Knutsford Childminding

Sarah Neville - Registered Childminder

March news

During February we have been talking to the children about the people we love and making cards and buns for them as gifts – we hope you enjoyed them! We also learned about birds to follow a child’s interest – we found out that birds and other animals need our help in the winter to stay healthy and warm… lots of fun activities, favourite stories and learning at the same time.

Planning ahead for March, we will be making and eating pancakes (yum) and doing some gardening ready for spring. It is World Storytelling Day – we love storytelling (as well as reading books) and we often use the puppets and small world toys to bring made up stories to life. We will also talk to the children about Mothering Sunday… don’t ask if you want it to be a surprise!

Home learning opportunity – we are going to be planting seeds in the garden this month as long as it doesn’t snow – we have pots ready just in case. Are you doing any planting this year? We will talk about what plants need to grow and we have a few books about the garden to read with the children… if you would like to borrow any please let us know.

Taking learning outside – as you know, we try to get the children outside every day. We are so lucky to have our covered area – and you have all been great sending coats, hats and gloves every day. Please can you check your child’s bag to make sure we have a least one full set of spare clothes – the children often come in wet after their explorations.

Illness and infection – we have a case of hand, foot and mouth (parvo virus) in the house. It is a common childhood infection and not considered excludable if the child is well in themselves – watch out for spots on hands, feet and round the mouth. We follow the guidance from Public Health England -

Dates for your diary – Easter this year falls on Sunday 15th April – we will be off Friday 14th and Monday 17th for the bank holidays. Please let us know about your school holidays (all the schools are different this time) well in advance so we can plan. Thank you!

Thank you for your continued support. Sarah and Nige.

February news

During January we have been talking about the weather and winter and finding out what animals and birds do in the winter. We have updated our seasonal menus with help from the children and everyone was involved in finding out more about which food we eat and when through the year. We have been updating our risk assessments with help from the older children as well.

Planning ahead for February, we will be learning about Chinese New Year through music, role play, food and colours and then moving on to Valentine’s Day which is always fun! We will re-visit winter with some activities linked to how birds cope in the winter months – the children enjoy watching birds out of the window so this will tie in nicely with their current interests.

Home learning opportunity – spot birds when you are out and about and say the rhyme ‘2 little dickie birds sitting on a wall, one named Peter and one named Paul. Fly away Peter, fly away Paul … come back Peter, come back Paul’ together.

Thank you to everyone who donated clothes for our ‘spare clothes’ box – we have lots of little clothes now and would welcome spare play clothes for older children.

Illness reminder – we accept children if they can manage the normal daily routine. If they are too poorly to play outside or go on outings then we will advise you that they need to be at home. The exclusion for diarrhoea and sickness is 48 hours from last bout – we will try to ring you at work and warn you if we think your child might be going downhill and need collecting early so you can prepare. There is more information and exclusion times on the Public Health England website.

Dates for your diary – spring half term - all the schools seem to agree (for once) that half term is w.c 17th February for 1 week. We will be open that week – if you need less or extra sessions please let us know so we can plan our time and menus.

Thank you for your continued support. Sarah and Nige.

January news

Happy New Year to you all! We hope you have had a good break. 

Many thanks to everyone for the very generous gifts we received. 

We hope the children enjoyed showing you their artwork and opening their Christmas presents.

During December we focused on Christmas with lots of songs, stories, puppet shows and crafts. 

Planning ahead for January, we will be talking about the weather and doing lots of snow and ice experiments. Did you watch ‘We’re going on a bear hunt?’ over Christmas with your child? We will be using it as our focus book this month and planning lots of activities linked to the story.

Dates for your diary – spring half term - all the schools seem to agree (for once) that half term is w.c 17th February for 1 week. We will be open that week – if you need less or extra sessions please let us know so we can plan our time and menus.

Illness reminder – there are a lot of bugs this time of year and we know that both hand, foot and mouth and chicken pox are doing the rounds in Knutsford. We do everything we can to keep children free from illness such as focusing on their hand washing with them and teaching them to use a bin for used tissues, cover their noses with a tissue or their elbow when sneezing and coughing etc. If your child is too ill to join in with the day-to-day activities here please keep them at home.

Clothes – please don’t forget to send your child with a warm waterproof coat, gloves and hat through the winter. We are required offer children opportunities to play outside every day and we usually go on walks and school runs, so they need to be warm and dry.

And - thank you to those families who donated spare play clothes – they are very much appreciated!

Home learning opportunity - we will be making the most of the winter weather to teach children about the changes in weather through the seasons and we have a calendar which children use to record weather outside. At home, your child might enjoy looking out of the window every day and telling you what the weather is doing and what they need to wear.

Thank you for your continued support. 

Sarah and Nige.

December news

During November we have been focusing on the weather and changes in the world around us. We have spotted lots of red leaves in the garden which we have used for inspiration and crafts and the children have made a huge collage of autumn ‘finds’ which is displayed proudly on the wall.

Planning ahead for December, we will be talking about Christmas and we have lots of books, crafts, songs and games planned to teach children about this special time of year.

Email dairies – thank you to all parents for your positive feedback about the new emailed diaries – we love receiving your replies to our questions because they help us to better care for your child by allowing us to link into what they are doing and saying at home. If you have any suggestions for ways we can improve the diaries, please let us know.

Menus – Nige has given our menus a revamp after chatting to the children about their likes and dislikes and lots of focus on healthy eating this month. Thank you to all parents who contributed your suggestions. The new example menu is displayed on the noticeboard and parents of young children will continue to be informed what your child has eaten in their emailed diary. The displayed menu is only a guide – we change things regularly depending on availability of ingredients, the chef’s mood on the day and children’s requests. Please let us know if your child/ren make any comments to you at home about the new menu so we can tweak it as we go along.

Goodbye!! We are saying a sad goodbye to xx and xx at the end of the month - after many years coming here mum’s work commitments are changing. We will all miss them and wish them the very best for the future – don’t forget to pop in and see us!

Holidays – our last working day before the Christmas break will be Thursday 22nd. We are taking a week off between Christmas and New Year – back on Tuesday 3rd January (Monday 2nd is a bank holiday).

If you need to make changes to your days or hours in the New Year please let us know as quickly as possible because our ratios are very tight! 

Thank you, Sarah and Nige.

November news

Welcome to November! We hope you all have a good half term – we are sending this newsletter and our invoice early due to our holiday. We will be back and ready to work on Monday 7th November… we will miss our usual bonfire night and firework activities – please let us know if you have been to a display so we can talk about it with your child.

We will be talking about the changing clocks and darker nights with the children. We have some lovely books about sleepy animals which we will read together and our songs for the month will be ‘Sleepy rabbits’ and ‘Sleeping scarecrows’. There is also a fab action song by the Wiggles on YouTube called ‘Rock-a-bye your bear’.

Our November book will be ‘the Gruffalo’ – we will be using the rhythm and rhyme in the books as a focus as well as storytelling. We will be making puppets and re-telling the story in our own words … it will be interesting to see what the little ones make of the activities! If you have any favourite autumn / woodland walks books at home please share!

Illness reminder – please keep your child off for 48 hours if they are sick or have diarrhoea; please keep them at home if they need regular infant paracetamol - we can give the odd dose for teething etc but if they are poorly they really should be home with you. If you are not sure whether to send your child in the morning please ring me or text – I am up from 7.15 am. Thank you!

Autumn / winter menu – we are currently updating our menu. If you have anything you want to share with us about your child’s eating at home / when they are here please let us know.

Keeping warm - we have wooden floors which can be quite cold this time of year if your child takes off their socks. Please consider sending them in tights with those anti-slip things on the bottoms!

Holiday Christmas – we are taking 1 week holiday this year, shutting on Thursday December 22nd.

Thank you to all parents for your continued support.

October news

Welcome to October! We are knee deep in conkers, acorns and leaves (great for sizing and sorting games) and enjoying our autumn activities! We have been talking a lot about the changing seasons and our hedgehog is hibernating – the children keep checking on him in his box…

Books we are reading to teach your children about autumn changes include stories about hedgehogs, squirrels collecting nuts for winter and leaves changing colour. We have puppets and small world toys to help tell the stories and engage the children. Our focus songs this month include ‘Incy, Wincy Spider’, ‘5 little leaves so bright and gay’ and ‘5 little peas in a pea pod pressed’. If you would like any song words please let us know!

The children have spent a lot of time watching 2 spiders making their webs on the drive – they are fascinated with the patterns and we have been doing lots of weaving and threading. At home you might like to try making spiders webs with cooked spaghetti – it sticks to the paper when it’s drying due to the starch so you can make really good designs. White chalk on black paper is good for drawing spiders webs too and the children are practicing drawing lines in different directions which is an essential skill for early writing!

Family celebrations - if you are celebrating something special at home, please let us know. We love getting to know about your child’s home life and chatting to them about special family occasions. If you send us a photo (email or Whatsapp) we can pop it in their photo album as well!

Clothing reminder – please remember to bring a waterproof coat and wellies for your child – we are outside every day and the weather can be very changeable this time of year. If it starts to get chilly please put a hat and gloves in their bag as well… thank you!

Holiday – we are away the first week in November – it is half term for some schools but not for others – please check your diaries and make sure you have childcare covered.

Christmas – we are taking 1 week holiday this year, shutting on Thursday December 22nd.

Thank you for your continued support. 

September news

Welcome to September! The school holidays have flown and we are in ‘back to school’ mode. There will be a few changes this month – xx is leaving for school (we will still see him in the holidays) and xx's baby sister starts with us. We are looking forward to settling into our new routine.

During September we will be thinking about ourselves and our families. Thank you to parents who have given us family photos – we will use them to make an album for each child. We will also talk to the little ones about ‘starting school’ and support them if they are missing the big ones.

A few quick reminders -

  • Payment – we need vouchers paid promptly at the start of the first week of the month because they take a while to process. If you want me to text or email your invoice total so you can set the voucher off, just ask!
  • Things we need - a spare set of clothes including socks for when we do messy / water play; a sun hat for outings and garden play; shoes your child can walk a distance in for when we go to the park; sun cream for sunny days; a light raincoat until it gets cooler / wetter – every session!
  • Late collections – we can normally accommodate late collections but if you are going to be late please let us know because the children worry and we can reassure them.

Changes to details – thank you for making time to check and sign the updated contracts. If any of your emergency contact numbers have changed we won’t be able to ring someone to collect your child if there’s a problem. Please take a moment to look through your child’s emergency form with us.

Policies – we have updated our staff file to include a ‘Staff Behaviour Policy’ as required by a new ‘inspecting safeguarding’ handbook released by DfE. If you would like to see a copy please let us know.

Holidays - we have booked a week away at the end of October – Monday 31st October – Friday 4th November. It’s only 9 weeks away and it might not coincide with some of your school holidays!! Please check!!

Christmas Day is a Sunday this year so we will be available to work up to the end of the week before (to Friday 23rd December) and take off the week from Monday 26th. We will re-start work on Monday 2nd January. If you want any extra hours during December to do your shopping please let us know.

Thank you. 

August news...

Welcome to August! We are back from our honeymoon tanned and relaxed and raring to go!

We hope you all had a good July – the children have enjoyed learning about the weather and we have certainly had plenty of diverse weather to engage them! We have also been talking about picnics and learning to sing teddy bear songs – it wouldn’t be summer without a few teddy bears picnics!

During August we are intending to visit different countries each week and doing lots of activities linked to their culture, music, food, clothes, weather etc. We will be led by the children and their interests and current knowledge and share what we are doing in our email dairies (for the early years children).

Learning at home – why not go through old photo albums with your children and chat about holidays and adventures. This will give them ideas for things they might want to do here - if you want further information about what we are doing, please ask us!

Fees increase – as stated in our Fees Policy, we review all fees in August. Your child’s fees will be increasing from week commencing Sept 5th – you will find a letter confirming your new fees attached to this newsletter. **Note - we will also be talking to individual families about hours / days and fees changes for children who are starting school. If you would like to discuss this further with us, please let us know.

Policies & Procedures – our Policies and Procedures are due to be reviewed and, where necessary, updated this month. However, we are waiting for a revised copy of the Early Years Foundation Stage (our statutory framework) which is due out soon for use from September and will review everything once we have the new document. If you would like a set of Policies and Procedures for your records, please let one of us know and we will email them to you.

Holidays – please ask us for more information.

Thank you for your continued support. Sarah and Nige.

July news...

June has been a busy month, in the early part mostly dodging the rain! We made the most of the wet weather by reading books about rain, using rainwater for outside wet weather games, learning more about umbrellas, measuring rainfall and talking with the older children about the water cycle. When the sun finally came out we took the children on lots of outings to look for evidence of summer and planned group activities to support learning about the new season.

During July, we will continue to find out more about summer, making the most of whatever the weather throws at us. We are also going to be planning a teddy bears picnic with the children so we will focus on all things bear – books, songs, food, bear caves etc!

Learning at home – when you are out and about with your children point out signs of summer and chat about them. We will be talking about garden games, picnics and staying safe in the sun.

Daily diaries – I have had very good feedback from parents after sending out some trial email diaries. Thank you all for taking the time to talk to me. I can type much faster than I write and I can do them straight after tea which means I am freeing up the day to focus on the children. I have made the most of the times that used to be spent writing dairies by planning longer reading sessions in the morning and singing sessions in the afternoon. If you have any questions or concerns about this change, please let me know.

Holidays – please ask us for more information.

Payment dates reminder – can all parents please check their banking / vouchers to ensure our fees are paid promptly. We hand out invoices at the start of the first week of the month for payment by the end of that week. If invoices are not paid on time we cannot pay our bills.

Thank you for your continuing support. Sarah and Nige.

The rhythm of my day... Knutsford Childminding

This is your child's normal daily routine. Of course, routines are flexible and will change depending on the time of year (holiday week routines are quite different) and depending on the child's needs... 

On arrival – my coat, shoes and bag go on a shelf, I have a cuddle and say ‘good morning’ to friends. Sarah or Nige catches up with my parent about what I have been doing at home while I come in and play.

Before school - I have some breakfast if I haven’t eaten at home. I play with my friends - cuddles or cosy places to sit and watch are always available if I am feeling a little delicate.

School run – most days I go to one of the schools round the corner to drop off older friends. I learn a lot on the school run - we talk about the weather and seasons, spot letters, numbers, changes in nature etc.

Morning – we change our calendar and talk about what we are going to do during the morning. Sometimes we go on outings in the local area or further afield and other times we play in the house and garden.

During the day – I am involved in short focussed activities that help me to learn through play, such as finding out about world festivals, reading, singing and dancing, exploring numbers and shapes, preparing food, messy play, construction, role play, being creative, phonics games and exploring nature etc.

Lunchtime – I wash my hands and we all eat together at the table. I choose what I want to eat and help prepare meals, set and clear the table etc as soon as I am old enough.

Afternoon – during lunch we talk about what we have done in the morning and what we are going to do later. We chat about the different games that are available and we choose where we want to play.

One-to-one focus time - I have a one-to-one session with Sarah or Nige during the afternoon to play games of my choice or join in with planned / focus activities to support and challenge my learning.

School run and reading time – most days we collect older friends from school. Before we get coats and shoes on (as independently as possible), I join in with a book reading session with the other children.

After school – there are crafts on the table, things to do and explore in the garden and games to play with my older friends. Older children read their school books or do homework. The time flies before tea!

Tidy up and song time – we all help to put the toys and games away and make everything tidy for the next day. Then we sit together and sing songs and rhymes, often using the musical instruments or dancing.

Tea – I wash my hands and sit at the table. I am encouraged to join in with lots of games at the table and we all chat about our days. We talk about group issues when we are all sitting together as well.

TV and home time – I watch TV until my parents arrive. Sarah has a quick catch up with my parents at the door while I put on my shoes and coat (when old enough) and then I say ‘goodbye’ and leave.

If you have any questions about your child's daily routine please ask us! Sarah and Nige. 

What to expect, when? - a parents guide to the EYFS

You can download a copy of this useful guidance to child development here or we will email you a copy on request.

We will be happy to provide all parents with a printed copy - please ask us if you would like us to purchase one for you.

Thank you. Sarah and Nige. 

SEND local offer - Knutsford Childminding

Written by – Sarah Neville and Nigel Graven

Date – 19th August 2014

From 1st September 2014 there will be legislative changes to the way that children and young people with SEND are assessed and supported. The revised Children and Families Act 2014 – to be used alongside the revised EYFS 2014 and the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 – requires providers to inform parents about their Local Offer, the aim of which is to confirm their future SEND provision. 

About us - Sarah Neville and Nigel Graven work together as Ofsted registered childminders from Sarah’s house, also known as Knutsford Childminding. Sarah has been childminding for 20 years (2004) and Nigel joined her in the business 4 years ago (full time from April 2014).

Between us we have a lot of experience and knowledge of working with children who have special educational needs and disabilities and we are happy to access further training to support our learning. We are committed to working closely with parents and other professionals involved in a child’s life to support their ongoing needs and we are confident that we can support all children to reach their full potential.

About our provision - we are open from 730am – 6pm 4 days a week (Monday to Thursday) and care for children aged from 0 – 12 years. We offer evening and weekend babysitting and extended hours / days are sometimes available on request. Our setting is fully set up for childminding and we take the children on regular outings to experience the local community and meet other children at groups. Sarah is registered to offer funded spaces for 2, 3 and 4 year olds through Cheshire East.

Our commitment to providing inclusive care - we are inclusive providers and welcome all babies and children. We do not discriminate against children or adults who want to access our provision. We aim to work very closely with parents and other settings / agencies involved in the child’s life to support their individual learning and development.

Positive relationships – we aim to work in close partnership with parents and other agencies (as appropriate) to help us meet the needs of each child in our care. We ask parents to provide us with information about their child and keep this updated regularly. We share details with parents about how we deliver the EYFS in our provision and use our robust cycle of observations, assessments and individual planning to ensure children’s learning and development is fully supported. We welcome feedback from parents and other agencies to inform our service.

Enabling environments – our provision (the house and garden) is ideally suited to providing all babies and children with high quality care and learning experiences. We are prepared to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to our provision as required by the Equality Act 2010 if requested to meet a child’s needs. We are as anticipatory as possible and have a written inclusion audit for parents and Ofsted to read on request.

Supporting children - we are confident that we are able to identify if a child is not meeting appropriate age related milestones. We regularly assess children’s progress and write a 2 year progress check for each child as required by the EYFS. If children have or are going through the process of getting an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, we ask parents to involve us as fully as possible so we can provide support for their child.

Safeguarding every child - our safeguarding procedures, which are shared with every parent, are robust and include a statement about keeping children with SEND safe and monitoring their wellbeing. Our positive behaviour management strategies support every child and we are keen to work with parents to help them manage children’s behaviour effectively.

Accessing further support - we have close links with our Local Authority if we need to access additional help for children and the local Children’s Centre is available for parents to seek further advice.

Please do not hesitate to speak to us if you would like further information or to read our SEND policy. 

About the EYFS

Parents, please find an information sheet below about the revised EYFS.

If you have any further questions about the EYFS or how we use it in our day-to-day work with your child, please do not hesitate to ask us.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support.

Summer is here!

The warmer weather is coming and we need to be ready!!

Parents, you have all been brilliant already – we have found sun cream in all the children’s bags – it is now labelled with their name and date of birth in case we need to take it on outings. If we need you to replace it we will give you as much notice as possible.

We do have our own Factor 30 hypoallergenic sun cream and you have all given us written permission to use it on your child in an emergency – if you would like to talk to us about this permission please let us know. 

Please make sure that hats and sun cream are always in children’s bags – a lightweight rain coat will also be useful to help us manage the British weather.

Here is our sun protection checklist to demonstrate our commitment to keeping your child safe and healthy during the warmer weather…

□ Sun cream on – each child has their own sun cream put on before outside play and regularly through the day. Older children are encouraged to do their own (we supervise).

□ Shady areas of the garden are available and we monitor children through the day to make sure they are not too hot, encouraging them to drink and rest in the shade as needed.

□ We have sun shade covers on all the buggies and where possible avoid going out for walks during the hottest parts of the day.

□ Hats on – no hat = no outside play – the children learn very quickly!

□ There is a big fan and an air cooler which we keep running when needed – and the conservatory is fitted with a special heat diffusing roof.

□ Fresh drinking water is always available and accessible in the children’s cups. Babies are offered water regularly.

□ We stay inside the house or in full shade outside during the hottest parts of the day.

□ We have sun shades on the car windows and air conditioning in both cars.

□ Our menus will be adapted for the hot weather and we understand that children often need less main meal and more light snacks when they are hot.

□ Children’s skin is fragile and needs to be covered – strappy shirts will be covered by one of our t-shirts.

□ Open toed sandals and flip flop type shoes can often cause accidents. Please make sure your child is good at walking in them because we go outside every day and want to minimise trips and falls.

□ After school we offer ice pops - home-made by Nige so we know they are full of goodness.

□ We are aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and watch out for them.

□ Children are taught to ‘slip, slap, slop’ and a poster is displayed on the conservatory door to remind them and further support their learning.


If you have any questions about our sun protection checklist please ask us! Thank you. 


After lots of fiddling around I have finally managed to link a brochure about some of the services we offer at Knutsford Childminding to my website!

I hope you find it useful...


Thank you to Tina at Tina Freeman Illustrations for the lovely picture.  I hope Mrs Ofsted approves!

If you would like any further information about Knutsford Childminding please do not hesitate to contact us.

Packing children's bags

Please can we remind you that we need to find the following items in your child's bag -

·     At least one complete change of clothes for your child, suitable for the current weather conditions. This might include extra layers in the winter months and t-shirts and shorts in the summer.

If your child is toilet training we will need AT LEAST three pairs of trousers / leggings, pants / knickers and spare tops - and please don't forget socks.

·     4 or 5 disposable nappies - we try to keep a few spare here so we do not run out.  We change children mid morning, after lunch, mid afternoon and before leaving at the end of the day and need extra in case of soiling at other times.

·     Please throw in a pack of baby wipes once a month. We go through them like water and really should have shares in the companies which make them.

·     Nappy cream if you want us to use it on your child. We can keep it here in a labelled tube if you prefer. We are advised against using pots because of the risk of cross contamination.

·     A small plastic bag in which we can place any soiled or wet clothing for you to take home and wash.

·     Appropriate food if you want us to give your food. If you are sending meat please let us know by labelling the pot so we can make sure it is heated appropriately and given time to cool before serving. We supply all cutlery and crockery but will use yours if you wish.

·     Sun cream for all sunny days - this must be labelled with your child?s name, date of birth and date of purchase. Please note that most sun creams only last for 1 year (you will see a picture of a lid with 12M on the back) and then need to be discarded.

       Note: if you think your child might need infant paracetamol such as Calpol during the day or you think they are teething and might need medication, please remember that we must have written permission from you before it is administered. If you do not send paracetamol and your child?s temperature rises, we are required to ring you and ask you to collect your child - we cannot administer medication not pre-signed for and supplied by you.

Any other medication such as inhalers will be labelled, stored securely and administered through the day as required by your child, following your instructions. Please look out for notes in your child?s bag when we need medication updated or replaced.

·     Some parents like to send slippers or slipper socks for their child. These are welcomed but please check they are non-slip first because our floors are mostly wood and if children run in some makes of socks they slide around!

Your child will also need a suitable coat and other bits and bobs such as gloves, hats and scarves through the winter months. In summer we find lightweight pack-a-mac style coats work well and we always have blankets and buggy snuggles in case it gets cooler during the day (for the non-walkers). In winter please provide a thicker warm waterproof coat - non walkers will be under the buggy rain cover but older children will be walking. Remember we go outside and use the garden in ALL weather conditions and have school pick ups every day - even in the rain and snow!

PLEASE - check the contents of your child's bag regularly! Please do not leave adult items such as purses, memory cards, coins, lighters, jewellery, medication etc in bags and please remove small toys which children might ask for during the day but be unable to share.

Please also take children?s works of art, cards etc out of their bags and talk to your child about them - they have been created with care especially for you and your child was very proud of their achievement.

Thank you.

Revised EYFS - information for parents

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) has been updated!  The new version is available online for you to view on the Department of Education website for the EYFS.

There is also a parents page on the new Foundation Years website which you might find interesting.

The revised EYFS contains the legal requirements and guidance information which we have use to make sure we meet your child’s needs.  There will be a few changes to the EYFS which we will be introducing to you over the next few months so that, when the revisions become law on 1st September, there will be a smooth transition from the old version to the new.

One of the main changes for parents is the amount of input you will be asked to give into your child’s learning experiences while they are with us. At the moment we involve you in lots of different ways - the new EYFS is asking us to think of new things to share with you and come up with new ways of asking you for information about what your child is doing and saying at home.

Another new requirement of the revised EYFS is for us to write a ‘2 year progress check’ for your child which ties in with their health visitor check at age 2 - 3.  We will liaise with you about the best time to write your child’s progress check and we will be asking you for lots of input.

We look forward to sharing more information about the revised EYFS with you over the coming months. In the meantime, if you have any questions please let us know.

Thank you!

HPA guidance - heatwave advice

Parents, we are taking every precaution to ensure your child is safe and healthy during the current extremely hot weather. We remove clothing, give children lots of home made ice pops, remind children to drink regularly (and change nappies more often!), replace water in cups through the day, keep children in the cooler parts of the house during the hottest parts of the day, have 2 big fans and insist on a 'no hat = no outside play' policy.

Children have sun cream re-applied through the day and always before going outside. We are keeping the conservatory cool with open windows and the fans and bringing children (and their toys) into the house if it gets too hot (we have thermometers on all walls).

We are aware that children react to the heat in different ways and we are alert to any changes in their wellbeing through the day. We will make every effort to contact you as quickly as possible if we feel that your child is suffering adversely from the after effects of the sun or heat.

Thank you. Sarah and Nigel.


The following information is taken from -


Looking after School children and those in Early Years settings during heat waves: Guidance for Teachers and Other Professionals

High temperatures affect people of all age groups and climate change is likely to lead to an increase in heat waves throughout the UK. Temperatures both outdoors and indoors may rise to such an extent that precautions to prevent children suffering from heat stress or heat exhaustion may need to be taken.

The Department of Health publication ‘Heatwave – A guide to looking after yourself and others during hot weather’ provides advice on what to do under such circumstances; the advice given here focuses specifically on children and is provided for teachers, school nurses, assistants and others looking after children in schools, nurseries, Sure Start children’s centres and other early years settings, including childminders. It will also be of use to those involved in the provision of before or after-school childcare, clubs and to parents. This advice should be followed during periods of hot weather, but it is particularly important if a Level Amber or Red Heatwave Alert is announced.  In the event of such an alert, health organisations and local authorities will be alerted by the Met Office


  • On very hot days (ie where temperatures are in excess of 30°C), children should not take part in vigorous physical activity.
  • Children playing outdoors should be encouraged to stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Loose, light-coloured clothing should be worn to help children keep cool and hats of a closed construction with wide brims should be worn to avoid sunburn.
  • Thin clothing or sun cream should be used to protect skin if children are playing or taking lessons outdoors for more than 20 minutes.
  • Children must be provided with plenty of cool water *and encouraged to drink more than usual when conditions are hot.
    *The temperature of water supplied from the cold tap is adequate for this purpose.


Measures to avoid classrooms and other teaching spaces becoming unnecessarily hot are as follows.

  • Windows and other ventilation openings should be opened during the cool of early morning or preferably overnight to allow stored heat to escape from the building. It is important to check insurance conditions and the need for security if windows are to be left open overnight.
  • Windows and other ventilation openings should not be closed, but their openings reduced when the outdoor air becomes warmer than the air indoors. This should help keep rooms cool whilst allowing adequate ventilation .
  • Use outdoor sun awnings if available, or indoor blinds, but do not let solar shading devices block ventilation openings or windows.
  • Keep the use of electric lighting to a minimum during heat waves.
  • All electrical equipment, including computers, monitors and printers should be switched off when not in use and should not be left in ‘standby mode’. Electrical equipment, when left on, or in 'standby' mode generates heat.

For further information on reducing temperatures within school buildings and grounds see the background information page, and the Department of Health's Heatwave Plan 2008.

Maintaining children’s health during hot weather conditions

  • Encourage children to eat normally.
  • Encourage children to drink plenty of cool water* on hot days.
    *The temperature of water supplied from the cold tap is adequate for this purpose.

Other actions that can be taken include the following:

  • If possible, rearrange school start and finish times to avoid teaching during very hot conditions.
  • Use classrooms or other spaces which are less likely to overheat in preference to others, and adjust the layout of teaching spaces to avoid direct sunlight on children.
  • Oscillating mechanical fans can be used to increase air movement if necessary.

Which children are likely to be most affected by high temperatures?

Children’s susceptibility to high temperatures varies; those who are overweight or who are taking medication may be at increased risk of adverse effects. Children under four years of age are also at increased risk.

Some children with disabilities or complex health needs may be more susceptible to temperature extremes. The school nurse, community health practitioner, family health visitor or the child’s specialist health professional may be able to advise on the particular needs of the individual child. Schools need to provide for children’s individual needs. Support staff should be made aware of the risks and how to manage them.

Actions to take if heat stress or heat exhaustion is suspected

Teachers, assistants and school nurses should look out for signs of heat stress and heat exhaustion.

Heat stress

Children suffering from heat stress will show general signs of discomfort (including those listed below for heat exhaustion). These signs will worsen with physical activity or if left untreated and can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion

Signs of heat exhaustion include the following.

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Hot, red and dry skin.


Sweating is an essential means of cooling and once this stops a child is at serious risk of developing heatstroke. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion or heat stress is left untreated, but it can also occur suddenly and without warning.

The following steps to reduce body temperature should be taken at once.

  • Move the child to as cool a room as possible.
  • Sponge the child with cool, (not cold) water and, if available, place cold packs around the neck and in the armpits.
  • Place the child near a fan.

If a child shows signs of confusion, follow the steps above. If a child loses consciousness, place the child in the recovery position and follow the steps above. In both cases, call 999 or 112 for emergency medical assistance.

If sensible precautions are taken children are unlikely to be adversely affected by hot conditions.

The school sun policy

This should include the provision for requesting permission from parents and guardians to allow their child to have their face, arms and legs sponged with cool water if heatstroke is suspected.


Toilet training reminder for parents

Toilet training

Before children are ready to be toilet trained they need to be able to…

·         Understand the warning signs in their bodies which tell them that a wee or poo are coming

·         Clearly tell an adult that they need to go to the toilet

·         Wait, sometimes up to a few minutes, if the toilet or potty is not immediately accessible or the adult is busy with another child

·         Be able to push down and pull up their own pants and trousers

By watching and listening to the child, adults will be able to spot whether the times between the child filling his nappy are lengthening – this is one sign of being ready for toilet training. The child should then be encouraged to tell the adult that they need a nappy change. This will help the child to be ready to communicate that he needs the toilet.

If a child goes into hiding during or after filling his nappy, refuses or is unable to acknowledge that he has done a wee or poo, fights the nappy changing process or is unable to verbally indicate that he needs the toilet then he may need a little longer before he is ready to be trained.

A child is not toilet trained if he is taken to the toilet regularly through the day by adults rather than informing adults he needs the toilet; if he refuses to do a poo in the toilet; if he waits all day to use the toilet at home rather than using the toilet in the provision or if he wets or soils himself constantly through the day.

Childminder’s houses and nurseries settings can be very distracting for children who are toilet training because routines are different from home, so it is important that the toilet training process begins at home and that the child is mostly clean and dry through the day for at least a week before he arrives at the provision wearing pants. 

I am happy to support the parents of children who have started the toilet training process at home. I have a potty which doubles as a step for the toilet as some children prefer to miss out the potty stage completely.  I also have a variety of books and props to use with the child so that he learns about potties and toilets and is comfortable with the process.

In the initial stages of training, parents will need to supply plenty of changes of clothes including socks and pull ups for outings.

Thank you to parents for your continued support.

Severe weather information

Risk assessment and further information...

‘Severe weather’ covers conditions such as snow, ice, fog, floods which render extremely hazardous journeys by foot, road, or public transport.

Outings – if I feel a child might be endangered by going out in the car, we will not go; if I feel a child might be endangered by going out on foot, we will not go. If this means a child missing school, I will make every effort to contact the school and the child’s parents to inform them of my decision.

If we are on a walking outing and the weather conditions deteriorate, I will make every effort to get home safely. If this seems impossible, I will take the children with me to a friend’s house (if we are walking, we will be local and I have lots of friends locally who are usually in during the day) and make every effort to contact parents from there to reassure them we are safe.

If we are on a car outing and the weather conditions deteriorate, I will stop when it is safe to do so and take advice from the emergency services. I will not leave children alone and I will protect them as much as possible from the effects of the weather by carrying blankets, coats, drinks, snacks etc in the car.

Collecting children – if I am due to collect a child from school and I do not feel it is safe for me to go out with the children, I will make every effort to contact the school and the child’s parents and take advice from emergency services as appropriate.

Heating – if my heating goes off during inclement weather conditions, I will make every effort to contact parents for them to come urgently to collect their children if the indoor temperature drops below a safe level. I have electric fires which can be safely used as long as the electricity is still on. If parents cannot be contacted I will follow my emergency procedure. I will make sure children are kept safe.

Clothes – if children do not arrive in suitable clothes for outdoor play, we will have to stay inside. This is in direct contravention of the EYFS, which states that I must allow children free access to the outside area every day. Parents are asked to provide gloves, scarves, hats, wellingtons, waterproof coats and spare clothes.

My drive – my drive might be slippy, which would cause users to fall. I will do everything in my power to keep it safe for use by salting it in the morning. However, I cannot go outside to salt it if I am also looking after children, so it might get slippy through the day. I recommend parents wear suitable footwear and take extra care. Our insurance company confirms that we are not liable for falls caused by ice on our property as long as we have taken all reasonable care to minimise the risk.

School closures – if schools close, I will normally be able to collect children. Parents need to make sure the schools have my contact details so I can act as emergency contact and they need to keep me informed. If schools close and children are here, waiting to go to school (breakfast club) I will keep them with me through the day and make every effort to inform parents. Normal daily fees will be charged as noted on your fees schedule. If you would prefer to have your child collected, please discuss this with me as the person collecting will need a password if I do not know them.

Weather forecast – if the weather forecast deteriorates during the day, I will make a decision based on the children’s safety about whether or not they go outside. In some situations, for example if I feel the wind chill factor will hurt their skin, we will stay inside. I will ensure active activities are planned so that children get their normal exercise.

Police advice – if the police advise against going outside, or driving, then I will follow this information. This might mean I cannot take children on pre-organised appointments or drop them at nursery / pre-school / school etc. I will make every effort to keep in touch with parents and other settings as appropriate. Children will remain with me unless parents wish to collect / have them collected.

Closing – I will do everything possible to stay open during severe weather. However, if advised by police or other bodies, I might have to close my childminding setting. I will follow advice and make every effort to keep parents up-to-date at all times. If I am open for business then I charge my normal rates - if I am forced to close any money paid to me in advance will be refunded.

Late arrival of parents – if parents are delayed by inclement weather, they must inform me as soon as possible and keep me updated about their journey. Their child will be kept safe and reassured during this time.

Electricity – if my electric goes off, my walk about phone will stop working. My heating /hot water is powered by gas. I have a spare phone which will work without needing to be powered by electricity. I also have a full charged mobile phone.

Hypothermia – when playing outside with children, I will make sure they wear appropriate clothing to keep them warm and encourage them to keep moving around. If I do not consider it is safe to go out with the children, we will stay indoors.  If a child appears to be reacting to the cold (blue lips, uncontrollable shivering etc) I will bring them inside, warm them up gently using hot drinks and blankets and seek medical advice. I will make every effort to contact parents as soon as the child’s condition has stabilised – the child must be my first priority.

Footwear – if children’s shoes / boots do not have soles suitable for severe weather conditions, they might fall more than usual during outings, garden play etc. Parents are responsible for ensuring children’s footwear is a good fit and suitable for the weather conditions. If a child has an accident, I will follow my accident policy.

Advice from the police for travelling in cars in inclement weather conditions –

·         Carry a small spade / shovel;

·         Have blankets on the back seat (not boot in case the lock freezes);

·         Wear or take a thick winter coat and sturdy winter boots and take hats and gloves;

·         Make up a flask with a warming drink before starting on your journey and take enough cups for the children to share;

·         Ensure mobile phones are fully charged and in credit;

·         Make sure you have plenty of petrol, in case your journey is delayed and the police advise you to stay in your vehicle;

·         Do not attempt to complete a journey by walking – follow police advice and stay with your car;

·         Contact the emergency services if you are concerned about driving conditions.

If parents have any concerns about my severe weather information, please do not hesitate to contact me and ask for further clarification. Our aim as always is to keep everyone safe and we will do this to our best ability. 

Thank you.

High winds - risk assessment

I have updated our severe weather risk assessment (see below) to include the following information about high winds...

Risk assessment – severe winds

Written by – Sarah Neville

Date – Mon 12th September

This RA has been written because much of the UK has been battered by high winds as a result of a hurricane in America. Trees were falling and other debris was being blown around.

Those at risk – children, adults, babies in buggies

Hazard / risk / control

Falling branches / crushed people when walking / watch out for branches; walk on other side of the road where possible

Cars swerving to avoid obstacles / car accidents / walk to the side of the path where possible

Leaves and other debris blowing around / eye or face damage / teach children to put their arms across their faces when the wind gusts; use the rain cover on the buggy

Tiles falling from house roof / hurt adults and children / tiles have been checked for safety by builders recently; be aware of dangers as walking around town

Big gusts of wind / children or buggies blown over / children to hold onto buggy

Toys blowing around the garden / hurt children / check garden safety on a minute by minute basis and close the door if necessary

Debris blowing off roofs / squashed children or adults / we do not store ladders etc on roofs

Garden toys blowing around / hurt children / check garden safety on a minute by minute basis and close the door if necessary

Fences and other debris blowing into garden from over the fence / hurt children or adults / check wind speed on a minute by minute basis and close the door if necessary

Internal doors slamming / hurt fingers etc / use sturdy wedge on living room door; fix playroom door to wall; stand next to back door when it is open

Notice board blowing off the wall when door is opened / bumps and bruises / if the notice board is likely to fall, take it down

Car blown across the road / car accident / do not use car in high winds

Review date – as necessary


Healthy Eating Award

Nige and I are very proud to inform parents that we have been awarded a 'Golden Apple Healthy Eating' award from Macclesfield Borough Council!

The children helped us to complete some very in-depth paperwork to apply for the award before Christmas.

The Environmental Health Officer visited today.  She was very complimentary about the way we run the kitchen, our menus and the healthy eating ethos here.

We now have a golden apple statuette and a lovely certificate to go with our 'Wildlife Friendly Garden' one!

I must remember to buy some frames at the weekend!

Thank you to all parents for your continuing support. We couldn't do it all without you and your wonderful children!

Sarah and Nige xx

Blogs & newsletters

I have a couple of blogs -

There is a blog and monthly newsletter for childminders who want to stay independent of agencies on my Independent Childminders website.

You can also find some of my blogs at Knutsford Childminding Blogspot.

I use my blog to talk about lots of childminding related subjects from the latest e-books I have launched to general childminding and early years news.

I hope you find the blogs and newsletters interesting and useful! If you would like to do a reciprocal blog please ask... if you would like to submit an article for a blog please contact me...