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Child care at home
Due to the strict ruling of Ofsted, the independent regulatory body for schools, it is essential for individuals to have clear and correct documentation when establishing an at home child care business. Strict studies of the documents are carried out and can make the difference between a 'good' or 'outstanding' report and this can be a contributing factor in determining just how successful the business is.
One of the most important documents that Ofsted and parents will want to look at is the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check, or recently changed to the DBS (Disclosure and Baring Service). This is necessary for any adult that will have contact or care for the children in the childcare setting. It is essential to a thriving childcare business, to ensure DBS checks are carried out, as many parents will not leave their children to be cared for by someone with an unknown criminal history.
A child record form is the next document that is needed for a new child care institution. This should contain all the information needed about each child, such as their name, date of birth and address along with the parents address and contact details. The name and address of the child's doctor will also be needed along with two emergency contacts, medical history and details of any allergies, dietary requirements, medical conditions and religion. This document should be used as the first reference in any emergency and should always be to hand for the responsible adults to refer to. Without this the child’s best interests may not be met, which would not be productive for either child or child minder.
The child information record book is an informal way of parent and childcare provider communicating as well as informing the parent and Ofsted of the types of activities the child has taken part in, along with the food they have eaten, quantity of nappies changed and other relevant information regarding anything that happens during the day. This is usually taken home by the parent weekly and is updated every day by the childcare provider, giving the parents a real insight into how their children are progressing and developing.
Another document that can either go hand in hand with the child record book, or filed separately, is the Prescription and non-prescription medical record card. This contains information of any medication that the child should have administered when they are in the home child care setting. It should include the name of the drug, the dose and the frequency that it should be given as well as when it has been administered to the child. The child care provider will need written permission from the parent for each drug to be administered and each time it should be recorded on the form. This also applies to non-prescription drugs, such as Calpol, and there must be written information by the parent detailing when and in what circumstances they are happy for this to be given. By having this form it is easy to keep track of the amount of medicine being given and for what reasons. It will reassure both the parents and Ofsted that it isn’t being given sparingly.
Child care agreement forms are the documents that create the contract between the parent and the child care provider. They detail all the child’s general information along with the specifics of the days and hours that the child will attend and fee information. There are standard agreements that can be purchased online and used. One of the most popular being the National Association of Childminders contract which clearly explains to each party what they are agreeing to. Childminders find this option one of the best as the NCMA have a legal team who are available to help the care givers with any issues relating to these contracts.
The accident record and incident form allows for an extremely detailed account of any accident that has occurred, where it happened and the names of any adults that were witness to this, along with a record of the first aid administered (if applicable). It gives space for the person who has completed the form to sign and the signature of the parent to say that they have also read this and are aware that the accident occurred. The incident form is very similar but is used to give details of anything that may have affected the child. For example, the child playing with a family pet and becoming scratched or bitten. Again, it is asked that the parent also signs the form to say that they are aware of the incident. In some cases the parent may also want a copy and this form is another essential way of the parents and child care providers communicating to ensure that the child has the best and happiest time when they are away from their parents in this setting.
The fire safety form is used to detail the evacuation process in case a fire occurs. All of the children should regularly participate in fire drills and be aware of what they should do. The dates and names of the children involved with these drills should be documented on the child safety form. It is also possible to ask the local fire service to attend the home and inspect each room to offer insight, which may not previously have been thought of and considered, into possible fire hazards. In the unfortunate event that a real fire evacuation needs to be carried out, it is important for safety reasons that all the children know what to do and where they need to locate to.
The vehicle records and parent permission for a child to travel in a vehicle documents contain all the information regarding the registered vehicles that will be used for the purpose of the childcare. These should have appropriate insurance cover and documentation about who is insured and registered to drive the children. It is also necessary to have a sign parents consent form giving permission for their child to be transported in these registered vehicles no matter how long or what the journey is for. Along with this being there to ensure safety for the children and reassurance for the children, it is important for Ofsted to have a record of the vehicles if there was ever any legal issue that had to be investigated.
Outings are an essential part of a child's development. They allow the children to explore their surroundings and learn new things. In order for a child care provider to take the children in their care on these such trips, they need two different outings and consent forms. One for small trips which include details of the trips the child will be participating in and can include permission statements for trips on public transport, on foot, in the child carers car or any other car. This form must be signed by the parents and kept in the child's file. Another form may be used if necessary for larger pre-planned trips or for trips which require financial contribution from the parent.
In addition to the forms above there are three financial forms that are essential for starting an at home child care setting and record financial details relating to the home child care business. The first form is a record of payment fees, used to record the payments by the parents in which the child care provider signs to say that the payments have been received, and it can also be used as a receipt for the parents with a tear off strip.
The record of complaint form needs to be completed accurately and as soon as possible. The form must contain information detailing who made the complaint, the nature of it and the date it occurred, along with a full account of the complaint, how it was dealt with and any actions that were taken. This is then signed and dated by the child care provider. It is important to all parties involved to have such a detailed account so it may be referred to, if necessary, by Ofsted, particularly if it is alleging abuse or harm to a child.
It is essential to a child to develop through play and there are many activities that can be carried out in the home child care setting to encourage this. It can not only help them develop intellectually but also socially and physically and is an important part of a child’s growth. Physical activities help to develop a child's gross motor skills and refers to the physical movements made in babies, such as crawling, rolling or walking and in children, such as walking, running, skipping and hopping. Activities such as throwing or catching a ball, developing hand eye coordination or hopscotch, developing jumping and numeracy skills are important parts of not only a child's growth but also their childhood. Throwing and catching a ball will encourage them to interact and play with another child or grown up, something that some children may find difficult to begin with.
Fine motor skills involve dexterity and fine control of muscle movement such as writing, drawing, using a knife and fork and using scissors. For babies, toys are a good way to develop these skills, some can make a noise and have different feels to them and finger foods such as pieces of banana or raisins are good to improve a babies hand eye coordination. At around 12 months a child will enjoy a shape sorter, the bright colours and noises will encourage them to find the right holes to fit the shapes into and develop their fine motor skills. Water is also a brilliant way to develop both fine and gross motor skills, using sponges to soak up and squeeze out the water.
Intellectual development for babies provide them with something to touch and see and listen, an excellent tool is a touch picture book where they can feel different materials whilst being read to. Children can also be developed intellectually by card games like Pairs or board games and Connect 4. They also learn by questioning during the day like 'What are we going to do next?', 'What time is it?' and 'What letter does cat begin with?'. These sorts of questions allow the child to understand what is happening in their day and to apply these learnt answers in another setting such as nursery or school.
To increase social development, role play is a great way to encourage a child to express themselves and interact with others. They can explore different settings such as a supermarket or post office and interact being either the shop keeper or customer. Adults playing with babies will encourage their social development like tickling and chatting with you, as well as copying your actions such as sticking your tongue out and shaking your hands, along with them watching other older children play. Around two years old they will start interacting with other children and being mindful of how the others react to them as well as being aware of how the others feel.
Food health and safety policy –
Please fill in the relevant sections concerning your child:
Name of child –
Food allergies –
Medical allergies –
Food preferences –
Special dietary requirements -
From this information we will provide the best healthy, nutritious and balanced meals that meet the needs of all the children in our care. Fresh drinking water will be provided and accessible to the children at all times and the food will be prepared hygienically and we ensure that all staff handling food have been trained in food hygiene. According to The Food Standards Agency we will ensure that HACCP (being a preventative system designed to ensure food safety by identifying all the critical control points in a food process where contamination can occur) is implemented.
The overall and ultimate responsibility for Health and Safety within the Provision rests with the members of the Management Committee. The Senior Supervisor will generally advise the Management Committee in the implementation of its Policy and Practices. Members of the Management Committee will be responsible for areas/activities in which they are involved:
- By ensuring that the Health and Safety Policy is satisfactorily implemented;
- By ensuring that all new employees, whether paid or voluntary, aware of and observe the Policy;
- By conducting a full investigation of any accidents or incidents that result in injury.
All employees, whether paid or voluntary, have a responsibility for Health and Safety including the safety of others that may be affected by their acts or omissions. As such, they should familiarise themselves with the Health and Safety Policy of the Provision and the safe practices appropriate to their place of work.
Policy Approved By: __________________________ Date: _____________
Within this plan I will discuss the main risk factors and my solutions for them when travelling with children in my care that may perhaps be encountered.
The car that will be used has the relevant insurance needed to transport the children for a business purpose and all of the staff driving the car have sufficient driving licenses with no convictions. Written permission from each parent has been collected to say that they are happy for their children to be transported in the car in question.
Enough car seats for the necessary children have been implemented and are all relevant for the children’s varying ages. I have enough petrol in the car to complete all the journeys needed without having to stop at any petrol stations enroute.
In the car I have a medical bag and first aid kit with all necessary medicines for the children in my care along with spare clothes, drinks, nappies and wipes, if applicable.
I have spoken with all the parents and then in turn the children about how we travel in cars safely and stressed the importance of this, for example not unclipping their seat belts whilst the car is still travelling and acted in an appropriate way, should this ever happen.
I have sufficient breakdown cover for the vehicle being used and a mobile phone with enough battery at all times to use in case of an emergency.
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