Lunch Menu

I provide home-cooked lunches and encourage a positive attitude towards healthy eating. Here is a taste of what the children eat. I take portions from our family meals, refrigerate or freeze them and then reheat them thoroughly.

  Spaghetti Bolognaise

  Roast Dinner

  Tuna Pasta Bake

  Mince and Dumpling

  Quiche and Baked Beans

(The children made this one themselves – see our blog of 23 March)

  Creamy Bacon Penne

 Lancashire Hotpot

 Fish Pie (salmon and haddock)

Other typical meals include stew, casserole, cottage pie, chilli. Sometimes the children make their own lunch, eg. pizza or quiche and if we go out for the day, we may take a picnic lunch with us instead.

Snacks

In addition to a hot lunch, I also provide snacks mid-morning and after the school run. At least one snack is fresh fruit (apple, banana, pear, grapes, melon, satsuma – occasionally pineapple, berries, kiwi). Typical non-fruit snacks are toast, breadsticks, cheese and crackers, hot cross buns, malt loaf, fruit toast. Biscuits are provided at some toddler groups.

Fresh drinking water is always available and I also provide 200ml of milk per day for children over 12 months. Juice may be available at some toddler groups. Infant formula and bottles (if required) should be provided by you and I am happy to either refrigerate pre-prepared bottles or make up bottles on demand.

Ofsted changes Timing of First Inspection – about time!

When I registered as a childminder in March 2012, Ofsted’s policy was to carry out its first inspection within seven months of registration. I was inspected on 11 September 2012 on what was my tenth!!! full day of childminding. Looking after one 10 month old baby, I found it impossible to give the inspector the very detailed evidence she required during a six hour very thorough inspection and was left with a grading of “satisfactory”, much to my dismay. However, the inspector was lovely and very positive about my setting. This is apparent when you read the inspection report itself. The inspector clearly liked what she saw and gave me some excellent feedback, which I acted upon. I am confident that the outcome of my next inspection will be far better.

 

I have always felt that this policy of carrying out a full inspection so soon after registration was flawed and I know several other childminders who have also suffered at its hands. The problem is that it can take a few months to find your first mindee!

 

Fast forward to now and Ofsted has decided if you are on the Early Years Register, you will now be inspected within the first 30 months of registration (not 7, as previously) and then at least once in every inspection cycle. The current Early Years inspection cycle finishes on 31 July 2016. This is great news for all new childminders and I predict higher gradings for those important first inspections as a result.

 

As for me, I sit and wait for the phone call from the Ofsted inspector, asking which days I work so that I can be inspected at the next available opportunity. I have already been inspected this cycle (1 September 2012 – 31 July 2016) – at the very start of it on 12 September 2012! So who knows when it will be. It could be tomorrow or not for another 2-3 years. One thing I do know is that I am ready this time and very well equipped to answer all those questions, with lots of evidence covering a variety of ages and children.

Free Early Education Provider

I am now an eligible Free Early Education provider.

 

All 3 and 4-year-olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year. This is often taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year (ie. term-time). Some 2-year-olds are also eligible. You can start claiming from the term after your child turns 3.

Lack of Blog Activity

Hi there – if you are looking for a childminder and have come across my site, then you are probably wondering why my blog ends in October last year. Firstly, I would like to confirm that I am still childminding and I still love my job. The blog will hopefully give you a good insight into the types of activities that I still carry out with the children in my care.

 

As my business has grown, I have found the maintenance of the blog to be too time-consuming. I also care for a little one at the moment whose parents do not wish to see photographs published online. In the beginning, the blog was a great way of communicating with the parents of the children in my care. However, as technology has moved on, I now find that the easiest way to do this is via a daily text with accompanying pictures.

Ofsted Inspection!

Last week has proven to be the busiest so far since I embarked upon my new career as a childminder. On Tuesday morning, I had my first Ofsted inspection. The inspector arrived at 9:30 and stayed an admittedly gruelling 5 hours! The inspection was not aided by the fact that my youngest child N (14m) was suffering from a yet-to-be-diagnosed ear infection. Added to that was the fact that EYFS 2012 came into force on 1 September and with it, a whole new set of inspection criteria, under which I am one of the first to be inspected.

 

Regulations state that new childminders must be inspected within 7 months of registration (which for me was back in March). Having found my first mindees and undergone settling in visits and a few half days, my inspection was actually carried out on my 10th full day of childminding! Nerve-racking was an understatement but the inspector was lovely and gave me a lot of positive feedback. You should be able to read my inspection report in another week or so as soon as it is published on the Ofsted website.

EYFS 2012 Training

The Early Years Foundation Stage is the mandatory framework for all early years providers: nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and childminders. It has recently been revised and the new version comes into force in September 2012. Tonight I attended a training course about the revised EYFS. It covered all the significant changes and additions, including the new progress check that we are now required to carry out for children aged 2-3 years. Lots of food for thought!

Music Development Course

Tonight I attended a course on Supporting Music Development at the Early Years Professional Development Centre in Leyland. The emphasis was on the fact that music is all around us and focussed my attention on providing opportunities for children to develop their musical awareness and skills through continuous provision. Music play can take many forms: using real-life music experiences in play (eg. imitating Daddy on the guitar); using items as props (eg. singing into a hairbrush); incorporating sounds and singing into play (humming, aeroplane/fire engine noises); using music in role play (singing to baby); playing an instrument or exploring sounds (eg. banging a drum or pan lid); singing alone or with others. Young children create music spontaneously with and without instruments and I feel that the course helped focus my skills to recognise, respond to and extend children’s music play.

NCMA North West Annual Regional Meeting

Today, I attended the NCMA’s Annual Regional Meeting in Stockport. There was plenty of discussion about the NCMA’s brand and proposals to change the association’s name to embody the terms “Early Years” and “Professional”. There were also some very strong views put forward regarding the proposed deregulation of childminders by Elizabeth Truss MP. These proposals threaten a two-tier system of childcare where childminders would no longer be regulated by Ofsted.

 

During the day, I took part in workshops on “Outdoor Play” and “Story Sacks and Aprons” and gained some good ideas from both. I also bought some new resources from the numerous trade stands at the event: safety mirrors, items for treasure baskets and sensory play, twirling ribbons, a 1m wooden ruler! I could have spent a fortune…

 

One of the nice things about the day was the opportunity to meet other like-minded childminders from around the north west, many of whom are rated Outstanding by Ofsted. There was a real sense of mutual support and I came home feeling like an NCMA member, not just a number. All in all, it was a worthwhile day out and I think I will be going again next year!

Ofsted Inspection Passed!

Today I had my Ofsted inspection and am pleased to say that I passed! In addition to my own children, I have been approved to mind one child below school age, plus one child of school age, as expected.

I must have created a good impression because the inspector has waived the normal restriction that the pre-school child must be at least 12 months old (restricted under normal circumstances because my youngest is still under one).  All I need now is my certificate!