No one day is the same for childminding husband and wife team, Kirk and Lisa Soper.
They can be browsing books in the library and the next foraging in the forest. But whatever they’re doing, they say these days are fun and fulfilling.
The couple says they are embracing a new era for their childminding business, as they open their doors to parents taking advantage of the government’s new 30 hours a week funded childcare.
And they admit it was a change that initially filled them with trepidation.
“Jumping from 15 free hours to 30 hours was quite a drastic leap,” said Lisa. “I will admit I was worried about the potential impact it could’ve had on our business.
“But at the heart of what we do is putting the children first, and providing a service that helps parents work. And so far, so good. It’s all working well.”
Most days Kirk and Lisa, along with Kim, another fully registered childminder, look after six children aged from seven months to four years - in addition to their own five-month-old twins.
Two of the children in their care are receiving the 30 hours a week funded childcare.
Kirk and Lisa receive payments that cover the free hours, direct from Wokingham Borough Council’s People Services department.
And it’s quite clear that whatever changes may happen in their industry, for the Sopers childminding is a vocation - not surprising for a couple that met while both working at a day care nursery.
They launched their Kiddiwinks Childminding business two years ago, and have never looked back.
“We just love the freedom being a childminder affords us,” Lisa said.
“We have a very loose routine around meal and sleep times, but other than that we’re very spontaneous and no two days are the same.
“Wherever possible we try to go outdoors, as we’re great believers in outdoor learning. So we’ll go to the forest or the local park.
“Other times we might go to the library, and another day it might be the soft play area. Our job is fun and very, very fulfilling.”
Working parents, meeting the earnings threshold, are now entitled to 30 hours a week funded childcare for 38 weeks.
This can be provided by Ofsted registered childcare providers, including day care nurseries, pre-schools and childminders.
More information can be found on Wokingham Borough Council’s website by searching for 'free childcare'.