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A Day in the Life of a Nursery Nurse


Marion offers us an insight into her day as a nursery nurse.

Up Bright and Early

The day starts when I wake up, strolling out of bed rubbing my blurry eyes,  thinking the weekend has vanished. Walking in a daze to the bathroom I turn on the cold tap splashing the cold water on to my face.  I then continue to get washed and dressed.  On the way downstairs thoughts of the day ahead go through my mind as I open the front door.

On my way to work I go into Costa to buy a coffee.  At  the bus stop,  I  drink  the coffee  while I  wait  for the bus to come.  When I see the bus coming I put out my arm. The driver does not stop.  I shout, “Hey what’s your problem!” – luckily another bus is coming behind.

I start work at 7.45am.

When I arrive at work at the Early Years Centre, the reception area is busy with parents talking to Early Years  Practitioners. 

First Session

On a daily basis I am kept busy with proactive children and numerous challenges, including maintaining children’s safety at all times. When doing the daily tasks I am committed in doing the job well.

It is important for a nursery nurse to work hands on in a professional manner towards and around the children, and to have the ability to connect with children positively in a short time. This is crucial for children who are starting nursery for the first day or staying for a half day or even a two hour morning or afternoon session. Children are very sensitive and need reassurance at all times.

When talking with the children I ensure they are being kind to one another, behaving in the correct way, listening to adults when they are spoken to. And when a new child starts nursery for the first time, I encourage children to play with each other and make friends sharing their toys.           

Some children are more sociably active and have a brother or sister which will help them with making friends and playing together. With some children it may take a little longer to play confidently with other children. Lots of encouragement through play is particularly needed in games such as peekaboo and hide and seek.

Getting Children Engaged

If I am having trouble engaging children, I use a favourite story such as the Gingerbread Man or the Three Little Pigs. These will encourage and support communication skills and develop their confidence in knowing what is happening next in the story.

In the most nurseries I’ve worked in we have the home corner. In this learning development area we encourage children to role play things they do at home such as cooking dinner, playing Mum, Dad and baby, also dressing up as a Super Hero. Children instantly identify with this area of imaginary play and have a lot of fun.        

During the day         

Throughout the nursery day we give children smiley face stickers for recognising their efforts for things they are trying to do, or for things they have done well. For example a activity where the child counts the beads as they put them on the string, recognising the beads are different shapes and have lots of different colours.

Another example is recognising when a child is being kind and looking after another child when she has slipped whilst playing. Instantly recognised is when children are sitting nicely during the circle time when they  are having their snacks. This approach will support their confidence and self esteem.

Adding My Personal Experiences

I draw upon my own experience of making a personal achievement tree with my daughter Carla when she was in the Early Years Foundation Stages.

The tree grows with leaves for things she is trying to do, or things she has done well in. For example when Carla made a recorder using a smarties tube it was creative.  She also drew The Rugrat cartoon characters Chucky, Angelica and Tommy, beautifully drawn and coloured in.

Carla made a lovely necklace made out of pasta shells, she painted each shell in the rainbow colours and threaded them on to a string. I was and still am very proud of her.

Marion is nursery nurse who works with young children in the Early Years Foundation stage.

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