Choices in childcare
Did you know there are 115 childminders in Slough who can offer safe, fun, flexible and professional care for your child?
When you think of early years childcare you might immediately think of a nursery setting – but childminders are one of the forgotten options – and they can offer individual support for your child, with some specialising in those with additional needs.
In Slough, 98% of our childminders are rated good or outstanding and many offer free early education places for two and three year olds.
Using a childminder is one option when utilising the 15 hours of free early years entitlement.
You can look at the list of childminders in Slough by accessing the FIS website and comparing and contrasting the providers to choose what suits your needs.
The FIS can also help you to find out about activities in the summer holidays, Special Educational Needs and Disability information, the Local Offer and a whole host of other information relating to family, childcare and education services.
Why might you choose a childminder?
You might want to choose a childminder as an early years provider if you like the idea of your child learning and being cared for in a home environment where other children are of a variety of ages, like a family. You might find a childminder can offer you flexible hours to help you cope with your changing shift patterns, or their offer of a school pick up service is exactly what you need.
All early years providers plan a variety of play based activities and experiences designed to support individual children’s learning and development. Childminders offer families choice, continuity of care and, because they get out and about, the opportunity to forge links with the local community.
- They are fully regulated and inspected - childminders undergo DBS checks to ensure the safeguarding of children, they are inspected by Ofsted as the same frequency as other providers, they follow the same Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum as other settings, follow the same policies and procedures and have suitable insurance.
- Flexible choice – they can meet the challenges of family life and work around your needs with timings, e.g. earlier mornings, later evenings, weekends, or overnight.
- Consistency of care – the same person can be looking after your child through the years, forming a bond with your family and supporting your child through times of transition.
- They offer a home based environment.
- They offer choice – you may want a home with pets, meals provided and someone who can drive.
- They engage with other local organisations and have a local network of other childminders to meet up with for activities, giving your child an opportunity to be out and about in the local community.
Kamal Khan and his wife Shafaq have been childminders for almost nine years.
A change in job circumstances led them to this career move, which tied in with Shafaq’s previous role in a pre-school. Childminding enabled the couple to spend more time watching their own five children grow, as well as caring for other children.
The couple, in their 40s, haven’t looked back since.
Kamal said: “We both love working with children. Shafaq and I both have a very caring nature. We love to play with the children at their level, participate in activities, and the children look forward to coming to spend a day with us. We help the children and parents and we get great a deal of satisfaction from our work.
“We have a huge range of toys and activities to keep children busy. We plan our activities, which are all age and stage appropriate. They learn through play.”
The choice includes learning activities such as mini laptops, blocks, story time or music time, role playing games, and indoor and outdoor activities, including trips to the local park.
The pair usually cares for children up to four years old, with six or seven children at any time.
Nationally 2% of men work in childcare, but in Slough we have more men, at 3% of the workforce.
Some people are surprised to see male childminders, but Kamal’s experiences have been positive.
He said: “Working as a couple really works and it gives a ‘family feel’. Many parents come to us specifically for that reason that we work together as husband and wife. The adult to child ratio is better. Many children see me as a role model.
“The best part is all about making a difference in a child’s life: seeing them grow from small babies to toddlers and often keeping in touch for many years and also to see satisfied parents. It’s the best job I’ve had, keeps me on my toes at all times!”
For anyone considering becoming a childminder, Kamal says the job is immensely rewarding, but also challenging.
He said: “It’s a great deal of responsibility. It requires a caring attitude, a great deal of time and planning as we have to plan our holidays often a year in advance.
“It’s definitely not a 9-5 office job. The job satisfaction is a great deal more. It’s another way of caring and giving back to the community.”
In a recent focus group, a Slough parent explained her reasons for choosing a childminder for her child. She described the rapport the childminder and child shared from their first meeting and voiced her satisfaction for the way she and the childminder work in partnership to achieve positive outcomes for her child. The parent also said the childminder sometimes drew her attention to aspects of her child’s development she had overlooked until then.
Another parent described how they chose a childminder because they wanted a home from home environment where the child could build a strong relationship with a caring adult. The parent said the childminder went out of their way to help the child feel safe and secure. As a direct result of this choice the parent reported the child had their needs met effectively and flourished when they went to school.