Lead childminder in Somerset calls others to consider rewarding profession

A lead childminder offering peer support to new and existing childminders on behalf of Somerset County Council has spoken of her love of the profession.

Karen Smith, 55, from Frome, first became a childminder when her daughters were young, working from home, as she “didn’t want to miss out on their early years”.

The experience inspired her to go on to build up a CV jam-packed with early years employment and training, from working as playgroup leader and nursery teacher, to gaining her Early Years Foundation Degree and a BA in Education.

Karen returned to her first love of childminding in 2013, and works as a lead childminder in the Frome area, sharing good practice and spreading the word.

Karen says: “If you love children, watching them grow and learn, then I would recommend becoming a childminder.

“I like to think outside the box and have lots of ideas, so I decided what I really wanted to do was work for myself again as a childminder from my home. I’ve looked after hundreds of children across my career – teaching children how to learn in fun and creative ways is what I enjoy most.

“For me, childminding is a real opportunity to provide a homely environment and a caring profession to local families. I choose to be a childminder because I believe there is a place for it in our society. Often people don’t realise we have to follow the same standards and legislation that nurseries and schools do.”

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, added: “Most parents of three and four year-olds are now claiming up to 570 hours of funded childcare available to them per year. We really want them to know what’s out there, so they can make the right local childcare choice. It might be with a registered childminder, a pre-school or a nursery.”

To find out more about becoming a registered childminder, or if you’re a parent and want to find out about childminders in your area, please visit http://www.somerset.gov.uk/register, email sfid@somerset.gov.uk or phone 0300 123 2224.

Notes to editors
While childminders set up and work independently of Somerset County Council, the authority can offer support, guidance and training to new childminders.