It’s Valentine’s Day, that day in the year when we are encouraged to declare our love for those who hold a special place in our hearts. Here, mum-of-one, Sam, takes a moment to thank her childminder, Laura, and to remind her how special she is to Sam’s family.
“I know that some of my friends and colleagues were surprised when I said I would be using a childminder to care for my son when the time came to return to work. I still don’t fully understand why. Maybe too many people still have this complete misconception that childminders are at the bottom rung of the childcare ladder – the low-grade choice that is comparable to an untrained babysitter. I can honestly say that in my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.
I love that you’re my childminder – and here’s why.
I love the fact that you’re fully trained. You have a level 3 qualification in providing home-based childcare; a full paediatric first aid certificate; and up-to-date safeguarding training. I know that you study in your own time for a whole host of certificates in relevant early years topics. Plus, you’re a member of PACEY, so I know you’re always on top of what’s going on in the early years sector.
I love the fact that you’re Ofsted regulated, in the same way that every nursery, pre-school and school up and down the country is. In your latest inspection you were graded Outstanding – we’re so proud of you! This is due to the premium level of care you provide for all the children in your setting, as well as the facilities you make available within your lovely home to entertain and educate the children.
I love the fact that you provide the perfect balance of a smaller, more homely environment with regular opportunities for my son to be part of a larger group. Whether it’s visits to local playgroups, meeting up with other local childminders and their mindees or visiting the local library for storytime or sing-along groups, he has loads of chances to experience larger and louder settings with big groups of children of all ages.
I love the fact that you work with me and my husband to develop and nurture our little man. Right from the beginning you wanted to make sure that you were supporting the things we were learning with him at home. You’re happy to offer us advice, but don’t push us to follow one route or another. Even now we share daily updates on his progress and ensure we’re all working together as a cohesive team to help my son achieve his latest goal or milestone.
I love the fact that your care is tailored to his needs. You’ve often gone over and above to help him in the areas he’s struggled with. Devising activities to develop his balance and coordination when walking proved tricky; offering encouragement and reassurance when he went through the ‘I will only poo at home despite how much I need to go’ stage; holding his hands and wiping his tears as he made a tricky transition to mornings at playgroup.
But most importantly, I love the fact that my son loves you. And I mean, really loves you. He gets excited and runs up to you when we see you ‘out of work’; he enjoys spending time with you and your children; he talks about you outside of the context of the setting and genuinely considers you to be one of the most important people in his life.
And rightly so, because without you, you wonderful woman, our lives would just not be the same. In fact, my husband and I are dreading the day our little boy starts school and we’ll have to leave the comfort and support of your provision – it’s going to be a big scary world without you.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Laura. We love you."