Part Two Of My Three Part Series on the Benefits and Costs of Using Paid Childcare. 
Childminders are based in their own home, and they can provide care for a variety of ages. It is not uncommon for a childminder to have her own children, as well as others from various families. Childminders can care for up to 6 children under the age of 8, although they can only have 3 children under 5. If they have more children, they can take on staff, or ‘childminding assistants’. 
Like nurseries, childminders are registered, inspected and graded by Ofsted. 
The childminders home will be set up as a childcare setting, similar to a nursery, with age appropriate toys, activities and equipment. Depending on numbers and variety of ages, they may attend toddler groups and similar activities in the local area, or partake in other local trips and activities.  
Your child will be in a home-like environment, and using a childminder provides the same social environment as a nursery. 
Hours are typically 8-6, but vary person to person. 
Childminders, like nurseries, charge per child (although they may offer discounts for siblings)– in Hertfordshire they typically charge between £5 and £8 per hour. They are self-employed. 
A point to note if you use a childminder – childminders are likely to have school aged children in their care (either her own children or other charges) so your child will be going on a school run twice per day, which may interfere with their routine. They will then have the older children around for the last few hours of the day, and during school holidays, which will mean your childminder adjusts her activities accordingly. 
You will also need to make alternative childcare arrangements when your childminder takes holidays, although she will give you plenty of notice! She will also have similar sickness exclusion policies to nurseries. 
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