Long time, no write! The last post I wrote was about changing career to be a childminder, then nothing for five months. Is no news good news? From a certain point of view. When I first started childminding, in August, it was hard. Really. Hard. I was on my own looking after three kids over the summer holidays and had no network of childminders to lean on, no experience of looking after multiple children in this way. There were tantrums, there was crying, there was lack of sleep. And that was just me!
Eventually, over the weeks, it got better. Pre-school started so I got rid of the two older ones for four hours a day. The little one started sleeping better in my house. I got to know some of the other childminders and found out everyone found it tiring, and hard to manage behaviour sometimes, not just me. Crucially, I started going to training. For me, it is the training that excites me; helps me see what I'm doing wrong and how to improve; gives me tools to help under-fives play and learn.
When I first started I was trying to direct learning far too much, being much more used to working with older children. I have had to learn how to provide opportunities for learning through play and then recognise and record learning as I see it. I was always frustrated at first when the children didn't want to do what I wanted them to do, but now I get more successes with activities that I plan.
|Imagine two giggling three year olds inside|
In fact, thinking about it, the most successful activities have generally been in my area of expertise in some way. I used a book about art to get the kids to create art in response to it, including clay volcanoes in response to Japanese artist Hokusai's paintings of Mount Fuji, and used an Aquadoodle to recreate some Jackson Pollocks! I built a dry spaghetti bridge with them and got them to pile bricks on top until it snapped (it didn't!). We made model jumping spiders for Hallowe'en.
I have realised something that I blithely said before, that childminding was a career change, is true. It's not just like going to work in a shop, or a pub, something you can pick up in a day or two. It's a hugely skilled vocation that takes years to get right, and even then you're still learning. I have nothing but enormous respect for the childminders who've been doing this for years and years.
And now I find myself client-less, with no more opportunities to practise this new career on the horizon. Just as I was beginning to enjoy it! But, luckily, I have a few other things up my sleeve. I'll tell you about them next time.