How to become a nursery nurse was something that the team at Lebreton found we were asked many times so we asked our childcare team to answer this question. The article below will act as a good introductory article for anybody considering a career in childcare.
Why Become A Nursery Nurse
If you enjoy working with young children and babies as part of a team then nursery nursing could be an ideal career choice for you. Nursery nurses work with children from birth to seven years of age and are responsible for their care and learning. Most nursery nurses work in local authority and private nurseries, Children’s Centres or Sure Starts, hospitals and in primary schools. The work can also include working with children with special educational needs such as autism or physical disabilities. The work is varied and challenging, but also rewarding as you help young children grow and learn.
What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Nursery Nurse
In order to become a nursery nurse, you must have a recognised Level Three qualification in a relevant early years area such as a Diploma in Childcare and Education. This is a year long course and you will also be required to demonstrate practical skills as well as knowledge about child care, education and development. Many courses will require you to gain experience of a nursery setting through employment, volunteer work or work placements through the course provider.
Can I Become a Nursery Assistant?
Before you choose to study for your level three nursery nurse qualification, you could begin your career working in nurseries as a nursery assistant. This has the advantage of working within nurseries and with young children to see if this suits you before you commit to further qualifications. Nursery Assistants work with young children under the supervision of more experienced staff such as teachers, early years practitioners and nursery nurses. Nursery assistants need no qualifications however there are plenty of opportunities to gain qualifications through on going training whilst working. Some relevant courses would include;
- Level 1 Award in an Introduction to Early Years Settings
- Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People’s Workforce
Another route into nursery nursing could be an apprenticeship where you learn as you work in a nursery environment receiving training and experience from a more experienced member of staff who would act as your mentor. Whilst working in a nursery as a nursery assistant, you could gain experience and training to allow you to qualify as a nursery nurse.
Do I Need a CRB?
Anyone who works with children is required to hold an enhanced CRB disclosure. This is a check with the Criminal Records Bureau about any previous criminal convictions you may have. Any previous convictions must be declared to employers and some types of conviction may prevent you working with children.
Working as a Nursery Nurse
Towards the end of your training course is the best time to begin to think about finding work. Through your experience in nurseries, during your course placements, volunteering or previous employment, you should begin to have an idea of where you may want to work and with which age group. For instance, school nurseries are advantageous in having school holidays, which can be particularly helpful if you have children of your own to care for. Private nurseries are open for longer hours and during school holidays however they can offer shift and part time work that can be flexible around your lifestyle. It is worth thinking about which age group you enjoy working with as babies, toddlers and young children all come with their own set of challenges and rewards. Working with younger children involves a lot of care such as nappy changing and preparing food and bottles. With older children there is a larger element of education and teaching and you may decide you prefer teaching letters to caring for small babies!
Finding Work as a Nursery Nurse
Once you have decided on the type of setting that will suit you, begin to look for job advertisements. A good place to look is in Early Years publications or council websites. When you apply for jobs, make sure you have all the skills required by the role and don’t forget to mention any training or skills you may have that make you particularly suited for the role. For instance, training in Paediatric First Aid, Food Preparation and Hygiene or Safeguarding Children may be particularly attractive to employers and help you stand you from the crowd.
Nursery nursing is a rewarding career choice perfect for people who enjoy working with young children whilst continuing their own professional development through training and learning new skills. This can even progress to leadership positions such as nursery manager or early years practitioner status in a nursery or children’s centre.