In Jane Fisher’s 25 years as a childminder for more than 300 children, she has never missed a single day. Every child has found a place with her through word of mouth or recommendation, as Jane has never had to advertise her business.
Throughout this time Jane has experienced lots of change in the profession and has always embraced new practices willingly. She is always looking for additional training, not only to widen her knowledge but also to benefit children and families wherever she can.
Jane dedicates her home to her profession. The whole ground floor is accessible and available to children, and when she had an extension built across the back of her house to allow for a larger indoor space, she chose a conservatory rather than an all-brick structure to increase the children’s exposure to vitamin D. The garden has been designed for constant use all year round by laying artificial grass, and Jane has added raised planters to enable children to participate in horticultural activities.
She structures each day carefully to ensure that she provides an enabling environment for children to explore and engage with a wide range of topics. These are always based on a theme set for that week or month, whether a celebration such as Thai New Year, an event such as learning about Ancient Greek history during the London Olympics, or a story such as getting the children to grow their own beans after reading Jack and the Beanstalk.
When Jane became aware of how the local primary school taught phonemes, a subject she was not familiar with, she spoke to the school to explore the methods used. She then organised an evening at the school with the head of EYFS and other local childminders and parents. As a result, Jane started a ‘phoneme of the week’ programme, teaching phonemes to her pre-school children to help them prepare for their first year at school.
Following the success of this training, Jane is now looking to develop the way she teaches early years children mathematics, and hopes to work alongside the local pre-school and school to do so.
Jane also recognised the importance of the two-year integrated child review, and was proactive in contacting the local health centre and providing EYFS training for health visitors. She liaises closely with parents, and these two-year checks now take place in her home, allowing each child the opportunity to be assessed in a setting they are familiar with.
Jane is always looking to help, encourage and assist fellow childminders. Over the years, Jane has mentored many new childminders, in particular helping those who do not have English as their first language.
She provides a great deal of support to families. This can range from a quick chat with a parent to offering free childcare during difficult times, such as following a bereavement.
Jane’s last two Ofsted inspections were both graded Outstanding, with one comment even describing her setting as ‘the most outstanding of the outstanding’.
A parent adds, ‘Jane does more than go the extra mile. She would walk the extra mile, having lent someone her shoes, packed them a delicious picnic and put a homemade apple pie in the oven for when everyone got back. Jane has always been my champion childminder.’
Nominees must be registered childminders