We frequently issue News Letters to our families giving information of events and issues concerning EYFS and child care. We have noticed that the same questions pop up from new and existing families therefore we have come up with a few of the most common questions to help families understand systems used in childminding as apposed to nurseries and schools. If you have any questions that should be added to help aid others understandings please contact your childminder.
Q. After the initial interview you suggested “Settling In Periods” what does this mean and how does it work?
A. We suggest that your child attends our setting with you for half an hr at a mutually convenient time so your child can mix with the other children, watch you relax with the childminder and to give opportunities to ask further questions and to see how routines and behavioural management is carried out etc. We then suggest you leave your child for a short time approximately an hour giving your child an understanding that you will return and the child to “Settle In” This session will be FREE of CHARGE.
Q. Once we have an agreed starting date what will my child need to bring?
A. Depending on the age and needs of each child they will need their own bag of personal needs such as nappies, pacifiers e.g. dummy, blanket, and change of clothing & appropriate outdoor coats and shoes. A list should be made during the initial interview of the needs of each child.
Q. My local nursery has a standing order system. How do we pay the fees to childminders?
A. Before a child starts with the childminder a system of payments will be discussed with each family. Some families prefer to pay weekly while others pay monthly. As contracts are signed a deposit should be paid of usually x2 weeks followed by either the first weeks fees (if paying weekly) or the months fees in advanced. You and the Childminder will agree to payment dates and system such as cheques, standing orders or cash. Please note that contracts are legally binding documents and should be understood by both parties.
Q. Why do we have to pay fees in advance?
A. Childminders need payment in advance so to pay for all food and drink for each child, activities and equipment, also all outings and admission fees to events and Drop-In’s. Childminders find it difficult to pay for all children on role and their own family & bills while waiting for payments from families.
You would not get your shopping and tell the staff at the till you will pay next month.....
Q. What do I do if I do not have the Fees for the childminder?
A. Please do not put the childminder in the position of having to ask you for due Fees.
Most childminders will issue you with an invoice explaining the Fees due. Please read this and if you have any queries please ask your childminder. We all make mistakes and we will feel better if any mistakes are pointed out to us in a reasonable manner.
If for what ever reason you cannot pay the fees on the date due again please bring your invoice to your childminder and alternate arrangements could be made e.g. an invoice could be split over x2 weeks, this will possibly prevent the need of “Late payment charges”
Q. What are late payment charges?
A. These charges are added to invoices where parents have failed to pay fees on the due date without first informing the childminder. It could mean a childminder has accrued bank charges because fees have not been paid on time.
Q. What other fees could be added to an invoice?
A. If for what ever reason you collect your child late or need to arrive earlier than contracted the childminder has the right to add charges for additional care and usually round this by the hour. E.g. if you are late collecting your child by 45mins your childminder has the right to charge you for an hour at the rate mentioned in your contract. This could be more than the usual hourly rate as it is “outside contractual hrs”.
Q. What are Holiday Fees?
A. Each setting charges differently for holidays e.g. some settings charge full fees while the child is away on holiday and nothing if the childminder is absent, while others only charge half as they charge half while the childminder is away on holiday. Please ask your childminder for their system.
Q. What is sickness Fees?
A. Each childminder has a set of Policies and Procedures which include sickness and exclusion. While your child is off due to sickness full fees are expected and should be paid at the agreed time. You should inform your childminder ASAP that your child will not be attending due to sickness and the nature of the sickness so others could be warned e.g. in the case of chicken pox etc.
Q. When I started I had lots of forms to sign and Policies and Procedures to understand and a permissions form. Why do we have to sign for all this paperwork and what if I do not understand or forget information when we get home?
A. Childminders like schools and nurseries are regulated by the governing body Ofsted and we have legal duties which include contracts, permission forms, child record forms, registrations, accident and incident records and EYFS. We do not expect parents to understand all the literature involved in running a childminding business but we will do our best to explain as much as possible during the initial interview and settling in periods. Our web-sites should include quality information including our Ofsted report and grade. News letters are issued frequently and leaflets from Ofsted and other agencies are often sent home.
If at any time you feel you do not understand or need clarification on any issues please do not hesitate to contact your childminder and they will do their best to assist you or sign post you to the relevant professionals to guide you.
Q. I signed your permission form but I do not agree with all its contents what do I do?
A. Please tell your childminder which areas you do not agree to e.g. “Photographs shared within other settings” this point will then be deleted from permission and respected.
Q. What do I do if I have any questions, concerns or complaint regarding my child and/or the childminder’s setting?
A. Please arrange a time to meet with your childminder at a time convenient to you both i.e. not in the middle of meal time. Your childminder wants you and your child to feel happy and content within their setting and would not want either party to feel upset or stressed. Voice your concerns politely and give your childminder time to reflect and come to you with a solution. If you are still unsatisfied tell your childminder you need more attention to the matter. These issues and complaints should be recorded and you may be asked to sign and date the record. If a solution can not be met Parents have a right to complain to Ofsted where an inspector will call unannounced to the setting and bring the complaint for inspection. The result of which will be given to parents unless in the case of complaints made anonymously.
Q. What do I do if I am running late to drop off or collect my child?
A. Please contact your childminder ASAP. Your childminder will have other commitments such as school pick-up’s and will not want other children on role to be late. Also if you are late collecting your child other children may be arriving which would make the ratio illegal. Your child should be coated and ready for departure and will become distressed if you are late. We understand that things may happen to make parents late but please understand that childminders may have a tight schedule and unlike nurseries and schools do not always have additional staff on call to assist. Your childminder will understand and will make alternate arrangements to either meet at a convenient location or at a later time.
Q. At nursery my child brought home lots of paintings and crafts what will happen in your setting?
A. In my setting your child’s art work is displayed on the board for all parents to see and will be held there for a period of time to help children to have a sense of “community” within my setting. This includes photographs and activity information sheets. You are welcome to view this at drop off or collection time. Your child’s work will then either go home or be added to their Learning and Development file.
Q. What is my child’s Learning and Development file and who will have access to it?
A. Ofsted states that with in EYFS practitioner’s record the learning and development of each child in their care through observations and the mark making (crafts) pictures children make and to track the progress of each child and identify any issues.
Each setting has their own system of keeping these records either through scrap books, Pre-school profile packs or ring files. Your child will have access to this file as well as other settings who have any contact with your child such as nurseries, schools and outside professional agencies. Your permission to share your child’s file will be asked but the information is confidential and not shared with other parents. Please discuss this matter further with your childminder to see the style & system they use.
Once your child leaves the setting you take the file to the next setting, nursery or school for them to become more acquainted with your child’s needs and progress. They will then probably allow you to keep the file as a reminder, keepsake of your child’s early years with your childminder.
Q. What do I do if I want to change my childcare arrangements?
A. If you need to change the days or times you need childcare ask your childminder for a timeslot to discuss your needs. If your childminder has vacancies to suit you they will change the contract accordingly alternately they will try to assist you in finding alternate childcare.
Q. How much notice should I give a childminder if I need to make changes or if my child is to leave.
A. We hope that your experiences with the childminder have been good and that your reasons for leaving are due to other circumstances and changes within the family (child moving on to grant maintained settings, child not settling in, difficulty with transport and times for work etc)
Most childminders give a settling in period where if you are not satisfied you may leave with little notice
If however you decide to leave after the settling in period for what ever reason a period of 4 weeks notice in writing is required. If you paid a deposit of x2 weeks the remainder of the fees will be calculated and your invoice will be amended.
If you decide to leave with little or no notice to the childminder the x2 weeks deposit will be kept by the childminder In-Lieu of notice.
Q. Who is responsible for my child during drop off and collection times?
A. It is reported that children are more at risk of accidents during this time for many reasons such as children pushing the boundaries of responsibilities and the lack of supervision.
When families arrive you should be greeted with respect and the child to attend setting with as little fuss as possible.
Parents are still responsible until they leave the premises. Diaries should be used to inform both parents and childminders of issues and information.
On collection again once the parent arrived they are responsible and should collect their child promptly and if you need to discuss any issue with the childminder should respect the needs of the other children still in setting. If more than a brief chat is needed the childminder will arrange a time for you to discuss issues where the risk of unsupervised children is minimal.
It has been brought to the attention of the Quality Assured Networking Childminders that parents are staying within setting for long periods of time either at drop off or collection times.
This init self is causing problems for both childminders and other children on role as the childminder cannot give their full attention to the children.
As lone workers we need to supervise the children at all times and routines and individual needs are met, some children may become distressed while waiting the arrival of their families and need additional attention, this is not possible if other parents are requesting our time & attention.
Therefore policies are to be updated and reflect practice used in school and local nurseries and include adult admission to setting, parents will not be invited into main setting areas, and your child will be brought to you ready for departure at agreed time. If you need to speak with your childminder please contact them in advance to make arrangements. We hope to have your understanding in this matter as the wellbeing of each child is paramount.