We caught up with Jenni, who, as newcomer to the profession, was graded Outstanding at her very first inspection in 2012. She runs JenniWren’s childcare in Maidstone and has recently taken on an assistant to help grow her business.
Talking to her, you can feel the passion she has for childcare. Unusually, she has no children of her own but you wouldn’t be able to tell because she exudes loving warmth to all the children who approach her. She is very friendly and easy to talk to, a trait which no doubt has contributed to the success of her business.
Falling on her feet
Jenni fell into childminding shortly after graduating from the University of Kent in 2010. Like many graduates, after experiencing the hype of completing her degree, she felt extremely disheartened when faced with the difficulty of finding work.
By chance, she became acquainted with an experienced childminder who quickly became her mentor.
She says “I must admit initially I had a rather uninformed and tired view of childminding, and as a twenty two year old with no children of my own I hadn’t considered home-based childcare as a credible profession.”
She adds: “I was kindly offered work experience at the setting and within the first morning my notions of childminding were completely and utterly overturned.”
Starting the journey
Shortly after her experience, she registered her interest in childcare through Kent Children and Families Information Service and enrolled onto a 19 hour pre-registration course, delivered by the then ‘National Childminding Association’. She subsequently achieved her Paediatric First Aid and Food Hygiene qualifications and passed thorough medical and DBS checks. Then, with bated breath, she anxiously awaited the arrival of the dreaded Ofsted Inspector!
Thankfully, Jenni was given the good news that she had passed her pre-registration inspection and then had 6 months to establish her business before her first inspection.
Jenni says: “I worked extremely hard to not just meet Ofsted’s expectations but to exceed them. My hard work paid off and I felt extremely proud presenting the report to the families at the setting who had believed in me from the beginning.”
Organisation is key
Achieving ‘Outstanding’ status was no easy task. Niggling questions like “Am I doing it right?” haunts many people in the childcare profession and Jenni, too, worries about whether she is successfully delivering the EYFS Framework. Luckily, her impressive planning and organisation skills have come to the fore in her business and have no doubt contributed to her being graded so highly first time around:
“Organisation and planning are essential skills to becoming an ‘Outstanding’ provider.” Jenni advises. “I take safeguarding and welfare responsibilities very seriously. A child’s safety must always come first. I have very clear and concise written policies and procedures which are shared with parents, keeping everyone on the same page.”
She adds: “Health and Safety is paramount when working with children and I risk assess for every eventuality.”