What is a nursery assistant?

Nursery assistant plays an important role in assisting in the care of young children. They plan and organise both fun and educational activities and take care of children’s personal needs. A nursery assistant assists childcare teachers with children’s basic needs, such as bathing, feeding, monitoring movement, and diaper changing.

How to become a nursery assistant?

Being a nursery assistant involves having extensive knowledge of children. It requires knowing what makes them happy; keeping them entertained and being able to teach them in a way that they can readily understand.

Nursery assistants have qualifications in childcare or early years. This could be, for example,

  • NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Child Care and Education
  • BTEC National Diploma in Children’s Care, Learning and Development
  • NVQ Level 3 in Children’s Care, Learning and Development

To get onto a childcare course you need GCSEs, including English and maths, or equivalent qualifications.

You can get experience by volunteering at a local nursery group or after school club. This may lead into paid work, where you could do training on the job.

Nursery assistant duties

Nursery assistant duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Monitoring and supervising the children constantly
  • Assisting the child care teacher in maintaining a safe and positive environment
  • Cultivating relationships with children, parents, and guardians
  • Alerting the childcare teacher to emergencies
  • Supporting children during clinical procedures
  • Encouraging children’s development
  • Using play to maintain a child’s level of development during illness
  • Finding ways to stimulate children particularly those with special and sensory needs
  • Assisting in putting children to sleep

Nursery assistant skills

To be an effective nursery assistant, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Excellent infant handling skills as well as empathy and compassion for children
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Caring and kind
  • Approachable
  • Aware of child protection and safeguarding
  • Excellent observational skills
  • Ability to work in a team and individually
  • Passion to work within the Childcare and Education industry and with young children

How to find a nursery assistant job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the nursery assistant jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for nursery assistant jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Nursery Assistant Job Titles

When you search for nursery assistant jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for nursery assistant jobs include;

  • Playgroup assistant
  • Childcare worker
  • Play worker
  • Nursery practitioner
  • Community nursery nurse

What does a nursery assistant do?

The job of a nursery assistant varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of nursery assistant job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a nursery assistant include;

  • Assisting children to develop their numeracy and literacy skills
  • Providing a story-time, where you read to children daily
  • Taking children on local outings
  • Watching children through the day, ensuring their safety, cleanliness and manners
  • Ensuring all children are fed and, drink throughout the day regularly
  • Assisting with any toilet training
  • Planning lessons that engage the children in a different, fun and educational activity, whilst working to the Early Years Foundation Stage standards on child learning