As a stay at home mum and blogger, I know how lucky I have been to have been on hand for the kids throughout their early years. If you are stuck in a job you hate, you probably feel as if you would give anything to stay at home to be nearer to your kids and be your own boss into the bargain.
One way around this dilemma is to train to become a qualified childminder – but I am sure lots of us wouldn’t know where to start.
So how do you become a qualified childminder?
To be a childminder, you need to be registered with OFSTED (in England) and although you don’t need any formal qualifications, there is an expectation that you will have a detailed knowledge of children, and both their physical and emotional needs whilst in your care.
Thus, many people will become qualified, choosing from the growing range of accredited childminder courses available online and in colleges throughout the UK.
The information in this post relates to OFSTED and becoming a childminder in England. For those would-be childminders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the requirements and registration process may be slightly different;
If you look after someone else’s children in your own home in exchange for payment, you will need to register as a childminder. There are a few exceptions, for example, if you look after your friend’s children for a few hours every week, as a mutual arrangement. Grandparents don’t need to register as childminders.
Even though you don’t need any qualifications as such to become a childminder, there is an expectation that you will offer a professional service. The only real way of doing this is to complete a range of courses that show parents that you have the skills and the abilities to offer high quality and safe care for their children.
· Overarching qualification
Some childminders choose to start their professional qualifications with a general and overarching course. This course would look at all aspects of being a childminder including;
- What resources are needed
- What paperwork and documentation you will need to keep
- How to organise childminding sessions
- How many children you can look after
- Activities that are appropriate for certain age groups
- Health and Safety
- Safeguarding and other similar issues
· Paediatric First Aid
If you are registering as a childminder with OFSTED, you will need to have a current paediatric first aid certificate. You will need to renew this every three years.
This is clearly important as accidents and emergencies can and do happen. With the duty of care for children on your shoulders, you will need to be confident you have the necessary first aid skills to help an injured child.
· Awareness Raising Courses
There are many issues, from behavioural difficulties to emotional ones that can affect children. For some, these are short term symptoms as a result of situations happening in their lives. For other children, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties are diagnosed conditions such as Asperger’s, ADHD, ADD and autism.
Some children also have speech and language difficulties and there are courses that help childminders to work with children to develop vocabulary and so on.
Awareness courses are short courses that look at these conditions, what they are and how best to deal with situations that arise, and can prove invaluable for a childminder who is looking to offer a professional service to a wide a range of children as possible.
· Working with Children: Safeguarding
As well as working with children, you will be working with their families. Not every child is brought up in a stable home, with some living in foster care or are adopted.
There are times when foster and adopted children can display challenging behaviour, as can other children. This behaviour and certain patterns can be indicative of other, serious issues that are happening to them but they are unable or unwilling to verbalise what they are.
As a childminder working directly with a child, you have a duty of care and you have a safeguarding role. That means you will do your best to keep them safe. If you think that a child is being harmed, mentally and/or physically, you are expected to act. In most cases, this is either reporting your concerns to social services or calling the police. Not acting could be construed as neglect but unless you have the training and the experience, you may miss vital signs.
Being a Childminder
Thousands of parents across the UK rely on childminders to look after their children. They have expectations too: they want their children to be safe in your care, but be stimulated and cared for too.
The rewards of working with children, watching them grow and flourish knowing that you have played an important part of their development, are many and varied. Do you have the commitment and drive to run your own business, looking after children in your own home?
NCC Home Learning is one of the leading online providers of certificate and diploma courses in the UK. As well as ‘working with children’ courses, they have a range of courses that cover a range of topics, all studied for in the comfort of your own home.
Why not take a look at the courses they offer?