On Air Now
Heart's Feel Good Weekend with Lilah Parsons 10pm - 1am
26 February 2010, 06:00
A couple from Stevenage has been honoured by Ofsted at a celebratory event recognising childcare in England.
Karen and John Fitzpatrick, of Milestone Close, both worked in the pharmaceutical industry as research scientists before deciding to become childminders.
It was not long after their companies decided to merge that the couple decided to save for two years and make the career switch.
They look after a total of nine children at the moment, some full-time and some part-time and ranging in age five months to eight years old.
The day starts at 7am when the children arrive for breakfast and ends at 6pm.
Given their backgrounds, the Fitzpatrick’s are very keen on using science and nature to inspire the children.
They find that children enjoy being involved in outdoor activities especially exploring the woods that are located very near to them.
They have been taken to see wheat being harvested, and to a water mill where they had the opportunity to grind flour from which they made their own bread.
Other examples of learning from nature include watching and learning about the life-cycles of caterpillars orders from the internet, frog spawn donated from a friend’s garden pond and visiting a friends chicken to see the eggs.
As part of involving the children in their community and introducing them to people that can help us they invited their local policeman to meet the children in their care to teach them about "stranger danger" and they also visited the local fire station.
John Fitzpatrick has been telling Heart:
"I find the nicest thing is being part of the community and being able to share the feeling with the children. When you commute you don’t know your neighbours."
Zenna Atkins from Ofsted said: “I wholeheartedly congratulate Karen and John on their success and hard work in delivering such high standards. Excellence does not happen by chance, these providers have a real drive to inspire, challenge, and support children. But there is no reason why everyone can’t be outstanding, I hope they will be a source of inspiration to others.”
All those who appear on the Ofsted Outstanding Providers list 2008/09 receive commemorative certificates and are authorised to use an exclusive “outstanding provider” logo.