Childminding Best Practice Newsletter

Issue 7: Summer 2015

childminding best practice news 7

Welcome to the Summer 2015 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:

first aid pop quiz - choking summertime anonymous child photo lynne hartley bears - small

First Aid Pop Quiz – what’s the first thing you should do?

Using the Forest Childcare logo to help promote your business

Bears craft

The next issue (Autumn) will be coming out in September 2015

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?

charlie bears forest childcare photo

The children at Charlie Bears Nursery out in the snow.































forest childcare group photo

Forest Childcare Association news

Members of the Forest Childcare Association use weekly outdoor outings as a way to promote their childcare settings and make them stand out from the competition. It’s a great way to impress parents as well as a wonderful commitment to the children you look after.


How use the Forest Childcare logo to promote your business. Case study: Charlie Bear’s Nursery, Seaford

Charlie Bear is a small new nursery managed by Anita Ryciak. When Anita joined the Forest Childcare Association she wrote: “Our regular outdoor activities and experiential learning in the natural environment are our best unique selling point (USP) and becoming a member of the Forest Childcare Association we hope will aid us to start a new direction for smaller nurseries to emulate.

“We are wonderfully placed in a locality with some amazing outdoor resources. The famous 'Severn Sisters' are just at the top of our golf course and we have Friston Forest, the Cuckmere Valley and Beachy Head within a few minutes’ drive. I have been lucky enough to be granted a small allotment patch within a secure gated Seaford Community Garden within our adjoining park grounds.”

Charlie Bear’s Nursery use the Forest Childcare Association logo on their website and other marketing materials like this postcard to help to attract new parents to the nursery.

charlie bears forest childcare logo

Wildtime for Schools

This site is full of loads of ideas for outdoor play and activities. Although it says it is for schools, many of these activities are perfect to adapt for pre-school age children or to do with school children over the summer holidays.

Where Memories Are Made – contributed by Bev Metcalf, childminder from Sunderland

Forest Childcare poetic entry

“Then the child said: Is this one of those moments I am lucky to see?” 


If I ask all my kids were they want to go they will always say this woods (Ayton's Wood Offerton) as they love it and a few weeks ago I was lucky enough with one child to listen and watch a wood pecker. Me and the seven year old both stood and the child said, "Auntie Bev, is this one of those moments that I am lucky to see?"

I told them yes you are. Then the child said, “I will remember it for the rest of my life!” It brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes!

Building Familiarity with Wild Places by Repeating Visits – contributed by Melissa Swain of Squirrels Childcare

We are loving Forest Childcare. We go out at least once a week but in reality it is usually 2-3 times as some children would then miss out each week. We plan the week ahead and try to ensure that if a child didn't experience the activities the week before that we bring things back to the setting so the child can join in. We also then make sure we go to the same locations on a cycle, but on different days to enable the children to become familiar with the forests, parks and country parks we use, to build up their confidence, geographical awareness and ability to recognise where we are and where to go.

Many of the locations are familiar to the children as their parents take them but for those who don't get to visit these lovely places this is a real adventure and maybe the only time they have visited them. Therefore the repetition of visits helps familiarity.

Bringing the outside in to make a Magic Garden – submitted by Jacqui Waterman

summertime anonymous child photo

"We have been busy making sun catchers with the flowers that we find.”


The children are always so interested in what else they can find during our time in the woods, whether it's bark, sticks, leaves, flowers, bugs and other creatures. We went out there the other day and found a badger hole, very exciting!! They love going on scavenger hunts as they learn so much and are so interested in everything that we found outside.

With the items of wildlife that we find, we then bring it back into our setting and make things out of them. For example, we have been busy making sun catchers with the flowers that we find, leaf painting, using the sticks as a butterflies body, using chunkier sticks for the base of mobiles.

magic garden forest childcare
We have most definitely tried our hardest to bring the outside, inside. We know how much the children love outdoor play here and we thought what would be better than trying to create and outside feel into one of our rooms? We have now named it our 'magic garden'. Everything the children have made e.g. butterflies, ladybirds, bees, flowers etc. has all been hung from the ceiling so it makes the room that little bit more interesting for them when they come in. Their first reaction when they saw it was "WOW!". 


Art Project Idea and Free Activity Printable for Summer

Here are two summer craft and activity ideas for your setting. Download the sun safety printable or make some porridge bears to explore senses

lynne hartley bears safe in the sun

Our messy craft this afternoon was bear face collages, made with porridge oats, for texture, mixed with dried ginger, for fragrance. We kept the faces clear of oats by guiding the children with the glue and strategically placing an obstructing hand where we didn't want the oats. Contributed by Lynne Hartley and the Jack In A Box Registered Childminders

Promote sun safety by downloading this simple sun safety printable.
































Kay Woods/ Kids To Go on Social Media

Free Webinar from CBI England: Using social media safely for marketing your childcare setting 

Many childcare providers have concerns about using social media for marketing their setting and yet many in the sector are using it safely and effectively to communicate with parents and keep their profile high in the local area. This webinar is for those who want to use social media for marketing and learn how to set up and manage it in their settings in a safe and controlled manner. We will cover; how to use Facebook / Twitter / Google+ and Youtube // the basics on getting started with a Facebook page // how to use it safely and set up social media policies for staff // understanding how powerful it is for marketing and how you can use it to help you increase interest and take up in your setting.

We are running FREE webinars throughout the year so hit the link if you would like to attend the next one and we will send you the details!

‘Do you love the childminded children’ and other reasons to get connected with other childminders on Facebook

When I first started childminding I didn’t know any other childminders. It was hard, at first, to meet them through childminder drop ins and library sessions and it took an even longer time to get to know them well enough to express any fears or discuss problems I was having. It was hard to talk to my council support worker because anything I really wanted to know I felt I had to ‘filter’ through a lens of looking and sounding like the ‘outstanding’ childminder I was hoping to become.

One thing bothered me more than anything else. I was looking after a little boy the same age as my own little girl. I played with him, enjoyed watching him grow and taking him places, enjoyed the developing friendship I saw between him and my daughter and felt very fond of him. But I didn’t really ‘love’ him. Not in the same way I loved my daughter. I felt awful about this. It was a little guilty secret. I looked after him every day. He spent more of his waking life with me than he did with his own mother. I worried that something inside of me was broken in some way.

It was years before I knew any childminders well enough in my area to realise that this was in fact a perfectly normal way to feel. One childminder who had previously been a teacher laughed at me – you don’t imagine that a teacher actually loves all 30 children do you? Of course not. Why should childminders feel any differently?

Childminding is a deeply isolating profession which can make it very difficult to express feelings like this in front of others especially anything that might make people question your feelings towards the children you care for. This was why I was delighted when a few weeks ago someone posted on the Facebook group Childminding For You the following question:

“I love my job (most days lol) as I’m sure we all do. Do you LOVE all your mindees though? I care for all mine equally and we obviously grow attached to them, but is it wrong that I don't actually LOVE all of them, just a couple of them?”

In the space of a morning around 75 people replied to the post sharing their own feelings with the 9000 members of the Facebook group in a direct and honest way. How refreshing to read honesty such as:  

“I wouldn't say I love any of them. I am more attached to some than others but that's the extent of it. Possibly because of my previous job in nursing I got used to separating myself”

“I love all my mindees apart from one. He is only 18 months but his parents don't pay on time and they are always dropping off and picking up late and it's annoying. The child looks at you like something from the bottom of your shoe…”

“Love em all (but some at the moment I don't particularly like!)”

“I don't LOVE any of them. I care for them dearly, some more than others but I wouldn't feel a sense of grief if they left, I'd feel sad, yes, but … love is saved for my own family only.”

“I have 9 children on my books and I can honestly say I truly love 2 of them, 5 I would miss terribly if they weren't here and 2 just wind me up!!!”

I thought to myself as I read their answers, if only, if only groups like this had existed back when I started childminding! I could have saved myself months of private fears agonizing that there was something wrong with my heart for not loving my first mindee as much as I loved my own little girl.

I am sure there are other childminding groups out there on Facebook but this group, run by a dedicated team of moderators, is by far the best I have come across. Especially if you feel isolated in any way, if you don’t have childminding groups in your area, then I highly recommend joining Childminding For You where you can become part of an instant community of childminders, asking honest questions and sharing answers.

Like me on Facebook and enter my prize draw!

Please like me on Facebook. When I reach 1000 likes three lucky childminders will be selected to win vouchers for my products

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.












childminding fire safety


fire drill record form from Kidstogo

Download your free Fire Drill Record Form here.


stranger danger



first aid pop quiz - choking - small







Safety and Health

First Aid Pop Quiz

The child is choking on a piece of apple. What is the FIRST thing you should do?

first aid pop quiz - choking

CLICK HERE or scroll down to reveal the answer.


Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Free Newsletter

Organisation has a free newsletter you can sign up for plus lots of great resources and a shop which sells some good safety resources:     

Choke Hazard: Jelly Cubes

Following a Coroner’s inquest into the death of a young child who sadly choked on a cube of jelly during a sensory play session, the Food Standards Agency is warning Early Years providers about the danger of allowing young children to play with jelly cubes. I remember my daughter’s nursery used to do this when she was a baby – but I doubt they do it anymore.

Fire Safety for Childminders

One really important area of safety that childminders can be complacent about is fire safety. There is no point fitting smoke detectors if you don’t regularly test they are working. 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  

Here is a simple checklist you can use to make sure you are prepared and know what to do in case of a fire.

  • Get smoke detectors fitted. If you contact your fire department they will sometimes fit them for you for free if you are childminding. Speak to your local authority support worker. Consider also getting a carbon monoxide detector fitted as well.  
  • Once your smoke detectors are working, write an emergency evacuation procedure and hold a fire drill. You may want to post your emergency evacuation procedure on your bulletin board?
  •  Start a fire drill log (or download mine) and write down how it went and what went wrong. Hold fire drills at different times of the day and with different children present. For example, I used to look after two small babies and neither could walk, plus a three year old – it is not as straightforward as it sounds to get everybody out safely all at the same time. When a new child starts, hold a fire drill.
  • Start a written record of testing the batteries in your smoke detectors. You should test them once a month.
  • Buy a fire blanket and/or extinguisher for your kitchen.




What to teach childminded children about stranger danger

Please read my latest blog with practical advice on talking to childminded children about strangers. Don’t take it for granted that the children know what they should do.

First Aid Pop Quiz - Answer

The child is choking on a piece of apple. She isn’t able to cough it up by herself.

The first thing you should do is to lean the child forwards and give her five firm back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

first aid pop quiz ans - choking

If the back blows do not clear the obstruction, then you must do abdominal thrusts. Please note that there is a different procedure for babies under one year.  

Follow the video and instructions on the St. John’s Ambulance website to remind yourself how to do abdominal thrusts and how to treat choking in an infant.










sorting box 6

Inspirational best practice - ideas, stories and links


Travel Cot Den – contributed by Kathryn Cocks childminding service, Catterall, Lancashire

travel cot den

“The kids absolutely loved it, lots of reading and chatter and one of the easiest dens I’ve ever made!”    


Recently I attended a communication friendly approach seminar - Elizabeth Jarmin. One of the suggestions was to use a travel cot turned on its side which I have done today. The kids absolutely loved it, lots of reading and chatter and one of the easiest dens I have ever made!

Hand-made Busy Boxes – contributed by Debbie Webb  

There is something enormously satisfying I always think about making your own toys for the children and it is something that Debbie Webb enjoys too. And one thing that is really fun to make is busy boxes. Many of these are made from coffee cans and some of the ideas she has found on Pinterest, but never-the-less I was really impressed when I saw all these busy boxes and I’m sure she’d be thrilled if you copied some of these ideas for your own settings.

sorting box 4 sorting box 5
sorting box 3 sorting box 2 sorting box 1


Helping you to stay on top of the paperwok


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

EYFS Paperwork, Policy and Legislation News


The Prevent Duty – new safeguarding responsibilities

This publication is Dept for Education advice for schools and childcare providers on preventing children and young people from being drawn into terrorism. The ‘Prevent duty’ states that ‘protecting children from the risk of radicalisation should be seen as part of childcare providers’ wider safeguarding duties’ and that ‘childcare providers can also build children’s resilience to radicalisation by promoting fundamental British values’.  You may want to amend your safeguarding policy to address this new document? See the Product Updates section of this newsletter for my updated Safeguarding Policy.

Practical ways you can promote British Values at your setting  

This guidance document from the Foundation Stage website shows you how to put the concept of British Values into practice at your setting.

Early Years Inspection Handbook

This handbook published in May 2015 replaces the publications: ‘Are You Ready for Your Inspection’ and the ‘Evaluation Schedule for Inspections of Early Years Provision’. If you are due to be inspected any time soon then you should familiarise yourself with this document, bearing in mind that a new version of this document is expected in Sept 2015.


Two safeguarding documents updated: ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused’ and ‘Working together to safeguard children’

Check that you are using the March 2015 versions of What To Do If You Are Worried A Child Is Being Abused and Working Together To Safeguard Children  



Free Product Updates

If you are using my Policy Document, then you may want to update your Safeguarding Policy on P14 of the document to include reference to the Prevent Duty and British Values.  The new text is in red.

Safeguarding, Welfare and Child Protection Issues  

My policy for child protection and welfare is in line with EYFS Safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare’ practices, social services and government guidelines. The most up to date version of this document for Berkshire is at: and I check it regularly for updates.  

As a childminder, I take responsibility for safeguarding the children in my setting. I have taken a child protection training course to enable me to identify, understand and respond to signs of possible abuse and neglect. I have regard to the Government's statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’
. I also have regard for my responsibilities under The Prevent Duty to help protect the children I look after from being drawn into extremism and terrorism. At my setting I actively promote British Values to help build the children’s resistance to radicalisation.  

As a child care provider it is my responsibility to report any child protection concerns I might have to Ofsted and social services, following the Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures. Child protection concerns that could identify a particular child are kept confidential and only shared with people who need to know this information. It is not my responsibility to attempt to investigate the situation myself.  

I will inform Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working, or looking after children at the premises (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere). I must also notify Ofsted of the action taken in respect of the allegations.

There are no updates to products at this time.

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© Kay Woods – Kids To Go 2013
07866 754144

Kids To Go
28 Phipps Road
Burnham, BERKS