Tuesday 28 May 2019


Next in our series of posts about cool and interesting careers options, we chat to Stephanie, who looks after nursery aged children!

Stephanie says:
I am a Early Years Practitioner - sometimes known as a nursery nurse! The nursery I work at is part of a chain with nurseries across London, Norfolk and Cambridge, and I am currently based in a 2-3 year old room, looking after up to fifteen toddlers a day. What I like about my job the most is watching the children grow into their own little people - it’s incredibly rewarding to see a child  do something for the first time, such as put their own shoes on, or catch a ball! As a child myself I wanted to go into teaching, which isn’t too far from what I do now! At first I wanted to teach secondary, then primary, and now I’m in a nursery! I’ve gone backwards with the age group but the line of work I have wanted to be in has always been to work in education and childcare.

I got into nursery work through an apprenticeship. After completing my first year of A-Levels at Sixth Form, I decided I wanted to work, but due to my age I had to remain in education in some way. I managed to find an apprenticeship in a local nursery where I would work full-time whilst studying my Level 2 in Childcare. To get into this apprenticeship, I didn’t need to have passed my Maths and English at school (luckily I got at least a C in both) as the apprenticeship offers functional skills in English and Maths, which is taught to you through your tutor, and you can take the exam as many times as needed until you pass. To work with children, you need to have a lot of patience. Every child is different and are all at different developmental stages, meaning some need extra support. Being good at communication is key, and although I started off a bit shy, I soon learned to chat more, which is essential when needing to pass on information about a child, and also when it comes to telling parents about their child’s day at nursery!

No two weeks in a nursery are ever the same. Every day, we welcome parents and children in, assist with the handover, giving a child reassurance when needed. We are highly child-orientated, meaning that we set up activities and toys based on what the children are interested in. We also plan activities that we would like run with the children, in order for them to learn and try new things. Every week, we complete observations on each child, where we either just watch what a child is doing, or run an activity with them, and write it either in a paper journal or an online journal. This enables us to show where they are in certain areas of development (known as the Early Years Foundation Stage) and know how to support them all the way from being a baby, right up until they go to school!

I am currently in the third nursery I’ve worked in, and I am still working towards new careers. I have just started my Level 3 childcare, and once that is completed I will be studying a degree in Early Years at my local university. I am hoping to work towards becoming a Family Support Worker - someone who works with families who have been referred to social services. Family Support Workers will work alongside a family to make sure that their best interests are kept in mind, and helping them reach services that will enable this.

The only downside to my work is that if you work full time, the hours can be long. I work a forty hour week, five days a week. Juggling this with studying for my Level 3 isn’t always easy, but I make the most of my bus journey to work each day to keep studying, and sometimes use the library that is next door to my work to study on lunch breaks. If you would like to go into working in the Early Years, there are various options. You could study your qualifications at college, complete an apprenticeship, or if you’re in a different line of work currently, speak to a nursery about training, as they are generally very good at taking on unqualified staff and training them if you can show you have the passion and drive to help the children grow!

Cathy says:
This is wonderful! Not an easy job, but such a rewarding one... thank you Stephanie for sharing your experiences! Have YOU ever thought of working with children? COMMENT BELOW to share your thoughts!


  1. This sounds so amazing, I've never known what I want to do in the future and that's one of the reasons why I love reading other people's job descriptions and seeing how their lives are, amazing post! xo

  2. Working with children is not easy but with Stephanie's interesting comments on looking after young kids, it touches my heart almost immediately. Very well detailed.



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