Some networks can offer you the chance to become "accredited" to offer early education sessions.
What is early education?
All 3- and 4-year-olds are entitled to free early years education sessions paid for by government funding.
Each local authority has to make sure a free part-time early education place (also sometimes called nursery education) is available for every 3-and 4-year-old in their area and funds local early education providers to offer these free places.
Childminders can offer these education sessions and draw down the funding if they are accredited and PACEY Children Come First (Early Years Education) networks enable you to do this.
Why become accredited?
As well as giving you the chance to learn a new skill, becoming accredited can be a really good selling point for your childminding business.
It also means that, whereas a 3- or 4-year-old in your care may go to another type of provider for their education sessions, you'd be you'll be able to offer these sessions and receive payment for them, maximising your income.
In England, the number of hours early education 3- and 4-year old children receive each week has already risen to 15hrs and with the free entitlement for disadvantaged 2 year olds rolling out nationally, demand for provision will rise still further, both from local authorities and parents.
What's home-based education?
Local authorities have to make there are a range of early education options open to parents and, because you'd be offering children education in a home setting you can offer them a valuable alternative to centre-based care provided in nurseries and pre-schools.
Some parents prefer their children to have their early education sessions with childminders in a home setting because, childminders:
- only care for a small group of children and so can give each child much more individual attention. Some children may not yet be ready for larger groups and so this can be of particular benefit to them.
- offer "real-life learning", so children learn through everyday activities. For example, you might be helping children learn about weights, numbers and colours while cooking.
- work with the same children over time and so are able to more easily recognise and monitor children's development.
How are childminders are accredited?
To become accredited, you will need to show your network coordinator that you meet the extra PACEY Children Come First Quality Standards for early education. You can do this during your initial assessment to become a network member or, if you'd prefer, you can apply to be accredited later on.
You can read the additional standards here.
Before your network can accredit you, it must also have demonstrated that it meets additional PACEY Children Come First criteria relating to early years education. Ask your network coordinator if they are an early years education network, or if they are working towards early education approval.