Orchard Farm childminding has officially opened! Last time I wrote I was anticipating an inspection from Ofsted to declare that I was suitable to open a childminding service on the farm. A lovely lady from Ofsted came (who is actually from Leicestershire) at the beginning of August. I was starting to get a bit anxious as I had hoped to be open for business at the beginning of September and with all government departments and paperwork, these things take time.
The inspector came and spent 5 hours with me going through all the paperwork, looking at my facilities and what I had to offer. She quizzed me on safeguarding concerns, child protection legislation as well as going through the early years foundation stage curriculum, which is what I will be delivering as part of my service.
As you can probably guess it was quite an ordeal getting through all those questions over 5 hours, as well as trying to entertain a baby and keep focused. Setting up to become a childminder has taken plenty of hard work and determination throughout my maternity leave. Getting the house in order, all my policies and procedures as well as risk assessments and contracts. However, I am delighted to say that I passed my pre-inspection with flying colours and opened my doors on 10th September.
What is also very exciting is that I am already full. Three children have already started with me and two more are joining in November. Due to the ratios governed by Ofsted I don’t have 5 children all at once. I am not mad! I generally have 1 or 2 different children each day as of course some parents only need childcare for a day or two a week. I don’t work on a Friday which is nice as I can take Angus swimming and do all those mundane jobs like food shopping and housework.
With all the excitement of setting up a new business, my focus has well and truly been on Orchard Farm Childminding. Now that things are in full swing I can start to relax and enjoy playing with the children, especially with all the fun toys and materials I have bought. It’s also really nice to be able to take the children for walks on the farm and show them the animals. The Ofsted inspector said we had a unique and special learning environment which is part of my USP.
In other news, three more pigs arrived on the farm as demand for our pork meat boxes and sausages continues to grow. Our last batch flew off the shelves (so to speak) and we barely have a pound of sausage left. We didn’t even have enough for one joint of pork for ourselves.
What has been great is the positive feedback and word of mouth which has helped to grow our sales. I hardly need to advertise, which is fantastic, and have had lots of repeat customers. What is disappointing is our egg sales. Sadly Mr Fox paid us a visit recently and wiped out all the chickens in the garden.