Childminders work in their own homes, looking after children whose parents are at work or studying. This could be throughout the day with babies and children under five, or after school and in the school holidays with older children.
As a childminder you would:
- make sure that the children in your care feel secure and are safe, warm and well-fed
- plan, prepare and serve meals
- change nappies and make up bottles for babies
- help children to develop by providing a range of play activities, both indoors and outside
- take children on outings, for example to the park or to toddler groups
- take older children to and from playgroup or school.
You would need to respect parents’ wishes about their children’s diet, routines and religion, and share information about the children with their parents.
What qualifications and experience will employers look for?
You need to be aged at least 18 to become a childminder. You do not need any qualifications, but you do need to be registered with Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) before you can look after children under the age of eight.
Your first step to becoming registered is to contact the Families Information Services (or similar title) at your local council. For contact details of your local council see the Children’s Workforce Development Council website. You will be told when there is a childminding pre-registration briefing in your area. You will then:
- attend the pre-registration briefing, where you will receive an application pack and details of the EYFS
- complete the application and return it to your Ofsted regional centre
- have an Ofsted home inspection and an interview to make sure you are a suitable person to care for children
- have a medical check
- complete an introductory training course and a first-aid certificate.
For contact details of your local council see the Children’s Workforce Development Council website.
- Children’s Workforce Development Council â€“ local council contact details.
You will need clearance from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for yourself and anyone else in your home aged over 16.
- Criminal Records Bureau
Visit the National Childminding Association (NCMA) website for more details about childminding registration and inspection, as well as lots more information about childminding.
- National Childminding Association
Once you are registered you can start work as a childminder. By joining the NCMA you can get advice and support for all aspects of your work.
You could get help with the costs of setting up your childminding business by applying for a childminder start-up grant. The grants are administered by local authorities’ Early Years teams.
What further training and development can I do?
If you look after children up to the age of five, you will need to show that you meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which sets standards for children’s care, development and learning. Visit the NCMA website for details.
- National Childminding Association â€“ details of Early Years Foundation Stage
As a registered childminder, you will receive EYFS training from your local authority. Local authorities and regional branches of the NCMA also usually offer short courses and one-day training sessions on subjects such as child protection, disability awareness, play, baby massage and sign language.
You may be encouraged to work towards relevant parts of the new Level 3 Children and Young People’s Workforce Diploma (from September 2010).
See the NCMA website or contact your local authority Early Years team for information on training.
You will receive an Ofsted inspection at least once every three years to make sure you are providing the expected standard of care.