Working in partnership with my local school nursery

Sharon Treais, a Southend-based childminder, describes how she works in partnership with her local school nurseries to offer shared funded hours to the children she cares for.

I have had a long standing relationship with a local school nursery - my son went there 14 years ago. I started childminding about 13 years ago and had many children go through the nursery – so the partnership really came about because of my relationship with the setting.

When I started offering funding a few years ago I spoke to the nursery teacher to let her know what I was doing and said it would be great if we could work together to ensure the children in my care were getting the best out of nursery as well as their time with me.

Together we worked on a learning plan for the children that I could support in my setting. My learning programme echoes the nursery’s and follows their half-termly theme with a weekly segment that includes a colour, letter and shape. I incorporate these into our everyday activities whether they are playing in the garden, on the school run, at the park etc. We also build activities around the books they read at nursery which really helps extend their learning.

I currently have children at the nursery that take some funded hours from me and some from nursery. Having good relationships with the nursery has ensured that this has been a smooth arrangement and I have not experienced any problems doing this. The new 30 hours may throw a few curve balls but as we have a good relationship I'm sure we will be able to iron them out.

I have recommended the nursery to parents before and vice versa. I have seen the real value in my setting having children of different ages. The younger children enjoy being around the older children and enjoy picking them up from nursery as they become familiar with it and it makes transition simpler.

If I was to give any childminders advice about setting up a partnership I would recommend requesting a meeting with the setting manager. If the setting manager or head teacher can see you take your profession seriously and you present working together as an opportunity to support the best outcomes for the children, both you and your children can benefit from the partnership.

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