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Being a Nursery Nurse

 

Being a Nursery Nurse can be a very rewarding job. You must have a natural empathy towards children in order to maintain and promote their welfare and have the skills to support them in all areas of their learning and development. The early years of a child’s life are classed as the most crucial years as this is where the majority of skills are acquired and children develop rapidly both mentally and physically; providing them with knowledge, skills, and morals, which they then take into adult life. For these reasons it is extremely import that we intervene in order to provide children with positive opportunities, within stimulating environments, in order to maintain and promote positive outcomes.

There are many types of childcare provisions available, providing parents and carers with the choice to decide what provision is best for them, their child, and overall needs and expectations. Provisions range from nurseries, schools, play groups, wrap around care, out of school clubs and child minders.

There are a variety of reasons why parents/carers and their children access childcare provisions. There is a statutory obligation on certain settings such as schools, meaning by law all children must attend this type of provision. Nurseries and other care settings provide parents/carers with flexibility; parents may have to place their children in day-care due to work commitments or a disability. It is important to recognise that provisions are not merely in place for working families. They can be equally beneficial to parents/carers that want their children to interact socially alongside other children or to learn and develop new skills.

Whatever your setting you will tend to see the same groups of children each day as it’s important that children are provided with consistency to their routines. Key worker systems are usually enforced; meaning a member of staff is assigned to a set individual or group of children. This allows trusting bonds to be formed, and it enables the key worker to have a greater insight into each individuals overall welfare, learning and development.

Environments for children must be stimulating both indoors and outdoors. Routines should be flexible in order to take advantage of spontaneous opportunities (so that they can evolve in the event of snow for instance,) this would provide children with the opportunity to learn about a range of concepts, whilst having fun.

 

So what is a typical day in a Nursery like?

 

Nurseries usually open around 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, all year round; however it’s now becoming more common for them to also open on weekends with extended opening hours.

Children will arrive at the setting throughout the morning, with the busiest times between 7.00am and 9.00am.  When arriving at the setting staff can chat to the children and their parents/carers to share any relevant information. Upon children’s arrival they may be provided with breakfast in the event that they haven’t eaten at home.

It is vital to understand that all play activities and routines need to support children’s learning and development, providing they are age appropriate, and suitable to the individual’s needs.

The initial part of the day usually entails floor activities, such as puzzles, story books and building blocks etc, as this isn’t too hectic and helps to ease children into their day. It also allows children to select activities and toys of their own choice. Once all children have arrived and settled into their routine we can introduce more structured learning opportunities. This could be a general learning and development opportunity, such as painting, mixing colours, or printing using a variety of objects/textures or it could be an assessment of a particular child’s knowledge, such as an assessment of their letter recognition.

A mid-morning snack is provided, which should be healthy and nutritious. Children must understand they are able to have access to free drinking water at all times. Around mid-morning some younger children may require a period of rest such as participation in a quiet activity like story time or some may even require a sleep.

Activities resume after snack/rest time and if the children have been indoors all morning they will need access to the outdoor environment to play and access fresh air. All areas of children’s learning and development should be supported to help them progress and develop within all areas.

At around mid-day the children will stop for lunch. Snack and mealtimes must meet the dietary needs of children and take into account any medical conditions or allergies. Mealtimes should be encouraged as a social event, whereby children eat, communicate and interact, exploring foods, alongside their peers and carers. They can also learn behaviour from adults being good role models, such as how to eat correctly and use manners. It is important for children to be appropriately seated throughout mealtimes, within clean and sterile areas. Again, any children requiring a sleep will have a break after lunch, whilst those not sleeping will be involved in quiet activities like story time and circle time.

Throughout the afternoon children will be gradually eased back into routines and there will be opportunities again for a mixture of child initiated play, adult led structured activities, snack time and periods of rest/sleep. Opportunities for children must be available in both the indoor and outdoor environments.

Children’s overall welfare and personal care should be promoted throughout the duration of the day. Welfare is maintained by ensuring we take the necessary steps to safeguard them from harm. We assess everything the children have access to; for instance is the food we provide suitable, are risks minimised within the environment, and are staff and the adults caring for children suitable?

There should be an appropriate balance of both indoor and outdoor activities and also opportunities for both adult led play and child initiated routines and activities.

Toileting opportunities will also be available throughout the day. There will be nappy changing routines and encouragement of potty and toilet training throughout.

At the end of the day information is shared with the child’s parent/carer in order to communicate development, problems, and promote best practise.