Our seasonal news updates summarise the latest childcare news plus which MindingKids resources have been added or revised so you can easily keep on track and up to date.
YIPPEE! Summer is here! As British summers go, this one is turning out not bad so far with a fair amount of sunny days to get the kids busy outdoors. WELCOME to all our new visitors, and a huge THANK YOU to those who have recently purchased resources or signed up for MindingKids Membership. We feel overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback we have received lately and are so pleased to learn of how our resources are helping with the hard work that you do. Thank you ALL so much for your support!
So what’s been happening in the world of childcare?…
In light of recent tragic events we have all been reminded of how important it is to have clear emergency procedures in place and know what to do in the event of a major incident, terrorist attack or national emergency. We must also ensure that parents are made aware of our procedures and remind them regularly to check all emergency contact details are correct and up to date.
Our Policies & Procedures Pack includes the following templates that you may find useful:
- Emergency & Alternative Care Policy
- Emergency Evacuation Procedure
- Terrorist Attack / National Emergency Policy
And the following resources allow you to record essential emergency contact information:
Supporting Children Following Tragic Events
In addition to ensuring we have robust emergency procedures in place, we also have a responsibility to support children and their families following tragic or upsetting events. Even if children have not been directly involved in an incident, they may have witnessed upsetting scenes or be worried about something they have heard or seen on the news or social media. It is important that we talk to children and support them through trauma or upset and also encourage them to talk about their feelings and anything they are worried about.
The following websites contain some very useful information for parents and carers on how to talk to children about difficult topics, encourage them to open up and also to explain current events to children in a way which is easier for them to understand:
Looking After Children In Hot Weather
It is important that we take necessary precautions to ensure the safety and comfort of children during hot weather. Children are not able to control their body temperatures in the same way as adults and are therefore much more vulnerable to heat related illnesses and dehydration. We must also ensure children are protected from the damaging effects of the sun. Ask parents to provide sun hats and apply sun cream and / or give you a bottle of cream to apply and reapply as required. Be sure to check for any allergies to creams and ask parents to sign consent forms for permission to apply cream to their child.
You can find a Sun Protection Policy template included in our Policies & Procedures Pack and our Personal Care Plans (see Logbooks & Forms Pack) include a Permission to Apply Sunscreen consent.
Public Health England have also published this guidance for teachers and professionals about how to care for children during hot weather or heatwaves. A useful document for sharing with parents at the start of every summer to remind them of how to keep their little ones safe and provide you with hats, cream, etc.
Space to Grow Design Guidance
The Scottish government has launched a new design guide to help childcare providers develop and prepare their settings in preparation for the 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare which is to be introduced in Scotland by 2020. Like the 30 hours free funding coming in to play south of the boarder, the increase in funded hours will mean that for many children the time they spend in a registered childcare setting will become a larger proportion of their weekly activities. The main purpose of this guidance is therefore to consider how we can make the most of the space and resources available to us and create the best possible environments that will help contribute to positive outcomes for children. Whilst the guidance is largely aimed at nurseries, school clubs and large care settings it is an interesting read for all childcare providers and may help inspire some new ideas to enhance both indoor and outdoor areas where children can rest, play, and explore.
Download the Space To Grow guidance here.
Preparing Children For School – Are you doing enough?
Many of us will have little ones who are getting ready to move on to school, nursery or a new care setting. It is extremely important that we support children and their families with these transitions in order to make it as smooth as possible and reduce anxieties. You may not realise it but you will already be doing a lot of things to help children prepare. This post published on the Childminding Forum by Sarah Neville provides suggestions of how parents can help support their child and examples of the things you will already be doing in your setting. Childminders may find it useful to prepare a parent information leaflet containing some of these ideas in order to demonstrate that they are just as capable as pre-school settings in offering children with what they ‘need’ before they go to school.
You may also find the following resources useful in helping to prepare children for their new surroundings and look forward to the exciting times ahead:
These resources are also great for information sharing between settings to further support transition:
Button Batteries – Danger Awareness Campaign
The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) and the British and Irish Portable Battery Association (BIPBA) have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of button batteries. These small round batteries are being increasingly used in toys and everyday objects like remote controls and car key fobs. Button batteries can be extremely dangerous to children if swallowed, causing serious internal burns or even death within hours of being swallowed.
It is important to consider whether you have any toys or objects in your setting that contain these batteries and double check they are safe. All children are naturally inquisitive and babies and toddlers like to explore things by putting them in their mouths. Any toys that contain this type of battery should be checked regularly to ensure they are secure and other items such as remote controls, calculators or key fobs should be kept out of reach.
You can find further details and advice on what to do if you ever suspect a child has swallowed a battery on the CAPT website here.
Get Ready to Play – Play Day – 2nd August 2017
Play Day takes place on the first Wednesday of August each year and has become known as the national day for play. Coordinated by Play England, Play Wales, Play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland, Play Day celebrates and recognises the importance of play and children’s right to play. In addition to hundreds of community events being held across the UK, Play Day also provides opportunity to campaign on issues affecting children’s play and why it is fundamental for children’s health, wellbeing, learning and development.
There are lots of ways we can celebrate Play Day and get involved in the wider campaign. Learn more and see what events are happening near you on the Play Day website .
In the North (Care Inspectorate)….
Care Inspectorate New Corporate Plan
The Care Inspectorate are in the process of developing their new corporate plan which will set out their strategic aims for the next few years. They are keen to engage with professionals and hear their views as to how the Care Inspectorate could better support them, their service and the people they provide care for. Collaborating views and feedback from across the care sectors they will then publish their draft corporate plan. You can share your views by taking part in their short survey here.
Early Learning and Childcare Expansion – Are You Losing Business?
The SCMA is currently gathering evidence from childminders across Scotland who are losing business due to the expansion of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC). A majority of local authorities are not commissioning childminders for funded ELC and are instead expanding their own nursery provision. Several childminding settings have already been forced to close their doors due to a reported drop in business and there are deep concerns across the childminding community that this trend is set to continue. The SCMA are campaigning to protect professional, high quality childminding services across Scotland and are championing a ‘blended childcare’ approach to meet the needs of families and provide children with the best possible start in life. “Blended childcare would allow more quality time to be spent in one setting and fewer transitions. Having a seamless childcare day would benefit the overall wellbeing of each child; enabling them to play, learn, socialise and form quality relationships.”
Read more about how the changes to ELC could affect your business and what the SCMA are doing to support childminders here.
Extension to ILA Account
After consultation with the Scottish Government and following feedback from Learning Providers, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has announced that the deadline for using up any Individual Learning Account (ILA) credit has been extended to 31st August 2017. Any courses must be booked by this date and start no later than 30th September 2017. The current scheme is to be revised and from October 2017 will be renamed as an Individual Training Account (ITA). The main changes are that only courses resulting in a recognised qualification will be funded and that learners will only be able to use their funding to complete one course within one year. You can read more about the upcoming changes here.
New Health and Social Care Standards
The Scottish government has published the new Health and Social Care Standards : My support, my life which will come into force on 1st April 2018. The standards set out what people should expect when using health or social care services and will apply to all health and social care services including all childcare services registered with the Care Inspectorate. The new standards have human rights at their core and focus on improving people’s experience of care through the following outcomes:
- I experience high quality care and support that is right for me.
- I am fully involved in all decisions about my care and support.
- I have confidence in the people who support and care for me.
- I have confidence in the organisation providing my care and support.
- I experience a high quality environment if the organisation provides the premises.
Care Inspectorate’s Chief Executive Karen Reid has welcomed the new standards and believes they will be “amongst the most progressive and radical anywhere in the world”.
Download a copy of the new standards here and think about how your service complies.
In the South (Ofsted)….
Childcare Service Website Problems
At the end of June an error on the government childcare service website resulted in private details of a number of childminders, including home addresses being published without consent. Although these details have now been removed from the website it has become clear that many childminders have been put at a significant disadvantage. Parents and providers must use the childcare service website in order to register for tax-free childcare or the 30 hours funding, however the ‘Search for a Childcare Provider page’ only allows visitors to search with a postcode. This means that childminders who have (quite understandably so) not given permission for their full address details to be used on a government website will not show up in the search results. Sarah Neville from Independent childminders has requested the assistance of the Pre-School Learning Alliance in helping to find a solution.
30 hours funding – Parents could miss out due to IT glitch
Further IT problems with the government childcare service website has left many parents unable to apply for the 30 hours funding or tax-free childcare as the computer system is unable to verify their or their child’s details. Comments from childcare providers on the Champagne Nurseries, Lemonade Funding (CNLF) Facebook page highlight a number of issues including the system saying a child does not exist, failure to link a child with the parent’s information and incorrectly validating income details. Parents must apply via the website in order to receive their eligibility codes which should then be passed on to local authorities for validation. Concerns are therefore rising for many who must register their code by the 31st of August to avoid losing the entitlement for the term. If you have any parents who are experiencing problems with the website, they can contact the dedicated helpline on 0300 123 4097.
30 hours funding – New Grants for children with SEND
New grants are now available for childcare providers who care for children with special educational needs or disabilities. The new £12.5m Disability Access Fund (DAF) and SEN inclusion funding was introduced in April as part of the Early Years National Funding Formula. The Operational Guidance to the 30 hours funding explains the two options available; Disability Access Funding for children who receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan and the Local Inclusion Fund for children with lower levels or emerging special educational needs which will be provided by local authorities.
You can find examples of how these funds are being used in this Nursery World article here.
And this slide presentation provides further information about how Ofsted inspects the Early Years Pupil Premium.
New Healthy Eating Menus
Public Health England, the Department For Education and the Children’s Food Trust have been working together to produce scalable menus for childcare settings as further guidance to help support providers in offering healthy, balanced choices. Whilst there is already a vast amount of information out there about how we can support children’s nutritional needs and encourage healthy choices, many childcare settings still struggle with inspiration for new ideas. With rising costs and further concerns about falls in income due to the 30 hours funding and inadequate local authority base rates, these menus will hopefully provide further ideas of how we can offer healthy, nutritious meals which are also affordable. You can find more information, ideas on how to involve children and healthy recipe ideas on the Children’s Food Trust website.
MindingKids also offers the following resources to help promote healthy choices and active lifestyles:
And some news from MindingKids…
Web App Developments
After lots of hard work behind the scenes we were very excited to announce the arrival of some new features to our Web App. In addition to current functions that allow app users to Plan Schedules, Complete Daily Diaries, Record Attendance, Log Events (Accidents / Incidents, medication, Visitors, etc.), and Share Activity Reports with parents, we have now enhanced the Observation Recording capabilities of the app so that users can now link observations directly to EYFS Outcomes, Characteristics Of Effective Learning, Curriculum For Excellence or the SHANARRI Wellbeing Indicators! Not only this but there is now the added feature of creating Observation Outcome Reports!
You can read more about the latest app developments in this news post and you can try the app for FREE here!
If you are already a Platinum member we would love to hear how you are getting on with the app and it’s new features. Please feel free to contact us at any time with your feedback.
We had also hoped to make some changes to the website to improve navigation and make the download process much smoother for our users. Unfortunately, after months of work, we have been left back at square one due to unforeseen problems with an external developer. Despite this set back, we are still keen to find a solution and are ever grateful to have our original developer Nate Wright fully on board to continue support and advise us on further improvements. Thank you so much again Nate for the amazing work you do!
Feedback, Requests and Upcoming Resources
We are delighted to see an increase in engagement from our customers and it really does mean the world when we hear stories of how MindingKids resources are helping with the hard work that you do. We are always grateful of any requests or suggestions as any ideas you have are likely to also be useful to others. We keep a list of any ideas we receive and work through them around our planned resources and updates. We are currently working on some Health Care Plans which will be of interest if you care for children with particular health or medical issues including children who have asthma, allergies or suffer from seizures. Recent requests also include a Next Steps Display, Outdoor Resources and further resources to support care settings who employ staff or assistants. If you have anything you would like to add to our development list, please get in touch.
It’s time for me to take a little holiday, recharge the batteries and spend some quality time with my family. I will be away from Friday 21st July until Tuesday 8th August but do not panic…the website and web app will remain up and running as normal. Please note however that any CD or printed calendar orders will not be dispatched during this time and I will also not be available to respond to emails or messages left either through the website contact form or on the Facebook page. If you do have any queries, please double check the FAQ page. You may find the answer to your question there. If not, please drop me a message and I will try to respond to any urgent enquiries as soon as possible.
Since our Spring News Update the following resources have been added, updated or improved…
Remember MindingKids Members have unlimited access to all MindingKids resources immediately as they are added or updated! Click here for further details!
Leaver’s Questionnaires added to Parent & Child Questionnaires
Updates / Amendments
FREE Document Check-List – Ofsted – updated as per latest guidance and resources
FREE Document Check-List – Care Inspectorate – updated as per latest guidance and resources
The following Ready For Registration Resources have also been updated:
FREE Step by Step Guide to Registering in England
FREE Step by Step Guide to Registering in Scotland
Early Years Register: Registration Visit – EXAMPLE ANSWERS to your inspector’s questions
Care Inspectorate Registration Visit – EXAMPLE ANSWERS to your inspector’s questions
FREE Post Registration Check-List – Ofsted
FREE Post Registration Check-List – Care Inspectorate
Our Child Protection / Safeguarding Policy template within the Policies & Procedures Pack revised and updated as per this news post.
Remember all of our resources can be purchased separately or become a MindingKids member for UNLIMITED ACCESS to EVERYTHING!
Thank you to all for your continued support! Keep a look out for more MindingKids News soon!
Many thanks! Cheryl & The MindingKids Team! xxx