Reviews of books by Childminders (reviewed by NCMA)


An A-Z of Tricky Behaviours in the Early Years An A-Z of Tricky Behaviours in the Early Years by Dr Hannah Mortimer

Review by Pat Tomlinson

The book is aimed at all childcarers. Parents and carers would also find it useful.

It follows on from the Behaviour Management in the Early Years (see review below) and gives tried and tested strategies for different unwanted behaviours. To fully understand why and how to use the strategies I feel you need to read the Behaviour Management book first.

Itís a good book to just dip into, find the behaviour you are concerned about and read how childcare practitioners tackled it. There are fifteen tricky behaviours. Two are in a childminding setting and thirteen are in a nursery setting. Some of the strategies required several staff members to be involved, but Iím sure the principles can be adapted to a childminding setting. I liked the book because it described the unwanted behaviour, how the childminder/staff worked out what to do, what they did and then why it worked. I like to know why a strategy works (or not), so this book met this need.

Itís an easy to follow book. The pen picture of the behaviour is in a box and the explanations are on two pages of the book (donít have to turn the page). At the end of the book thereís a list of useful books for further reading. After reading this book, you may want to read further about different aspects of behaviour and this list points you in the right direction.
Score 9/10


Price £5 (FREE postage)



Behaviour Management in the Early Years Behaviour Management in the Early Years by Dr Hannah Mortimer

Review by Pat Tomlinson
The book is aimed at people who work with children and it's useful for parents and carers. I found it was more relevant to nursery settings and strategy examples assume there are several staff members. However, I feel you can adapt the suggested planning to a childminder setting.

It's a useful book in that it looks at why children behave in different ways and why certain strategies are needed or are effective. I think it's good to know why a strategy works, so it can be adapted in different circumstances.

There are good ideas on changing behaviour and rewards. It promotes positive behaviour, explaining how and why. I liked the chapter that talked about what is "normal" behaviour at different ages/stages of development and looking at the behaviour objectively. There is also a chapter on supporting parents and carers, which can be difficult at times. It's really down to earth and would be helpful if you needed to talk to a parent about their child's unwanted behaviour. Wish I'd had this book to help me in the past.

The book is well set out in easy to read, relevant chapters. Each chapter is in small chunks. The introduction suggests you read it right through rather than dipping in. This is good advice and doesn't take long to read. I then went back to re-read bits that I found particularly interesting/relevant. There are no illustrations, but I don't feel the book needs it.
Score 9/10


Price £6 (FREE postage)



Music Makers

Music Makers Ė music circle times to include everyone by Dr Hannah Mortimer

Review by Susan Williams

This book is aimed at Childminders and other early years educators, including those running toddler groups, or working in reception classes.

There are over 40 musical activities, none of them requiring special skills or musical talent. It takes you through activities such as ďHeads, Shoulders, Knees and ToesĒ, breaking it down simply, explaining how to extend the activity and follow-up ideas. This means you can use an activity on its own or even better; tie it in with a theme. Because the activities start with very simple ones, itís a great resource for building up experience of curriculum planning, and could be used by early years students or inexperienced staff.

There are lots of activities to choose from, some of which may appeal to the more experienced childcarer. Some of the activities only need voices, some use a tambourine or a drum so there is no need for a vast array of instruments.

There are some simple black and white illustrations. Each activity is on one page of the book and itís easy to read through and pick out something you would like to do. A straightforward introduction explains how to use the book and itís very user friendly.

The best thing about this book is the way it gives you links to the Early Learning Goals ... in the Early Years Foundation Stage. This way, you can easily use any of the activities for any age group and best of all, a mixed age group. How fabulous for childminders!

I would recommend this excellent book and I give it a score of 10/10.


Price £8 (FREE postage) ... normal price is £12



Fireworks: Managing Anger in Young Children FIREWORKS Managing anger in young children by Dr Hannah Mortimer

This 44 page work book is recommended for parents, carers, support assistants, childminders and mentors to use to help them provide emotional support to 5 to 11 year-old children whose emotional and social development are getting in the way of their happiness and wellbeing.

It is written in a practical and accessible style. Brief explanations of emotions and anger management are followed by a description of the firework model that is used throughout (whereby losing ones temper is likened to the various stages of letting off a firework). The next and major part of the book contains information on how to plan and implement a total of 12 one-to-one adult and child sessions of between 45 minutes to an hour each. These are as follows and, apart from the first three, can be followed in any order:

  1. Making a work box (using items purchased in advance from a shopping list)
  2. All about me
  3. My fireworks
  4. All about fuses
  5. Spotting a trigger
  6. Acting it out
  7. Relax!
  8. Relax!
  9. Speaking out
  10. Thinking positively
  11. Making a plan
  12. How did I do?

Activity sheets and questionnaires to be copied or adapted for completion by children are comprised within some sessions. In addition helpful comments are included by adults who have used or adapted parts of the book.

The sessions are carried out using a talk through approach ... and for those childminders sufficiently committed and able to work through such a programme as this with their minded (or their own) children who might be experiencing anger management difficulties I believe there are potential benefits and progress to be made. I would therefore recommend this book to them. I would also suggest that the book be purchased by childminding network libraries. In my opinion it contains information that is a step up from that taught in many of the positive behaviour training courses that are available to childminders through their local councils, colleges and networks.

Due to its clear presentation and practicality of use, I award this book a score of 10 out of 10.

Price £5 (FREE postage)


Listening to Children in their Early Years

Listening to Children in their Early Years by Dr Hannah Mortimer with SureStart Stockton-on-Tees

Review by Caroline Marshall, Home-Based Childcare Practitioner (Childminder) and Childcare Tutor.

The book is written from a Sure Start centre perspective and aimed at all early yearís professionals. It is set out in a format that is clear and welcoming. The book can easily be read quickly and it has a clear aim of helping practitioners to see the world from a childís view so that they can really develop a listening culture in their own setting. This process involves tuning in to a child and receiving, interpreting and responding to childrenís communication.

The book is presented in an accessible format with clear illustrations and explains to the novice why we need to listen to children and explains what theory and legislation underpins this understanding. This is logically followed by many strategies, activities and techniques we can use to extend our listening and communication expertise.

The book shares lots of ideas for consulting with children and offering them choices, lots of information to reinforce our practice and reminders to help us focus on what we already do. The book gives examples of observations and methods demonstrating how one setting built up their listening culture.

The final 2 chapters show us some examples of good practice in this area which can serve as good reference points when assessing our own practice.

I think this book can be valuable to a childminder, offering up to date ideas and information to inspire good practice. Much of what is suggested can be applied easily in a very small setting. It may help home-based child carers to see the potential for excellence in a very small setting.

8 out of 10


Price £6 (FREE postage)



Managing your 4-8 year-old

Managing your 4-8 year old by Stockton-on-Tees Educational Psychology Service

Review by Sarah Palmer

This book aims to show you how to maintain a positive relationship with your child.

Throughout the book there are examples of how to handle given situations. This book is written in sections describing several areas you may be finding difficult e.g. tantrums and bedtimes. Each section has some examples of the behaviours you may be seeing, and then suggests reasons why your child may be behaving in such a way. This is then followed by advice on ways to improve the situation.

You could read this book from cover to cover, or just pick it up using the relevant section. It is very easy to follow, and although it is aimed primarily at parents, all childcarers can also use it.

For ease of use and being easy to follow I give this book 9 out of 10.


Price £2.95 (FREE postage)



Positive Parenting Positive Parenting by Frank Merrett
Review by Sarah Palmer

This short book shows how different parenting styles affect childrenís behaviour. It is very easy to read, using cartoon illustrations to highlight and enhance the text. The book is written in a friendly, chatty way. It conveys its message without patronising or condemning parents. It explains how adults can role model to gain desired behaviours from the children in their care.

This book is aimed at parents but is easily used by child carers.

I give this book 9 out of 10.

Price £2.50 (FREE postage)

Making Connections Making Connections by Dr Hannah Mortimer
Review by Sarah Palmer

This book is aimed at child and families health professionals working within family centres.

It begins by explaining what a ĎMaking Connectionsí group is and what the aims of the groups are. The book outlines ideas on how to run such a group, with ideas on how to start the discussions to help the parent to overcome their problems. This is followed by giving ways of introducing play sessions with the children and parents together.

Although this book is not aimed at childminders it does offer a lot of insight into why families may behave as they do, which would enable us how to understand these behaviours so that some of the ideas could be adapted for use within a home setting, in order to support the children and families you work with.

This short book is written in a friendly way, you do need to read it from front to back in order to fully understand the information within.

Price £6 (FREE postage)

Baby and Me Baby and Me by Dr Hannah Mortimer
Review by Pat Tomlinson

This book is aimed at people who are planning to set up support groups for new parents and their babies. These groups happen in lots of Sure Start Centres and in my experience, are usually set up by family support workers and health visitors. I tried to see if this book would be relevant to childminders, but decided it would only be useful to inform new mums about what could be available. This book is definitely for Sure Start staff and the first chapter makes this clear, but does state it wants to involve parents and carers.

The book is well laid out and each chapter is a step by step guide to setting up a group. It's also easy to follow, with examples of advertising material, planning and evaluation documents. Ideal if you were setting up a group.

There was one small section on organising musical activities and thought that possibly, if there were several local childminders caring for very young children/babies, they could use some of the action rhymes and songs. I have successfully used the hello and goodbye song in group settings (toddler group, childminder group). It would be more beneficial to attend a Sure Start "make and play" or "play and stay" session to learn the songs, while interacting with local parents, children and other childcare professionals

I strongly feel that the chapter on baby massage is for properly trained professionals to teach parents and not childminders

The book is easy to read and you can dip into it, but itís not a book I would buy as I can't really see much benefit in a childminder setting.

Price £6 (FREE postage)


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