Monday, 24 November 2014

New Food Allergen Regulations

From December 13th 2014, EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EUFIC) comes into force. These European rules will be enforced in the UK by the Food Information Regulations (FIR).

The new regulations give food businesses, including childminders legal responsibility to provide correct allergen information about the ingredients in meals and/or snacks they provide. 
When I first look after a child I obtain information about whether or not they have any allergies, intolerances or health requirements.  It’s important that parents notify me if this information changes.  

I complete daily diaries for the children which include a list of what food they have eaten.  If parents require more detailed information about the ingredients or allergens contained I will provide this.

If you would like to read more about the new requirements, visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Tots' Cise - Music and Dance Sessions for Preschool Age Children

Throughout the week we attend various organised groups and activities.  One of the children’s favourite is Tots’ cise.  It’s run by Kerry and Leanne at Great Oakley Village Hall Corby (see their poster above for more details).  

Kerry and Leanne set the group up when their own children were toddlers.  Now their children are older and are all at school.  

I’ve been attending the Great Oakley session for four years now.  I took my six year daughter for two years prior to her starting school and have continued to take the children that I look after.     Sometimes in the school holidays they run sessions so that older siblings can join in too. 

The sessions always start with their welcome song, ‘Here we are at Tots’ cise with Kerry and Leanne…….’  The children then dance to selection of songs which are alternated weekly such as Peppa Pig, Driver Dan, Balamory, Fireman Sam.  Tots’ cise have the songs written and recorded for the groups and CDs can be purchased.  We often play the CD at home and the children have arguments about who will be Kerry and who will play the role of Leanne.

The children know the routine, after they have playing with the parachute and balls it is time to ready for a snack.  Leanne’s Mum is there to make the parents and carers a tea or coffee. She is fab and always has a black coffee waiting for me.  It’s then time to calm down a little.  The children are invited to choose their favourite nursery rhymes to sing with Kerry. The sessions ends with the Tots’cise very own goodbye song. 

I look after children of mixed ages so have always went to the Tots’cise sessions.  They do run specific classes for babies and toddlers. 

I’d highly recommend the sessions.  They aren’t run for profit.  All the proceeds from the classes go back into buying the many tambourines, ocean drums, pom poms, monkey drums, toy wands, shakers, fancy dress capes, etc.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

"Fabulous Childminder"

I've recently recieved a new review on my profile, thank you Laura!

"My little boy has been going to Michelle for 19 months now. He started there aged 15 months, after a very unsettled start at a local nursery. We immediately felt at ease with Michelle, and decided that she would be the best person to look after our little boy. Taking him out of the nursery and entrusting him with Michelle was the best decision we could have made!
Michelle and her family live in a clean and tidy house, with a dedicated playroom, downstairs toilet facilities and a huge garden equipped with slide, climbing frame, playhouse, a rabbit and chickens! Michelle and the children rarely have a day when they don't leave the house...she takes them to various toddler groups, the library, to the shops, to cafes and to hundreds of different playgrounds and country parks.
Michelle prepares freshly made meals which I am told my little boy loves (he often has at least two helpings!)
We have noticed such a difference in our little boy since he has been with has been lovely to see him develop into a confident, chatty and independent little man. Michelle is also always looking for ways to continually improve her practice by attending evening and weekend courses related to child development.
If anyone is looking for a childminder I would not hesitate to recommend Michelle. I am happy to provide a reference, or speak personally to anyone who may be considering Michelle as a won't be disappointed!"

More parent reviews can be found here

Early Years and Childcare Register Updates

I am registered to care for children between the ages of birth and 5 on the Early Years Register (Eyfs) and the Childcare Register. Both these registers have been updated by the DfE for Sept 2014. You can find more information here.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Funded Early Learning for 2 year olds and the Free Entitlement to Early Learning and Childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

On Wednesday I attended an information session about Funded Early Learning for two year olds and Funded Childcare places for three and four year olds.   I am now in the process of registering to offer these places.  

You can find out more from the Northamptonshire County Council website.  You’ll also find an eligibility checker. 

In England, all 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 570 hours of free child. The funding is available from the funding block (similar to a school term) after their third birthday.  

Personally I feel there is a lot of pressure on parents to send their child to nursery but it is important to remember that it is optional.  My first and second child went to a private nursery/preschool and were very happy there.  My youngest started preschool but never settled.  The preschool did everything they could and were very supportive.  However, she just wasn’t ready for early learning outside of the home.  At the time, almost four years ago, there weren’t any childminders in Corby with funded places available.  I think a home from home setting would have been more suited to her needs than a nursery.  

Funded places for two years olds have recently been introduced. These are generally for children whose parents are on a low income.  Again, you can use the eligibility checker on the NCC website.  It is linked to the Department of Work and Pensions.  This means it can give you an immediate answer as to whether your child is eligible to receive free childcare or not. 

2 year olds who have an additional/special need may be entitled to Discretionary Places.  Details can be found here

I am hoping to be registered to offer Funded Childcare from September 2014.  If you have any questions then feel free to email me ( or phone me (details on my contact page).

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Big Toddle 2014

Last Friday we took part in the Barnardo's Big Toddle 2014.  A sponsored toddle had been organised by local magazine, Time for Tots at Wicksteed Park.  Prior to the event I created an online sponsorship form.  I took along four children. Between them and their parents they raised £165 for the charity. Anyone who raised £10 or more received tickets for a free ride on the park train.

We had a lovely day, it was just a shame that the awful weather cut it short. I promised the children that I will take them back to Wicksteed soon.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Easter celebrations

Today we learned a new Easter counting rhyme at the Totscise group. One of the children often asks his Mummy and Daddy to sing the songs at home.  Here are the words so they can join in too:
Five Easter eggs sitting on a wall,
Five Easter eggs sitting on a wall,
If one Easter egg should accidently crack (jump and clap your hands),
There would be four Easter eggs sitting on the wall……..

Yesterday we made Easter bonnets.  The children have been invited to make hats for three of the groups that we attend. We made a simple cardboard hat and created a chick. Its body was an egg shape and the children’s handprint formed the chicken’s wings. We decorated them with feathers too.  The baby loved the sensory experience of playing with the feathers.  I’m now on the lookout for a feather boa for her to play with. Photos of the finished bonnets can be found on my Facebook page.
Its Mother’s Day this weekend.  The older children decorated a little vase for their Mummies which they filled with daffodils.