This years Nursery World Childminder of the Year 2017 winner was Jane Fisher. As a childminder with 27 years experience, this win is well deserved. We spoke Jane about her win, what she loves about her career and her advice for any future childminders.
How do you feel about being Nursery World’s Childminder of the year 2017?
I am honoured that my parent’s decided to nominate me and very pleased to have been selected as the winner by a panel of judges who are experts in the field of childcare.
What made you want to become a Childminder?
I was looking for a new career after moving from Wales with my husband’s work. I previously worked as the manager’s secretary in a bank.
My choice of childminding fitted in with looking after my own children as well. I had always enjoyed art and crafts as a child and loved children, so I decided I could use my skills with little children to help give them a great springboard into school life.
How long have you been a Childminder?
I have been a Childminder for twenty seven years and have looked after over 300 children, many of whom are still in touch today. Ironically, the day after the awards we flew out to Barcelona for a short break and met up with Nikki the very first child we ever looked after!
What’s the best thing about being a Childminder?
Seeing children in my care flourish and develop into confident and “school ready” young people. I love working closely with other involved professionals such as pre-school, primary school and health visitors to ensure the best outcomes for my children.
...and the most challenging?
Paperwork overload! Life was so much easier when I started! I recognise the importance of documenting a child’s development but can’t help but feel that so much of what I have to do now is paperwork ,”FOR PAPERWORK’S SAKE”. Who actually reads it? Funding is also now an issue as I am now dictated to by councils about my prices and have to wait ten weeks to be paid! I feel so very sorry for childminders where they are the only breadwinner how will they survive or will they even continue to childmind at a time when so many are leaving the profession.
What one piece of advice would you give a childcare professional, who is just starting on their early year’s journey?
“Keep the children at the centre of everything you do”. With the constant changes that are going on in the sector it is very easy to get distracted and dismayed. The children rely on us whatever else is happening; their best outcomes are the most important thing.
What do you wish other people outside the childcare sector understood about the profession?
That childminding is a real profession, not a babysitting service. I feel we are the poor relations because not enough is done to promote the profession nationally as a viable alternative to nurseries and pre-school. We should be recognised and respected in the same way as they, reception teachers and health workers are. There is a clear lack of understanding amongst many parents and the above professions regarding the role childminders play in delivering the EYFS.
How long have you been with PACEY? What do you consider to be the best aspect of the membership?
I have been with PACEY since its inception and previous to that with NCMA for more years than I care to remember!
I feel the best aspect of PACEY is to be able to access top quality advice regarding all aspects of childcare. It provides a balanced view taking into consideration the views of both childminders and parent. It also helps keep me up to date with all aspects of change within the field.
What is your favourite activity to do with the children?
I love to do arts and crafts. Much of my best work is achieved this way. I have a good imagination and so I can take a topic such as Diwali and go from designing Rangolis to making sweets and cloths and creating our own stories. We will take these cultural activities into the community and involve our local ethnic restaurants in celebrating their festivals!
What’s your never fails, the- children-always-love-it activity?
Blowing and chasing bubbles, parachute games and music time. There is nothing better than seeing the children in full physical flow. These sessions bring out the joy of being a child and also the child in me!!