You've selected and registered your new assistant - congratulations! Now the next step is to think about how you can set them up for success in your tiney home nursery, and build a really strong working relationship with them.

Here are some ideas for how to bring your assistant on board:

  • Make learning the ropes really fun! Can you invent a 'treasure hunt' of 5-10 things you need them to do in the first 2 weeks on the job? An example 'Induction treasure hunt' could look like this:

    1. Introduce yourself! Ask them to make an 'All about me' poster/little display so that they can introduce themselves to the children and parents. You could ask your assistant to bring a photo from home, an object that reminds them of their own childhood, or ask them to bring in their favourite toy or book from when they were a child.

    2. Know the EYFS! Give them a copy of the EYFS and ask them to highlight their favourite bits and any bits they have questions about. They'll need to be familiar with the requirements of this statutory document.

    3. Tell a story! Invite your assistant to plan a story time session where they share their own favourite children's book with the children in your setting. This will help them to contribute to the planning and educational experiences in your nursery right from the start. As they build up more confidence and experience, you could ask them to plan a range of different activities in response to the children's needs and interests - for example, a messy play activity, an activity to support physical development, or an activity to support communication and language development.

    4. Show them the tiney app! Explain how tiney works, and give them a chance to see how you use the app to support your work as a childminder. You assistant is part of the tiney community too! They might like to see some of the training you've done, and to understand how you add Learning Journal observations using the app.

    5. Learn together! Share the tiney webinar programme with your assistant and book on to some webinar or training sessions that you can attend together. Having an assistant is a great way to support your own professional development, so think about how you could get the most out of these training sessions by discussing together with your assistant how you can both apply what you've learned to improve the educational experiences for children in your nursery.

    6. Ask them for feedback! Having someone in your home nursery with a fresh pair of eyes can be really useful. Ask your assistant if they have any feedback for you - anything they think works particularly well that you could do more of in your setting? Are there things they think could be done differently? Having a conversation like this early on will enable your assistant to feel that they can contribute actively to life in your home nursery, and that you're both better practitioners for having each other's support and feedback.

  • Make sure they have all the documents they need:

    • The EYFS, and ensure they understand the requirements around safeguarding and welfare

    • Your policies - they know where to find them and have read them

  • Set up a regular opportunity to check in with your assistant. Childminding can be a very busy job, so although you'll be working alongside each other it can still be hard to find a time to have a deeper conversation about children's learning, plan together or discuss their professional development needs.

    • You could agree a daily check in - perhaps 15 minutes before children arrive at your setting - to talk about your intentions and plans for the day, any specific observations you want to make of any of the children in your setting, and get set up for the day together

    • A weekly check-in for 30 minutes can be a good idea - perhaps at the end of the week once the children have gone home, so you can both reflect on the week and any assessments you've made about children's learning, and plan accordingly for the following week

    • At least once a month, a chance to sit down with your assistant and ask how they are finding things - What are they enjoying? How can they bring more of their strengths to their work? What are they finding difficult? What support do they need from you to help with that? Are there any additional training or resources that can help them to develop in those areas? These more in-depth check-ins will help you as their employer know how best to support them, and will help them to be really invested in their work with you.

This is a great moment to celebrate your growing childminding business, and having an assistant working with your provides many opportunities for your both to develop professionally, as well as having an extra pair of hands to support you!

Want to find out more? You can watch over this webinar recording of a session led by Sam Beech, a tiney home leader, on working with an assistant and how she does it!
https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/hKTQeBHLHXdPZIhN0Q1XHL8S9skNiEhGDQ2neeyvyF-M7AoDzp4GVEpkNYb7TEr2.eiy4WOyxqRhJVbWv Passcode: 3!*cU3&7

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