Two childminders in Buckinghamshire are co-workers delivering Early Years funding for 2 3 & 4 yr. olds. Read about their story about becoming a childminding team and working towards their latest outstanding grading from Ofsted.
How it began
As a first time mother, Marie attending the local Children Centre in order to make friends and talk to other mums, her son would have access to lots of resources and learning experiences, this experience ‘helped us both to become extra confident and social in ourselves, it also helped Jason and I set up a learning environment for the children.’ It was at the centre that the CYPOP 5 (Children and Young People optional unit 5) was introduced as a course they were to deliver free of charge. Marie attended the course and registered with Ofsted in January 2012. Jason joined her as her assistant shortly after. Marie doesn’t introduce Jason as her assistant, although he doesn’t mind, as ‘they constructed the business together as a team, he has always been my partner and I have never worked without him.’
In the beginning Marie worked with her sister in law and Jason on Mondays caring for one child, this slowly grew to them now having 20 children attending and a waiting list of 5 families. In the same year the BCCN team (Buckinghamshire Community Childminding Network) approached her to become a member, the time wasn’t right then as she was expecting her second baby, she did join in March 2014 and to date has cared for 4 children referred through BCCN.
When entering the setting you are met with a warm greeting that reflects the atmosphere there. Jason is keen to share his recycling skills using his design knowledge to construct a raft of learning resources for the setting. Throughout there is evidence of his commitment to ensure that only sustainable and recycled materials are used in his creations, with the children often being the instigators of the resources through their questioning and use of standard resources.
The joy and pride that Jason has in creating the resources is very evident, he is more than happy to share his ideas with other providers, he isn’t precious of them.
Becoming an outstanding setting
In September 2015 Jason was inspected by Ofsted with an 'Outstanding' outcome, having previously received a 'Good'.
‘This provision is outstanding
- The childminder offers a highly stimulating learning environment both indoors and outdoors. This inspires and motivates children of all ages to learn.
- The childminder has highly effective partnerships with parents. She ensures strong communication between the home and her setting; therefore, she maintains consistency in meeting children's learning and development needs.
- Children benefit from an exciting and broad range of planned activities to meet their specific learning needs. As a result, children make excellent progress in their learning.
- Outstanding methods of teaching ensure that all children, including those learning English as an additional language, make rapid progress in their learning and development.
- Children cooperate and display a mutual respect for each other and the childminder. As a result, children behave exceptionally well and develop skills for their future learning.
- The childminder and her assistant develop very strong bonds with the children, and children settle with ease. As a result, children feel secure and thrive.
- The childminder is highly reflective of her practice and constantly strives for improvement, ensuring that she and her assistant embed high-quality practice at all times.
- The childminder works extremely closely with her assistant, who is also a registered childminder.
- They both attend regular training to improve their skills and children's learning experiences, including how to identify recurring patterns in children's learning to support them further.’
Marie and Jason are an exceptional team; they work exceptionally well together striving to give of their best to the children and families that they support in a calm and caring manner. The children are at the centre of everything that they do, this is very evident in the way that they describe how they plan activities, and how they record the development of the children and how they value the part the parents play in supporting their efforts within their setting, this they respect and appreciate. Marie describes them as her being the thinker and Jason being the one who reassures. They are devoted to each other and their setting.
What are you most proud of since becoming a childminder team?
- From being 'first time parents, to being Ofsted Outstanding Early Years Practitioners and members of BCCN'.
- Our passion to make bespoke learning resources and apparatus together by listening to our customers, children, being reflective and seeking positive influences.
- Completed my level 3 qualification.
What, who has influenced you?
- My dear husband
- The way I was taught during my childminding course by Natalie Wrench
- Terry’s tots childminders who are now our friends!
- Montessori Marlow Pre-school nursery staff
- Sure Start centres and local Childminder in our area
- QIPs who have inspired, strengthened and supported me
Special thanks to the family for helping create this story alongside Mary Cook, Service Manager - Early Years and Childcare at Buckingham County Council. **names have been changed for privacy