Our seasonal news updates summarise the latest childcare news plus which Minding Kids resources have been added or revised so you can easily keep on track and up to date.
Wow we are nearly at the end of May! We have made it through the darker months and can look forward to the warmer days of summer with no COVID restrictions!
Hello and Welcome to all our new visitors, and a MASSIVE THANK YOU to all of our loyal members, customers and followers for your ongoing support!
If you are just starting out in the world of childcare or have years of experience, we hope that MindingKids can offer something to help you on your journey.
In childcare news…
Coronavirus restrictions have now been lifted across the UK and we are being asking instead to follow guidance that will allow us to live safely alongside the virus and other respiratory infections.
Providers in England can find guidance on the Government website.
Providers in Wales can check advice with Care Inspectorate Wales
And information for providers in Northern Ireland can be found on the NIDirect website.
You can also refer to our Coronavirus HOT TOPIC page for further links to advice, guidance and resources relating to the Coronavirus pandemic.
We are hearing lots about cases of Monkeypox in the news. Whilst the risk to the UK population is low, you may wish to understand more about the virus and it’s symptoms. Further information can be found on the NHS website here.
As with all illness and infection, we must continue to follow strict procedures to maintain good hygiene and reduce risk within our settings. See our Policies & Procedures Pack for editable hygiene and illness policy templates and display our FREE Please KEEP your child at HOME if…POSTER to remind parents and carers of your illness procedures and when they must keep children at home.
🌳Encouraging a love for Nature and the Environment
Children can learn so much from being outdoors, exploring nature and the environment. MindingKids highlighted benefits of learning outdoors in this recent news post. The opportunities to engage children in their learning outdoors and promote a love for nature and the environment are endless. The month of June offers a couple of projects that will provide plenty of inspiration:
30 Days Wild
The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild challenge takes place throughout the month of June to encourage people to engage with nature and the outdoors. Through completing a nature related activity each day the initiative aims to help participates learn about nature and caring for the environment.
The challenge is available to individuals, families, groups and schools with all participants receiving a free pack of activity resources. Brilliant for some outdoor activity ideas!
Sign up to take part in 30 Days Wild here!
Early Years Alliance’s National Week of Play
The Early Years Alliance’s National Week of Play will run from 13-19 June this year with it’s focus being on eco-sustainability and how children can protect the planet. A number of activities will take place throughout the week to support providers with helping young children to build a lifelong relationship with the natural world. Participants will be able to access a podcast from the Forest School Learning Initiative alongside resources, activity ideas and a competition to win a mud kitchen.
Find full details on the Early Years Alliance website.
MindingKids also offers the following resources to support outdoor learning, exploring nature and protecting the environment:
♻Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy
Following on from the last item, the Department for Education in England have also recently published their Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy which aims for the UK to be “the world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change by 2030.” The paper sets out new measures to support education settings with climate and environmental awareness. In addition to adopting more eco-friendly solutions within our settings we must also consider how we can engage and teach children about sustainability and climate change.
Providers are being encouraged to get involved in awareness days such as Earth Day, Walk to School Week and World Oceans Day in addition to teaching children eco-friendly habits such as recycling and conserving water and energy.
In addition to our Climate Change Activity Pack, you can find lots of environmentally friendly activity ideas in our FREE Earth Day Activity Ideas Sheet and our Multicultural Calendar features lots of eco-friendly awareness days to help you plan ahead!
💷Cost of Living Crisis
There is no getting away from it. We are all seeing the impact of rising prices which effects not only our personal finances but the sustainability of our childcare businesses too. In our last news update we considered ways in which we could try to reduce business expenditure including making use of natural resources and recyclable materials, cutting down on food waste and shopping more economically, reducing energy waste and cutting printing and paper costs by using digital solutions to record and share information.
MindingKids has been searching the web for some money saving and environmentally friendly inspiration that you may wish to try in your setting or share with families:
Natural Resource activities: Using natural resources for learning
Using Recyclable materials: 15 free recycling activities for kids to do
Learning about Food Waste: McKinsey for Kids: (Food) waste not, want not
Batch Cooking Ideas: 20 freeze-ahead meals to get ahead in the kitchen
⚠Child Safety Week
Run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), Child Safety Week is an annual community education campaign which aims to help families build confidence and skills in managing the real risks to children’s safety. This year’s campaign runs from 6th to 12th June with the theme ‘Safety In Mind’ which will raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented.
Both parents and practitioners can sign up to receive free safety advice and resources here.
As childcare providers we have a responsibility to evaluate the risks in and around our settings, and do everything that we can do to keep children safe. MindingKids offers the following resources to assist with Risk Assessment and Accident Prevention:
With the warmer weather on it’s way, we must be clear on our sun protection procedures and our policies with regards to the application of suncream. This nursery world article explains that some nurseries and pre-schools have banned the use of Nivea sun creams due to some products now containing almond oil which could put children or staff with nut allergies at risk.
MindingKids has now updated our Sun Protection Policy template to include a request for parents to ‘check the ingredients on sun cream before bringing into the setting’.
Included in our Policies & Procedures Pack, this policy template can be further edited as required to suit your setting and circumstances.
🥄New Weaning Guidance
A new campaign has been launched to support parents with safely introducing solid food to their babies. Led by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), the campaign promotes NHS advice on introducing babies to solid food from around 6 months. Parents and carers can find a wealth of tips and guidance all in one place on the Start for Life Weaning Hub. In addition to weaning tips and advice, the hub includes a selection of recipe and meal ideas and catogarises them into suitable options for age range and meal type. A brilliant resource to share with parents and for testing out new healthy recipes in your setting!
Find the Start for Life Weaning Hub here!
📝Preparing for Inspection
The catch up on childcare inspections is on! If you are due a visit, it is essential that you take time to prepare and are ready for your inspector’s questions.
For providers in Scotland the Care Inspectorate’s Quality Framework for the daycare of children, childminding and school aged childcare sets out what inspectors expect to see in high-quality care and learning and aims to support providers with self-evaluation.
For providers in England Ofsted’s Early years inspection handbook explains the the main activities that inspectors undertake when they carry out inspections and lays down the criteria for final grade judgements.
Providers in Wales should refer to Care Inspectorate Wales Code of Practice for Inspection of Child Minding, Day Care and Open Access Play Services and the Inspection framework for childcare.
We have recently updated our Preparing for Inspection Hot Topic page with top tips to ensure you are inspection ready and introduced NEW Service Evaluation Resources to help you evaluate ALL aspects of your childcare service.
This blog from Sarah Neville of Independent Childminders is also well worth a read (particularly for Ofsted registered providers) and gives examples of the types of questions you should be prepared to answer on the big day!
For providers registered in Scotland (Care Inspectorate)….
⭐New Quality Framework
In March the Care Inspectorate published it’s new Quality Framework for daycare of children, childminding and school-aged childcare after extensive consultation with services and partner organisations. From June 2022, inspections will follow the new framework and will focus on the following core quality indicators:
1.1 Nurturing care and support
1.3 Play and learning
3.1 Quality assurance and improvement are led well
4.1 Staff skills, knowledge, and values.
The Care Inspectorate, SCMA, Education Scotland and Scottish Government have been working together to deliver themed online support sessions for childminders. You may have been lucky enough to secure a place on last weeks webinar which focussed on Self-Evaluation and Self-Improvement. Due to the amount of interest in this event, the Scottish Government have confirmed that they are looking at running a further session in the future.
MindingKids has also put together this Quality Framework Service Evaluation to assist providers in evaluating ALL aspects of their childcare service under each of the Care Inspectorate’s Quality Framework Key Questions. Easily edit and adapt the completed example to suit YOUR setting and circumstances!
💻Business Gateway – Business Support for Childminders
A pilot programme of support webinars was offered from the Business Gateway during February and March to support childminders and providers of school aged childcare with sustainable business planning. Again, due to limited spaces, many missed out on this event, however one of the sessions was recorded and can be viewed here.
The Business Gateway offers a wide range of business support tools, information and training events to help with various aspects of running a business. Following on from Covid, there is an even larger amount of information and support sessions that can be accessed digitally. If you have not already done so, the Business Gateway website is well worth a visit!
For providers registered in England (Ofsted)….
📑Updated Childcare Register Guidance
Ofsted has updated it’s guidance for providers on the Childcare Register with an aim to make it more accessible and easier to understand what is required of them.
The updated guidance applies to providers registered ONLY on the Childcare Register (caring for children aged 5 and over). It does not apply to providers who are joining, or are already on the Early Years Register (caring for children aged from birth to 31 August after their fifth birthday)
Find the updated Framework for the regulation of providers on the Childcare Register here
And the updated Carrying out Childcare Register compliance inspections guidance here.
✔New Two-year Progress Check Guidance
The Department for Education has released new guidance for early years providers on carrying out the two-year progress check. The new guidance reflects the revised EYFS and new Development Matters and sets out clearly how progress checks should be undertaken. The DfE emphasises that excessive tracking and data is not required and that providers should not be spend prolonged periods away from children in their care in order to complete the check.
Searching for a suitable format to complete two-year progress checks? MindingKids can help:
📰Birth to 5 Matters New Parent Leaflet
For those who prefer to use Birth to 5 Matters, or use it in addition to the Development Matters guidance when assessing child development, a new parent leaflet is now available to help explain how early years providers use the Birth to 5 Matters guidance.
A printable version is available to download here
It is important to remember that both Development Matters and Birth to 5 Matters are non-statutory guidance. Providers are free to use the development guidance they prefer so long as they can demonstrate that they have a clear understanding of the EYFS and that they are supporting children’s development in all learning areas.
And at MindingKids…
📣Growing our Social Media Presence
MindingKids is very aware that many of our customers have discovered us or been introduced to our products via Facebook and Pinterest. Our social media presence really helps to spread awareness of our brand and reach childcare providers all over the UK (and afar) with information they may find useful. After taking part in a recent business gateway workshop to learn some new skills we are beginning to make some small improvements with how we use social media and add further content to our Facebook and Pinterest pages.
If you already follow us on Facebook or Pinterest thank you so much! Please continue to Like / Share / Pin our posts so that we can reach more OUTSTANDING providers!
Find us on Facebook here
And on Pinterest here
MindingKids Customisation service continues to be extremely popular and is another area of the business that we are looking to improve and expand on.
MindingKids can add your business name and logo and make any minor edits to forms to further personalise and suit your individual circumstances. We can even assist with logo creation or finding the best text design for your business name! Personalised documents are visually more professional and help to reflect the high quality of your service.
Currently the customisation service is available on the following products:
We are looking to expand on this list further as we gradually update and introduce more products. Keep a look out for further details!
Since our Winter News Update the following resources have been added, updated or improved…
New and Updated Resources
NEW EYFS Service Evaluation – A new support tool for self-evaluation and preparing for inspection. Evaluate ALL aspects of your childcare service under each of the key judgements of Ofsted’s Early years inspection handbook. This resource compliments our Quality Framework Service Evaluation Resource that we created earlier in the year for Scottish Providers.
FREE Childminder Document Check-Lists – Updated to include links to our Managing Challenging Behaviour and Service Evaluation Resources!
NEW Climate Change Activity Pack! – Bursting with bundles of activity inspiration, this pack will help teach children all about the causes, effects and solutions of climate change and what we can do to look after our planet.
NEW EYFS Pocket Cards! – Have all the Development Matters outcome statements right at your fingertips for each learning aspect and age group alongside the suggested examples to support progress.
FREE Queen’s Jubilee Activity Ideas Sheet! – Keep children busy and help them to learn about The Queen, Royal family and the importance of the Jubilee celebrations. Links activity ideas to the areas of learning and development!
Holiday Care Contract & Forms – Everything you need to organise holiday care sessions. Updated and Improved to include option to consent to photographs.
AND we have also
🦶Learning Walk Plan
Thank you to all for your continued support! Keep safe and look out for more MindingKids News soon!