Thinking about becoming a childminder? Here’s what you need to know

Thinking about becoming a childminder but not sure what’s involved, or how to get started? Here’s what you need to know. 

If you love children and want to help give them the best start in life, being a registered childminder could be an ideal career for you. Not only do you get to work with children all day, but you can work in your own home, and choose the hours and days you wish to work (within reason – people have to need a childminder when you’re available!).

If you’d like to find out more about childminding as a career, here’s what you need to know to get started.

What is a childminder?

Put simply, childminders care for children of all ages. They offer a home-from-home childcare setting, looking after small groups of children of different ages and from different families.

Mounting evidence shows the first few years of a child’s life are where you can make the most difference to their future wellbeing and success. The nation relies on childcare providers to support parents to work, and childminding, in turn offers fantastic career opportunities – not least because you can be your own boss and work from home.

What will you do as a childminder?

As a registered childminder you will:

  • Offer the children you care for a happy and inspirational home-based professional care and learning environment.
  • See the children that you care for grow and develop, while being able to care for your own children at the same time if you have a family.
  • Work in your home, choosing the hours you work and the services you provide in a career where no two days are the same.
  • Meet other childcare professionals in your area and get to know your local community, joining many thousands of childminders in England and Wales providing high-quality professional childcare.

Thinking about becoming a childminder?

All childminders in England are registered and inspected by Ofsted. If you’re thinking about being a registered childminder in England then you can take a short pre-registration briefing, such as PACEY’s short online taster session.

Costs are minimal (£5.00) and this will enable you to explore what it means to be a registered childminder, as well as discover more about the training and other processes that are involved.

Local authorities in England offer different levels of help, support and advice for new childminders, and may even be able to fund your further training. It’s always worth getting in touch with your local authority early years team to see what help and advice they can give you in getting started as a childminder.

What regulation and training do you need?

Childminders are regulated in exactly the same way as nurseries and pre-schools. If you’re a childcare or early years provider registered with Ofsted in England, then you’ll be working within the Early Years Foundation Stage framework which supports children’s learning and development. 

There are a variety of childminder courses to choose from. But it is vital that whichever training course you opt for, that you have a clear understanding of the areas of learning and development, safeguarding and child protection, and the necessary practical, health and safety and legal aspects of being a home-based child carer.

You’ll need to take a paediatric first aid course

One of the pre-requisites of being a childminder is that you need to have taken a paediatric first aid course – this is one specifically designed for people working with children. This needs to takes place before you register with Ofsted.

You’ll also need a DBS check

You will also need a DBS check and join the DBS update service as part of your registration. Being part of the update service helps Ofsted monitor your ongoing suitability to work with and/or be in regular contact with children.

And to complete Ofsted’s health declaration booklet

Then it’s case of completing Ofsted’s health declaration booklet and taking this to your GP to complete the rest. Once everything is in place, Ofsted will come and carry out your registration visit and ensure you are ready to begin caring for children.

Becoming a childminder is an incredibly rewarding career choice, if you are interested in finding out more about visit PACEY. If you live in Wales, information about registering as a childminder can be found here

Theresa Johnson is the Professional Development Manager, Professional Association for Childcare & Early Years (PACEY).

PACEY has worked with CACHE, an awarding organisation, to create a childminder training course. The course, Preparing to Work in Home-Based Childcare (HBCA), is a level 3 award that covers every aspect of being a registered childminder – from child nutrition to costs and charges and from meeting children’s learning needs to working in partnership with parents and other professionals.