Grainne Scullion

    I have been a Registered Childminder for the past 8 ½ years, I live in Coalisland with my husband and my two children. I am an extended childminder working with my sister Cathy as my assistant, meaning we can look after up to 8 children at any one time. Lately my working day starts at 1pm, due to the majority of the children I care for being of nursery/ school age; one day per week I have a one year old and my day starts at 8.30am.  At 1pm the school runs begin, between myself and my sister we collect from 3 schools all at different times so this can be a busy time of the day.  After all the school runs we have snack time, where the children prepare their own 
    snacks & drinks.  Most of our day is centred on the children’s ideas and play activities which suit them all, outside games are the favourite (weather permitting) ranging from all age football, to big rope skipping etc.  We also have more structured and planned activities within the afternoon, baking being a firm favourite and a lot of creative activities. The best thing about being a childminder is working from home and therefore being at home as my own children grow and not missing out on anything they might do or say.  All the children are like one big happy family. On the downside, business can be quiet; no phone calls of interest, empty spaces tobe filled, leading to a lull in business.  I have been lucky that most of my children have been with me from when I started over 8 years ago. I believe a good childminder needs to be positive, practical & patient, I’m sure there are more qualities found in every childminder but I feel these sum up a good childminder and how they are with the children in their care and how they run their business.  I also believe a childminder needs support;  I find this at the Dungannon childminding support group, where I meet a delightful group of girls that no matter what the problem,big or small, they are there to talk it through & understand, they are also up for a bit of fun and we always enjoy our tea and a bit of craic.I have always loved working with children from a young age babysitting, when I left school I completed my NNEB, working in primary schools as work experience, then later working in my local youth club, a crèche, and my last employment was in a local playgroup as deputy leader. Throughout my career I have always been a great advocate for training and qualifications, I started with my NNEB, NVQ III Play work, ADCE and a Degree in Education, but I continue to complete other courses, always eager to learn and develop new skills.  I feel that this is an important aspect in any career, but especially in childcare, because as we all know lately standards have changed and therefore our knowledge needs to be kept updated.