Knutsford Childminding

 Sarah Neville - Registered Childminder

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.

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.


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 used 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 homemade 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 respond to 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 Nige.

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.

Severe weather 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 fully 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.

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