New children are encouraged to come for visits before starting, and to stay for periods including mealtimes to aid transition. Parents are asked to help the settling in process by bringing any security items and providing me with a general idea of home routines and favourite foods. Parents can help their child feel more secure by saying goodbye and by being prompt, especially at pickup times. Routines tend to extremely flexible and home-based during a childs first few days, so that they are eased in as gently as possible. The first month of a childs placement will be regarded as a trial to ensure that everyone is happy with the arrangement. During this time the agreement may be terminated without notice. However, after this period the contracted notice will be required.
Smoking, Smacking and Discipline
I do not smoke, nor allow smoking in my home. I do not smack or administer any kind of physical chastisement. I do not physically intervene with the children unless it is to stop them from coming to harm or harming another. I do not belittle a child in any way. I expect and praise good behaviour. I explain, divert or remove a child from difficult behaviours. I prefer to work with parents so that we present similar rules and expectations, and so that we present a united front.
Working in Partnership with Parents
Parents are at all times the main educator, carer and nurturer of their child. I do not try or intend to replace that role. I operate an open door policy, so that parents may visit at any time, although I would hope that the normal routine would be observed to minimise disruption. I may not answer the telephone during the day if we are busy. If you leave a message, I will return your call. Parents are encouraged to be involved at all levels. Please feel free to stay and chat about your childs day and inform me of any special requirements or requests. Do note, even if I am busy, I can be contacted by telephone in the evening. Confidentiality is very important and is respected both ways.
Arrivals and Collections
It is normal for some children to have difficulty separating from their parents or cry when being dropped off. Please make your drop off brief; a smile, cheerful good-bye kiss, and a reassuring word that you will be back is all that is needed. Children are nearly always quick to get involved in play or activities as soon as the parent is gone. Please feel free to call after a short interval, for example an hour, to reassure yourself that your child has settled.
Be brief at collecting times, as well. During arrival and departure I expect parents to discipline their children, but if you do not I will remind the child that their behaviour is inappropriate and take action to correct it. Remember that you are in charge, not me.
Please do not allow your child to leave the house, even to go to the car, without you. Our rule is that no child is allowed outside unaccompanied.
My normal procedure is to release the child only to the parents, or other previously agreed person. If someone else is to pick up the child, please notify me ahead of time. I will not allow someone not on your list of authorisation to collect your child. Please inform emergency contacts or other authorised collectors, that if I do not know them, and the child is too young to recognise them (Hi Grandma!), then I will need to ask for identification. I do not mean to offend them, it is simply a measure taken for the childs protection.
Nutrition and Menu Examples
Most diets or special requirements can be catered for. Parents must inform me of any dietary restrictions, allergies and likes and dislikes. Meals are provided if a child is present at mealtimes, and may be charged as an extra if not contracted.
Parents may provide food for their child if they prefer, not including junk foods. Parents must also supply bibs, baby food and/or baby milk.
Illness, Accident and First aid Policies
I have completed a paediatric first aid course. I have a first aid box which is checked and replenished regularly. Please note, any treatment or medication that is administered will be entered in the accident book and must be signed by you. An accident form will be completed in any event which requires medical attention.
Administration of Medications
I will not administer any medicine or other treatment to children unless the parent has discussed its use and given prior written permission. If a child has a long standing condition, I will need information about the condition along with a list of medications. If administration of any prescribed medicine requires technical/medical knowledge I will require training from a qualified health professional, with any costs met by the parents.
In the event that a child becomes ill while with me, I will try to contact you or try any of the other contact numbers you have provided me with. It may be necessary for me to ask you to collect your child. Childminders cannot look after ill or infectious children, and parents are advised to have backup care arranged at all times.
Any communicable disease will make the child inadmissible without prior agreement.
Please inform me if you have not inoculated your children according to the DoH guidelines. This does not prejudice a placement.
Hand-washing and good hygiene practice
Effective hand washing is an important method of controlling the spread of infections, especially those that cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Children will be taught to wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating or handling food using warm, running water and a mild, usually liquid, soap.
Fire safety and Awareness
There are smoke alarms fitted to all three floors of my house, all are tested monthly and batteries replaced regularly. I use fire guards. I operate a non-smoking policy. A fire blanket is required by law.
We regularly plan and play act our responses to a fire. I try to make it a fun day, rather than something arbitrary and scary. Children are taught stop, drop, roll if their clothing catches fire. We play a game where felt squares are thrown and we have to roll on the carpet until they fall off. They are taught to crawl in a fire by having races on their hands and knees. We also practice crawling with our eyes shut, to simulate the low visibility of smoke, or playing blind-folded games such as pin the tail or bluff. Other safety procedures, such as Dont Hide, Get Outside or not being scared of a fire officer in breathing apparatus are discussed, and songs, games, books, crafts and other activities on the day will all have something to do with fire.
Health and Safety
My home will provide clean and well-supervised learning and play areas, which will be fully cleaned (i.e. floors, work areas etc.) on a daily basis. This area is checked daily for broken items that may hurt children. Toys and equipment are inspected on each occasion that they are used and any damages are repaired or discarded. Toys and equipment are washed and disinfected frequently, and wiped with an antibacterial solution daily or more often as needed, especially highchairs and changing mats.
Equal Opportunities and Special Needs
Childminders work in a diverse society and this should be reflected in the care that we give. We must actively promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice for all children. Children have the right to feel valued and be free from discrimination.
Confidentiality and Child Protection
Children, parents and I have the right to respect, privacy and dignity. Confidentiality means that personal information, gained through the professional relationship between child, the parents, and myself will not be discussed with third parties who have no direct interest in the matter.
Confidentiality is not to be confused with keeping secrets. The child protection policy is paramount.
It is the duty of all registered childcare providers to refer their concerns to Social Services if they have any cause to suspect that a child is at risk from abuse or is being abused in any way.
Childcare providers have a responsibility to inform parents of any accidents or injuries a child sustains whilst in their care. It is essential that parents inform childcare providers of any accidents or injuries that their child has sustained at home or elsewhere.
Complaints procedureI believe that most complaints are made constructively and can be sorted out at an early stage. I also believe that it is in the best interest of the childminder and parents that complaints should be taken seriously and dealt with fairly in a way that respects confidentiality.