book store.” She is writing two more books in the series to be published later in the year.

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You can buy Spike the Friendly Spider and the Fairies of Tumbledown Cottage on Amazon here.

When will I next be inspected by Ofsted?  

Ofsted is supposed to inspect every childminder once during each “inspection cycle”. The previous inspection cycle ran from July 2012- August 2016, so you should have been inspected once during that four year period. The current cycle is 31st July 2016 to 1st August 2020. So all registered providers can expect to be inspected sometime before 1st August 2020. If you get a complaint made against you or your previous inspection wasn’t ‘good’ then it will most likely be sooner rather than later.

What would you do if this happened to you? – Parents ban naps   

A three year old’s parents really don’t want him to take a nap. You want to do what the parents have requested, but you feel really sorry for the child constantly trying to keep him awake while you are out in the buggy or on the sofa. Also, you are not sure if it’s even ok to force a child to stay awake. Could it even be some sort of abuse? It certainly doesn’t seem best for his welfare. You don’t want to upset the parents but you are not sure this issue is really their choice. What should you do?  

Here’s what other childminders say:  

Why wouldn't you want a three year old to have a nap? Seems bizarre! If I'm honest I'd let them sleep if they were that tired. Research has shown that a nap in the day doesn't mean a child won't sleep at night. Sleep begets sleep. If they are over-tired when they are going home, they won't be fit for a good bedtime routine. It’s cruel not to let a tired child sleep. If they need it I don't stop them!  

I had an issue with a parent a long time ago where they decided they didn't want their child to have a nap. At the time I did school runs to three different schools, in the car. This meant the child fell asleep in my car. I simply couldn't keep him awake, and he didn't want to wake up when we got back home and became very distressed when I tried to wake him up. I told the parent I was not prepared to keep doing this and that the child would have a short nap after lunch. I now explain to all new parents that my duty is to their child and if the child is tired and wants to sleep I will let them. I’ve never had a problem since.  

The child needs a rest otherwise it's cruel. After 17 years of doing this job I've often found out the parents just want an easy life whilst they are working and want their child to collapse with exhaustion once they get home. Not all parents are like this but this is a common request with some and I get very cross when you discover they have their afternoon naps at weekends!  

I get why a parent may not want them sleeping. My son didn’t drop his nap until just before his 3rd birthday and it took months to get used to not sleeping during the day. Even a 15 min sleep would mean he would go to sleep over an hour later than usual and the knock on effect was awful the next day. With my son, to keep him awake in the day, I would get him to have quite relaxation time, sit on the sofa with a bit of TV for example in the afternoon. Preserving his energy and resting, but not sleeping.  

My parent asked me to open car windows to try and keep children awake. They are up at six every day, bless them. My response was a simple NO.

Don't tell them. You’re the one who has to look after them!  

In nursery, we were told we were not allowed to stop a child from taking a rest/sleep because they obviously need it. It's a basic need of a child and we are responsible for making sure their needs are met in their time with us.  

I can understand it from their point of view. My own 2 year old is a nightmare if he naps. I think it’s all about routine and times of naps though. I wouldn't want mine napping after 3/4 pm so if they need a nap they go between 1 and 3. Then it doesn’t affect their bedtime.   

Letter to the editor:  about the missing shoe  

In the last issue of my newsletter, I asked what you would do if you lost a child’s shoe. Alison Cobb has a really clever solution I wanted to share: “A big tip that I always do and recommend parents to do is to write a mobile number inside the shoe with a laundry marker pen in more than once place, so if it is found, there is a pretty good chance it will be reunited with the owner! Great newsletter as always, Alison Cobb.” 

Raising Butterflies – simple science – contributed by Katriona Ismail  

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If you have never tried one of these kits where you get sent caterpillars through the post and raise them into butterflies, I highly recommend it. They only cost about 20 for everything and you can get them in most toy stores or online. I found it totally fascinating when I did it myself, as well as just beautiful, having the lovely creatures fluttering around on my sideboard before we released them. I love how Katriona has made a display around the net to enhance the activity for the children.

Back Garden Resources – contributed by Sarah Bleasdale 

It’s a lovely time of year to invest in some new resources for your back garden. Here are some of the things Sarah has built into her back garden to fill it with activities for the children. Lots of great ideas here.

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Helping you to stay on top of the paperwork



 Ultimate childminding checklist

The Ultimate Childminding Checklist is 3 checklists in 1 including a count down to your Ofsted Inspection.


EYFS Paperwork, Policy and Legislation News


Ofsted page for childminder registration

Ofsted has launched a new Facebook page aimed at people who want to register as childminders. Like or follow the page for updates on registering with Ofsted and ask them about the process.

Ofsted has launched new good and outstanding logos

On 6 April 2017, Ofsted launched a new logo. All providers judged by Ofsted to be good can now download and display an official ‘Good provider’ logo. It has also redesigned the ‘Outstanding provider’ logo for use across all the areas it inspects.

Early years inspections: myths  

Ofsted has produced this document to confirm the facts about Early Years inspections and to dispel those myths that can sometimes result in unnecessary workloads for registered child carers. It should be read alongside the Early Years Inspection Handbook

Childcare Choices and Childcare Calculator

The government has recently launched its Childcare Choices website. This sets out details of all of the childcare support available for parents from across the government.

The Childcare Choices website includes a Childcare Calculator for parents to compare all the government’s childcare offers and check what works best for their families.

Through the site parents can also pre-register for email alerts that will notify them when they can apply, as well as providing details of existing government childcare offers.

Data protection reminder   

Remember that when you are sending a mass email to all your parents please ensure you remember to use the "BCC” facility to ensure you are not sharing personal email addresses of all your parents unless you have permission to do so.






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