Are you at a career crossroads? Want to focus on a career which makes a positive impact on others, but one that also works for you?
If you’re looking to take a step into education or have a passion for child development, then working in nursery and early years is right up your street.
Still need a little convincing? Here are five reasons why working in early years is one of the most rewarding things you can do.
Do I need qualifications to be an early years educator?
You can start a career in early years with no qualifications, as long as you have relevant experience working with children, even babysitting counts! You also need a DBS certificate to show you can work with children.
If you want to become an early years educator or practitioner, you need a Level Three qualification in Childcare. This is the more common approach, and it opens more doors to achieving higher-skilled work in this setting (along with relevant experience).
However, if you want to become an early years teacher, for example teaching in schools rather than in a Private Day Nursery, you need a degree and a PGCE. To start training, you’ll need maths, English and science GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above. This will help you to gain EYTS (Early Years Teacher Status).
Want to find out which path into early years is right for you? Use the form below and one of our early years consultants will be in touch.
What will I do day-to-day as an early years educator?
As an early years assistant, specialist, practitioner or educator, you will be teaching and supporting children up to the age of five. You’ll be planning and organising learning activities, assisting with personal needs such as feeding and changing, taking children out to places of interest and helping them to develop their literacy and numeracy skills.
Other important duties include ensuring children are collected at the end of the day, preventing and reporting any accidents and providing comfort to an upset child.
Much of early years learning is based around play time, so being able to make learning topics accessible, and of course exciting, is key. If you find joy in even the smaller things in life and have a passion for making people smile, working in a nursery or early years setting is perfect for you.
How early years teaching can be one of the most rewarding careers
You’re setting children up for a future of success
There are countless studies on child development that show how valuable early years education is. Not only does it provide children with social and language skills, but studies have also shown that good early years teaching may boost the earnings of children when they go into adulthood.
According to The Guardian, a study found that pupils in the top 2.5% of reception classes have higher lifetime earnings, adding £2,000-£7,000 per pupil. This was even after adjusting for family circumstances, first language and ethnicity.
Working in this setting will allow you to inspire the next generation, they could become doctors, artists, chefs or even educators just like you! Being there at the start of their learning journey and watching them get ready to head to Reception and Primary school is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
I love working in nurseries and early years, it’s so rewarding. There is no feeling as great as knowing you are having such a positive impact on a child's life but alongside impacting their lives, they also impact mine, the children in Nurseries are so full of love?you?can't help but smile when working with them.”?
Louise, Early Years Educator in Leeds
Every day is a school day, but no two days are the same
Each day working in an early years setting will be completely different, from searching for creepy crawlies in the great outdoors to study, finding the best and biggest leaf fallen from a tree, to reading all about vast space and exciting planets in the cosmos. Discovering new colours while painting a masterpiece or unlocking a world of language through reading and writing... there’s so much for the pupils to explore with your support.
There is still a curriculum in early years, but it’s a lot different from Primary School learning. It focuses on creative learning, literacy and numeracy, to set children up for Primary School and beyond.
You’ll see the world in a different way
When you become an early years educator, you will discover so much along with the pupils. What was once a toilet roll tube destined for the recycling bin is now an important structural part of a farm animal bridge. A rogue bead fallen off of some clothing is now googly eyes for a deep-sea creature, and the humble ice lolly stick washed clean, will become the basis of a puppet or doll and the hero of their story.
Whether it’s craft supplies or new nursery rhymes, working in early years will keep you learning and exploring too. We just can’t guarantee you won’t find glitter in all sorts of places in your home…
You can focus on creative learning
I’m sure any teacher will tell you about the feeling of death-by-marking or being snowed under from several spreadsheets. Early years learning focuses on what matters, learning. If you need a break from assemblies, exams, and repeating “no running in the corridor!” take a step into the Nursery room. Phonics, numeracy and exploration are on the agenda here, powered by children’s imagination.
“I love working in a nursery and early years because watching children grow and take on the early stages of their life is truly inspirational to watch and be part of.”?
Urwah, Ealy Years Educator in Bradford
There’s so much scope for progression
A career in early years will open the door to so many opportunities. You can start your career with no qualifications, as long as you have relevant experience and a DBS certificate. From here, you can move into specialist roles, such as working in SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities). You could also look to work up the ladder to become a senior early years practitioner or room leader, or even study for a teaching qualification.