Working with children is something I have always wanted to do since I was little – when I finally got the opportunity I jumped so high at the chance!”

Shannen previously worked in a nursery in Southport for 7 years. She started out as a student at the nursery in 2010 and became a full-time nursery practitioner in 2012.

Today, she has been kind enough to sit down and share with us what a day in a nursery is like for a practitioner.

How would a typical day at nursery begin?

“A typical day in a nursery would start around 8:00am. I would start by greeting each child for breakfast. I would say good morning to their parents and have a quick catch up with them, asking how they are etc. If one of the children ever came in upset or unsettled, we would go to the window to wave goodbye to their parents and then have our breakfast.”

“The conversations we would have at breakfast were endless – it could be about absolutely anything! Most of the time, the children would tell me about what they had done before nursery that morning, and I would tell them what we were going to do in class that day.”

“After breakfast, the children would get to have free play, where they were allowed to choose the toys they want to play with – this is all about getting to know their interests in the setting, so you have to let them pick what they would like to play with. I usually let them help me to set up the toys and play along side them.”

What were the most popular activity choices with your class?

“We would play anything from mums and dads to making cakes and biscuits from play dough! Then we would have a snack around 10:30am, where again we would all sit at the table as a class and discuss whatever the children fancied talking about. We would usually have two pieces of fruit and a biscuit with a glass of milk – we let the children set up for snack time, counting the snacks as they handed everything out, and we would always promote counting the plates together too. The children loved sitting around the table to have different conversations! It was always a great way to get them socialising with each other.”

What’s next on a typical day?

“After snack time, we would take the children in to the garden to explore. We would encourage them to listen to the different noises, and in summer, we would go looking around to see where different bugs lived and what they eat. We regularly watered the flowers and talked about what they needed to grow – the children loved helping to plant the flowers and vegetables in the vegetable patch.”

“After exploring in the garden, we would come inside for lunch, and wash our hands. We always explained to them why it was important to wash their hands regularly. The children would get mixed up in their groups so they could talk to other children they may not have already interacted with that day – we wanted to make sure they were always building relationships with each other.”

“Once everyone had finished their lunch, we would do a planned activity, which would be based around anything from a story the children were interested in or a topic a family member is concentrating on at home. The parents would regularly tell us what was going on at home e.g. appointments the dentist or booking holidays, so we would always try to bring these sort of events in to the nursery to talk about.”

Sounds like a busy day! Is there anything left to do after all that?!

“After this, we would have about an hour left before home time, so we would do jigsaws together or draw – we found this was a calming activity for the children to do before their parents arrived to collect them. Some of the children would have made pictures that day or cards for a family member’s birthday. They were filled with pride once their family members arrived, showing them the work they had done that day. It’s so important to build a solid relationship with family members, especially as some days you are seeing this child more than they are.”

Last question…what’s next?

“For the time being, I’ve left this nursery to broaden my skills with children – I’ll be working with young people with disabilities in their homes around Southport, but as I’ve previously said, I always knew this was the sort of path I wanted to take, and working in a nursery was the perfect way to do it.”

“There can of course be bad days for each member within the nursery staff, and the children have bad days too – but at the end of it, when that child gives you a hug goodbye or says something along the lines of “you are my best friend”, something as simple as that makes it all worthwhile.”

“You develop a relationship with the child yourself when you work in a nursery, because you spend so much time with them, teaching them the vital skills they need to grow – it’s one of the most rewarding jobs anyone could ever do I think.”

Thanks to Shannen for taking the time out to share her experience with us all!

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