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Activities and outings

All activities and materials are carefully planned and selected with regard to the children's developmental stage and interests.  Children are encouraged to be confident and imaginative and to play socially as well as independently.

Examples of activities are:

• Exploring and working with arts and crafts

• “Messy play”, such as with cooked or dried pasta/rice, cornflour and water, sand and water, shaving foam, finger painting etc

• “Small World” play with our extensive Happyland Village collection (interactive toy versions of a post office, fire station, police station, school, house etc), farm, dinosaurs, train, and toy garage sets

• Role-play which includes things like setting up our own shop, home corner, a pretend car wash etc and a big dressing up box

• Imaginative and creative play, for example building a den, acting out favourite stories using props or finger puppets, and constructing our own mini-world using toy dinosaurs, farm animals, under the sea toys etc

• Music Time which involves singing, rhyming, dancing and movement as well as playing instruments

• Going on nature trails, feeding the ducks in the park and gardening

• A wide variety of toys ranging from stacking and sorting toys, dolls and various accessories,  soft toy animals, “home corner” toys such as a kettle, stove, washing machine, toaster, microwave, cleaning caddy etc, vehicles,  blocks, puzzles, games and manipulatives to educational electronic toys, and some outdoor equipment such as ride-on’s, a ball pit, pop up playhouse, basket ball hoop, slide, paddling pool, bubble machine and sand/water table

• Learning about colours, numbers, shapes and the world we live in using everyday situations as well as structured activities

• Educational DVDs, such as the Baby Einstein range (TV is always limited to an hour a day which is normally split up into two 30 minute sessions)

• Stories and books

• Baking and food preparation such as icing and decorating tea biscuits, Rice Krispie treats,  sandwiches, fruit salad etc


Admissions

After initial communications with the parent I would arrange for:

• An informal introductory meeting.

• Offer of further information with more specific details relating to the families needs.

• Time to consider possibility of the child being placed in my care.

• Contact to be made to discuss final decision.

It would be at this point that either party could state their preference not to pursue the matter further without fear of recourse.

I arrange for them to receive copies of some of the forms requiring signatures/completion. To include but not exclusively:

• Name, address and contact number(s) of emergency contact

• Name, address and contact number(s) of parent

• Name, address and date of birth of each child to be cared for

• Details of any ongoing medical requirements

• Signed permission for the child to administer medications to self where applicable

• Signed permission for me to administer medications to the child as required

• Signed permission for me to administer first aid as required

• signed permission for me to take the children off the premises for trips etc and permission for transportation.

• Signed permission for me to seek medical/emergency aid as necessary. (Or written details specifying wishes)

• Ask that they bring the completed forms to a second meeting to discuss finer details of the child care provision.

• Agree and sign a formal contract (childminder to sign also)

• Discuss the best way to settle the child into the setting

• Agree times and dates for settling the child and official ‘start’ date (which can be changed at a later date to allow for the child’s individual needs)


Equal opportunities

Being South African and having grown up in the Apartheid era, I am well aware of how unfairly people can be discriminated against.  I have a commitment to treating every child (and adult) with equal respect and concern whilst still appreciating their different individual needs, regardless of sex, race, background, economic status, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, physical stature or ability/disability.  The toys and books I keep reflect this to ensure that the children I care for develop a positive attitude in this regard.  I aim to lead by example and will challenge any kind of racist and discriminatory remarks, attitudes and behavior from children or adults.


Fire safety

We are fortunate in that we are on the ground floor and have various emergency exits – the windows either lead out onto the street or garden, we have both front and back doors as well as an alleyway leading from the garden to the street.  Fire alarms are fitted in appropriate places within the flat and are regularly tested.  There is also a fire blanket and fire extinguisher installed in the kitchen.  In the event of a fire within my home while I am caring for your children, I will:

Calmly gather the children.

Pick up my mobile phone and set of keys (they are often close to me, if not, they will be left behind)

Leave the setting by the nearest, safest exit.  Babies will be carried and older children will form a chain with me by holding hands

I will stand with the children as far away from my flat, at a safe distance either at the bottom of my garden or across the road opposite my flat

First I shall phone for the Fire Services – either using my mobile, or from a neighbour’s house should I not have it on me

Next I shall phone all the children's parents and ask them to collect their children

A fire drill is regularly practiced and recorded with the children


Healthy Eating

I am registered as a “Food Business Operator” with the Local Authority which means that I am regulated in terms of food safety and hygiene.  I have also completed a Level 2 Award in Food Hygiene for Catering.

For children on family foods, all meals, snacks and drinks are provided at no extra charge.  Meals can often be adapted for older babies, but I generally don't offer food (apart from snacks) until fully weaned and at least on mashed/lumpy foods.  I aim to provide a healthy and well balanced range of foods with a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and use quite a few trusted Annabel Karmel recipes.  Treats would include things like biscuits, something that the children have made or birthday cake, but this is occasional and obviously age appropriate.  Children are offered water, milk or diluted fruit juice to drink.  I do not allow fizzy drinks of any kind.

Meal times provide a great opportunity for learning and fun and where possible, older children are encouraged to help prepare their own meals and snacks, for example, dividing up fruit to share, making sandwiches or homemade pizzas.

I am happy to discuss menus with parents and where possible, can cater for children with different food allergies and cultural/religious requirements. If your child has any particular dislikes or favourite dishes please let me know.

I will record what your child has eaten in the daily contact book. If you have any concerns regarding diet/menu/quantity please do not hesitate to discuss it with me.


Outings

The children’s routine and school run require me to stay fairly close to home and so I do not typically take the children on scheduled outings beyond the immediate neighbourhood.  As a registered Childminder, it is my duty to ensure that children are given plenty of fresh air and exercise, and that they are given an opportunity to socialise with other larger groups of children.  As such, I normally take the children out every day for which your written permission is needed.


When out and about, children are strapped into the buggy at all times.  Children who are on foot are asked to hold onto the buggy and walk alongside me.  I do have reins and a wrist strap should I feel the need to use them.  I always carry a first aid kit and emergency contact details with me.


Lost children

From an early age, children are made aware of the dangers of wandering off on their own and it is constantly re-inforced that they are to stay close to me and not to venture too far off.  It goes without saying that I keep a very close eye on the children and prefer to take them to places where the space is manageable i.e. we would choose to play in an enclosed playground rather than an open one.  In the unlikely event of a child going missing, I will first search the immediate area.  If the child is not found, I will contact the emergency services, and then the parents.


Safeguarding Children

As a child care professional my first priority and duty is to protect and safeguard your child from all kinds of abuse and neglect. I have received appropriate training to ensure that I am in the best position to do so.  Any of the following signs will be factually noted:

• A child states that abuse has taken place or that the child feels unsafe

• A third party or anonymous allegation is received

• A child’s appearance, behavior, play, drawing or statement(s) causes suspicion

Unless consultation with parents is likely to place the child at risk of significant harm through delay, I will seek clarification (not proof) from parents.  Should I still feel concerned about the safety of your child, I have a duty to contact Wandsworth Referral and Assessment Team as well as Ofsted.



Safeguarding myself and my family


As a Childminder working alone I am more vulnerable to allegations of abuse being made against my family or me. I will take precautions to protect myself from this happening by:

• Ensuring all people living or working on the premises who are over the age of 16 have been CRB checked

• Ensuring all visitors to the house sign the visitors book and do not have unsupervised access to the children under any circumstances

• Ensuring, where possible, that no workmen are in the house during minded hours, unless it is to repair an emergency service or for Health and Safety Reasons

• Document every accident and incident that occurs whilst in my care, informing parents and requesting them to sign my records

• Document any marks on the children when they arrive and asking parents to inform me of any accidents that have occurred whilst outside my care

• Record the exact time of children’s arrival and departure and ask parents to sign off the hours every week

• Ensuring the children are supervised at all times

• Keeping accurate records on each child and writing a daily diary


In the event of an allegation made against me or my family I will immediately notify Ofsted and advise them of the situation and furnish them with any necessary written records and information such as witnesses etc.


Use of mobile phones etc

Childcare workers are prohibited from taking photos using mobile phones.  My mobile phone is used solely for incoming and outgoing calls and texts and never for taking photographs.

I will seek your permission to take photographs of your child for record keeping and for your own viewing in a “Pictures of the Month” email. Should I on the rare occasion wish to distribute or publish any images of your child special consent will be obtained.  Photographs are transferred to my computer at the end of every week and then erased from the camera.  I am registered with the Information Commissioners Office – the Data Protection Act.

Children will always be appropriately dressed and I will always be able to justify to Ofsted the reason for taking the photograph.


Further info

I offer up to three “settling in” hourly sessions free of charge for your child to spend some time with myself and the other children before officially starting – the first one usually with the parent present, and the other two without.  If we find that any more than this is required they will be charged for on an hourly basis (currently £7 per hour).

Supplies

I ask that parents provide a bag each day containing a sufficient supply of nappies, nappy sacks and wipes for their child, as well as a clean change of clothes, suncream and hat (in the warmer months) and anything else you feel they may need.  Favourite toys are welcome, however I cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage.  Children are not to bring in any DVDs without prior arrangement as these may not be age appropriate for everybody nor may there be enough time for viewing.


Payment procedure

Fees will be due monthly in advance on the last working day of the month. Late payments will be charged a 10% increase.  I am happy to accept childcare vouchers and am already registered with Sodexho, Edenred, Care 4 and Kiddivouchers.  However, the onus is on the parent to ensure that these are paid timeously otherwise the 10% arrears charge may apply.


Holidays

It is recommended that childminders take a 4 week break every year.  To try and spread the cost for both myself and parents/carers, 50% fees are charged for both my holidays and parent/carer holidays up to a maximum of 16 days per annum each.  Kindly note that childminding services are not available on Bank Holidays but are still charged in full should a contracted day fall on one.


Termination of Contract

There is a 4 week “settling in” period during which either party is free to end the contract with immediate effect.  Once the initial trial period is passed, 4 weeks notice is required by either party to terminate the contract.


Sickness policy

As a registered childminder I cannot accept any child suffering from a noticeable infectious disease or illness because of the risk the child will be imposing on the other children I care for, myself and my family. It is important that you inform me of any symptoms of ill health shown by your child in the last 24 hours, and it will be at my discretion if I should undertake the care of your sick child.  Please note that I won’t be able under any circumstances, to accept a child with a fever, vomiting or diarrhea and that symptoms need to be absent for at least 24 hours before coming back into my care.

If your child becomes ill whilst in my care, I will contact you and I will ask you to collect him/her.  Childminding fees will still be charged.  If there is an infectious illness in my own family I will inform you as soon as possible to allow you to make other arrangements.  I do have relationships with other local childminders and may be able to recommend somebody else close by provided that they have the space.  Under these circumstances no fees will be charged.  

It is my duty as a registered childminder to notify the local Authority Officers under the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations 1988 and Ofsted of certain infectious diseases.  These include any that a qualified medical person considers notifiable.


Working in partnerships

Communication between myself and parents is crucial – a trusting partnership where we both share information about your child is most likely to promote your child’s well being, development and progress.  Before your child is admitted into my care, I will ask you to fill in an information form which will help me to provide the best individual care for your child – everything from dietary requirements, allergies and routines to likes and dislikes will be discussed and recorded.  I will keep a daily diary of your child’s activities and routines which is for you to take home each day to read.

The best time for parents to discuss any specific concerns they have is when they collect their child, or alternatively, if it is more convenient, by telephone later in the evening.  If there were any serious concerns, a meeting would be arranged between the parent(s) and I, to sit down and discuss any issues face to face.  Parents can be assured of the strictest confidentiality with regards to discussions and the storage of records.


Complaints

In the event of any complaint, in the first instance this should be directed to me either verbally or in writing.  If we are unable to come to a mutually satisfactory solution, please contact OFSTED directly using one of the following methods:

By telephone: 0300 123 1231

By email:  enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk

By post:  The National Business Unit, Ofsted, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD



My childcare policies all comply with the purpose and aims of the Early Years Foundation Stage (“EYFS”).