We spend a lot of time focusing on what it’s like for children and their parents when they hit the major milestone of starting nursery but what about the people who deal with it every day. We wanted to understand what it is like to work in the nursery and how they help our little ones manage this big transition.
Sarah, what are you main responsibilities?
My main responsibilities are hiring, training and supporting staff; ensuring practitioners deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage from birth to five years, providing equal opportunities, provide a safe environment, working in partnership with parents and professionals, improving quality and laying secure foundations for children’s future learning.
How did you become qualified for what you do?
On leaving school I gained my NVQ Level 2 in Childcare & Education. I have 18 years practical hands on experience caring for children from 6 weeks to 8 years old – 7 of which I have managed the crèche facility. I studied and achieved Level 3 whilst working.
What does your normal day look like?
In my job there is no such thing as a normal day!!
Every day provides new challenges but routine jobs include staffing, ensuring full nursery occupancy, dealing with staff and parents and ensuring children’s needs are fully met by my team.
What attributes do you look for in your staff?
Positive role models who are loving, caring and friendly and who are good communicators with children, parents & other staff.
What key things would you look for in a day nursery for your own child?
Friendly staff with qualifications & experience, lots of fun and stimulating activities and toys and a bright and happy environment.
How do you deal with an upset child when they are starting nursery for the first time?
We use lots of cuddles, distraction using toys and their favourite things from home.
How can a parent best help an upset child?
Bring something familiar to nursery from home like a favourite toy. We also find that children love to look at photos of their parents and siblings through the day when they first start at nursery.
What is the most common problem you encounter between nursery and parents?
Our biggest challenge is communicating with parents as often they have only minutes to spare as they drop off the child at nursery before rushing to work. To counter this we use ‘Today I’ slips to ensure the parents know what the children have been doing.
What advice can you give parents to get the best out of their child’s nursery experience?
We totally understand a parents feeling of anxiety as they face the prospect of leaving their most precious child in the care of the nursery but the more positive and relaxed the parent is – the easier the child will settle.
- “More Great Childcare” but what’s the cost? (parentalchoiceuk.com)
- Spread your wings little bird (parentalchoiceuk.com)
- Starting Nursery – how to prepare your child (parentalchoiceuk.com)
- Parents and nursery owners fears rise over shake-up in childcare rules (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
- The Devil is in the Detail – subsidised childcare (parentalchoiceuk.com)
- Politics is not welcome in the nursery (juneosullivan.wordpress.com)
- Nursery reform which lets staff look after more children at once is ‘recipe for disaster’ (standard.co.uk)
- Fears over nursery reforms which let staff look after more children at once (standard.co.uk)