Indoor Adventures For Kids

There are many different exciting and fun little indoor adventures for kids that can be had indoors. Things such as laser-tag, indoor rock-climbing, trampoline attractions, arcades, indoor water parks, and indoor glow-in-the-dark mini-golf. There are plenty of these types of attractions out there, just look into what is available in your area. 

Indoor Adventures Parents Childminders Indoor Activity Ideas

These types of indoor adventures for kids can be saved as a means to reward children for an accomplishment, good behaviour, consistently completing chores well and on-time; a reward for the behaviours which are rarely reinforced. 

Indoor Adventures As Positive Reinforcement

Kwicare Indoor Adventure Make Believe Kids ChildrenUsing such exciting indoor adventures for kids as a means to reinforce behaviours which are so important to a child’s development into a functioning, ambitious, educated, well-groomed and generally successful adult is a great idea. Springing such an activity as a surprise during a rainy day is an effective way to reward your child or the children that you work with for their regular good behaviour.

Make sure the child or children know exactly what they are being rewarded for – and if it is a group of children you are looking after, come up with a viable justification for the reward; you might as well use the opportunity to try to establish the concept that good behaviours come with good outcomes. If behaviour is not good but not bad, make sure to highlight what is good about the behaviour, and claim the activity is a reward for that, but mention that they might not be able to do some other indoor adventure – for example: “we were thinking about doing the waterpark next time, but I don’t know if we will be able to if you guys don’t start saying please and thank you” – and specifically mention a behavioural goal which is both realistic and easy to appraise whether it has been achieved or not. 

Using Indoor Adventures For Kids To Reinforce Good Behaviour

Kwicare Indoor Adventure Make Believe Kids Children

Doing this will allow you to work on specific aspects of behaviour to start, then once cooperation is established, those behavioural expectations can become more broadly applied and modified. This can work for virtually any activity that would be considered a ‘treat’ and indoor adventures are especially well-suited as a behavioural reward. Make sure there is no schedule for the activity anticipated as a reward for achieving the next behaviour goal – they should understand that they will get to do the ‘treat’ activity the next available opportunity following their establishment of consistent, satisfactory behaviour. If you do implement this, it is essential that you do actually provide them with the promised activity within a reasonable amount of time once the behaviour has improved.

Looking for indoor activity ideas that can be done inside the home? Check out our article here.

Indoor Activities For Kids At Home

When the weather is rainy or cold, it is invaluable to have indoor activity ideas for kids at home ready to go! Arranging fun indoor activities for kids at home keeps children engaged, learning and prevents behavioural issues that can arise from boredom. The following is meant to provide inspiration when outdoor activities are not an option.

Indoor Activity Ideas for Children Toddlers Kids Childminders Parents

One of the most frequent venues we find ourselves caring for children is at our houses. Whether a parent or childminder, our homes are where much of the learning and experience the child will develop occur. For this reason, it is wise to have a good list of indoor activities for kids at home – here are some ideas!

 

Cooking

Indoor Activity Ideas for Kids Children Toddlers Parent Childminder Nanny Daycare Preschool Chef Cooking

Children have little or no experience with the basic occupations of life, one example being cooking. Taking the opportunity that being stuck inside provides to teach a child to cook can be both educational and entertaining. The child could be offered the opportunity to decide exactly what they want to make – possibly from options provided by the adult. Or you could simply offer the children the opportunity to make a meal!

The age of the children must be taken into consideration when assigning tasks and determining the level of supervision required to safely and successfully complete the task. Very young children may merely observe and occasionally stir, while older children may learn well by adding spices or mixing the dough. Regardless of the age of the child, learning to cook is an essential skill that you want to cultivate in the children you care for, so using time at home as an opportunity to not only teach something useful but also entertain is a wise decision. 

Board Games

Board games can be an excellent indoor activity in the home. They promote social interaction between those in your household and often some type of learning (usually deductive reasoning). Mastering this kind of thought can greatly serve a child as he or she grows and develops. Board games also help to ease boredom and can offer an opportunity for children to establish and expand their capacity for communication. 

Video Games

Often the advice given is to keep children away from video games, but occasional indulgence in such entertainment can be helpful to your child’s development and can help them learn computing skills and understand technology at an early age. Avoiding violent games and making generally well-informed selections can greatly enhance the value of such an activity. Some games will serve to merely entertain, while others may challenge a child intellectually, and further, some even engage the players in physical activity. Sports games on the Wii, for example, encourage quite a bit of movement, providing great indoor activities for kids when the weather is bad. Furthermore, cooperative games can enhance a child’s sense of teamwork, something that can benefit any child. 

Indoor Activity Ideas for Children Toddlers Kids Parents Childminders Nannies PreSchool Daycare Babysitter Videogame

Books

Having a day indoors is a good opportunity to explore what books have to offer. Children of any age can appreciate a good story, and a good book on a stormy day can be an outstanding means to establish or reinforce a strong bond between the child and the guardian, parent or carer. Offering a dramatic retelling of the story and voice acting the dialogue will make the stories more enjoyable both for the children and the individual reading the story. Older children can be encouraged to read a portion of the story – perhaps voicing a character – and, by doing so, the children will be given an opportunity to work on their reading skills and foster talent for public speaking or performing. 

Children’s Games

Indoor Activity Ideas for Children Kids Toddler Parents Childminder Nanny Babysitter Daycare Preschool Hide and Seek

Children have all different kinds of games they play amongst themselves, a great example being hide-and-seek. Consider playing along. Children games are excellent indoor activities for kids to help pass the time and expel energy. A game of hide-and-seek can be an excellent activity to play around the home, and there are plenty of other children’s games which can be enjoyed right in your home. Telephone is another possibility – where one individual tells another individual something in a whisper to avoid anyone else hearing. What they say is then passed on to the next person, always spoken quietly to prevent anyone else from hearing. This is continued until everyone playing has been told what the first person has said, and then retells that dialogue to the next person until the final person speaks what they had heard for the group. Often comedy emerges as a result of miscommunications and the final dialogue is rarely the same as what was initially said. 

Other games that can be fun inside the home include setting-up a bowling alley using just about any ball heavy enough to knock over pins, which can be made from empty plastic bottles or something similar. A game similar to horse played on a basketball court can be played using virtually any type of ball or even balled-up paper destined for the recycling bin. Simply toss the item into any hoop, basket, bin, or a cleaned-out trash can or recycling bin.

Word Games

Word games like hangman can be a good way to get children to engage in expanding their vocabulary and improving their spelling. Try charades, Pictionary, or a similar game to get the children to act out or draw words or phrases, with the other children and adults attempting to guess what it is being drawn or acted out. Activities such as this will work to improve the child’s communication skills, build team working skills, foster good socialisation, and will help improve the children’s comfortability with speaking or performing in front of a crowd. They also require little or nothing in the way of supplies and facilities and can be both fun and beneficial to the development of the children.

Arts & Crafts

Arts & crafts are great indoor activities for kids to help encourage creativity. Provide children with crayons, markers, coloured pencils, paints, etc, and paper or something else to colour, illustrate or draw upon or paint. If you’re adventurous, why not try paper maché? Colouring books are a good option for younger children, while older children should be encouraged to learn more advanced skills of arts or illustration, such as exploring books on cartooning and drawing techniques or simply free-drawing on drawing paper or even copier paper. Even the newspaper can provide an interesting opportunity for drawing and colouring. Those comics might not be in colour, but they can be!

Indoor Activity Ideas for Kids Children Toddlers Parents Childminders Nannies Daycare Preschool Origami Boat Arts and CraftsOther possible indoor activities for kids include origami, the art of folding paper into beautiful and complex forms. Though origami can be very involved and take skill and practice, there are many creatures and creations which can be made relatively simply. Getting a book on origami could provide many hours of entertainment for young children. They can watch as you try to follow the instructions and make the creature come to life from paper, while older children can try their hand at following the steps themselves. 

You can also consider making, decorating, dying, or painting clothing. Use stencils to apply dyes and paints to shirts, hats, whatever you desire, giving children the ability to create fashion that reflects their unique style. Consider tie-dye, free-hand drawing, painting, bedazzling, or adding sequins, sparkles and other adornments on a shirt or other item of clothing. Not only will the newly-custom apparel be unique and be a representation of the child’s style, but it will also serve as a memento of the time the item was made. Items such as this can become very valuable to people and are therefore worth creating if for no other reason than to create lasting memories. Another advantage is that learning to manipulate and dye fabrics can be a source of joy into adulthood – and being able to put a design onto fabric well is something which will serve older children, as well. Making tee-shirts to promote a student council campaign, or to support a love interest’s sports team, or garner interest for their first band – being able to print tee shirts is a fun activity and a skill that can come in handy at all stages of childhood and young adulthood. 

Sewing is another way in which fabrics and clothing can be manipulated. This skill can be learned relatively young and encourages kids to conceptualize what the item will look like before it’s completed. Sewing kits for kids as young as three years old can be purchased online & include everything you’ll need for this fun activity, including the thread, tools and fabrics.

Building

Building is yet another activity that can be done from within the house, and you could build virtually anything. One could build legos, whether freehand or from the instructions, or a model aeroplane or car. Another idea is to build a bird feeder with the children. The feeder can be used as a source of entertainment and education. You could also build a train set or puzzle, or whatever the kiddies can imagine! There is a unique opportunity for learning when building, which should be part of every child’s early development.

Science

Simple science experiments can make great indoor activities for kids! Experiments as simple as the ‘potato battery’, or as exciting as the acid+base volcano can provide early science lessons. Use the potato battery to describe the world of electricity and how it powers all living things, from people to potatoes to appliances. 

Other easy experiments available include paper aeroplanes as a means to explore aerodynamics; it’s fun and can be scientific! Form hypotheses on what will make the longest-flying paper aeroplane, then test those hypotheses. If no one is right, no bother, work to create the longest-flying paper aeroplane you can together. 

You may also try some chemistry kits or, for those familiar with the science, a kit may not be required. Growing crystals can be fun and interesting and the children can dye them how they wish. They can also learn about simple chemical reactions in the process. 

Music

Indoor Activity Ideas for Kids Children Parents Toddlers Childminders Nanny Daycare Preschool MusicMusical exposure and accomplishment early in childhood reportedly improve a child’s ability to perform all types of tasks later in life, the most notable example being observed improvements in mathematics scores among children accomplishing some talent for music at an early age. Turning music into indoor activities for kids is fun for children of any age. Whether they are old enough to start learning to play an instrument through formal instruction or are merely experimenting. Having a large assortment of simple instruments can create collaborative activities. Use easily played instruments like the tambourine and maracas to help establish rhythm. Even if the kids are off the beat, the maracas aren’t too torturous! Giving children the opportunity to explore many instruments will allow them to establish a preference as they get a little older and can begin to formally learn an instrument. 

Singing is another activity which can be enriching and entertaining. It’s social and anyone can do it! Pick age-specific songs so that children can sing-along at any age. Songs can also further lessons, whether academic or moral, or they might tell a story. They can also offer an opportunity to sing in a fun manner, such as rounds of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.

For more ideas for activities in the home, MomJunction.com has an article which offers 21 indoor game suggestions. An article from MorningChores.com details over 30 DIY games and indoor activities which can be constructed and played in the home. Lastly, this article from Fatherly.com has 9 physical activities for kids inside the home

Maria Montessori & the Montessori Method As Pedagogy

Is Montessori a “method” or “pedagogy”?

The “Montessori Method” is just one of many means of referencing a sort of pedagogy – although some would say philosophy – one which was first articulated and then developed into a comprehensive approach to the education of young children by Maria Montessori. This approach has much in common with and is sometimes considered to be an example of constructivist pedagogy or a cognitivist pedagogy, but it is not relevant whether or not it should be considered its own pedagogy or not, what is important is what it can offer to help kids learn and grow.

The term is a reference to Maria Montessori, the woman who worked to develop a teaching approach which based its methods on scientific observations of children – largely her own, direct observations. Not only the means but also the goal by which she established her “method” was through the scientific observation of children.

 

History Of Montessori

Italian educator, physician, and scientist, Dr Maria Montessori was invited to create a childcare centre in the impoverished Roman district of San Lorenzo in response to her work in scientific pedagogy and experimental psychology.

Despite early difficulty due to the children’s unruly habits and utter ignorance of etiquette and proper behaviour, the children began to show their capacity to learn quite quickly. Before long the children were becoming more manageable, peaceful and capable of great concentration and interest. During this period, she realised that the children were, in fact, learning almost constantly, whether from instruction, their environment or each other.

child interacting with environment montessori pedagogy

As she continued her scientific observation, she also began to develop her approach to facilitate their growth and learning, along with unique learning materials and a classroom environment designed to encourage a child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn.

In a few short years, Dr Montessori became internationally recognised for her ideas on education, pedagogy, the student-teacher interaction and the success those ideas were having on the underprivileged children in her home country of Italy.

Dr Montessori published books on her observations, method, results and insights. Her two books (translated from Italian), “The Montessori Method” and “The Advanced Montessori Method” (which focuses on children aged 7-11) both provide insight into her thinking, approach, interaction with students, and her motivations and inspiration. Although certainly not necessary to understand the underlying concepts to a Montessori learning environment, they provide a valuable reference and source of ideas or inspiration for anyone looking to constructivism or the Montessori method as a means to educate.

 

Oversight and Associations of the Montessori Method

The Montessori method has been in practice in some capacity for the past 100 years, but the term has become so heavily used and by such a broad range of educators and facilities that distinguishing the pedagogy as defined and practised by Maria Montessori is important.

There are a large number of educators, carers, and schools which claim to implement the Montessori method, and each will have their own techniques, but the AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) serves as a means of both promoting and informing on the Montessori method and of overseeing and accrediting places of learning using that method. The Association Montessori Internationale was founded by Maria Montessori herself, the only entity which can claim so, and the pinnacle authority on this method of teaching.

The AMI is the international entity overseeing Montessori institutions and practice, however, there are many more local Montessori associations and organisations aligned with the AMI and with the same goals. For anyone serious about taking the Montessori concept into practice, contacting a local Montessori association or even the AMI is a good place to start. The AMI-UK site has links to plenty of resources, literature, training and more.

Another source of information, guidance and support of the education of children, especially the utilisation of the Montessori method, is the Montessori.org.uk site.

 

Philosophy Of The Montessori Method

A Montessori learning environment is recognizable and easily distinguished from a more traditional, direct-instruction or teacher-centred pedagogical approach. In a Montessori environment, some children will be seen working independently while others will be working in groups. Learning materials designed for a specific application or lesson will be seen being used by children that often become highly engaged in their learning in a well-functioning setting.

The Montessori Philosophy believes the children are both internally motivated and capable of courteous decorum when their curiosity and desire to learn are satisfied with their preference, age, and individuality in mind.

follow dreams montessori kid pedagogy

Montessori instructors are encouraged to allow their students’ space and freedom while also offering support and instruction. The Montessori Method puts a premium on hands-on learning and physical interaction, integrating all sorts of props, tools, toys, and devices to achieve the goal of child interaction and growth.

With the Montessori method, children are generally considered eager to understand and capable of engaging in and initiating learning, especially when given a supportive, well-designed and implemented learning environment. The Montessori method also seeks to encourage child development physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.

Features common to the “Montessori Method” in practice

  • Mixed age classrooms (usually no more than 3 year age difference between children)
  • Advocates that children learn best by doing
  • Sensory learning is highly valued; activities which engage more senses than just hearing/sound are often incorporated
  • Fosters strong relationship between student, family, and school/teacher
  • Children choose their lesson/activity based on options offered to them
  • Uninterrupted periods of work, typically around 3 hours.
  • Furniture and utilities in the learning space should be size-appropriate and accessible by the children
  • Constructivist discovery model (students learn often by working hands-on)
  • A sense of freedom within reasonable limits is fostered
  • Teaching is considered to be the process of connecting the child with suitable material to accommodate their personal learning.
  • Student preference has a high degree of latitude in determining what, when and how subjects and materials are explored – often on an individual basis.
  • Incorporation of physical and other ‘fun’ activities into the curriculum is encouraged.
  • The learning environment should be home-like to allow lessons on real-life issues such as hygiene
  • Aesthetics are important to the Montessori philosophy, so the space should be visually pleasing

 

Each child should be provided a space to store their personal belongings. A trained Montessori educator ought to be highly engaged in observing the child’s progress, as well as their unique characteristics, tendencies, talents, and abilities. A Montessori preschool is summarised into three general phases; exercises for practical life, sensory education, and language activities.

Maria Montessori and the teachers and carers that use her method make use of learning materials out of aesthetic and typically natural materials such as wood. The learning environment is also organised by subject area, with materials within reach of the child and of a size which is appropriate for that child.

 

Some examples of common “learning materials” used by Montessori early years educators:

Movable Alphabet

Children begin to learn to read and write very early, and the more comfortable they are with letters and the alphabet the more quickly they will become confident readers. The idea is that hands-on interactive play makes learning easier, including literally playing with words (and letters) and developing familiarity with all of the letters of the alphabet (and accommodating all sorts of possible games, especially phonics, as the children continue to learn and grow).

Dressing Frames

Children often have difficulty manipulating buttons, zippers, shoe-laces, and other garment-fastening devices. “Dressing Frames” offer a means to teach children to tie shoelaces, button their shirts, zip their coats and so on – essentially, the dressing frames offer some type of garment device which can be manipulated by the child until they have mastered it.

Puzzle Maps

Puzzle maps are a means for children to have fun and begin to be exposed to and learn about geography. A puzzle map allows children to arrange the map in a variety of different ways until they have solved the puzzle to reveal the actual geography of the region displayed by the map. Whether unsolved or solved, the puzzle map can inspire imagination.

Classification Cards

Classification cards are used to help children learn and recall the names of different objects in the world. As the child advances in their understanding, the classification cards become progressively more advanced as well. To use classification cards, the child must match an image with the correct name or word, expanding their vocabulary, recognition, and general awareness. Classification cards can even be used for complicated concepts and more unusual or unseen objects, such as those which are very small, very large, or entirely unfamiliar.

Beads

Beads are often used to illustrate mathematical concepts. One such example is that of the decimal system and the related powers of ten. The beads can be fit into a device at specific, relevant numbers, most often 10.

Binomial Cubes

Likely the most interesting of the learning materials commonly experienced in places utilising a Montessori approach is the binomial cube. The binomial cube is a simple wooden box containing 8 small wooden blocks which fit together to form a binomial pattern. That binomial pattern is represented both in the basic equations printed on the blocks themselves together with the physical size of the blocks. This toy has application in understanding size, scale, exponents, and even binomials in algebra.

Hands-on tasks

Learning dexterity is important and can be achieved while also learning some relatively simple tasks. Often, Montessori instructors working with young children will make tools available to them to allow them to perform tasks such as:

  • Watering plants
  • Washing clothes
  • Gluing Papers
  • Sweeping
  • Window washing
  • Scooping
  • Pouring liquids

Although quite simple, these tasks can help motor skills develop. These activities help the child to also explore their environment while learning how to help out around the house.

Materials such as these have become a staple of the Montessori approach in a modern classroom, nursery or childminder’s living room, study, basement, local park, playroom, etc. A fact which is important to remember and one which Maria Montessori echoed in statement and deed is that the setting and methods used to inspire and teach children need not be formal, rigidly applied, defined or restricted – the best setting for a child to learn is the setting where he or she is. Learning should never cease, especially not in young children.

Efficacy Of Montessori

The Montessori method has some significant strengths, especially for younger children, whose learning and memory has been shown to be benefitted immensely by interaction and physical manipulation. The “learning materials” the Montessori Method uses create experiences a young child is more likely to accurately and easily recall than a similar lesson given without a physical device to manipulate, touch and feel, hear, and see.

Having a physical representation of the lesson or subject creates a more immersive experience for a young child, an experience which features many or all of the senses. Such an experience will demand more dedicated attention and create memories which are more rich and profound in detail. Those memories rich in sensory information will be more easily remembered for a multitude of reasons – for one, the memory of each sensation, sound, sight, smell, and taste are recorded separately by your brain, but are associated with the other sensations and experiences that together make up the memory in its entirety.environment memory kids montessori pedagogy

Memories which stimulate more of the senses have been shown to have higher rates of recall. Remember any loud, multi-sensory experiences? A concert perhaps? Modern concerts heavily manipulate our memory, and for this reason, they remain one of our culture’s most oft-recalled life experiences.

This is exploited, albeit in a different way, by the Montessori approach. Rather than using loud noises and bright lights, the Montessori approach uses touch, spatial manipulation, interaction, and visual stimulation. This combined with the freedom and degree of choice the child has upon his or her lesson at a given moment makes a child more likely to learn and recall. The freedom and choice make it more likely that a child will be attentive and engage.

The impact of the sensory perception on memory is even more profound in young children than in any other group. Between the ages of 4 and 7, the right hemisphere of a child’s brain is developing. The right hemisphere has been shown to respond to visual and tactile stimuli.

“Kids learn through all their senses,” according to Ben Mardell, PhD, with Project Zero at Harvard University, “and they like to touch and manipulate things.”  Learning in this way has more significance than simply keeping the children busy, learning with hands-on lessons will improve retention of the material, especially in younger children. When children are between 3 and 8, the right side of the brain is doing a lot of growth and development, making visual and spatial activities highly effective for this age group. Not until later in life, after age 10, does the growth and learning in the more analytical left hemisphere take place.

Activities which incorporate movement, listening, talking and tactile sensations, activate many areas of the brain. “The more parts of your brain you use, the more likely you are to retain information,” according to Judy Dodge, author of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom. “If you’re only listening, you’re only activating one part of the brain”, Dodge says. This illuminates the core strengths of the Montessori Method, which seeks to activate numerous parts of the brain, and creating more robust neural connections between those parts, which together develop a more lasting, significant memory. In children under the age of 8 or even 10, whose brains and thinking are very much ‘right-brain’ dominant, these visual, tactile and spatial elements are great at establishing lasting, accurate recall of lessons and the information they contain.

Learn more about the different teaching pedagogies commonly practised here.

What is a Teaching Pedagogy?

What exactly is a teaching pedagogy? Pedagogy is related to, but not identical to curriculum. Pedagogy is how the curriculum is approached or applied. It is not so much what is being taught, it is really how it’s being taught. Teaching approaches are most effective when they don’t focus on teaching a predetermined set of topics, but rather, engages with the children, observes them and listens to them. The ideal pedagogy will allow further exploration of the subjects in increasingly complex ways, with all involved acting as co-learners, constructing knowledge together.

The Pedagogy Paradigm

In Ontario, Canada, they have developed a paradigm which encourages pedagogies that promote a learning environment consisting of these four elements: Belonging, Well-Being, Expression, and Engagement. Though not precisely worded in the same ways, most educators will echo the merit of these rough goals. This can be understood as the development of a sense of belonging and a general feeling of ease, comfort, and well-being for both educators and students and the encouragement of an environment which accommodates expression and engagement.

Defining a Pedagogy

One difficult aspect of looking into educational pedagogy is the inconsistency in terms and terminology. Many different titles have been given to similar or identical pedagogy, and many approaches have elements in common with one another or somewhat overlap. Because of this, understanding details becomes all the more important.  In addition, it should be understood that any pedagogy is limited by the skills of the educator, and a talented educator can also transcend a pedagogy which is less than ideal.

The Goal of a Pedagogy

Pedagogy should be looked at as a means to achieve learning and growth in the student/child, rather than being dogmatic in pedagogy, it is much more valuable to be dedicated to the enrichment of the children/students.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a collaborative and engaging curriculum along with an environment which the child finds safe and comfortable and feels free to express themselves, try out new things and talk through concepts.

A learning environment which fosters the children’s own creativity, engagement and participation is the foundation of a modern teaching approach. How to achieve these goals for our learning or teaching environment is where pedagogy comes in. Without a framework, how will an educator, carer or parent achieve the best outcomes for the children they care for? How will the learning happen? Currently, there are several widely used and accepted pedagogies. In the UK, the following are most often used:

Pedagogy Teaching Pedagogies in the UK

The early years of a child’s life is an important period. Children experience rapid development and are capable of profound learning while they are young. Because of this, having a good approach to establish a habit of formal learning can be helpful in the development of a child, especially early in the child’s life.

As children grow, the approach to their learning may also naturally need to evolve with them. A good educator is capable of utilising a diverse range of approaches when teaching a child or student, meaning that strict pedagogical adherence is not necessarily the most effective means of teaching. So, although it is wise to be familiar with these pedagogies, strict adherence to a single one of them is not the ideal approach to teaching. Tailoring pedagogical approaches to the material and to those learning is likely the wisest and most effective means of communicating new ideas and information to children over the course of a long period.

Comparing Different Pedagogies

In the UK, the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education project (EPPSE) has shed some light on the relationship between high-quality early years education and long-term improvements in outcomes, showing a particularly strong impact on children with parents who have lower levels of qualifications.

The research that has been dedicated to ECEC (Early Childhood Education and Care) is sprawling and vast and draws from a broad range of disciplines, making an evidence basis difficult to access and communicate, while also challenging to decipher, especially without a considerable investment of time.

teaching pedagogy coloured pencils

Because of this, there is some difficulty in really comparing pedagogies directly with each other. It is also difficult to elucidate easily consumable facts which determine which approach is most appropriate for which child and under which circumstances. How learning is done, and how it is done most effectively are difficult questions to address, so their answers are similarly difficult and certainly without conclusion. For this reason, it is best for childcarers, parents, and educators to be aware of all major approaches so they may utilise them when most appropriate.

Explore the major pedagogies:

  • Child-Centred (Coming soon)
  • Constructivism (Coming soon)
  • Montessori (Coming soon)
  • Didactic/Direct Instruction (Coming soon)
  • Play-Based (Coming soon)
  • Scaffolding (Coming soon)
  • Socio-Pedagogic (Coming soon)
  • Sustained Shared Thinking (Coming soon)
  • Teacher-Directed (Coming soon)

Activities For Children

Activities; a recipe for growth and the betterment of children

Children are in perpetual search for activity. This fascination with activity serves growth and learning – so keeping a child happy and active means keeping a child growing both physically and intellectually. Another great benefit of promoting an active life for children is the socialisation element. Activities are a primary means by which children meet other children and learn to develop social skills and language skills. To go even further, such opportunities allow a child to fully recognize the need to share, wait their turn, and behave in a way in which everyone has fun and no one is hurt. Activities can help to build an intelligent, social, physically fit and empathetic child.

Children playing an outdoor activity

There are many studies supporting the benefits of keeping your child active, but being active can mean different things to different people, so how do you foster an environment which will be most beneficial while also most enjoyable for your child? Well, try a lot of stuff out; use activities to explore the world or discover facts, learn games, and have fun. Giving your child or the children you care for a great number of activities is the most beneficial means to promote healthy growth in a happy child.

Read on to discover some ideas for fun, exciting, fulfilling, educational, and even convenient ideas for activities for your child (and maybe even yourself)…

An Active Child Is A Growing Child: The benefits of an active lifestyle

In a recent study conducted at Hunter College in New York City, the subject of child physical activity was explored. In this study, a strong link was made between healthy body mass and body fat. The study was conducted on a population of ethnically Mayan children over a span of two decades. The study was able to show that more physical activities greatly reduced percent body fat, as well as general body mass index¹.

Children Swimming Activity

Physical activity in children has been explored by a great number of different studies. Another such study, also conducted in the United States, explored the health of large numbers of active children versus inactive children. In this study, active children were defined as those spending 60 minutes or more each day doing physical activities. This was the study which launched the “Play 60” ad campaign, encouraging parents to have their children engage in 60 minutes of physical activity per day.

In this CDC study², regular physical activity promotes not only heart and lung health, strong bones and muscles, and healthy weight, it also has been shown to reduce the risk and symptoms of anxiety and depression, cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and obesity in both the immediate term, and later on, into adult life.

Not All Activity Is Physical Activity – And It Need Not Be

Although physical activities are important to a child’s growth and health, there is more to life than sports, and there is more to be done than simply physical play. Non-physical activities can be both fun and educational, while some activities may be neither physical or educational, but instead may be good for socialisation or even simply enjoying life. It is important to teach children not only about math and reading and physical health but also the importance of joy simply for the sake of enjoyment. There are plenty of activities which may be a means by which a child finds joy, a hobby, or a new skill or concept.

Diversity Is The Spice Of Life

In a lot of ways, children are like adults; they find enjoyment in experiencing new or different things. And, by experiencing them, they learn something new about the world around them. This is something that should be kept in mind when planning activities for a child.

It should also be considered that, when and if a child develops a passion for a specific activity, it is a good idea to encourage that interest, while it remains important to also encourage a continual exposure to new activities and environments. This will keep the child engaged while also accommodating learning and developing social skills. A diversity of experience in youth will help to raise a child with diverse knowledge and interests and an ability to adapt and thrive in a large diversity of social environments.

Children Bounce House Activity

In a study conducted at Nebraska University, the question of diversity in activities in young children was explored³. The study was able to illuminate the fact that children begin to develop social concepts as early as 2 & 1/2 years of age, and are beginning to develop opinions on social matters even before they have the language to describe those opinions or influences. The study also found that having a good diversity of experiences serve to combat the development of unfair or unreasonable social perceptions in these children as they continue to grow into adulthood.

Having experiences which expose a child to culture will aid the learning and development of the child, and will help the child to develop interests in culture, history and social matters later in life, and will also serve to aid in the comprehension of such topics.

There are many ways to expose children to diverse social and cultural environments and can be as simple as dining at culturally valuable restaurants, visiting a park in a neighbourhood with a unique cultural significance, outdoor concerts, and even motion pictures can offer a child a glimpse of different cultures.

Technology: Friend Or Foe?

The advent of the smartphone, video game console, computer, tablet, and internet have created a problem of distraction and disinterestedness in many children. Their social skills and ability to engage is hindered by an excessive dependence on technology for entertainment. Many undesirable outcomes have been associated with excessive use of technology for activity and entertainment in children and adults alike.

Clearly, it is important not to depend on the use of technology for activities and entertainment in an unhealthy way, but it is also unwise to prohibit or greatly limit the use of technology by parents or carers. There are many activities which are offered on tablets and smartphones which can help a child learn skills such as mathematics or languages, not to mention reading and computer skills. Video game consoles also have the ability to foster some social interaction between children, especially when the weather is not conducive to more physical activity.

Children Tablet Activity

With technology, just like all things, it is best to have a good balance – too much technology is not a good thing for your child’s growth, but not enough may also be doing a child a disservice, as it is important to learn the skills necessary to navigate technology effortlessly, and many skills can be developed thanks to technology.

 

Ultimately, It’s About Balance

In summation, it is wise to create a broad set of activities for children. Many different activities offer different advantages for the child, helping them learn, exercise, interact with other children, or merely gifting them the benefits of joy and fun. There is no strict diet of activity which is best for children, what is going to be the best for your child’s happiness and growth may be different from another child. Regardless, just keeping children active can improve their behaviour while enhancing the bond between child and parent/carer and improving their understanding of the world and accommodating their healthy growth.

 

¹ Physical Activity Impacts Child Growth, Samual Urlacher. http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/communications/pressroom/news/physical-activity-impacts-child-growth-study-finds

² CDC Healthy Schools, Activity Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/facts.htm

Outdoor Activities For Kids In London

Outdoor activities for kids in London can be difficult to find, and yet is an essential part of children’s development, growth, and is a source of joy, but where do you start? Keeping a child’s hands and mind busy, learning, and growing requires both challenge and encouragement.

Children Playing Football Outdoors in London

The satisfaction of developing a physical skill is something that kids enjoy and benefit from. Studies show that even very young children experience pleasure thanks to the neurochemical reinforcement associated with the development of a new skill, such as the ability to throw a ball, skating, shooting a basket, or simply playing tag (by the way, did you know that TAG is an acronym for ‘touch and go’?).

What this means is that your child’s feelings of joy and accomplishment are greatly activated and enhanced by learning new skills, games, and exercises; outdoor activities for kids in London helps to improve not only your child’s physical health but also their emotional and mental health.

Creating or finding the right environment to accommodate physical play, sports or something of the like, is absolutely essential – the benefits will be almost immediately apparent. Children of all ages, up to adulthood and beyond, can benefit from something such as a team sport. For children, an average of 1 hour of this type of activity per day is best.

Children in childcare hold hands outdoors

A great way for children to get a good amount of physical activity while living in London is to start playing in an organised sports league or association. There are many different leagues available. Some good resources to find organized sports and fun outdoor activities for kids in London include:

For less organized physical activity, try taking a walk through your local park, or discover a nearby playground. Beaches are a good destination which also accommodates physical activity.

Some more general ideas to get the blood moving for younger kids include a game of Simon Says, tag, hot potato, or a scavenger hunt. Duck, Duck, Goose can be a good means to get some energy out for kids at a park, just as can hula hoop, jump rope, hide and seek, hopscotch and many other simple yet fun games that can be played at a nearby park, playground, beach or other public space. If you are indoors, try musical chairs, games like twister, or throw-and-catch games with a light foam ball.

Go back to our main article to get more great activity inspiration for the kiddos!

Become A Childminder: A Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: Have A Love of Children and Foster the Skills to Care for them.

Step 2: Get a paediatric first aid certificate

Step 3: Complete an approved childminder training course

Step 4: Obtain A Criminal Background Certificate (DBS) For Yourself And Anyone Living At The Site Where Children Are Being Cared For

Step 5: Register With Ofsted

Step 6: Use Best Practices And Prepare for Inspection Of Premises

Step 7: Get Childminder Insurance, Prepare Your Business

Step 8: Receive Ofsted Registration

Step 9: Join A Childminder Site Like Kwicare.com

 

1) Have a love of children and foster the skills to care for them

The most important step in becoming a childminder is determining whether or not it is the right profession for you. If you feel comfortable, natural and enjoy being around children, and have experience caring for children, childminding may be the perfect vocation for you.

professional becoming a childminder playing with toddler

Part of childminding is fostering a safe environment while another part is encouraging learning and growth. Being a competent teacher for children is an essential part of being a good childminder.

If you are interested in becoming a childminder but lack experience, there are plenty of opportunities available to volunteer to care for or teach children in all capacities as well as opportunities to assist as a volunteer or staff with a local childminder or nursery.

If you don’t have experience teaching children, there are plenty of opportunities to hone that skill as well – reading to children at local libraries or volunteering with assorted charities may bolster your confidence in teaching children.

It is important to also have premises available to host children. Typically, this is the childminder’s house. It is important that it is clean, well organised and safe. Ofsted will inspect the household or facility where childminding is being conducted.

In addition, location can mean a lot in childminding. Having a location near to schools and parks, near to healthy populations of children and in a location that is truly safe for children is ideal. Childminders with a clean, child-friendly home or facility near to schools and parks and in a safe location will definitely have an advantage.

Volunteering at reading groups can help those interested to become a childminder

 

2) Get A Pediatric First Aid Certificate

If you’re keen to become a childminder, you want the children you look after to be safe. In order to make sure the safest possible environments are enjoyed in childcare, those interested in becoming childminders are obliged to become certified in paediatric first aid.

To become certified in paediatric first aid you must attend an accredited course.

A good source for finding paediatric first aid courses can be found through the British Red Cross.

 

3) Complete Approved Childminder Training Course

The next step in becoming a childminder is to attend and complete a locally-approved childminder training course. Sometimes referred to as CYPOP5, completion of an approved childminder training course is required to register as a childminder.

The training will improve the understanding of logistics, the basics of establishing your childminding service, ensuring child safety, encouraging and accommodating play and education and also touching on fostering rapport and interacting with parents. There are many options for receiving this training, including online courses.

Local authorities will be able to offer advice on authorised courses. Ofsted has a portal to help you get in contact with local, relevant authorities – click here to use the Ofsted site to find your local authority.

Another source is PACEY, which offers a UK-wide training course that is accepted by most local authorities. This option is available as an online course, too.

children at childcare with childminder

4) Obtain Criminal Background Certificate (DBS) for yourself and those living at the site where children are hosted

Before registering as a childminder, you will need to get a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate. This is a background check. It typically takes about 6 weeks and costs an average of £52. You can learn more about these checks on gov.co.uk.

Anyone 16 and older and living at the premises on which the childcare is being conducted will also be subject to a background check.

5) Register With Ofsted

There are two Ofsted registers which concern a prospective childminder. The Early Years Register, which is compulsory if you intend on caring for children under 5 and the Childcare Register, which is required if you intend on caring for children aged 5-7 years. Childminders caring only for children 8 and older may voluntarily register, but are not required to do so.

Before you register you will also have to complete the Health Declaration Booklet, affirming you are physically capable of caring for children.

An overview of what you need to register:

  • A UK Criminal Record Certificate
  • Criminal record certificates for anyone aged 16 or older and living on the site where you are caring for children
  • Proof of completion of paediatric first aid training for the group you are looking after
  • Proof of completion of childcare training approved by local authorities
  • Health Declaration Booklet
  • Two references with contact information

For a more complete breakdown of the registration process, here’s Ofsted’s ebook on Early Years and Childcare registration.

If you or any adults who live at the site where children will be cared for have lived abroad in the last 5 years, a certificate of good conduct will be required from that country’s embassy.

6) Use Best Practices And Prepare for Inspection Of Premises

For those caring for children under the age of 5, an inspection will come shortly after registering (Early Years Register). For those that aren’t going to be caring for children under 5 and registering with the Early Years Register, an inspection won’t come with registration but can be expected throughout the natural course of operating as a childminder.

When operating your childminding service, it’s important that you:

  • Ensure child safety.
  • Assure corporal punishment is not used.
  • Appropriately monitor and address child behaviour.
  • Be present at all times. Assistants may care for children for up to 2 hours a day if their guardians have given permission.
  • Do not smoke on the premises.
  • Do not consume alcohol or other drugs while caring for children or just before caring for children. It is important to not be under the influence of prescription drugs that may compromise your ability to care for children.
  • You must be at least 18. Someone 18 or over must always be present.
  • Make sure the site and everything within the site are safe for children.
  • Make sure the facility is secure and that no one potentially threatening to the children or unaware of the presence of children may enter.
  • If you provide food, there must be a suitable area to prepare it, and any food served must be generally nutritious and healthy.
  • Assure drinking water and adequate bathroom facilities are available.
  • Provide access to outdoor activities either on site on nearby.

This is only a brief list of things you must do when caring for children, and what the premises must be like – you can find more information on requirements for Ofsted registered childminders here.

To become a childminder, you'll need a safe and stimulating environment

 

6) Get Childminder Insurance, Prepare Your Business

You will need childminding insurance. You are going to need to keep accurate books related to attendance and child activities and behaviour. You will also have to keep accurate books for tax and insurance reasons. Most childminders are considered self-employed and will have tax requirements associated with that income.

Being self-employed means that you are responsible for paying your own tax and National Insurance contributions so you must register your business with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for self-assessment and National Insurance purposes

Childminder insurance is requisite to protect the childminder and the children.

Some good resources to find childminder insurance include PACEY, Morton Michel, and Ashburnham.

 

8) Receive Your Ofsted Registration

Once you receive your Ofsted registration, the task will be to organize and run a successful childminding business. If you are serving food, you may need to register as a food business, which will include a level 1 food hygiene course. Your local authority may also require the involvement of the Environmental Health Department if snacks are served to the children.

You will need to set budgets for resources, equipment, advertising and so forth. You will need to set fees. Be clear when communicating with parents/guardians about costs. You may want to continue ongoing education such as the Level 1 Safeguarding Children course.

You will need to keep careful financial records as well as records of child development and behaviour per Ofsted. You will want to plan children’s activities and keep records of those activities. You will always want to be prepared for Ofsted inspection. This will happen within the first 6 months of registration.

 

9) Attract Clients

Now you are all set to conduct business as a childminder, now all you have to do is to find parents in need of childcare. Word of mouth, internet marketing and traditional advertising should all be considered. But first, sign up for Kwicare, our new database that connects families and childminders across all of London. If you are a registered childminder with available space, list with us today!

 

When To Enrol In Nursery

Nurseries are one of the most common types of childcare in London and the UK. They typically offer childcare between 8 am and 6 pm, while some have extended hours, most often 6am-8pm. This childcare option is great for families who can work around their local nursery’s hours of operation or find a nursery that matches their exact needs. Here, we discuss when to enrol in nursery and when you should be applying for the necessary funding. In addition to nurseries, the availability of childminders and the diversity of their profiles mean that your chances are high of finding outstanding and exactly relevant care when you need it.

When to enrol in nursery or other childcare

When should I enrol my child in a nursery?

You should start exploring childcare options before they are needed. You need to be prepared to enrol your child well ahead of their first day of attendance in a nursery. Starting your search and due diligence 6 months to a year before registration is recommended.

As to when is the right time, that will depend on when childcare is going to be required. This will depend on the wishes of you as parents and the needs of the child, as well as your schedule and work demands and your personal wishes in terms of your child’s early socialisation and education.

Whenever you plan to begin childcare, you are going to want to apply for a place at the nursery of your choice months in advance of the first day of your child’s attendance. Most nurseries have waiting lists, and this can be especially true for those using early years education and childcare funding.

When to apply

Because of the application times, waiting lists, and enrollment dates, it is wise to begin exploring childcare options well before your child will start using a nursery. Many nurseries will have a waitlist as long as 6 months, so you will want to have decided on a nursery, and applied for a place at that nursery as much as 6 months ahead of your child’s first day at the nursery.

Many couples will spend weeks or months looking into options for their child’s care, so it isn’t a bad idea to start exploring childcare options between 7 and 8 months in advance of the first day of your child’s attendance. You’re going to want to decide on a nursery at least 3 months prior to the first day you anticipate your child attending the nursery.

If you get a later start and need top-notch childcare to cover the time between the desired start date and when the nursery can accept your child, a childminder may be the right choice for your family. Childminders are more affordable and flexible than nurseries, and finding a suitable childminder has never been easier. Simply search the Kwicare database today to find the perfect childminder for your needs. In fact, childminders adhere to the same framework as nurseries, EYFS, which means a childminder setting is just as good as a nursery, if not better because you get the added bonus of a reduced adult to child ratio, flexible times and likelier possibility of finding an exact match for your needs, whether that’s special need or dietary. A lot of childminders are as well-equipped as nurseries with plenty of outdoor space, stimulating books, access to other playgroups and child centres, and more.

Childcare funding available starting at 2 years old for some families.

Nurseries and funding

If you are receiving funding for your child’s nursery care or childminder, you are going to want to apply for the provision type of your choice between 3-6 months before your child becomes eligible for childcare funding. Childminders are 

more adaptable to your needs as they have fewer children in their care and generally less admin work to deal with. Kwicare allows you to specify whether you require funding at the time of entering your needs. The childminder will let you know whether s/he is subscribed to the funding scheme.

As for when to apply for the funding, that you will want to do 2-3 months in advance of their eligibility. The first day of eligibility depends on the child’s birthday and we’ve included details in the section below: Enrollment in childcare funding.

Another matter which is often relevant is when childcare funding becomes available. For most, funding will become available for their child during their 3rd year. However, some will be eligible for childcare funding at 2 years old.

Enrollment in childcare funding

When to apply for childcare funding

All children aged 3 and 4 in England are entitled to a minimum of 15 hours of free early learning education or childcare for 38 weeks each year. Some are eligible for more than 15 hours, and some are eligible for funding to begin at age 2 or to continue beyond age 4.

This funding can be used toward any eligible form of childcare, including nurseries, pre-schools or childminders. Working out what childcare option is best for you and your family will depend on your family’s situation, preference, and income.

Your child’s eligibility and the start of enrollment will depend on their birthday as follows:

  • A child born 1 April to 31 August, start applying in April of their third birth year for placement starting September
  • A child born 1 September to 31 December, start applying in September of their third birth year for placement starting the following January
  • A child born 1 January to 31 March, start applying in the following January of their third birth year for placement starting the following April

For most, this will be following the child’s third birthday, though for some this will be after their second birthday. Your child is eligible starting at age 2 if you receive:

  • Income Support;
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA);
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA);
  • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act;
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit;
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income that does not exceed £16,190;
  • The Working Tax Credit four-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit);
  • Working Tax Credits and earn £16,190 a year or less

Or if the child:

  • Is looked after by a local council;
  • Has a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan;
  • Gets Disability Living Allowance;
  • Has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

If your child is eligible, you can start claiming after they turn two, on the dates as outlined above, but following their second birthday instead of their third.

Working parents, single parents, and students that require more childcare than 15 hours/week may be eligible for additional financial assistance, including 30-hour childcare funding assistance.

For more information on 2-year-old assistance, check out this link – it further explains 2-year-old funding and at the bottom of the page there is a link to local councils to get more information.

For more information on 30-hour childcare funding, go here.

Cost Of Childcare In London

With nannies, nanny shares, au pairs, childminders, playgroups, creches, preschools, and after-school clubs, there are so many childcare services available in the UK that it’s enough to make your head spin. The cost of childcare in London depends on the environment, types of professionals involved, the ratio of children to carers, availability, etc.

Children in childcare hold hands

The United Kingdom is one of the most expensive places in the world for childcare. A study by the U.K. government suggested the average annual cost of part-time nursery care is about £6000. In London, the cost exceeded £7500. The London Institute for Economic Affairs estimates that many are spending roughly one-third of their income on childcare.

The population density, average income, real estate, and home prices are all higher in London than any of the other metropolitan areas in the UK. These realities impact virtually all products and services within the city in the same way. Childcare is no different. It is little surprise that London is the city with the highest cost for childcare in the United Kingdom.

 

General Information On Childcare Costs

The average cost of a nursery has more than doubled in London since 2005*. Across the board, the cost of nurseries has gone up in London consistently. This trend has been even further exaggerated in inner London. Cost of childcare increased by nearly 20% in inner London since 2017, while outer London has seen a modest increase of roughly 2%.

However, the average cost of employing a childminder has either remained Childminder or nanny sits with child.virtually unchanged or actually decreased in the past several years. In fact, the average cost of a childminder actually decreased slightly from 2016-2018 in London. The average cost of pick-up services offered by childminders also decreased in London during this period. Better means of communication and coordination between parents, childminders, childcare websites and agencies have made the industry more competitive and efficient, helping to lower the cost.

Families can also choose from a plethora of other childcare options in London, we explore the cost of these options below.

*Institute for fiscal studiesAll other sourced from Family and Childcare Trust.

 

What are my options & their cost for childcare in London?

In London, the same general options are available as those across the UK. Nurseries, nannies, nanny shares, childminders, au pairs, and preschools are all options for childcare. Other possible options are relatives and babysitters for shorter periods and often less-formal care. There are also crèches which can offer childcare for a short period of time.

Nannies

“Live-out” nannies in London make between £1600 and £2400/month*, depending on experience.

Live-out nannies with 3 or more years experience averaged above £13* per net hour, while the less experienced made closer to £11* per net hour.

“Live-in” nannies in London make slightly less – an average of about £1400/month*, plus the room and board they will receive.

Nanny sharing is something some people have been able to set up. It is where a nanny is split between two families. The costs become nearly halved per family, resulting in around £850-1200* per month. The difficulty is creating and maintaining such an arrangement.

*Costs calculated using several sources for input, including BabyCentre UK and Little Ones London.

Nurseries

For children aged 2 and under, part-time nursery care in inner London cost an average of £185/week. Full-Time nursery care in inner London cost an average of £343/week.

Part-time nursery care in outer London cost an average of £145/week. Full-time nursery care in outer London cost an average of £269/week.

For children over the age of 2, part-time nursery care in inner London cost an average of £174/week. For full-time the average was £323/week.

For children over the age of 2, part-time nursery care in outer London cost an average of 134/week. For full-time the average cost was £259/week.

All source from London Datastore

Girls in childcare in London explore outdoors.

Childminders

For children 2 and under, part-time childminder care in inner London cost an average of £155/week. For full-time the average was 307/week.

For children 2 and under, part-time childminder care in outer London cost an average of £135/week. For full-time, the average was £260/week.

For children over the age of 2, part-time childminder care in inner London cost an average of £154/week. For full-time the average was £305/week.

For children over the age of 2, part-time childminder care in outer London cost an average of £135/week. For full-time the average was £261/week.

All data sourced from London Datastore

Other forms of childcare

A babysitter in London averages between £8-12/hour. This depends on the neighbourhood. Ofsted registered babysitters are an option for those that require relatively little childcare – maybe a few hours a day a couple times a week.

Preschools are also available, costing around £15 for a session – typically 3 hours.

Au Pairs are live-in caretakers for your children. They usually look after them on a part-time basis and are compensated with room and board and typically a weekly stipend. This averages around £100/week in London.

Using a relative as a means for childcare is another option. While you might be able to get it for free, it isn’t a bad idea to pay. This will increase dependability and establish a more professional relationship in regards to the care of your child. One issue with using a relative, however, is the child often doesn’t develop the social skills that most of the other childcare options offer.

There are some crèches organised in London, as well, but these are difficult to find. Some are set up in working environments. Some are set up between a group of parents. The costs for crèches vary greatly but is generally much higher per hour than a nursery. For example, Cukooz Nest charges £15+/hr.

Source: Money Advice

 

Create a realistic solution that works for you

You will need to develop a plan based on when you need childcare, how many hours per week, where, and with what amenities, activities or social and educational opportunities, and the cost for each childcare option in London. Take into consideration the fact that, if you need childcare outside of typical nursery hours, you will require either a babysitter, childminder or relative to cover for the times when the nursery cannot look after your child.

Preschool children play with a parachute.

Things to consider

Take into account transportation to and from the place where the child is being cared for. Most childcare services do not provide transportation, however, many childminders do.

Also, consider the number of hours you will require in total. Many nurseries charge for full-time and part-time childcare. They will also often charge by a day – around £80/day in London on average. They typically operate starting as early as 7 am (typically 8 am) and ending as late as 7 pm (typically 6 pm). Often early drop-offs and late pick-ups will come with additional costs. If you require childcare outside of this window, there are a couple nurseries offering childcare with earlier drop-offs and later pick-ups. For example, Baytree House Nursery in Catford and Little Angels 24/7. Even these nurseries, however, are only open 42 of the 52 weeks in the year, taking off weeks for holidays such as Christmas.

Consider a childminder

A cost-effective option, which also offers a lot of flexibility is a childminder. With technology being applied to the business of childminding, finding and coordinating with a prospective childminder is easier than ever. With nearly 3000 Ofsted registered childminders in London, it is possible to find childcare for your little loved-one that suits your needs perfectly.

Because childminders often work from their homes, they are more likely to be able to accommodate needs and provide services such as pick-up and drop-off. Due to the sheer quantity of childminders, you are also more likely to be able to find a childminder that will not only nurture your child but will also educate him or her and improve his or her sociability.

How many children to childminders care for?

Childminder spends one-on-one time with child.Registered childminders can look after a maximum of six children up to the age of eight. Among these, no more than three can be under-fives and a single childminder can only have one child under one year old. This ratio includes the childminder’s own children if they are under age eight. The childminder can also hire other Ofsted registered childminders to increase the number of children in their care up to a maximum of 12. Or they may hire non-Ofsted registered assistants who can stay unattended with children for the duration of 2 hours with parental permission. This means that the high adult-to-child ratio will always be maintained. Your children also enjoy a more personalised learning setting with a high level of supervision.

How do childminding costs compare to other types of care?

Because of this, the cost of using a childminder is on average less per hour than any of the other childcare options. £6.20 for inner London and £5.20 for outer London are the average hourly costs per child per hour being looked after by a childminder. This is as much as 30% less than the hourly cost of using a nursery. This, coupled with the fact that childminders are more numerous, many are flexible, offer additional services, and develop more personal relationships with the children they care for, childminding is not only the most affordable but for many, the most accommodating childcare solution.

In addition, a large number of childminders have been certified in early years education. In fact, of registered childminders on Kwicare, around two-thirds have a level-3 certification, meeting the standards of an early years educator.

[Need help finding an Ofsted registered childminder in London? Check out our article for tips on finding the perfect childminder for your family.]

 

Comparing Childcare Cost trends Internationally, in the UK, and in London

The total cost of childcare in the UK is about 0.4% of GDP, while all pre-primary education spending adds up to 1.1% of GDP in the UK according to the Guardian. Total money spent on childcare and early years education are among the highest in the developed world, only Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries spend larger portions of their GDP.

On average, just over a quarter of household net income is spent on childcare in the UK. This is the second highest rate in Europe. The average among developed countries is closer to 13%. The average cost of full-time childcare is approximately half of the average wage of an individual according to the World Economic Forum.

Making Childcare Affordable

Although these numbers make childcare in the UK seem quite expensive, there Child blows bubble in childcare.are plenty of programs which alleviate at least some of the costs of childcare for parents and guardians. These include programs for 2-year-olds, 3&4-year-olds, programmes to aid single-parent households, and further programmes for the financially vulnerable. There are also “tax-free” childcare schemes to aid parents and guardians, as well as the vouchers program, (though it is currently being phased out).

When these government programmes are taken into account, the effective average cost to the consumer is much lower, but for those that do not qualify for these programs, large childcare costs must be resolved by the individuals themselves.

Cost Trends

Childcare costs have risen dramatically over the years. The cost of enrollment in a nursery has doubled since 2005. In London, childcare costs have increased 7.4x the rate of inflation according to the Guardian. Because of income dynamics, cost of living, and the eligibility for childcare assistance, London residents pay among the highest rates for childcare in the world.

While the average child in the UK utilises about £6000 in childcare services in a year, the average cost of a full-time nursery in inner London is about £17500/year, while part-time nursery enrollment averages about £9500/y. Outer London is a little less expensive, with £7500/y for part-time and £14000/y for full-time nursery care being the average. This is calculated according to information on the London Datastore.

 

In Conclusion

Given the cost of childcare in London, and the assorted options available, a childminder is frankly the best place to start in your search for professional, nurturing childcare that will work for you and with you.

Many will have needs outside of the normal business hours and days of operation for nurseries. There is also the issue of availability with nurseries; the most accommodating are the most expensive and most difficult find a spot for your child.

Nannies have a lot of advantage, but for most, a nanny will be cost-prohibitive. Another downside to a nanny is the lack of socialisation that using a nanny provides. Using a nanny will not encourage prosocial behaviour in the same way that a childminder or nursery will.

All things considered, for socialisation, education, cost and accommodations, childminders are a great option. Another advantage is the sheer number of childminders available in London – more than 3000 – making it highly likely that you will be able to find a local childminder that satisfies your needs for a reasonable price and within close proximity to your home or workplace.

Finding An Ofsted Registered Childminder in London

Life in London is exciting, but also demanding. Many Londoners have taxing schedules and occupations that require they push beyond their 40-hour work week. So, what about those with children? Finding daycare in London is a challenge, especially on short notice. Nurseries are an option. However, the number of children in a nursery and their lack of flexibility can make them undesirable. Nannies are another option, but they’re expensive. But have you considered an Ofsted registered childminder?

Childminder provides childcare for children of all ages

Considering An Ofsted Registered Childminder

Childminding is the profession of looking after children on their parent’s behalf, much like a nursery. Ofsted registered childminders in the UK actually outnumber nurseries, so it is likely you have an Ofsted registered childminder close to home! In addition, childminders work out of an Ofsted-inspected home, which children typically find more comfortable. While they do care for other children, the total number is limited and is much less crowded than a nursery. With fewer kids in the group, your child gets more individual attention. Many childminders also have earned certifications from the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and are trained to help kids learn at a very young age.

Ofsted registered childminder teaches children using blocksChildminders are also more flexible and accommodating than nurseries. Many offer diverse hours, as well as pick-up and drop-off services. And, thanks to the limited total number of children, parents and children can develop a more intimate rapport with the minder and will likely feel a greater connection with the childminder’s personal establishment.

A childminder typically watches over children from their own Ofsted-inspected home, encouraging their learning and development. They usually look after up to 6 children, a number which allows for a high degree of engagement and supervision between the childminder and the children they look after (while still keeping it an affordable option).

Evidence from many studies shows that access to high-quality formal childcare during a child’s early years is critical to improving their outcomes and life prospects. With childminding, your child is in a social environment with other children of varying ages. This multi-age, home-away-from-home setting with qualified, caring and vetted educators is a promising beginning to any child’s induction into the real world.

How do I find the right Ofsted registered childminder?

Consider Kwicare. Kwicare is an online platform with over 1,000 childminders in the London area. It provides response-on-demand and scheduled childcare with the best childminders available. All of the professionals on Kwicare are registered with Ofsted/EYFS, and around two-thirds have a level 3 certification or above – a certification which requires training in early childhood development and education.

FlexibilityOfsted registered childminder or parent teaches children on a tablet.

Kwicare is a service which allows you to find an Ofsted registered childminder that suits your needs. Need wrap-around care? A holiday covered? A 7 am drop-off or an ad-hoc session? Kwicare provides professionals available to mind your children in a loving, nurturing environment. Need someone you can trust to look after your children on short notice? Kwicare childminders can cater to your needs.

Choice

Every childminder is different. Each has their own strengths, skills, and availability. Kwicare gives you access to all the childminders in the London area. Some childminders are especially well-suited to care for children with special needs, while others are exceptional early years educators.

Using Kwicare, you can search for childminders that offer the best environment for your child. Once you narrow down your prospects, Kwicare lets you contact them directly to determine if they’re a good fit and to give you an opportunity to ask questions. (Not sure what to ask? Check out our article here.) Childminders are located all across London, so there is always one close by!

The Best Option For You

Ofsted registered childminder reads to a group of children

When considering a childminder with Kwicare, a childminder’s profile goes beyond their basic information. With Kwicare, each profile includes a link to all of the Ofsted reviews conducted on the childminder, as well as the childminder’s residence. The Ofsted review is remarkably detailed and appraises the level of nurturing and support the childminder offers. It also details the inspector’s impression of the childminder’s capacity to keep children safe. The inspector examines how the environment fosters social development, cooperation, and empathy.

The Ofsted inspection gives details about the capacity of the childminder to encourage learning. It explores and comments on activities used to track the child’s language, math, and communication skills, as well as the minder’s understanding and ability. The inspection examines activities geared for entertainment, the availability of toys and play areas, and access to outdoor activities. An inspector observes the minder in his or her work and reviews notes and documents related to each child’s behaviour and learning. In addition, they will converse with the children and provide a survey to the parents for feedback.

Get peace of mind with the power of information on your side. With Kwicare, you can access everything you need to make the right decision for your family. Select a local childminder easily and confidently today.