When florist Rebecca became a mum to baby Willow, she needed to find a more flexible job she could do from home. Her experience of nannying when she first moved to the UK from New Zealand inspired her to research working as a childminder. We spoke to Rebecca about how she made the switch…
What made you want to work with children?
“My mum ran a nursery from her home when I was growing up and my sister works in education, so I think it must be the family trade! I’ve always liked children and when I moved over to London from New Zealand I did some nannying (as well as working in pubs!). Then I became a florist but when I had my daughter, I knew I couldn’t be going to flower markets while my partner was working too, and for me the whole point of having a child was to be able to raise her and be at home with her for as long as possible before she started school. I also knew that parents in my area were desperate for good childminders and they all had long waiting lists.”
How did you know that training with tiney was for you?
“It was a long build-up! When I figured out that I wanted to work with children, I started researching my options and, after talking to friends, I decided I wanted to do it with an agency. I found tiney via Google and it appealed to me because, having been through the whole Ofsted process before with my nannying, I knew that setting up could be daunting, so I loved that tiney would take care of this side of things. I like having tiney to refer to when it comes to things like policies and contracts and the back-up of a company behind me. It also helps me set boundaries with families, which can be hard when working casually as a nanny.”
Did you find training hard, particularly with such a young child at home?
“No, because you guys basically told me what to do and I didn’t have to organise anything! It was great being given checklists of tasks to complete. I could still look after my daughter, run the house and tiney would be like ‘OK, now you need to do this!’ in little bite size chunks. That was my pull towards tiney. I kept wondering “Where’s the catch?” but there isn’t one, and that was the best part of it. It was so different from the nightmare of paperwork when I’d been registering with Ofsted as a nanny a few years previously. I remember spending so long trying to figure out what to do and I just didn’t have enough time. With tiney it’s different - it's just so easy. You don't need to worry about organising the training - it's there! You just do it!”
What did you enjoy most about the training process?
“The training on learning through play was my favourite part of the process. I love that tiney is rebranding childminding as home nurseries because childminders do all the same work as a nursery but don’t always get credit for it. I was concerned about whether I would be able to give the same learning environment that a nursery would, so I loved that the training kept coming back with play is learning - the little things like when you're playing with beads, count the beads, talk about the colours… that is all learning. It was emphasised that it was a learning atmosphere and we should be teaching and working on the kids’ education, but that it was done through playing and it didn't have to be this scary thing.”
How well-supported do you feel with tiney?
“I haven’t had a bad experience! Contacting the team is so easy; if I email someone gets back to me so quickly, plus it’s great being able to use the app to talk to the community. I had lots of questions around drawing up a contract during Covid 19 for a key worker who was stuck in Australia, and Lisa from tiney was just so helpful. I like that we’re all professionals but we can chat casually and be friendly. Every time I’ve spoken to or met someone from tiney, there’s been a friendly vibe and just this overwhelming feeling of being welcoming and helpful.”