In the Spotlight: "Becoming a professional childminder was the best thing I ever did"

In the Spotlight: "Becoming a professional childminder was the best thing I ever did"
Karina Hadfield: "Changing career was scary, but becoming a professional childminder was the best thing I ever did"

During Childminding Week, SCMA encouraged parents, carers and childminders alike to #CheerforChildminding – we were made aware of so many positive examples of where childminding has helped to enhance and support family life, and where families new to childminding were so delighted to have found it. 

Karina Hadfield took the life-changing decision three years ago to switch careers and become a professional childminder - and one of her parents, who is new to the childminding experience, got in touch during Childminding Week to tell us what a great job she does!
In 2018, Karina Hadfield, 34, from Tillicoultry, decided she wanted a career change. The qualified beauty therapist and mum to then six-year-old Jenson, wanted to switch to something more flexible and which allowed her to spend more time with Jenson - long hours and weekends working in the salon made Karina feel that she was missing out on so much of his younger years. 

A Career in Professional Childminding 
Karina said: “I researched various options which I thought would provide the flexibility I needed and then I spoke to a friend who is a childminder and it suddenly struck me that childminding was the perfect career choice for me too. 

"The benefits of making this change were obvious – I would have the opportunity to contribute to children’s development and learning, while providing a much-needed flexible childcare service in our local community; I could learn new skills, be my own boss, earn a good salary and make sure it was fitting into my own family’s needs - it was a no-brainer! 

“My friend who first outlined the benefits of becoming a professional childminder has since become a bit of a childminding mentor to me – I found her real life experience invaluable when I’ve had any questions.  

“As a childminder you play a huge role in a child’s life and it’s so rewarding. There is no better feeling than watching the children you care for grow and thrive together. I would say to anybody considering this as a career to start by firstly speaking with other childminders if you can, it’s really invaluable to get that experience of what it’s really like on a day-to-day basis. 

"I also completed the SCMA Childminding Induction Support Programme and received my Strong Foundations pack. This really helped me before I even began my registration with Care Inspectorate and gave me the confidence to forge ahead and just do it!

ELC Partner Provider
Karina has just completed the process of applying to become an ELC partner provider with her local authority, which she found to be a fairly straightforward process: “I knew that being able to provide funded ELC places would make a difference for the families I work with.

"If they can choose to access their funded hours with me, it increases flexibility of choice regarding their childcare. They can utilise their 1140 fully with me, or to blend their childcare between my setting and the local nursery - depending on what works best for them and the wee ones - I wanted to be able to support this option for my families.”

Karina had made a huge leap in deciding to change career and start her new business, and wanted to ensure that her business model was sustainable. Deciding to become an ELC provider is something she feels supports sustainability and which could help to enhance her earning potential. 

To any childminders thinking of becoming a partner provider, Karina says: “Go for it! The process to getting myself partnered with the council so far has thankfully been quite straightforward. I have joined a social media group that is specifically for childminders going through their SVQ and it’s fantastic and is all about childminders helping childminders – It’s great to know that support is there if I need it.”

Karina may be fairly new to professional childminding - but is passionate about ensuring as many families as possible are aware of the benefits of this unique form of childcare - and how it can help to enhance and support family life.  

“One size certainly does not fit all when it comes to childcare – they are all so unique and have such differing needs.  I passionately believe that families should have the option to choose what suits their child’s needs best to ensure they are happy and thriving within their chosen childcare environment.” 

Thinking of Trying Childminding? 
Kirsty Farrell, a parent from Tillicoultry, was completely new to the experience of using a childminder. She has three children, Kaitlyn, 13, Cooper, 10 and Harris, who has just turned two.  Kirsty’s parents helped out with her other children when they were young, but they are now older and with her job as a Learning Assistant at the school being five days per week - Kirsty wanted share childcare across the week to ensure it wasn’t all too much! She researched various options but having never used a childminder before, she didn’t know what to expect at all. 

“I really thought long and hard before approaching Karina to see if she had any capacity for Harris, and I still wasn’t settled on using a childminder at this point.  Although I had heard great things about Karina from others in the local area, it’s hard making the decision to leave your wee one with someone you don’t know. I also had to consider that Harris was only 10 months old when we first went into lockdown – he wasn’t used to other people and we hadn’t had the opportunity to attend baby groups or other activities which help to socialise young babies and I was really worried about leaving him." 

Kirsty was aware that Karina was fairly new to childminding having recently changed career - and thought that this dedication to providing excellent childcare really shone through in her first communication with her.    

“From the very first email I sent to Karina to enquire about childminding, I was completely reassured. She was so professional and her response to my questions completely put me at ease. I was immediately convinced she thought of my child as an individual and his childcare in her setting would be tailored to him as an individual. She was so enthusiastic and obviously loves her job as a childminder - I just knew straight away it was the right way to go for Harris, and for our family."  

Karina and Kirsty met for a walk so that everyone could meet and get to know each other, and from that day, Kirsty knew it would be fine!   

Your Childcare, Your Choice!
Kirsty is delighted that Karina is on her way to becoming an ELC partner provider with the local council, as she thinks she might choose to blend her 1140 funded hours between Karina’s setting and the local nursery, when the time comes.  

“I have considered that it might be good for Harris to split time between a nursery and Karina’s setting so that he can meet other wee ones he will end up going to school with, but we still haven’t decided as yet as it still feels quite far away! However, it’s just really reassuring to have the choice when the time does come.  

“Karina and Harris have a really special bond. On the days where he is going to Karina’s he picks up his wee bag to get ready to go, and is obviously delighted to be spending time there.  He also loves playing and learning with the other children, they have great fun together.  It’s just so reassuring to me that he is getting one-on-one time in a nurturing, home from home environment as well as benefiting from this contact with other children of a range of ages. 

"I would honestly recommend childminding to any parents who haven’t thought of it before, or who have reservations about it. Karina really is like an extension of our family and I have complete peace of mind when he’s there.  I would thoroughly recommend childminding to any parents considering this as an option for their family – I’m just so happy that Harris is happy!” 

#CheerforChildminding / Become a Childminder / Parental Choice / Your Childcare, Your Choice / Find a Childminder / ELC