Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

When You're Not There

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

When You're Not There

Article excerpt

Byline: By Marie Turbill Evening Gazette

Sharon Dale loves her job. Everyday she looks after and entertains a small group of children.

She is just one of the 75,000 registered childminders in England and Wales.

The job is a far cry from Sharon's previous career in retail.

But the Yarm mum-of-two has never looked back since setting up as a childminder 17 years ago.

This week she will be among those celebrating National Childminding Week ( an event aimed at raising the profile of registered childminders.

Its theme this year is "storytelling" so kids across the country will be reading books, play-acting, putting on a puppet show or even having a dressing up party to illustrate a story special to the children.

To mark the occasion Sharon and fellow members of Yarm Childminding Group were holding a story-theme party today at Layfield School.

And they have invited along a librarian from Yarm Library to read to the children.

"It gives us the opportunity to practise as story tellers," says Sharon, "and it encourages the children to do the same."

She explains, that as well as reading their favourite stories, the youngsters will also be encouraged to read stories from other cultures.

"We have some bilingual children in the group so they were asked to bring books from home too," she says.

"This encourages the children to learn about other cultures."

Sharon decided to become a childminder shortly after her daughter was born 17 years ago.

"I was 29 when I had my first child," she says.

"Being a mature mum that made me feel slightly different with a more mature outlook.

"After she was born I went to work for a few months but after six months I realised I wanted to be at home with my daughter."

A Government initiative at the time was offering funding to people setting up their own businesses so Sharon decided to start work as a childminder. …

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