Everything you wanted to know about childminding, how tiney operates as an Ofsted registered childminder agency and more.
Solving the childcare puzzle for your family can be really overwhelming and, while we’re confident that tiney childminders are often the perfect solution, we know you might have questions and doubts. Since the average person on the street has no idea what childminders really do, we thought it was time to share the facts and bust a few of the biggest misconceptions we often hear…
If your vision of childminders dates back to your own childhood, when your mum’s friend would help out with school runs, think again - a childminder is an early years professional who takes care of a small group of children, of varying ages, in their home.
Sadly, a lot of childminders have left the profession over the last 30 years - but this trend is beginning to reverse, as families realise the unique advantages of entrusting their children with childminders, and potential childminders realise they can earn a good living from home, around the needs of their own families, while changing children’s lives and preparing them for school. In fact, tiney is the only part of the early years sector to grow over the past few years: all signs point to a childminding revolution!
Don’t worry - unlike nannies, childminders work from their own homes, not yours. And that’s the beauty of it - you can find a homely setting near your house, but without your little ones getting under your feet while you’re trying to work. With so many of us changing our working environments and patterns over the past couple of years, it can be the perfect compromise: flexible and hyperlocal childcare, but without the tidy-up time at the end of the day!
All childminding settings, whether they’re with an Ofsted-registered agency like tiney or run independently, are regulated in the same way that bigger nurseries are. First aid training is mandatory, all tiney childminders and their household members are fully DBS checked, and their homes are thoroughly inspected by our world class safeguarding and quality team (in fact, we inspect all of our tiney homes at least once a year, while Ofsted usually only come out every three years).
We know there’s nothing more important than knowing your children are being cared for in a safe, loving environment, so it’s our number one priority too.
Think again! Of course, there can be regional variations, but generally, thanks to lower overheads and minimal staff churn, the hourly or day rate you’ll pay your childminder is slightly lower than nursery fees. This means choosing a childminder is a great value choice for parents, as well as offering more flexibility. Despite this, your childminder has the potential to earn much more than a typical nursery practitioner - and we strongly believe at tiney that early years educators do a very important job and deserve to be compensated fairly for it.
Plus, as tiney are an Ofsted-registered agency and work with local authorities, you’ll still have access to the same schemes, such as Tax Free Childcare and funded hours, as you would at a nursery.
All our childminders pay tiney a membership fee, and that fee is included in the childcare rate you pay. This means that the ongoing rate you pay is the rate you see advertised - with no hidden extras! The only additional charge to families, which may apply on certain contract types, is a one time up front joining fee of £59 payable direct to tiney. This covers some of our essential on-boarding costs, but there are many exclusions where it won't be charged (for example if you're using the 15 hours scheme, or if the contract is for wraparound, short term, or emergency care, then you won't pay to join). Plus, on every single tiney contract (even if you don't pay to join) you'll get amazing inclusive benefits like an Online GP for you and your whole family, and exclusive discounts at tiney partners.
Paying for your care is super simple too - with everything handled through the tiney app. tiney supports Tax-Free Childcare, 15/30 free hours, and all other major childcare payment schemes.
Childminding has been through a major overhaul over the past couple of decades. tiney childminders are early years educators, not babysitters, and they’re passionate about giving children the best start in life, following the same “curriculum” - the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) - that nurseries and preschools do. tiney’s education philosophy, which all of our community follow, is centred around learning through play.
Through stories, songs, creativity and regular outdoor activities, all tiney homes offer a warm, stimulating environment full of social interaction and fun. Screens are used sparingly, if at all, and only ever to kick off wider learning opportunities.
In our view (and the evidence backs it up!) one of the biggest advantages of childminding settings compared to other kinds of care is that children get to mix with different age groups. Most tiney childminders care for a range of kids (often including their own), from babies and toddlers needing full-time care to school-age children requiring wraparound care before and after school - and everything in between!
We hear so many heartwarming stories of the littlest ones learning from their bigger playmates, and schoolchildren showing off their caring side by nurturing the babies; it’s like a ready made family! This might mean younger children go on school runs (although many tiney childminders also employ assistants to help them manage the wraparound juggle), but more often than not they love getting out and about, and it prepares them well for their own school days too.
Of course, on a practical level the biggest advantage for parents is that childminding settings are perfect for families with more than one child, meaning one pick up, one payment, and the comfort and security of children being cared for alongside their siblings (and we have it on good authority that they don’t tend to squabble half as much as they do at home…).
Historically, paperwork has been one of the biggest headaches for childminders, and even a reason many of them have left the profession - but this is also why so many childminders now choose tiney. Our app is a one stop shop for everything you and your childminder need when it comes to your child’s care - from slick payment transactions and policies to the fun stuff… sharing photos and updates from your little one’s day in our learning journal.
We know you’re busy and so are our childminders, so keeping everything in one place makes life easier for everyone… plus it means those all-important daily updates won’t get lost in a pile of adorable artwork!
We hear you - and this has become an increasingly important question over the past couple of years, given Covid’s habit of messing with everyone’s schedules. The great news is, at tiney our childminders aren’t lone wolves. Our fast-growing, well-connected network means that emergency care at another tiney home is possible if your childminder is unable to work.
There are two kinds of childminder - those who are individually Ofsted-registered, and those who are registered with an Ofsted-registered agency like tiney (you can read our recent glowing Ofsted report here!). Your childminder is still self-employed, but we take care of training and registering them, and then work with them to set up and run amazing, sustainable, successful businesses.
As self-employed business owners, our childminders are in charge of their business decisions, such as agreeing contracts with families, but tiney exists to support and regulate their work, and can even mediate when needed. This means both our childminders and the families they work with have peace of mind.
Our schedule of ongoing professional development means that we also help our childminders to develop and grow - something that independent childminders often miss out on - plus as soon as they sign up with tiney, they’re immersed in an incredibly supportive and fun community of fellow early years professionals.
Essentially, we help take care of the boring bits so your childminder can focus more on what they do best: providing top quality care and education for children.