PROFILE OF NIKKI FULLERTON, CHILDMINDER, DONAGAHDEE
‘Working full time as an account manager for a telecommunication company more often than not I found myself drifting off wondering how my own little daughter was doing at the day nursery. I had mixed emotions; I was very fortunate to be in such a well paid job but money really meant nothing when I fretted day and night about leaving her, especially as she was so very upset when I dropped her off in the mornings’.
‘I can remember the feeling as I pulled up after work and literally sprinted into the nursery to collect her knowing all too soon it would be the morning and I would have to do it all over again. I kept this going for nearly two years until it started to make me ill. I knew I had to do something to change my work life balance but just what to do or how to do it I had no clue’.
‘There was only one thing I knew for certain and that was I needed to work but I wanted to be at home and I wanted to be the one who cared for our daughter.
A chance poster in a local store got me thinking it also got me very excited... Childminding... This was the perfect solution. I contacted NICMA with my initial enquiry and from that first call the advice and encouragement given to me was great.
Just at around the same time redundancy packages were being offered at work and I took this as a sign and I jumped at the chance’.
‘Shortly afterwards I was contacted by the NICMA Childminding Development Officer who told me about a new project about to start and as I lived in Donaghadee I would be eligible to apply for a place. I was successful in my application and I joined the Rural Childminding Project. The projects aim was to recruit new childminders to rural areas. Once the project got under way all of my queries and concerns were addressed. We were supported every step by training including the NICMA ‘Introduction to home based child care’, paediatric first aid and "How to Promote your business" . We were also given a fantastic starter pack that included first aid kit, fire blanket, safety drawer cupboard and plug locks, digital thermometer, a toy and activity chest and contents worth hundreds of pounds and NICMA membership for a year not to mention the support of the Project Co-ordinator Maeve Milne and admin. Support’.
‘In less than 18 months my life had changed dramatically. I am now a registered childminder with 9 children on my books - my own real life jigsaw puzzle where I juggle to make each piece fit perfectly so I never exceed my numbers. Their ages range between 11 months and 11 years. Some are in full time care, others mornings or afternoons and even one who I only look after one hour each day. I never rejected any enquiry due to hours as being flexible has been the key to my success. My home is open from 7am to 6pm and I even offer breakfast and dinner if required.
Childminding is extremely hard work but at the same time extremely rewarding. I now have the joy of bringing our own daughter to and from school. We share our home with other children from different backgrounds and ages. We all are great friends and we all learn from each other’.
‘The best reward for me is when home time comes and parents arrive and my minded children don't want to leave’!!
‘Thank you everyone involved in the Project it has been fantastic’.
CHILDMINDING AND DAYCARE FOR CHILDREN UNDER AGE 12
The ‘Minimum Standards’ were launched in July 12 as a means of providing a consistent level of quality for all childminding and daycare services and to ensure a consistent regional approach to registration and inspection.
There are 2 documents relating to Minimum Standards:
- Childminding and DayCare for Children under age 12 – Minimum Standards – July 12
- Childminding and DayCare for Children under age 12 – Minimum Standards – IMPLEMENTATION GUIDANCE – July 13
The Business Side of Childminding
Got a lot of questions about tax, National Insurance, business records and expenses?
This online tutorial from HMRC will build your confidence by guiding you through everything you need to know to get started. There are useful tips from others who have been where you are now and practical case studies to help you along the way.
Health & Safety App
There is a new series of awareness sessions to promote the new Childminding Health and Safety Mobile App.
These events are aimed at registered childminders and early years social workers to;
- Promote mobile applications as an alternative training option for registered childminders.
- Demonstrate how this app will enable registered childminders to meet the Minimum Standards required for health and safety in a childminding setting for registration and inspection purposes
This initiative is being facilitated by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, NICMA — the Childminding Association and are Supported by the Child Care Partnership