Nursery nurse
Health & Care

Nursery nurses look after children aged 0 to 5. Do you love the idea of caring for babies and young children? If so, working as a nursery nurse or nursery worker may be an ideal career for you.

Work Activities

Nursery nurses, sometimes called nursery workers, are responsible for the care, education and development of babies and young children up to the age of 5. This is known as the Early Years Foundation stage.

Most nurseries are open from 8 am to 6pm week-days only, and staff work shifts to cover those hours.

Duties may vary according to the workplace and to the qualification achieved by the nursery nurse. A nursery nurse may expect:

  • To supervise the care, safety and welfare of the babies and children in their care
  • To plan activities that allow babies and children to develop language and numeracy skills
  • To organise activities that stimulate the children's imagination and encourage them to learn about the world around them
  • To encourage children's emotional development
  • To supervise meal-times to ensure babies and children are well-nourished
  • To maintain a hygienic environment for the protection of babies and children
  • To change nappies and to supervise toilet training
  • To organise outings
  • Liaising with colleagues
  • To be aware of legal duties, including child protection procedures
  • To keep records on each child and report issues and discuss achievements with parents and carers.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for nursery nurses

  • You need to be kind and patient
  • You need good communication skills
  • You need to be able to forge good relationships with children and their parents or carers
  • You need to be able to accept responsibility
  • You should be interested in how children learn and develop.

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers

  • Nursery chains
  • Independent nurseries
  • Montessori nurseries
  • Private households (nannies)
  • Large employer crèches
  • Holiday resort crèches
  • Children's centres
  • Reception classes in primary schools
  • Self-employment as a child-minder.


Qualifications and training required

You can obtain relevant qualifications in more than one way. Qualifications from CACHE are well-established.

A nursery assistant is likely to have, or be working towards qualifications at Level 1 or Level 2, for example CACHE Level 2 Certificate for the Children's and Young People's Workforce.

A supervisor is likely to have qualifications at level 3 and be over 18.

Managers of nurseries may have qualifications at level 4 or 5 eg CACHE Level 4 Certificate for the Early Years Advanced Practitioner or a Foundation degree in Early Years.

Montessori nurseries and schools place emphasis on children learning rather than being taught. Montessori runs courses to pass on its methods to would be educators.

It is likely that you will need evidence that you are of good character, so you will probably be asked for personal references and a certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS certificate), stating that there is no evidence that you have committed a crime that would make it inappropriate for you to work with children.

It may be helpful to speak or write Welsh if you wish to work in Wales.

Apprenticeships are available in childcare at Levels 2 and 3.

Traineeships are available in childcare for unemployed people aged 16 to 24 with qualifications below level 3 standard.

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