28th October 2021 All Posts

Ask The Expert – Episode Six: Elaine Pitteway

Catch up on our interview with Elaine Pitteway, Executive Director at Childminding UK.

Earlier this year, we launched a new blog series called ‘Ask the Expert’ – which provides a platform for all Early Years (EY) professionals to share their experiences and advice with the industry, on their chosen specialist subject. We’re now building upon the success of the written series by including video interviews with our chosen guests, so you can choose to either watch, read, or listen in your own time.

At the recent Childcare and Education Expo event, we interviewed Elaine Pitteway, Executive Director at Childminding UK. In this video, Elaine shares her top tips for providers who are still finding their feet with the new EYFS Guidance. She also explains some benefits of implementing a CPD plan as a childminder and shares her knowledge and advice for new childminders who are just setting up.

Watch here or read up on the article below.

Tell us a little bit about your early years sector background…

I do have nursery management experience but my heart is definitely in home-based childcare. I started childminding in 1988 and formed Northamptonshire Childminding Association in 1991 by and for local working childminders in Northamptonshire. We now support childminders across the country with training, resources and support created by our experts exclusively for childminders.

What top tips do you give to childminders over the next few months as they are still finding their feet with the new guidance?

My advice would be – don’t panic. Reassure yourself and your peers that all the new EYFS has done is draw together things you are used to working with. The main focus is the changes to the early learning goals – so it’s just a matter of getting used to the new goals, planing how you’re going to manage your children’s learning and development and deciding what documentation you need/want to keep. 

What are some of the benefits of childminders Continuing Professional Development?

From my own experience of being a childminder, I’ve learned that you can never know everything about all children. It doesn’t matter how many children come through your doors, one of them will always do something different to another. Practice also changes. Whether that’s with new statutory guidance or with new ideas like forest schools and outdoor learning for instance – there’s always something new to learn about. 

It’s important to stay on the ball as I find it’s really easy to get stuck in your ways. You can do just one training course and it will give you some inspiration and motivation to switch things up a bit. So definitely keep it up.

What advice would you give to a childminder just setting up?

Childminding can be quite isolating at times and I find that when you’re on your own, it’s hard to know where to go for support. There are places where childminders meet up such as childminding groups and toddler groups so I would advise that you try to meet peers that way.

I would also advise that childminders join a membership like childminding UK. That way you will always have expert support at the other end of the phone. Our Membership includes certified online training, downloadable forms and resources, expert telephone support, discounted public liability insurance and a free Home Childcare magazine subscription.

What are your wishes for the Sector this academic year?

  • I would like the two and three and four-year-old funding to be at a level that’s sustainable for all childcare providers,
  • I would really like the Government to listen to some of the endless research on how making a difference in the early years actually impacts children through the rest of their lives. 
  • I would love for childminders to get the recognition that they deserve as professionals and early childhood education to get the same recognition as schools from the Goverment – but there really is a long way to go.

About Childminding UK

Childminding UK offers professional support to Ofsted registered childminders, promoting high-quality home-based childcare through education and training. They support and work in partnership with children and families in every community to ensure that they have access to high-quality childcare, enabling children to reach their full potential.

To find out more about Childminding UK, visit their website or find them on Facebook or Twitter. 

In Episode 7 of our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, we welcome Dr John Siraj-Blatchford Director of SchemaPlay. In the interview, John explains the SchemaPlay pedagogy, how settings can use knowledge of schemas to improve children’s learning environment and how childcare settings can engage parents in dialogue about children’s play and learning.

If you’d like to take part in our ‘Ask the Expert’ video series, please contact our marketing team via marketing@connectchildcare.com.

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About the Author

Marketing Lead at Connect Childcare