home> Childminding Networks - what are they?
under5s - Childminding Networks - what are they?
Childminding Networks...

What is a childminding network ? Well it is the latest thing in childminding circles. Childminding networks are now beginning to be formed in different parts of the country. Helen Renouf explains what this new development actually means to parents, children and childminders.

As a parent, what do networks offer? 

Choosing a childminder to care for your child or children can be a difficult time for parents, how do you assess who offers the best care ? By choosing a childminder who is a member of a childminding network, parents can be re-assured that they are choosing a person who is dedicated to childminding, someone who treats childminding as a career and not as a hobby. 

Membership of a network is no guarantee of care but it does offer some assurance that the childminder can provide consistency of care for children from 6 weeks through to primary school age. Network childminders are also checked regularly through unannounced inspections to ensure that the quality of care is maintained.

Parents who use an accredited network childminder can also obtain a financial subsidy towards the cost of their childcare through the Early Years Education (Eye) funding initiative. The provision of this funding places childminders on an equal financial footing with pre-schools and nurseries thereby giving parents a greater choice of care. This allows parents to choose the childcare most appropriate to their circumstances and to their child's needs.

As a child, what do networks offer?

The network childminder has access to a wide range of toys and equipment which can be borrowed through the network, this gives the children in their care exposure to a multitude of learning experiences. Children also benefit from the new skills and activities that the network childminder learns during training, for example the recognition of special needs.

As a childminder, I am on a network, but what does it mean?

Participating in a network gives a childminder the opportunity to meet regularly with other childminders to discuss childminding activities and childcare related issues. Whilst this is possible through local childminding groups, the childminders on the network are perhaps a little more dedicated. Through the network, childminders have access to more training provided by the network co-ordinator, they also have special educational needs support through the network's own area Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), and they can borrow a range of resources through the free toy library.

The network helps childminders feel that their profession is recognised.

As a network childminder there is the opportunity to provide parents with a portfolio of information from the latest qualification, to policies on equal opportunities, special needs, behaviour management, and health and safety. This puts network childminders in line with other care providers.

The downside to all of this is the time the extra training takes, and the paper work ! If you want to be an 'Accredited Childminder' on the network and claim Early Years Education (Eye) Funding for pre-school children, then you need to plan activities, (under fives can help out here) make observations and create records on the children. You also need to be working towards a level 3 qualification, or undertaking training in key areas of professional development, as outlined by the network co-ordinator. 

Are you interested in finding our more about networks - then take a look at theNational Childminding Association Web Site

Helen Renouf
Registered Childminder

under5s - Childminding Networks - what are they?
home> Childminding Networks - what are they?