What you need to know when working in a nursery

Loud energetic children, tidy up times and paint-splattered clothes — working in a nursery isn’t for everyone but maybe you’re considering it as the right career choice for you. Working with children can be extremely fulfilling and rewarding, since you’ll be involved in each child’s early development. There are a few things that you need to know about working in a nursery that could help you to decide if it’s the career for you and this article will provide you with the details. Read on to find out more.

You’ll need to display some key skills

As a nursery worker, a can-do attitude and positive demeanour are imperative. When the children walk through the door, they might be bursting with energy, ready to start the day and you’ll want to welcome them through the doors with enthusiasm and warmth. Of course, working with children isn’t sunshine and rainbows all the time and they could well enter the setting in tears are drop-off time.

Patience is also vital because some children may find certain tasks or situations more trying than others. You’ll be required to recognise that they need additional help and give them the time that they need to process the task at hand, repeating yourself or explaining further if necessary.

We’ve mentioned a small handful of the skills that you’ll need to display to work at a nursery, but you’ll also need to be:

  • Precocious — planning and providing activities that will be engaging and enjoyable.
  • Creative and imaginative — when thinking of new tasks for the children or playing with them.
  • Be caring and attentive — some children may require additional support.
  • Be a team player — working cohesively with your colleagues to complete tasks.
  • Patient and calm — the room may get noisy and chaotic.
  • Ambitious — there may be additional training that you can pursue that can further your own career development.

What does the role entail?

As a nursery worker, you’ll be working with children of varying ages and you could be dealing with babies right up to pre-school age. No two children will be the same and some may have additional needs that you will have to accommodate for. When working in a nursery, you and your colleagues are responsible for all of the children in your care, and therefore it’s your job to ensure that their time at nursery is both safe and enjoyable.

You may have to plan and deliver activities, games or tasks for them to take part in. This will require you to be creative and understand the abilities of all of the children at the nursery, to organise activities that will cater to all. These activities could help with the development of their motor skills like arts and crafts or ball games, for example. The activities may also help with their speech development, like show and tell or circle time, with singing or storytelling — and opening up discussions in a group. Nursery websites like Kiddi Caru, for example, often display specific themes or activities to show off what the children have enjoyed getting up to.


One of the key elements to aid a child’s development is a solid routine. Each nursery will have its own routine, but the general structure of the day should be fairly similar. It may include:

  • Welcome time
  • Circle time
  • Lunch and snack time
  • Play time
  • Group activities
  • Home time

If you think that a career in a nursery would suit you, as well as being completely rewarding, there are plenty of personal benefits. Not only is it great for people skills and confidence, but you could also further your own development and pursue additional qualifications. What’s more, since nurseries typically open early in the morning and close in the evening you could work flexible hours and develop a work-life balance that suits you. There’s plenty of demand for nursery workers at the moment, so why not apply and get started on your new career path.