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Gallery: Children and childminders celebrate Festive 'Bake Off'

Tots and their childminders from across the city took part in a special festive 'Bake Off' last week.

Tots and their childminders from across the city took part in a special festive 'Bake Off' last week.
The event at Littlehands SureStart in Rosemount was to promote the importance of registered childminders   
For the last 35 years NICMA has been delivering support services for Registered Childminders who provide 16,284 day care places for children across Northern Ireland.
Teresa McKeever, a Registered Childminder from Derry, said she gets great satisfaction  from what she does.
“I love childminding. I’ve been doing the job for less than a year, although I have been involved in the childcare sector for over 30 years.  Every day I have a real sense of job satisfaction.  You can really see children grow, develop and learn.  Childminding plays a transformative role in children’s lives.  The training, checks and visits are critical to keep the children safe and it’s only what you would expect, if you were leaving your child with someone to ensure peace of mind. 
“As a Registered Childminder, I am professional in my approach and I am committed to continuous personal development and training. I would encourage others to consider childminding as a career. It is so rewarding and the flexibility it offers means you can choose how many hours you wish to work every week.”
Patricia Lewsley-Mooney CBE, NICMA CEO, commented:  “The Festive Bake Off is just one part of a wider programme of activity which has been organised to encourage parents to consider the many benefits that come with using a Registered Childminder to care for their children.  At the event, children will be baking healthy treats and doing some Christmas crafting. These are the type of creative activities Registered Childminders do on a daily basis with the children in their care.
“It is important that parents think about their choice of childminder.  We know that parents ultimately want to keep their children safe, and some parents will feel that they have a choice to make between using a Registered Childminder or an unregistered childminder. However, quite simply there is no choice. 
“ The law is very clear, anybody looking after children for more than two hours a day, for reward, must register with the Health and Social Care Trust.  Registered Childminders will have completed Access NI Checks on all individuals in the household over the age of 10 and will have Public Liability insurance cover.
“A Registered Childminder will also be required to update mandatory training every three  years.
“They will be registered by the Trust and inspected on an annual basis by Early Years Social Workers.
“These checks help to keep your child safe, so you really should carefully consider who is looking after your child. In addition, NICMA  provide advice and work in partnership with other organisations such as Family Support NI and the Western Childcare Partnership (WCP), who detail local services and information to support you and your family.”
Throughout this year and next the Western Childcare Partnership (WCP) will be supporting the awareness campaign to which it is hoped will also promote childcare as a career option to address the decreasing number of childcare places within the area and also to challenge unregistered childcare within the WCP locality.

(Photos - Deirdre Heaney, nwpresspics)

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