A summary of recent childcare news plus resources, updates and behind the scenes at Minding Kids!
As we head into February, the shortest month of the year, it can feel like we’re still bundled up in the winter chill. But fear not, this month also brings with it a burst of warmth, in the form of Valentine’s Day celebrations, exciting learning opportunities, and the unique quirk of a leap year!
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 Minding Kids can offer something to help you on your journey.
In the News…
🧠Children’s Mental Health Week
This week (5th-11th February) is Children’s Mental Health Week and this year’s theme “My Voice Matters” focuses on empowering children to express themselves. As childcare providers, we play a crucial role in fostering their emotional well-being and giving them a safe space to share their feelings.
Through a variety of activities, we can promote open communication and self-expression. Here are some ideas to try:
- Create “feelings charts” where children can visually express their emotions.
- Host a “storytelling circle” where children can share stories, poems, or even just silly jokes.
- Encourage creative activities like drawing, painting, or music to allow children to process emotions non-verbally.
- Play “emotion charades” to help children identify and understand different feelings.
- Have open conversations about mental health, acknowledging that everyone experiences ups and downs.
👉🏽Learn more about Children’s Mental Health Week here.
🌟And dig into these resources to promote learning around feelings and emotions, build on communication skills and support self esteem:
Safer Internet Day
Also this week.. This year’s theme for Safer Internet Day “Inspiring change? Making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online,” reminded us of our shared responsibility to create a safe and positive online environment for all children.
What do you do in your setting to help protect children and equip them with the skills they need to be responsible and safe digital citizens?
Here are some ideas:
- Age-appropriate discussions: Talk to children about the importance of online safety, cyberbullying, and responsible online behaviour. Encourage them to share any concerns they might have.
- Creative activities: Get creative with posters, slogans, or role-playing scenarios to reinforce key messages about online safety.
- Check out Safer Internet Day‘s website for resources and activities.
As part of our child protection procedures, we must also have a clear policy in place regarding internet safety and the use of electronic devices.
🌟Our Policies & Procedures Pack includes template policies for Internet Safety and Electronic Devices, Social Media, Mobile Phone, Camera and Photographs and Television, Streaming and Games Console. Edit them as you require to suit your setting and circumstances!
A recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) paints a concerning picture of child poverty in the UK, with 3 in 10 children living below the poverty line. Rising living costs and inadequate benefits are continuing to push more families into poverty and the number of families experiencing destitution, the most severe form of poverty, have more than doubled since 2017.
As the general election looms, the JRF has issued a plea to political parties, urging them to tackle the deeply ingrained issue of poverty with immediate action. They propose implementing an “Essentials Guarantee” within Universal Credit that will guarantee everyone a minimum level of support to cover basic needs like food and utilities.
As childcare providers we can help to support vulnerable children and families. Here’s how we can make a difference:
- Be aware of the signs of child poverty and its potential impact.
- Provide a safe and nurturing environment where children feel valued and supported.
- Advocate for policies that address child poverty and ensure all children have equal opportunities.
- Connect families with relevant resources and support services.
👉🏽Read more about the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in this Nursery World article
For providers registered in Scotland (Care Inspectorate)….
Each year the Care Inspectorate asks all service providers to complete an annual return to assist with keeping records up to date and inspection planning. The valuable statistics collected help to gain an overall insight into childcare provision in Scotland which can then be shared appropriately with other organisations such as the Scottish Government and the Scottish Social Services Council. All registered providers are required to complete a return, even services which are currently inactive. You should refer to their frequently asked questions document or contact the Care Inspectorate if you have any questions or concerns.
⚠️If you have not already done so, you must complete your annual return by Sunday 17th March and can do so via the online eForms system here.
📕Shared Inspection Framework
In November the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland published a draft version of the new Shared Inspection Framework. A consultation on the new framework was extended and the Scottish Childminding Association have responded with concern that it is not yet ‘fit for purpose’. Their primary concern being that the framework still adopts a generic ‘one size fits all’ approach and caters mainly to preschool and nursery environments, neglecting the distinct requirements of childminders. The new framework will be implemented from September 2024 with further details of delivery and testing expected to be announced soon.
🌟Find Inspection Support Resources HERE
♻️Funding Follows the Child Operating Guidance UPDATED
In December updates were made to the Funding Follows the Child and National Standard Operating Guidance, the policy framework for the provision of funded early learning and childcare. The update consists mainly of language clarifications, new resources, and links, but also includes service improvement schedule changes.
👉🏽If you already offer or are considering offering funded placements in the future, you can check the updated guidance here.
🌟Our Approved ELC Provider – Childminder Checklist is designed to assist childminders registered in Scotland understand and meet the criteria set out in The National Standard.
📢‘HGIOELC’ No longer a requirement for Funded Provider Childminders
In efforts to reduce the level of paperwork and duplicative quality assurance for childminders, the Scottish Government have confirmed that funded provider childminders are no longer required to self-evaluate against Education Scotland’s ‘How Good is Our ELC’. Childminders should continue to use the Care Inspectorate’s Quality Framework until the implementation of the Shared Inspection Framework later this year.
👉🏽Find further information about this important update on the SCMA website.
If you employ staff or assistants, you must prepare for the implementation of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 in April 2024.
The new legislation, is the first of its kind in the UK and will set requirements for safe staffing for both health and care services.
The aims of the Act are to enable:
- children to experience safe and high-quality care
- staffing that supports improved outcomes for children
- a culture that promotes the wellbeing of staff.
👉🏽Find further information and bitesize videos in the Care Inspectorate Hub.
🌟For resources to assist with recruitment and staff management, download our Childminder Assistant Employment Pack
For providers registered in England (Ofsted)….
As providers prepare for the upcoming expansion of funded childcare from April, there continues to be a great deal of concern and confusion as to how it can be successfully implemented. While many welcome the potential for increased demand and wider accessibility, questions about financial sustainability, administrative burden, and competition remain unanswered. The Department for Education has now made clear to all local authorities that funding rates for April must be confirmed no later than the end of February however there are still concerns about covering rising costs and ensuring a decent living wage. If you are choosing to offer funded places in your setting, it is important that you are clear on the process to be followed in your area and that parents are clear on their responsibilities. If you are unsure, check with your local authority to ensure you and parents do not miss out!
🌟You may be interested in the following resources to support the delivery of funded hours in your setting and ensure clear communication with parents:
And our Invoices, Receipts and Letterheads will allow you to create professional invoices clearly setting out fees due, additional charges or deductions for funded placements.
🏔️‘Do Something Big’ childcare recruitment campaign
The Department of Education has launched a national recruitment campaign with an aim to ‘increase capacity, tackle unemployment, and offer more childcare places’ in preparation for the first phase of the largest ever expansion in ‘free’ childcare. The ‘Do Something Big’ recruitment campaign offers a £1,000 tax-free sign-on bonus for early years professionals joining or returning to the sector, however only 20 local authorities are taking part in the trial.
👉🏽Find details of the recruitment campaign here
📍The local authorities taking part in the trial are listed in this Nursery World article
🌟Minding Kids can help too! If you are New to Childminding? – Start Here
🆕New EYFS for Childminders
In January the Department for Education published 2 revised frameworks, the EYFS statutory framework for childminders and the EYFS statutory framework for group and school-based providers. You must ensure you are using the latest edition of the framework that applies to your childcare setting.
👉🏽Find the revised EYFS Frameworks here
🌟To assist with the changes and meeting statutory requirements we have published updates to the following resources:
📕Ofsted Updates – Early Years Handbook
Reflecting changes outlined by Ofsted in response to the Coroner’s report on the tragic death of headteacher Ruth Perry, a new section has been added to the Early years inspection handbook to clarify that inspectors may pause an inspection when there is a ‘significant’ event involving a member of staff or a child, or ‘significant’ concerns about leaders’ welfare. The updated handbook also includes new guidance on how inspectors should consider the wellbeing of leaders and staff during an inspection, along with further wording changes and clarification of inspector conduct.
👉🏽The revised guidance and a summary of the changes can be found here
🌟Find Inspection Support Resources HERE
For providers registered in Wales (Care Inspectorate Wales)….
📆Self-Assessment of Service Statement (SASS)
All childcare and play services, including childminders in Wales (registered before 31 December 2023) must complete a Self-Assessment of Service Statement (SASS) by 15th March 2024. A legal requirement for Registered Persons and Responsible Individuals, the online SASS form provided Care Inspectorate Wales with information which allows them to plan inspections and target support appropriately.
Providers registered after 31st December 2023 are not required to complete their SASS this year.
Providers registered before 31st January 2023 must also upload their Quality of Care Review as part of their SASS.
👉🏽Find further information and how to complete your SASS here
👉🏽Find information and guidance on completing a Quality of Care Review here
🌟Find Self-Evaluation Support Resources HERE
📃Professional Registration of the workforce
A consultation on the Professional registration of the childcare and playwork workforce is underway by the Welsh Government. Views on whether there should be a workforce register and who should be included on that register are being sought from those already managing or working in the sector.
👉🏽Find full details of the consultation which ends on 7th March 2024 here
Since our Autumn Newsletter we have added and updated the following resources…
Seasonal Planning Sheets – UPDATED for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter 2024! – Manage your setting Season to Season for the whole year ahead!
Self-Evaluation & Improvement Plans– A perfect support tool for self-evaluation and preparing for inspection!
Halloween Activity Ideas Sheet – Design REFRESHED! – Keep the kids busy and have fun learning about HALLOWEEN
2024 Activity Planner – Plan out your topics and themes for the entire year!
2024 Multicultural Calendar – Perfect for long term planning and teaching children about festivals, cultures, traditions and awareness days from all over the world!
St Andrew’s Day Activity Ideas Sheet – Learn about the Patron Saint of Scotland, Scottish traditions, the Loch Ness Monster, Castles, Bagpipes, Tartan, Haggis and more!
Lunchtime Learning Plans – Transform lunchtimes into valuable learning opportunities!
Christmas Activity Ideas Sheet – Design REFRESHED! – Enjoy seasonal crafts and games and explore the joy of the festive season using all your senses!
2024 Monthly Planner – ✔Keep track of special dates and celebrations ✔Plan topics, themes, outings and visits ✔Note children’s interests ✔Schedule activities ⭐Set Goals, Targets and Reminders.
EYFS 2024 UPDATES! – Checklists and Policies updated in line with the New 2024 Childminder Framework
FREE Childminder Checklists – Updated for 2024! – CHECK you have all the ESSENTIALS in place!
We have also discussed:
🔴The importance of Preventing Bullying
And THIS YEAR we are helping you Take On 2024 One Step at a Time…
So far we have covered:
Click on each step to check you have all the ESSENTIALS!
Remember Minding Kids Members have unlimited access to all Minding Kids resources immediately as they are added or updated!
Behind the scenes…
We are making good progress with our developers on refining the new app design and are expecting to begin the testing phase soon before re-launching later in the year. Yes, this is taking a lot longer that we had anticipated but we must appreciate the quantity of work involved and that our expert developers have a busy workload too! We are confident that taking the time to get the design right now, will deliver the best results to our app users going forward and ensure strong foundations, enabling us to grow and develop the app successfully in the future.
⭐Help Us Shine: Be an App Insider!
We are seeking out existing app users to help with the testing phase before we relaunch the platform. In return for a sneaky peak of the new stuff, testers will assist us in ensuring we identify and resolve any technical glitches before relaunching to the masses! Happy to help? Please get in touch!
We have been very busy over the last while reviewing and updating some of our existing resource packs, for example to align with the new 2024 EYFS. As well as continuing to keep existing packs under review our ‘to do list’ is bulging with ideas and requests. Please do not be shy in contacting us with any new packs or improvements. Help us to help you…the most popular requests will always get bumped to the top if the pile!
👣Step 4 – Taking on 2024 together – Share!
and more OUTSTANDING Resources!
Thank you to all for your continued support!