Accident Policy


The safety of your children is paramount, and we will take every precaution necessary to protect them from hurting themselves while they are in our care. However, accidents do happen and the procedure for how accidents will be dealt with is as follows:
  • We will assess the injury, and will call for medical support or an ambulance if necessary.
  • We will comfort and reassure the child.
  • We will carry out First Aid procedures as we have been trained to do.
After every accident, however minor, we will complete a report in our accident book. You will be asked to sign the book, and you will be provided with a copy.

If the incident requires any medical treatment we will:
  • Inform Ofsted (under Standard 14. 3 of the Children’s Act Regulation)
  • Inform Ofsted of any significant events
  • Inform our insurance provider
  • Contact the PACEY Early Years for additional support
It is important that you keep us informed about your child’s condition following an accident.

Child Protection Policy


Our responsibility as childminders is to ensure the safety and welfare of the children in our care. Childminders are trained to be aware of the possible indications of abuse or neglect. The procedure for dealing with suspected cases is as follows:

Referrals of child abuse

If a child arrives with injuries we will:
  • Ensure immediate medical attention, if necessary
  • If possible ask the parent or guardian how the injuries occurred
  • Accept explanations without making accusations
  • Make a written record, including diagrams, of observations and explanations given. This recording of information is to ensure that a reasonably full and clear account is obtained, enabling an appropriate referral to Social Services, if necessary
  • Contact Social Services without delay if we suspect the injuries were caused by an assault or by a failure to protect the child
Suspicion of abuse

If through conversation or other contact with the child, we have cause to suspect physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect of a child in our care we will:
  • Listen to what the child says. Be comforting and sympathetic. Ensure that the child feels as little responsibility as possible
  • Not make any suggestions to the child regarding how the incident may have happened. The child will not be questioned except to clarify what he/she is saying
  • Write down exactly what the child says, including any actions that concern us, and what we have said in response. This will be signed and dated.
  • Not make assumptions about whom the allegations may concern
  • Inform Social Services of our suspicions without delay
Once a child is referred to Social Services they, and the Area Child Protection Committee, will make an assessment of the child’s needs. Following such referral, Social Services and possibly the Police will undertake enquiries, and we may be required to provide statements.

Children and Pets


ducklingWe believe that children can learn a lot from having contact with animals. However, certain procedures must be followed to ensure the safety of the children:
  • Children are taught that not all animals are child-friendly, and that they should always check with the animal’s owner before attempting to stroke or handle them
  • Children are encouraged to treat all animals with respect, learning how to handle them correctly
  • Children are to wash their hands after any contact with animals and made to understand the reasoning behind this
  • Food for the pet is stored safely away from the children’s reach
  • A high standard of hygiene is followed, with careful thought given to the placing of the feeding and drink bowls of dogs and cats
  • Before the children are permitted outside to play, the garden is checked to ensure that no animal has fouled it.

Complaints Procedure


We trust you are happy with the service we provide, but appreciate there may be occasions when you feel we are not offering you or your child the service you require. We hope you will feel able to discuss any concerns or issues you may have with us directly. If you feel unable to talk to us or that, after discussion, the matter remains unresolved then you can talk in confidence to:

The Professional Association for Childcare & Early Years on 0208 464 6164, or

The Early Years Childminding Team on 0208 464 9037.

It is a requirement by Ofsted that all complaints are logged along with the outcome and any action taken. These records must be made available to an Ofsted Childcare Inspector if required.

If you wish to make a formal complaint then you can contact the Ofsted Complaints & Investigation Unit on 0845 640 40 40.

Confidentiality Policy


Any information regarding you or your child, given to us either verbally or in writing, will be treated confidentially.

You will be given access to your own child’s records but not to the records of others. All documentation relating to your child is securely locked away, and can only be accessed by childminding personnel.

We will not discuss your child with others unless we are given your permission. We will, however, divulge confidential information to Social Services and Ofsted if we suspect that a child is being abused. Please see our Child Protection Policy.

Contracts


Signature
We are required by law to have a written agreement with the parents or guardians of each child we look after. This is helpful for all involved as it makes everyone's expectations clear from the beginning of the working relationship.

Once you have signed a contract it is a legally binding document. If you want to end the contract or change the arrangements, you must give us four weeks' notice. If you are unable or unwilling to wait for the notice period to end, you must pay the childminding fees that would have been due during that notice period.

Contracts are reviewed every six months.

Dropping-off and collecting your child


Dropping-off
Please let us know in advance if you intend to arrive at a time other than that which was agreed. If you arrive unexpectedly early, we may not be ready to care for your child. Often we have children to take to school and may not be able to wait for you if you are late.

Please let us know if you wish to change your contracted hours.

Collection
We will only release children from our care to adults who have permission to collect them. We will, therefore, require a list of people authorised to collect. It would be helpful if a description or photograph was included for our files or, if possible, an introduction made prior to collection.

In the event of an emergency, we operate a password system, whereby someone who is unauthorised, but who is able to give the password, can be sent to collect your child. Additionally, a vehicle registration number may be specified. Please discuss how you would like to operate this system.

It is important that you arrive to collect your child at the contracted time. We realise that delays are occasionally unavoidable. If you think you may be delayed, please contact us and let us know when you expect to arrive. We can usually accommodate the additional care; however, if this is not possible, we will contact other authorised persons from the list and arrange for them to collect your child. We will reassure your child that you are on the way and, if necessary, organise additional activities, and a meal. There may be an additional charge for this (see contract).

If we have not heard from you and you are very late, we will attempt to make contact with you. If this fails, we will try the emergency numbers you have provided. If we are unable to make contact with anyone, we will inform Social Services, and follow their advice.

Emergency Procedures


It is our responsibility to plan ahead for any emergency that may occur during childminding. Parents need to keep us informed of any changes to their circumstances and contact details. We will ensure that our records are updated accordingly.

Here is our plan for dealing with any emergency event that may occur:

General
  • To have access to a landline or mobile telephone at all times, and to be aware of the location of public payphones nearby
  • To make provision for an emergency childminder, with whom the children may be left, with the agreement of parents
  • To ensure children’s records are kept up-to-date. This includes parent/guardian contact details for home and work, GP details, and consent forms. This information is kept confidential, and is available on request by the parent or guardian for their own children
  • To ensure that our own details and emergency contacts are all in an accessible place, and made available to parents
  • To ensure that the First Aid box is well-equipped, clearly labelled and in a safe place that is inaccessible to children. The First Aid box is kept in a child-locked kitchen cupboard, below the sink
  • To ensure that the First Aid certificate is visible and training is kept up-to-date
  • To ensure that all assistants, children and parents know of the evacuation plan and escape routes in the case of a fire. Both front and back doors, and windows can be used for evacuation. The safe-point to convene is at the bottom of the road on the same side as the house. A fire escape plan has been posted on the bulletin board in the hallway.
  • All adults in the house need to know the location of the fire blanket and extinguisher. The fire blanket is kept by the back door in the kitchen, the extinguisher is in the hallway opposite the playroom door.
Specific plans in case of fire
  • Leave the house via the back door if the fire is as the front of the house, or leave through the front door if the fire is at the rear of the house
  • To practise the fire drill regularly with the children
  • To evacuate the house quickly and calmly, encouraging children who can walk to do so. Babies and children who cannot walk will be carried
  • Gather at the meeting-point, which will be at the bottom of road
  • Check attendance to ensure everybody has reached the meeting-point
  • Inform the emergency services as soon as possible.
  • Inform Ofsted if emergency services were needed.
  • Every effort will be made to ensure a mobile phone is with us at all times.
First Aid
  • To ensure that First Aid training is as up-to-date as possible. To regularly read through training notes to ensure that we are always familiar with best practices.
  • To remove any child from the source of danger and begin administering First Aid if necessary
  • Inform emergency services if necessary
  • Contact parents if a child needs to be seen by a doctor
  • Establish contact with an emergency back-up childminder if cover is needed
  • Provide reassurance to the injured child and to children present
  • Record what has happened, name and age of child, exact time and date, description of the accident, details of the injury, and a description of any steps taken afterwards. All records to be kept in the accident book.

A soon as possible after the accident/incident parents will be asked to sign and date what has been documented. This is to confirm what has been recorded, and that it has been clearly understood.

Ofsted will be informed of any incident, injury or illness that requires hospital treatment.

Equal Opportunities


We give all children in our care the opportunity to reach their full potential. Sometimes this means adapting an activity to the child’s ability and stage of development, providing additional support and resources, or by giving a child more attention than others during a particular activity or routine.

Children are given the opportunity to play with all of the toys (subject to health and safety with children under 3 years of age); no toys are ‘only for girls’ or ‘only for boys’. We try to ensure our toys reflect positive images of children and people from different cultures and abilities.

No child will be discriminated against in any way because of skin-colour, culture, gender, ability or religion. We will challenge any remarks that we feel are inappropriate.

We encourage the children to learn more about their own culture, and to find out about the cultures and religions of other children. We do this in a fun way through sharing books, colouring, cooking and eating food from around the world.

We encourage the children to develop a healthy respect for one another’s differences, and to value everyone as an individual. We ask parents to share with us any special occasions or information about their culture which will enhance the children’s learning and understanding.

Getting your child settled


We understand how difficult it can be for parents to leave their child with a childminder to return to work. So we will work with you to ensure your child is settled, and you are happy with the care we are providing.

We like to organise one or two settling-in sessions: the first, for parent and child together, and a second, where the parent may leave the child for up to an hour to ease them into the environment. These sessions will be prior to signing the contract. This gives you the opportunity to provide us with lots of information about the child: their likes and dislikes, routines, and favourite activities, etc. It gives us the opportunity to start to build a relationship with you and your child, and to understand the needs and wishes of you both.

When leaving your child for the contracted hours, we are happy for you to stay until you feel that your child is settled. Each child is different and some children will take longer than others to settle. We will work with you to support your child through this transition period, and will try to make it as easy as possible.

It is important that you and your child are relaxed and happy in our home, and with the care we provide. You may find it helpful to call us during the day to find out how your child is doing. We also have a webcam in the playroom so you can look in on them while you are at work.

Health & Safety Procedures


The health and safety of your child is extremely important to us. We have the following procedures in place:
  • All toys will be checked and cleaned regularly to ensure they are safe for your child to use. Any broken or hazardous toys will be removed immediately. Children will only be offered toys and resources that are suitable for their age and stage of development
  • We carry out a risk assessment of our home every morning before the children arrive to ensure that it is a safe environment for them
  • Children will not be allowed unsupervised access to the kitchen area
  • All plugs and sockets not in use have covers
  • All equipment will be checked and cleaned regularly
  • Equipment such as highchairs and pushchairs are fitted with the correct safety harnesses to prevent accidents
  • Car seats are checked to ensure they are fitted correctly
  • The car is regularly serviced and all documentation such as MoT and insurance is kept up-to-date. Insurance is for business use. Safety locks on rear doors are activated at all times
  • Equipment such as stair gates, cupboard locks, and fireguards, have been installed for the safety of your children. These are checked regularly.
  • The front door is kept locked to prevent the children from getting out, and strangers from getting in
  • We have procedures in place, which will be followed in the event of a fire (see Emergency Procedures).
  • The kitchen is kept clean, following the hygiene guidelines on the storage of food, maintaining the correct fridge temperature etc
  • We ensure that children do not have access to any waste
  • We do not permit smoking in our home
  • Strict guidelines are followed to prevent cross-contamination
  • The bathroom is kept clean, and all hazardous materials are kept out of reach of the children. Hand-wash will be available, and each child will have their own hand-towel and flannel. Children will wash their hands before all snacks and meals
  • We have strict protection guidelines in place (see Child Protection Policy)
  • Children must stay with minder when they are away from the home. Younger children will be strapped into a pushchair; older children will be in a harness or on a wrist-strap, or holding onto the minder's hand or the pushchair
  • We have the emergency contact numbers of parents/guardians with us at all times
  • We will work with you to teach your children about making healthy food choices, and physical exercise
  • Sleeping children will be regularly observed, and a baby monitor will be used, where necessary
  • We discourage children from keeping secrets
  • We will restrain a child if they are putting themselves in danger, e.g. running into the road

Late Payment of Fees


We work as childminders because we love caring for children and supporting their development. However, it is our chosen career and business, and like you, we have bills and expenses to meet each month. We would be grateful, therefore, if you could ensure that payment is made promptly each week/month, as agreed in your contract.

If you have had a change in personal circumstances and are now struggling to make payments, please let us know so we can make suitable arrangements. It may be that you are now entitled to additional funding through the Working Tax Credit and/or other benefits.

Lost Child Policy


The care of children is paramount and we will always try to ensure that they remain with us and are safe. However, as responsible childminders, we have the following procedure in place, which will be carried out in the unlikely event of a child becoming lost:
  • We will immediately raise the alarm to all around that a child is lost, and enlist everyone to help in the search
  • If it is a secure area such as a shopping centre, we will quickly alert the security staff so they can seal off exits and monitor the situation on CCTV
  • We will provide everyone involved in the search with a description of the child.
  • We will reassure the other children with us
  • We will alert the police and provide a full description
  • We will alert the parents about the situation
We take precautions to avoid situations like this happening by implementing the following measures:
  • Ensuring the children hold our hand or the pushchair while we are out
  • Avoid going to places that are overcrowded
  • On outings the children will wear high visibility jackets, and wristbands with our mobile number on them
We teach the children about the dangers of wandering off and of talking to strangers.

Managing Behaviour


Promoting positive behaviour is very important, and we do this by:
  • Giving lots of praise for good behaviour
  • Giving children individual attention so they feel valued
  • Setting a good example, being a good role-model
  • Listening to what the children have to say
  • Rewarding good behaviour, giving them stickers for good behaviour, sharing etc
girl pulling tonguesWe help children to understand our house rules, which are realistic, and we are consistent in enforcing them. We will not give out confusing signals: ‘No’ means ‘No’.

We are aware of the different reasons why children misbehave, and will endeavour to keep to routines so that your child feels safe, and is not over-tired or hungry. However, all children misbehave sometimes, and we have developed different strategies on how to deal with children’s misbehaviour. They vary depending on the age and stage of ability of the child, and the situation.
  • Distract: Remove the child from the situation and give them something else to do
  • Ignore: Depending on the situation, we may feel that the misbehaviour is being done for a reaction and is best ignored
  • Discuss: Try to explain the consequences of their actions
  • Time-out: Removing the child from the activity, and sitting them quietly for a few minutes
We will never smack, shake, hurt or humiliate a child.

If you have any concerns regarding the management of your child’s behaviour, please do not hesitate to contact us. It is important that we work together so that management is consistent and your child is not confused.

Risk Assessment Policy


The Early Years Foundation Stage requires childcare providers to conduct risk assessments and review them regularly.

We check our home and garden every morning before the children arrive to ensure that it is a safe environment for them to play in. We also risk assess any environment that we take the children into, for example walking to school, the shops, library and toddler groups etc. If we are planning to take the children into environments that are unknown to us, we try to do a risk assessment in advance so we are aware of any potential hazards, although this may not always be possible.

We make a record of our assessments, and they are available for any parent to see on request.

When your child is sick


Sick ChildWe appreciate that, as a working parent, you need to go to work. However, if your child is unwell then they will be better cared for in their own home by a parent.

We are happy to care for children with minor coughs or colds but we will not mind children who are suffering from a contagious illness, or have had diarrhoea and vomiting in the last twenty-four hours. Please let us know if you are unable to bring your child due to illness.

If your child becomes ill while in our care, we will make them as comfortable as possible, isolate them from the other children, if necessary, and give them reassurance. We will contact you immediately, and continue to care for your child until you arrive.

Prescribed medication can only be administered after you have signed a consent form.
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