Info for parents
Childminding networks are made up of a group of childminders who are supported and monitored by a network coordinator. You can find out more about childminding in general by clicking the link opposite but, if you're using a network childminder, as well as all the other benefits of registered childminding, they offer all the following advantages.
Before a childminder is accepted onto a network they must show the network's coordinator that they meet the PACEY Children Come First Quality Standards. These standards cover all aspects of childminding, from keeping children safe, to working with families.
All registered childminders are inspected annually in Wales, or at least once every three years in England. But childminders who belong to a PACEY Children Come First network are visited at least four times a year by their network coordinator. One of these visits is unnannounced so the coordinator can see how the childminder works when they have no pre-warning of a visit.
By joining a network, your childminder has shown that they are commited to offering the best possible childcare service. You'll know this because childminders who have been accepted onto a network must:
- take at least three days' training per year
- regularly consider their service and how it can be improved
- ask for feedback from the parents and children they work with.
Access to a network coordinator
If your childminder is part of a network, you will also have the reassurance of knowing that you can contact the network coordinator should you need to. The network coordinator can help help you by:
- finding a network childminder who can meet your family's needs
- making sure back-up care is available if your regular childminder is ill or on holiday. (As network childminders meet up regularly, your child will probably already know the stand-in.)
- acting as a mediator, should you ever have a dispute with your network childminder.
A wide range of activities
You and your child will also benefit from all the activities and events that the network arranges. Many networks:
- hold regular group meetings where the children can make friends with children cared for by other network childminders and socialise in a larger group
- take the children on outings
- invite parents to come along to network events
- have a toy library, so there are always plenty of new, exciting toys for your child to explore as they develop.
Early education sessions
If you have a 3- or 4-year-old your network childminder may be able to offer them their free early education sessions. You can find out about these here.
Not all networks are quality-assured by PACEY Children Come First, so won't all offer the benefits above. Ask if your network is PACEY Children Come First approved, working towards approval or, if not, which services they offer.