What is a nursery practitioner?

A nursery practitioner is someone who cares, guides and supports young children during their early years education. They are specialists who look after the social and educational development of babies and young children up to the age of five years old.

How to become a nursery practitioner?

You can take a college course before looking for work in a nursery. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Childcare and Education
  • Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care – Early Years Educator
  • T level in Education

A paediatric first aid certificate will also be useful but is not essential. You could also get into this career through an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship as an early years practitioner or educator.

You can work as a nursery assistant and learn on the job. You’ll usually need GCSEs in maths and English to start. Experience of working with young children will also help.

Nursery practitioner duties

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

  • Reading stories and and helping children learn number skills
  • Helping children to learn number skills, eg using counting games
  • Observe children’s progress and keep records to share with parents
  • Working to Early Years Foundation Stage standards on child learning
  • Making sure children are safe and reporting any concerns
  • Feeding and changing babies, and supervising meals of older children

Nursery practitioner skills

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

  • 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 practitioner job

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

  • Search for nursery practitioner 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 Practitioner Job Titles

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

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

What does a nursery practitioner do?

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

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

  • plan and prepare activities, materials and lessons
  • set out activities before class and tidy up afterwards
  • teach children through learning and play
  • speak to parents and carers about their children’s development
  • make sure children learn in a safe and positive environment
  • monitor children’s progress and report any issues
  • supervise nursery workers, teaching assistants and volunteer helpers
  • contribute to curriculum planning
  • attend staff meetings and training sessions