Research has shown how childminding differs from other types of childcare.
Childminding Ireland held Consultation Workshops in 19 locations around the country. ‘As we continued our consultation, it became clear that there were consistent themes emerging throughout the country, and those themes highlight the unique nature of childminding’ explains Bernadette Orbinski Burke, Chief Executive of Childminding Ireland.
Childminding is different from other types of childcare. Children can be out and about in their local communities, increasing their sense of belonging and strengthening communities. For example, childminders can bring children to the local parks to play, the shops for messages or to the nearby post office to post a letter.
Childminding also brings freedom which allows activities to be naturally child led. This freedom is not as easy to replicate in a more formal childcare setting. Orbinski explains ‘childminders don’t have set times for activities so they can adapt their plans according to the needs of the child. For example, childminders can support a child’s natural interests as they arise, e.g. go out to see the animals or visit a nature trail. Also, if a child needs an extra nap or would prefer to sit quietly to read a book when they wake up, that’s no problem’.
Other differences between childminding and other forms of childcare which were recorded during consultations included:
• Childminding offers family support
• Children learn important life skills, including problem solving, independence & decision making building self esteem
• Childminders are ideally placed to provide nurturing care because of the small numbers minded
• Childminders encourage children to spend time connecting with nature which can foster a lifelong appreciation for it
• Childminders build lasting relationships with mindees which support resilience building
• The culture of home based childcare is unique
One of the core finding was that childminders feel a responsibility to each child and their family to nurture and protect childhood, which they view as precious and getting shorter.
The findings are being shared in a series of videos which will be on social media over the coming months. Use #ChildmindingIsDifferent and #ChildhoodIsAShortSeason to follow the campaign.