Scotland’s five and a half thousand childminders are providing high quality early learning childcare, according to the Care Inspectorate, and two new resources launched today will help them continue to improve experiences for children.

Childminders care for children in their own home and the quality of the care they provide to more than 33,000 children across the country was highlighted as Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, welcomed two new resources which aim to further support and encourage good practice in the sector and across all early years care more generally.

The Care Inspectorate regulates and inspects all of Scotland’s early learning and childcare registered services. Childminders care for an estimated 33,440 children, and that figure is rising. It compares to 145,440 children cared for by nurseries and 218,790 children by all children’s daycare.

Minister 1Two new resources were launched today by Mr McDonald at a childminder in Edinburgh. ‘Your Childminding Journey’ is an exciting new online learning and development resource for childminders, helping them gain and develop the key skills they need to promote good long-term quality outcomes for children and young people.

‘My Childminding Experience’ showcases good practice in childminding and shows how local authorities and childminders are working together innovatively to support children, including those whose development needs might be better supported within the homely environment a childminder brings.

Mr McDonald said: "I’m very pleased to support the launch of these two important resources.

"We are committed to making sure Scotland is the best place to grow up, with every child given the best chance to succeed and fulfil their potential, and childminders have a key role in that.

"They are absolutely central to the lives of many children and families across Scotland and will also have an important part to play in delivering our ambitions for a massive expansion of early learning and childcare in the years to come.

"These resources will help ensure that more children continue to benefit from good quality care."

Karen Reid, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: "We know from our inspections that childminders generally provide high quality care which is valued by parents and benefits children. Our inspectors have found that the vast majority of childminders provide good, very good, or excellent care.

"Your Childminding Journey is a new national learning framework for childminders, developed by a wide range of organisations led by the Care Inspectorate, and providing Scotland’s 5500 childminders with a structured way to learn, develop and grow their skills. This will be a big help for people who are thinking about starting a childminding service and will help long-established childminders keep their skills up to date. Over the coming years, there will be a major increase in funded hours early learning and childcare across Scotland. Childminders can play an important role in that expansion.

"We have also worked with the Scottish Childminding Association to produce My Childminding Experience, which showcases some of the excellent care childminders deliver. This shows how children across Scotland benefit from childminders who go above and beyond to deliver high-quality care in their own homes and using the outdoors. It is also good to see the positive stories of how local authorities and childminders can work together to support families and children who have needs best met in a homely environment like a childminder."

Minister childminder 1Maggie Simpson, Chief Executive of the Scottish Childminding Association, said: "My Childminding Experience is a wonderful resource – and once again, another opportunity to celebrate the consistent high quality of childminding in Scotland.

"Childminders continue to provide high quality services, with many being graded as excellent – and My Childminding Experience perfectly encapsulates their fantastic work, and why they are benefitting thousands of children across Scotland.

"Especially beneficial for local authorities, the resource helps demystify the common myths surrounding childminders.

"This is a great example of partnership working, as SCMA has been actively involved in linking childminders with our colleagues at the Care Inspectorate to help develop this new resource."

My Childminding Experience

My Childminding Experience is a resource exploring and sharing good practice examples from across Scotland of how childminding can benefit children and their families. It is published by the Care Inspectorate today and is part of its ongoing programme to encourage, promote and bring about improvement.

This resource develops the same model as the Care Inspectorate’s recent publication, My World Outdoors, which shares and celebrates the benefits of outdoor play for children.

My Childminding Experience has been co-produced by the Care Inspectorate and Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA), and includes an introduction by Sue Palmer, author of many books on child development in the modern world. Childminders tell their own stories focusing on individual children and involving them and their families directly in narrating their experiences.

The case studies show how individual children are experiencing good outcomes from attending a childminder with reference to the wellbeing indicators (Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included) and how the care provides reflects the new Health and Social Care Standards.

Your Childminding Journey

Your Childminding Journey is an online learning resource for both prospective and registered childminders, with its own website

The Care Inspectorate began developing the resource in 2016 funded by the Scottish Government, collaborating with childminders and partners: the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA), Care and Learning Alliance (CALA), Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), the Association of Education Directors in Scotland (ADES) and Scottish Government.

This online resource to support development and learning is designed to help both prospective and practicing childminders identify the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to provide the best outcomes for children. This highly practical resource contains a series of statements which reflect quality childcare provision.

These quality statements and supporting information enable childminders to reflect on their service, what they do well and how they could improve. It is not an inspection tool and there is no expectation from the Care Inspectorate that childminders provide evidence against each quality statement.

The resource is for anyone interested in childminding as a profession, whether they are just thinking about a career in childminding, or are already registered and practising. The resource offers an abundance of learning and development that childminders can browse and use according to their own needs to further develop the service they deliver.