The Story Behind Blue Button Childminding Paperwork
About Blue Button...
Hello! My name is Sam and I live in Bury, Greater Manchester with my lovely husband and our amazing 10 year old son.
In October 2017, I registered with Ofsted and in January 2018 I opened Blue Button Childcare. I made the leap from teaching to childminding in search of a better life/work balance and I have never looked back. It was most definitely harder than I had anticipated when I first started out; I didn't have the support of colleagues to bounce ideas off and of course I was responsible for every single decision, which took some getting used too!
It took me a while to find my feet and business head, to fully enjoy being my own boss and most importantly, to trust my own instincts! Over time, I've created not only a great childminding business that I am really proud of, but I've also welcomed into my home an extended family who I love dearly.
My childminding practises have evolved so much since I started, as I have learnt more about nurturing and teaching children. My playroom used to look like a mini classroom, but over time it was evolved to become a real home from home and I am always moving forward and finding ways to improve. This is also reflected in my work through Blue Button Childminding Paperwork.
Over time, the focus has shifted to helping fellow childminders with their own paperwork needs and offering wider support. I am not a consultant or expert - far from it and everyday I discover more things that I want to learn about.
But I am a childminder who understands what it is like on a day to day basis when you're working from home, you're not classed as a business but you also are at the same time, you must answer to a regulatory body and follow statutory government frameworks, all the while caring for your mindees, supporting their parents and raising your own families.
We never close the door to our job and our mindees become family - we always live in the grey areas where the lines are blurred. Sometimes, that can be a bit overwhelming and at other times it's a wonderful place to be, as we get the best of both worlds. If you know, you know and please be reassured you're not on your own.
In 2018, I also set up a Facebook group called Friendly Childminders, which is a safe space to ask the daft questions. It's grown steadily and it is filled with lovely childminders, and those looking to become childminders, from all walks of life. If you haven't already joined us, you are more than welcome to do so - but please make sure you answer the joining questions!
If you're looking for further help, please head to the Childminding Support area of the website, where you will find lots of useful links and signposts.
Please feel free to message me too!
About the paperwork...
As a teacher, I used an online system to track the progress of my children, which worked well in a large setting. However, as a childminder I wanted something more personal and to be able to give my families a tangible reminder of their children's adventures during their first years at Blue Button Childcare. I'm also a fan of good old pen and paper!
This led me to create my own Early Years Outcomes Tracker and Observations Sheet that was simple to complete, easy for parents to understand and also looked appealing. After receiving some compliments about it, I decided to put it out there and it turned out that other people liked it too!
Since then, I've written more paperwork packs simply because I needed them and I figured other childminders would find them useful too. This strategy has worked out well, especially as we have seen changes in the UK government's requirements for the Early Years, because I am a childminder too and understand first hand what we need.
Over time, the focus has shifted to supporting fellow childminders with their own paperwork needs and in transitioning to the use of new government frameworks.also in response to the requests from fellow childminders. From there the business has grown and nowI care for mindees from Monday to Thursday so that I can dedicate more time to the paperwork business and supporting other childminders.
As of September 2021, I childmind Monday to Thursdays so that I can dedicate more time to building Blue Button Childminding Paperwork, support others with their own childminding businesses and I have a new project I would like to set up.
For me, it's always family and making the leap to childminding helped restore that balance and I am so grateful for everything that led me to that point.
If you want to see my credentials, feel free to have a nosey. As for who I am - I think I'm caring and a people person, but I also love my own space and being in a bubble with my son and hubby. I love taking photographs, creating things and being out and about!