Childminding Best Practice Newsletter

Issue 8: Autumn 2015

childminding best practice newsletter autumn issue 8

Welcome to the Autumn 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 - poisons Forest Childcare in cities 1 small Forest Childcare in cities 1 small

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

Forest Childcare in towns and cities

Easy salt crystal science project 

The next issue (Winter) will be coming out in December 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?

















































display the forest childcare certificate

Forest Childcare Association news


Members of the Forest Childcare Association make a commitment to taking the children on weekly outdoor outings. You don’t need to live in the countryside to do Forest Childcare. It’s about finding the ‘wild’ spaces near you and exploring them with the children.


Forest Childcare in Towns and Cities – contributed by Teresa Carlow

Forest Childcare in cities 1

Forest Childcare is going very well. I live in a town and try to make the most of what we have as there are no 'forests' or 'woods' within walking distance (I don’t own a car). We have got the train to London and visited the Southbank for mudlarking!

Forest Childcare in cities 3 Forest Childcare in cities 2 Forest Childcare in cities 4

We have explored parts of the local park we don't normally see, ie away from the play area. We have a prom by the Thames and use that for 'seaside' school! Lots of opportunities if you look for them. Children can easily see things from a different perspective, take them on a different route or through a different gate and they learn all over again.  It’s fun and living in a town has enhanced my learning with respect to being completely flexible with Forest Childcare ideas and crafts.


“If they don’t understand it, they won’t protect it”

I enjoyed this neat video with Sir David Attenborough which talks about the importance of school children getting to spend time with outdoors – “If the children don’t understand it, they won’t protect it…then who will?”


How to build a Woodland Clock – contributed by outstanding childminder Suzanne Aldridge from Little Newts Childcare, Ashingdon

We have been learning about ‘time’ and so I thought it would be fun to create a clock in the woods near to where we live.

First we cleared a smooth floor in a woodland clearing – the children loved this messy task and got stuck in straight away. I then tasked each child one by one to collect sticks to match each numeral on our clock – so for 2 we placed two sticks where the number 2 would normally go, for 6 we placed 6 sticks at the bottom of our clock face and so on. Each child was challenged both in counting and finding the sticks. Some were challenged physically too as it was tricky to both find and handle a few sticks at a time. When we’d finished they were all so proud and we played a game of setting the time on our clock.


Display your Forest Childcare Certificate

If you are a member of the Forest Childcare Association, don’t forget to display your membership certificate next to your registration certificate and other important certificates that demonstrate quality like an Ofsted Outstanding Certificate. It is designed to help you to advertise your business and to impress both parents and Ofsted inspectors. It shows that at your setting you offer quality childcare by taking the children on weekly outdoor outings. This is something worth bragging about!


Art Projects with Autumn Leaves


Here are two really nice, really simple Autumn art projects that you can do with small children. I chose these two because they both involve leaves which means that both craft activities involved an Autumn leaf collecting walk before the art project began. Sometimes it’s easier to get yourself and children to ‘go out and collect leaves’ than to ‘go on a walk in the park’. It is, of course, exactly the same thing, and yet somehow giving the walk a purpose like leaf collecting gives everyone more motivation.

I also love that Di’s leaf tree was made with the help of a “7 month old who loves painting” and that she has combined his work with her own painting and the collected leaves. Deri’s lovely leaf sun catchers are made using sellotape - you don’t need to buy any ‘sticky backed plastic’.

leaf tree leaf suncatchers 2 leaf suncatchers 1
Contributed by Di Sharrock
Contributed by Deri Hall  









Kay Woods/ Kids To Go on Social Media

Up To Date Links to Important Documents 

I have updated my Official Documents Links page which is a reference page containing links to the most useful publications and reference documents used by childminders. The page includes links to the new Sept 2015 inspection handbook, the Prevent Duty and updated child protection documents plus lots of other reference materials.

Please bookmark this useful page for future reference and sign up for my blog. 

EYFS Statutory Framework 2014 Ofsted Parents Poster safer food safer business for childminders thumbnail_prevent-duty-departmental-advice-v6_pdf

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. When you like my Facebook page you are helping me with my small business and I really appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time!

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.
































































getting lost procedures for childminders








































Safety and Health

First Aid Pop Quiz

You discover that they are playing with REAL medicines from your medicine cupboard.  What is the FIRST thing you should do?

first aid pop quiz - poisons

CLICK HERE or scroll down to reveal the answer.

Getting Lost Procedures – for childminders and their children

Unfortunately small children wander off. It’s one of the most terrifying aspects of being a childminder. You take your eyes off of them for a second, perhaps seeing to the baby, fumbling for your phone, or chatting to your friend, and when you look up, one of them has wandered out of your sight. This is a real danger and very frightening both for the child and yourself, so it is important to have a real set of procedures in place for both you and the child to know what to do if they find themselves lost.

Reflective jackets help you to spot childminded children

In my experience one of the easiest places to lose sight of a child is in the school yard or playground.  One way that many childminders on the school run deal with this issue is by putting the children into reflective jackets. These work really well. When you look around the playground, in a sea of little heads, the ones that belong to you really do stand out in that way. Putting reflective jackets on children on outings and day trips can also help you to see them more easily.  

childminder getting lost procedures

Think about the ‘found’ children first

If you lose sight of a child suddenly what you mustn’t do is panic and run blindly after the child in the direction you think she went! The first thing you should do is to make sure that the other children are holding your hand or the push chair. You can’t leave the others alone. Always think about the ‘found’ children before searching for the missing one.

Teach the child what to do if they find themselves lost and ‘rehearse’ it

If a child gets lost assume the child is doing what you have told them (and rehearsed) that they should do if they ever find themselves lost. In my setting, I tell them to “stand still the moment you discover you are lost and call my name over and over again, until I come and find you”. This has been drummed into them and practiced. And this has worked for me in the two situations in which I have lost children (one school run, one woodland). In both cases the child did as we had practiced, and was found about a minute later (a minute that seems to last an hour whenever I replay the situation in my head) standing still shouting ‘Kay Kay Kay’ over and over again. This really does work, but only with children who are mature enough to remember what to do.

"Label” children well on outings

On outings a good method used by many childminders is to put sticky labels onto the children’s BACKS which say something like ‘I’m with my childminder’ and put your mobile number. By putting them onto the backs of the children’s coats, this stops them from pulling the stickers off. Under no circumstances should you put the child’s name onto this label. Another inexpensive method childminders often use is wrist bracelets with the childminder’s phone number on them.

Getting Lost Worksheet

Download a copy of my Getting Lost Worksheet to create a ‘getting lost’ procedure for your setting. Does each child know what to do if he finds himself lost at the library, on the school run, at the music club or soft play gym you normally visit? 

In the first column make a list of the normal outings in your setting. This list should include the school run, the music club, the park, the nursery collection, and the supermarket for example. All of the places you frequently take the children where there is any risk that they could become separated from you.

How should the child prevent himself from getting lost?

Next think through your preventative procedure in each of these places and what the child is supposed to do. What are the rules? How should the child best prevent himself from getting lost in in each place you go? On the school run, for example, perhaps the child should keep hold of your hand or the push chair. At the music club or soft play gym, where the hand-holding rule is not appropriate, perhaps the child should know never go out of ‘that door’ without you? You may want to print one worksheet per child as the preventative procedure could be different for each child.

What should the child do if he finds himself lost in each place?

Now think about your ‘what to do if you find yourself lost’ procedure in each situation. On the school run you might have a ‘stopping points’ procedure? We have a rule that if any child finds himself separated, he knows never to go through a particular gate without me and knows that I will never go through it without him. If he finds himself lost, he is to stand still and I will come and find him. He can also speak to one of the teachers who is a ‘safe stranger’ and will help him. Obviously rules for school age children need to be different from those for pre-schoolers, but it is helpful for children of all ages to know what they need to do.

In another example, imagine your library music club. The library is small but it is still possible for a child to find himself lost. Each child knows never, ever to go out of the library without me. If they find themselves suddenly lost they should stand still and call my name over and over again and I will come and find them.

Or they can ask the lady who runs our music group or one of the librarians to help them.   When we are out in the park or on outings to new places or special day trips, the very first thing I do when I arrive is to tell the children what our ‘getting lost’ procedure for that place will be. Whether they should ‘stand still and call my name over and over until I find them’ or whether they should ask an employee for help depends very much on the situation and the child. The child needs simple rules they can follow and understand.  

Does each child know what the rules are in each situation?  It is easy to take it for granted that children know these rules, but especially with new children starting, it doesn’t hurt to run through things.  

Practice getting lost and being found  

The last thing you need to do is to practice. If the child finds themselves lost, they need to practice what they will do so that when it happens for real they know what to do. The children will think this is great fun!


Tips on dealing with fussy eaters – contributed by outstanding childminder, Ann Ross

I have found the best way to encourage children to eat different foods and promote good nutrition is to make food fun.  

Also essential to encourage them to eat is to cook with them. Generally they want to eat what they have made. In fact, I haven’t had a child yet not want to eat what they have made.

fruit salad healthy eating

“I haven’t had a child yet not want to eat what they have made." 


I have also found this works too with growing food at the setting and an allotment we have access to. The children want to take the fruit and veg home to eat with their families. I also let them sort and handle the organic vegetables we have delivered to our home each week.  

I have also turned sandwiches into more interesting shapes with shape cutters. This can be used across the EYFS with letter shape cutters. Number cutters, animal cutters etc.  

Fun cutlery and plates have worked to encourage children to eat at home too. Often in a group setting some children will eat well because they follow the group but then won’t eat at home. By buying fun cutlery and crockery you can make meals more fun. Here is a link to an example of the sort of thing I mean:  

Getting parents to share recipes from home is great.  

With very finicky fussy eaters introduce things slowly. A teaspoon of the veg/fruit/food you want them to eat, and then build on it. Persevere! I went on one course and a nutritional expert said children need to refuse a food 30 times before trying a food they won’t eat.

First Aid Pop Quiz - Answer

The children have been giving each other real medicines. You have no idea how much they have taken or what medicines they may have taken.  

The first thing you should do is to try to find out what the children have taken and how much. Try to stay calm and not frighten the children by shouting at them. These children are old enough that they may be able to tell you what they’ve taken. Younger children may have no idea.  

Take a look closely at the evidence as well as talking to the children.

sudafed night nurse neurofen

In this example, the Night Nurse is unopened, so they can’t have taken that. But they could have taken both the Sudafed pills and the Neurofen medicine. Share this information with the ambulance operator.  

If the child is sick, then keep samples of the vomit. If the child loses consciousness, open the airway and check for breathing. See the St. John’s Ambulance website for more information on unconsciousness and poisoning.   












Inspirational best practice - ideas, stories and links


Salt Crystals Science Experiment – contributed by Samantha Boyd

If like me you hated science in school, doing a science project with the children can be daunting. So we started off small with growing salt crystals. This was a project that would last several weeks so the children could see the crystals growing.....and they engaged with it wholeheartedly!!!

To do this you will need a clear jar, a piece of string, a paper clip, a pencil, some boiling water and salt.  

First boil the water and pour it carefully into the jar, then keep adding salt (normal table salt is fine) until no more will dissolve. Now, tie the string around the pencil and tie a paper clip to the other end to weigh it down and lower it into the water. Keep in a nice warm and sunny spot where the water can evaporate.

childminding science salt crystals 1 childminding science salt crystals 2 childminding science salt crystals 3

Leave over a period of weeks and see / record the changes. The last picture is after three weeks and the crystals are even growing around the pencil!


Radiator Posters – contributed by Claire Toms

claire toms magnetic radiator

Got fed up with posters so decided to use my radiator to have them low down and removable! Super glued and taped over magnets (to make sure they can not come off as super dangerous otherwise). Now I can change them and move them all the time!!!


Pictory books – an unusual Christmas present idea for/from childminded children

I would like to recommend Pictory books which I have really enjoyed doing with my own children. Pictory allows the children to write and illustrate a short story which you then send off by post and it comes back bound and laminated like a ‘real’ book. I only ever support things I feel are exceptional quality and in this case I was really pleased. I think it cost about £13. If you are looking for a slightly different gift for the children this Christmas I would recommend this. Or you could prepare it yourself as a gift for the parents? Or you could even do it as a group project for your own setting, writing a story all together and getting it bound. Here are my own girls’ projects which I was delighted with and a link to Pictory.

pictory books 

Helping you to stay on top of the paperwok

Progress check age 2 

My Progress Check Pack for 10 includes the blank templates, a letter to parent and guidance notes so you know what to write on your report.


Model answers for the Ofsted SEF are only 10

EYFS Paperwork, Policy and Legislation News


Common Inspection Framework: three new Ofsted documents for Sept 2015 

Ofsted has released three new documents you need to be aware of especially if you are going to be inspected any time soon. These replace the previous inspection guidance documents and spell out what Ofsted inspectors are going to be looking for when they inspect you: Common Inspection Framework, Early Years Inspection Handbook and Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings

Integrated Review – Changes to the Progress Check at Age 2   

In September 2015, the Integrated Review was introduced combining the Progress Check at Age 2 (which you have been doing since 2012) with the Healthy Child Programme Review at age two to two-and-a-half which is carried out by Health Visitors. In the past it was considered ‘good practice’ to try and prepare your Progress Check report prior to the Healthy Child Review so that parents could raise any concerns you may have brought up in your report with the child’s health visitor. With the introduction of the Integrated Review, this information-sharing is now a requirement.

Integrating your report with the health visitor’s report makes great sense, and you should see it as your opportunity to have your concerns about the two year olds you care for, brought to the attention of both parents and health professionals. If you have already been doing Progress Checks on the children then this new format simply asks you to provide a little more information and to make a little more effort to formally share information than you may have done previously.

The idea behind the new Integrated Review is to bring everybody’s knowledge about the child together. Parents bring an in-depth knowledge of their child, you know the child in your setting, while health visitors bring knowledge of the family context and child health development. All of these things brought together enable everyone to obtain a clear and complete picture of the child.

For more information read The Integrated Review: bringing together health and early education reviews at age two to two-and-a-half published by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB).

New Online Ofsted SEF Form  

The Ofsted online self evaluation form has been updated to match the September 2015 introduction of the Common Inspection Framework and other legislation such as Prevent. There are new questions about outcomes, curriculum and partnership working. If you are having trouble getting started you may want a copy of my SEF Model Answers to help you and save you lots of time.




Ultimate childminding checklist

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

Free Product Updates

Ultimate Childminding Checklist  

I have updated the Ultimate Childminding Checklist in line with the new Common Inspection Framework (CIF) and Prevent Duty and have also updated several links within the document. There aren’t a lot of changes, but if you have bought this product from me in the past, and you would like to receive the new, updated version (free of charge) then please send me an email requesting a new copy. Please give me a few weeks to respond to you in case I get swamped with requests – I will get the new version emailed out to you as soon as I can.

Policies Document Updates

I have made a number of changes and additions in line with the release of the Common Inspection Framework to my policies document including updates for British Values, learning and development, mobile phone and camera policies and managing children’s behaviour policies. If you have previously bought this product from me, please email me to request a copy of the updated document with my changes, updates and additions marked in red.

Child Profile Form Update  

According to the Common Inspection Framework section 37 you need to be able to present your inspector with “a list of any children who are an open case to social care/ children’s services and for whom there is a multi-agency plan”.  

In line with this, I have added a question to my child profile form that reads:  

Is your child an open case to social care/ children’s services with a multi-agency plan?

Progress Check Age 2  

I have made a number of changes to my Progress Check Age 2 Pack to bring it into line with the new Integrated Review and to aid information-sharing with the health visitor who will be doing her report based in part on information you provide through your Progress Check. I have updated my introduction, letter to parents and added a new section on the Characteristics of Effective Learning to the report template.  

If you have bought this product from me in the past and would like me to send you a new, updated version, complete with information-sharing instructions, then please send me an email. Please give me a few weeks to respond to you in case I get swamped with requests – I will get the new version emailed out to you as soon as I can.


I have updated my SEF model answers to match the current version of the Ofsted online SEF uploaded in September 2015. If you have bought this product from me in the past and would like me to send you a new, updated version to match the current version then please send me an email. Please give me a few weeks to respond to you in case I get swamped with requests – I will get the new version emailed out to you as soon as I can.  

There are no other updates to any other products at this time.      

If you like reading my newsletters, chances are your childminding friends will like them too. Please share this newsletter on social media such as Facebook.  




© Kay Woods – Kids To Go 2013
07866 754144

Kids To Go
28 Phipps Road
Burnham, BERKS