I come from a background of working in a variety of childcare settings and can vouch that a career in Early Years can be, without doubt, challenging and tiring (these are tiny humans who are exploring the world around them after all), however the rewards are monumental.
Every day is different in Early Years, and it is far from boring – there is always something new to learn and discover as much as the children you are supporting. Working in a room in a nursery is something that you are unlikely to experience anywhere else, you are like family, as you work closely together with other like-minded individuals to ensure that you are providing the very best care and love to the children in your care.
In the right nursery, you will be valued and developed in line with your interests. My advice would be to bear the salary offered in mind, however pay far more attention to the workplace culture and ‘feel’ of the existing staff and environment.
What do you recommend looking for when applying for a nursery role?
When applying at a nursery setting, I would recommend looking for a few things from the very start. Job adverts should reflect a warm and friendly feeling and mention the importance placed on their employees – what you can expect by working there.
Check out the nursery website and reviews online – what are they saying about the specific nursery? Remember reviews about nursery chains may not reflect the individual nursery. Can you access staff testimonials? This is great to look out for as it means their current team are happy working in the nursery and are proud to discuss their roles. This also goes for staff wellbeing.
What should I look for while I’m going through the interview process?
The management team should be contacting you and keeping in touch throughout the interview process to show you they value your application and how much they would like you to join their nursery. The management team should ensure that the interview process flows, letting you know what to expect at each step and ensuring you are supported, answering any questions you may have.
Now that I’m enrolled, what should I expect?
Once you have been enrolled at your new nursery, here are a few things to look out for:
How do the team welcome you in? Are they welcoming? Do you feel part of the team?
Those first impressions are vital in giving you a glimpse into what could come. Brownie points if they organise for you to have a buddy while you settle!
Are you given a thorough induction?
It is incredibly important to ensure that you are made to feel part of the team and given the confidence to carry out your role effectively and safely. The induction process should include relevant policies and training, introduction to the team and their roles and generally making you feel welcome and ‘at home’.
Is the staff room inviting?
Is it comfortable and a place you want to spend your breaks from work, with somewhere to keep your lunch and make hot drinks?
I am now fully settled; how do I know this setting is a great place to work?
Your management team should encourage your continued growth and part of doing this is to have regular one-to-one supervision meetings where they discuss your CPD (continued professional development), your health, well-being and how you are getting on in your role, discussing any concerns you or they may have and celebrating any successes you have had. This should be tailored to you and your interests. A great management team should be able to draw on your strengths and ensure you are aware of any development opportunities available to you, support you as an individual and ensure that your journey with them is enjoyable and interesting.
Employee Relations Lead – Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries
Karen supports nurseries across the group and helps with recruitment and retention planning. She is an expert in guiding our nurseries through common HR issues and concerns and recruitment concerns. Karen has an excellent HR toolkit which she makes available to franchisees and managers to help them manage their staff teams. Her passion is employee well-being and loves to support our nurseries in creating great workplace cultures for their staff.