More and more childminders are taking on assistants to work with them or their settings are proving so popular with parents that they are actually taking on full time partners or co-workers to cope with the demand.
What can the assistant do?
- Help with school runs. The assistant can collect children from school or nursery and drop off.
- Play Games: The assistant can participate in games and watch the children while you cook or prepare the next activity.
- Be watchful: They can observe activities to record children's progress and just be another pair of eyes when out and about with the children.
- Male assistants: Male assistants can also be of great value as they can add a male influence on the setting which is particularly useful if there is no male influence at home. Many parents seek out childcare settings with male childminders or assistants purely for this reason.
Employing as assistant:
- You must inform OFSTED if you employ another worker.
- You must have a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure carried out if the person is over 16. This includes all family, friends and neighbours who might be in your setting during hours when the children are in residence.
- You will also have to be registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and it's against the law not to do so.
- You should get references and check out their backgrounds thoroughly.
- You will have to deal with the tax, National Insurance contributions and other rights (such as sick pay, holiday etc) that employees are entitled to.
- You will need to inform your insurance company and ensure you have employer's liability insurance.
- Wages will have to be negotiated. You must pay at least the minimum wage.
A childminder is required to record observations as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and yet, how do you actually 'make' and record observations in a setting while trying to do other things and look after the children?
The easiest was is to use ToucanLearn's unique Daily Diary. By logging what you see, what the children say, any milestones etc on the Daily Diary you get a great personal record for yourself to monitor and to share with parents too... and you don't impact on the care you are giving by having to scratch around for paper and note books. Sign up at our website and start using ToucanLearn for free!
Use a digital camera or mobile phone to record what happens. Take pictures of special crafts, achievements or just everyday shots of the little ones going about their playing.
Take video of the children mastering tasks and having fun. Try to encourage them not to act up in front of the camera but to just be as 'normal' as they can... may be hard!
Have a note book somewhere central at all times and jot down observations. You can then stick them on a poster or add them to the ToucanLearn.
Maintain a weekly observation chart and add an entry each week in order to monitor overall progress.