BLOG: Professional Growth for you and your childminding business

BLOG: Professional Growth for you and your childminding business
Lynne Murray, Professional Learning Manager, SCMA
The opportunity to undertake Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) is vitally important for any profession, and childminding is no different!  CPL helps professional growth and develops a range of knowledge and skills.  It’s a great motivation, generates new ideas, and develops good practice. 

Continuous Professional Learning underpins a high-quality childminding setting and enables childminders to maximise their potential.  It also helps to ensure childminders are recognised professionally for the high-quality service provided to children and their families.

The never-ending juggling required to balance busy working and personal lives often leaves little time for the further commitment required to update knowledge and skills. It’s a tricky balance, but the time and effort required has many long-term benefits professionally and personally.  

How can SCMA support your professional journey? 
There are lots of opportunities to access a wide range of courses, in a variety of ways to help ensure that your learning is varied and relevant to your childminding setting.  Completion of more formal options will lead to an SQA recognised qualification.  For example, our Learn with SCMA team deliver SQA qualifications, including the Complete Childminding Learning Pathway. 

This Work Based Award means you can undertake it at your own pace while still working as a childminder.  It is credit rated at Level 7, (of a total of 12 possible levels), on the Scottish Credit Qualifications Framework (SCQF). 

Some less formal options, such as choosing take part in our Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) CPL courses, provide useful techniques and ideas to apply STEM activities to your setting and all help towards enhancing your service.

CPL and delivery of Early Learning and Childcare funded hours 

As you will know, from August this year, the number of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) hours available to families will almost double from 600 to 1140 a year.  There is a fantastic opportunity for professional childminders to meet the need for local flexible, high-quality childcare and for the delivery of ELC to contribute towards a sustainable business model. 

Childminders who wish to deliver ELC funded hours must be registered as a ‘partner provider’ with their local authority.  This involves demonstrating that you meet the criteria set out in the National Standard. 

You don’t initially have to have a formal Early Years qualification to become a partner provider, but childminders wishing to deliver ELC funded hours are required to demonstrate that they are working towards achieving one during the first five years of delivering funded hours and are required to undertake a minimum of 12 hours of CPL per year.  

Committing to undertake a Work Based Award such as the Complete Learning Pathway with SCMA, is a clear indication that you are working towards achieving the required qualification.  It consists of six units, participants can start with the unit that’s most relevant to them and can work through it at their own pace – making it a really flexible learning experience.   

"I feel much more confident now"
Charlene Doull, a childminder from the Shetland Islands, recently completed her first Work Based Award Unit. She said: “I always wanted to work with children either in a nursery or at home childminding but the opportunity didn't arise until 2016. At the time, I was a stay at home mum with my own two children, aged three and one.  Becoming a childminder provided the perfect opportunity to start my own business whilst also enabling me to be there for my little ones. 

“I really enjoy being a childminder and I was so delighted to recently complete my first Work Based Award Unit, part of the SCMA Complete Childminding Learning Pathway.  It consisted of the Business Side of Childminding, Child Protection in a Childminding Setting and Parental Involvement.  Undertaking this Work Based Award Unit has really helped provide me with a better understanding of these areas, and I feel much more confident about it now.”

Shout about your success! 
SCMA encourages all childminders to undertake CPL, whether or not it is linked to delivering ELC funded hours.  There are lots of options, which can include brushing up on First Aid, Child Protection, SCMA Network Meetings or taking part in e-Learning and interactive workshops.  Even attending our annual SCMA Conference counts towards CPL and provides an invaluable opportunity to network with other childminders from across the country.

As the Professional Learning Manager at SCMA, I would encourage childminders to keep a log of all of the training and events attended across the year and to shout about this on your childminding profile!

It’s a really key piece of information which parents and families seeking professional childcare will want to know about and helps demonstrate a commitment to updating learning and improving professional practice. 
CPL is important for all childminders to support their practice, not just for those wishing to provide ELC funded hours.  SCMA offers a wide range of e-Learning courses, Interactive Learning opportunities, Open Badges – as well as support to help fund your learning by applying for an Individual Training Account (ITA). 

ITAs are available to help people develop the skills they need for work and funding from Skills Development Scotland gives eligible learners up to £200 toward a single course or programme.  

SCMA is the only organisation in Scotland dedicated to supporting childminders and the families they work with.  We operate a national Helpline which is open Monday – Friday, 10am - 4pm on 01786 449063.  

I would encourage childminders, and those who may just be thinking of starting their own childminding business, to contact SCMA to discuss their professional learning needs - no question is too big or small! 

Learn With SCMA 
Become a Childminder