Today’s interview features an industry that I have utmost respect for – childcare. Since having my own family I am aware just how testing it can be spending your day in the company of 2 children, let alone 30 or 40! How they do it, I will never know.
But, sadly, it’s an industry with a bit of an image problem. Think ‘childcare’ and most people immediately think ‘low wages’. What people often forget is that it is an industry where employers are encouraged to constantly develop and progress their staff, and the job market is extremely buoyant compared to many other industries. So there really are lots positives to a career in childcare. And that’s before even mentioning the job satisfaction.
Today’s contributor, Jackie, was a late-joiner to the childcare industry and trained as a nursery nurse only after starting her own family. Her interview shows clearly the passion and enthusiasm she has for working with children and gives us a great insight into the day to day duties of a nursery nurse. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you Jackie.
So, briefly, what is your job?
“I work in childcare as a Nursery Nurse which encompasses a whole range of duties and responsibilities. Primarily I make sure that the children in my care have a safe and nurturing environment in which to play and learn. I do a lot of paperwork and planning for the children in my care and need have a good working knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and other legislation regarding children/childcare. There’s also the yuckier side of nappy changes and toilet training! It’s not for the faint hearted and you should be prepared to get your hands dirty!”
How did you get into it?
“I had a total change of career when my son was about two years old and decided to retrain as a nursery nurse as it was something I’d always been interested in. I completed my NVQ Level 2 in Childcare, Learning and Development within six months and was offered a job at the nursery where I had done my placement and training. Further down the line I have just completed my NVQ Level 3 and hope to gain my Early Years Practitioner qualification within the next two years.”
Describe a typical day.
“The one thing about nursery work is that there is no such thing as a typical day! We do try and stick to a routine, but it is subject to change according to the needs of the children – we always have to be flexible.
There’s generally a morning session and an afternoon session split by lunch. Some children are in your care on a full time basis, others may come in for a few sessions a week.
The session starts with the register so we can confirm how many children are present and have a general review of what the staff in the room has planned for the session. There are always various activities on the go, some planned, some spontaneous. I have a group of key children and it is my responsibility to plan activities for them, observe them and note down anything that will help them get the most from their nursery education. So depending on what I have observed and planned I could be doing anything from playing outside, digging for worms, painting, making cakes, leading story/songtime or being dressed up in role play area! Even when I’ve planned an activity there’s no guarantees that it will turn out as planned which is all part of the fun.
We do get time to do our paperwork so when it’s my turn to take the time out I’m catching up on planning activities and putting observations and photographs together to create an official record of the child’s learning.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
“I love the children. I can’t express how rewarding it is to work with children and how much enjoyment I get from watching a child come out of their shell and develop new skills. I want to make their time in my care as much fun as possible so they will hopefully look back fondly on it.”