After becoming a parent for the first time, Camelia Marusca wanted to make sure she gave her daughter the best start in her life. She decided to retrain as a childminder with early years specialists tiney and create a learning environment at home where her daughter and other children could thrive. Here’s how she did it and how it’s made her a better parent.
When you become a parent, advice and ‘helpful’ suggestions come from all angles and every day throws up a new challenge. When I had my first child, a little girl, in 2018, I felt an enormous sense of responsibility to give her the best start in life – a feeling I’m sure every parent knows.
Having worked in teaching and in nurseries, I knew that the first 1,000 days of her life were the most critical for her development. That’s why, when it came towards the end of my maternity leave, I made a choice that re-shaped my career.
I decided to re-train as a childminder and open my own ‘at-home’ nursery. I knew that my background in childcare meant I’d be well suited to the role, but the driving force behind my decision was what it meant for my parenting and for my child’s development.
By becoming a childminder, I would be able to spend more time with my daughter, provide her and other children with a best-in-class early years education, and keep my career moving forward at the same time.
I looked into training via my Local Authority, but the paperwork seemed daunting. Then I came across tiney, a brilliant childminding initiative which provides the training and support you need to get started, as well as taking care of all the registration and business admin.
I began my training with them in February 2020 and (after some Covid-19 induced delays!) opened the doors to my nursery that summer.
It’s been the best possible move for me. I’m running my own business, earning well, and have control over my working hours. It’s also a joy watching the children I look after thrive and creating an educational environment that supports their individual needs.
But, most importantly, becoming a childminder has allowed me to become a better parent. For starters, I’m more patient. Each child is different and you become more aware of how they like to learn, play, and communicate. I’m calmer and more measured with my daughter, as well as better equipped to acknowledge her feelings.
My training, based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework, has also made me more creative and fun. Whether it’s setting up science experiments in the garden, learning about the Romans, or organising treasure hunts in the park; my horizons about how children learn best have been massively broadened. (The tiney team is always providing tips and ideas to the community, which also helps!)
I’m also a more relaxed mum – something all first-time parents will know is hard to achieve. Thanks to the training, I now know what to expect at each stage of a little one’s development, when to intervene and when to not, and how to tailor my support depending on each child’s personality and preferences.
My daughter, who is an only child, has hugely benefited from the change. Suddenly, she has a house full of surrogate siblings to play with! Her communication skills have come on leaps and bounds, she’s developed her ability to share and play collaboratively, and she has become more curious about learning thanks to watching the bigger kids. She starts school in September and I now feel so confident about her ability to settle in and thrive in Reception.
Having a child will always change your life. But retraining as a childminder was absolutely the best thing for me and my daughter. And to be able to support other children at the same time, offering them the start in life you want for your own child, is the icing on the cake.
Tiney provides the training and support to help people launch successful childminding businesses at home.