As a childminder you can choose to enrich your practice through a reflective process called the Bristol Standard, used by early years settings in Bristol and across the country. Your ‘journey’ of professional development is illustrated through photographs, annotations and documents, structured through a process of self-evaluation which is captured in your Bristol Standard folder.

You can get started by booking on to an induction session in May or October, when you receive the Bristol Standard folder which introduces ten key dimensions of practice. Thought provoking questions in the Dimensions will help you to identify existing strengths and set targets of your choice. Your folder is submitted for yearly ‘validation’ by experienced early years professionals. Validation is not about judging your practice, but rather it is about helping you to grow by using the process of self-evaluation in a rigorous way. If you have an assistant, this process provides an ideal structure for working together.

The focus of the Bristol Standard is always about the benefits to the children in your setting.

As you work on your Bristol Standard you are not alone – we offer monthly Dimension discussion sessions, led by an early years teacher and a lead childminder. The Dimension sessions are held at City Academy.

You can complete your Bristol Standard submission on paper or electronically using our secure Alfresco site to upload your ‘folder’. Help is on hand with everything to do with the process. The Bristol Standard is free to Bristol Childminders.

For more information or if would like to book onto the induction email Joanne Dennis:

Read about how the Bristol Standard has inspired childminders:

The Water Wall

In her Bristol Standard submission, childminder Charlotte Waite reflects on what works well in her setting. Here is an extract from Dimension 4, The Physical Environment, in which Charlotte describes how she uses ‘a water wall’.

The water wall is comprised of old plastic bottles and tubes arranged in ways so the water falls out in three different places and in different ways – big, small hole or sprinkler effect. One bottle has a number gauge on it too. I like to make some of my resources so that I get exactly what I want and ensure that, not only will it be fun for the children to play with, but they will also be learning a lot too. Child A says, “Down” as he pours water through the water wall. Then he chooses where to put it next saying “Up there!” He looks at me pointing. It looks like he can’t reach so I say, “Shall I help you?”  Child A shakes his head and proceeds to pour the water down a bottle on the water wall that he can reach, on his own!’

Painting with Wheels

When reflecting about the strengths of her setting through her Bristol Standard ‘journey,’ childminder Charlotte Waite describes the play opportunities which she offers under Dimension 3, Supporting Play, Learning and Development.

‘Child A chooses a selection of paint brushes and dips them in different coloured paints. He explores using toy cars to paint, dipping the wheel in paint and rolling it across the page. I say “What noise does the car make?” Child A says, “Room, room, oo ey ah car!”‘

Childminding contacts

 The Childminding Support Team – contact  | Tel 0117 3574192