Nursery assistants care for children up to the age of five in preschools or day-care centres under the supervision of nursery nurses, teachers and centre managers.
They are responsible for creating a fun, safe and stimulating environment for the children in their care, and responding to their personal needs.
They are also required to help prepare meals and snacks, monitor the children’s safety and report any concerns to their supervisor, and help children with hygiene tasks like washing their hands and going to the toilet.
Our guide provides detailed information about the role of a nursery assistant, including expected salaries, required training and qualifications and a prepared job description.
- Nursery assistant job description
- How much do nursery assistants earn?
- What does a nursery assistant do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs nursery assistants?
- Which junior jobs progress to nursery assistant roles?
Nursery assistant job description
Nursery Assistant |Sprout Day Nursery
About Sprout Day Nursery
Located in Kenilworth, Sprout Day Nursery welcomes children from six weeks old to the age of five. We focus on providing our children with a combination of social learning, outdoor and indoor play and fun, engaging activities.
About the role
We are looking for a friendly, patient nursery assistant to support our existing team with the care of the children. The nursery assistant will be responsible for planning and organising a range of stimulating and educational activities throughout the day.
- Creating and maintaining a safe, stimulating and inclusive environment for all children
- Adhering to all safeguarding requirements of the nursery and looking after the welfare of the children
- Devising activities, both indoors and outdoors, to encourage ongoing learning and social interactions
- Acknowledging the individual needs of the children, including those who need additional support and care
- Preparing snacks and drinks, and supervising children during meals
- Changing nappies or assisting children with using the toilet when required
- Reporting any concerns to supervisors regarding a child’s emotional state or development
Location & commitments
- Permanent, full-time position based in Kenilworth
- Monday to Friday, with shifts requiring early starts or late finishes in line with the nursery’s opening hours (7.30am-6.00pm)
- Year-round position includes summer and other school holidays
- Educated to GCSE level with passes in English, Maths and at least two more subjects
- Holds a recent paediatric First Aid certificate
- Willingness to carry out light physical duties as required, such as lifting babies and small children as well as setting up activities
- Experience caring for children aged between 0-5 (includes babysitting or nannying)
- Strong communication skills including fluency in English
- Experience working within a childcare setting or a school
- Training in child protection and safeguarding children
Contact us to apply
If you see a future working with and caring for children, please send through your CV and a cover letter outlining how your experience matches this role to Pam Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org
How much do nursery assistants earn?
Nursery assistants are entry-level positions so their average salary is around £19,000, but there are opportunities to develop a career in child care and increase that wage over time.
Nursery assistant salaries in the UK
- Low: £17,000
- Average: £19,000
- High: £21,000
Nursery assistant salaries can vary based on;
- Level of qualifications – e.g. does the role specify L3 qualifications or are no formal qualifications required?
- Type of setting – e.g. is it a private creche run by a corporate organisation or a centre attached to a publicly-funded school or local authority?
- Level of experience – e.g. does the role require previous experience working in a nursery or is it designed for school leavers?
For example, nursery assistants who have completed formal qualification and have several years’ experience working with children can expect a higher wage than those without any accreditation.
Private nursery assistants working directly for wealthy families can also receive a higher salary, although they will be expected to have formal training and prior experience.
What does a nursery assistant do?
This section breaks down the job description into simple terms, listing the tasks and responsibilities a nursery assistant can expect in an average working week;
- Organising daily activities – Creating a range of fun and stimulating games, activities and programmes for children across different age ranges
- Supervising and monitoring children – Keeping an eye on the children at all times, ensuring a safe environment that prevents any harm or injury
- Preparing snacks and meals – Ensuring the children are supplied with nutritious drinks, snacks and meals throughout the day, adjusting for food intolerances as needed
- Maintaining a hygienic environment – Upholding all safety or sanitary requirements, and helping children with tasks such as washing their hands and going to the toilet (changing nappies for younger children)
- Updating records – Maintaining detailed logs about each child including their development, attendance, behaviour, allergies and special assistance needed
- Supporting other team members – Providing assistance to more senior members of staff including nursery nurses, supervisors and centre managers
What do nursery assistants need?
Nursery assistant roles may stipulate different levels of training and qualifications, or years’ experience. However, employers are generally looking for a caring nature and desire to work with children.
Here is a basic overview of what’s needed.
Ideally, nursery assistants will have some experience or exposure to working with young children. However, employers may also consider candidates who can demonstrate organisational skills, reliability and a friendly, caring nature.
Nursery assistant skills
Being a nursery assistant is dependent on a number of softer skills in combination with technical knowledge.
- Compassion and empathy: Caring for children and meeting their emotional needs by showing kindness, patience and tolerance
- Creativity: Designing a range of activities to keep the children entertained and stimulated throughout the day
- Conflict resolution: Helping children work through tantrums and arguments with others, comforting them when upset
- Interpersonal skills: The ability to work closely with other team members, as well as liaise with parents and carers
- Child care knowledge: Understanding of basic child care practices, child development and current legislation and guidance
Nursery assistant qualifications
Depending on the role being advertised, there may be a requirement to hold an accredited qualification including one of those listed below.
Level 2 NVQ Certificate for the Children & Young People’s Workforce
This qualification is run by a number of education providers including CACHE and Pearson. It is designed to support people looking to work in a childcare environment. It covers topics including child development, health and safety, safeguarding and welfare of children and young people and supporting positive behaviour.
Level 3 Early Years Educator
CACHE operates a suite of diploma-level qualifications focused on the care of children up to the age of five. Students will study three key themes – health and well-being, legislation, frameworks and professional practice, and play, development and learning.
What is expected of nursery assistants?
Typically, nursery assistants will be expected to commit to the following;
- Full time hours – (35 – 40 hours per week) with shifts covering early starts and late finishes, e.g. between the hours of 8am-6pm or 7am-7pm
- School holiday shifts – For private day care centres
- Location – Based onsite at a school or private facility
Nursery assistant benefits
Nursery assistant staff receive a number of benefits in addition to their base salaries including things like:
- Training and development
Who employs nursery assistants?
Nurseries are generally run by schools, community groups or local authorities. However, there are also some private organisations running on-site creches for working parents, and some wealthy families hiring private nursery assistants.
Typical nursery assistant staff employers include companies like:
- Schools and kindergartens
- Local authorities
- Community centres
- Hospitals and healthcare centres
- Large corporate organisations – Such as technology and investment banking firms with onsite creches
- Wealthy families
Which junior jobs progress to nursery assistant roles?
Nursery assistants are junior positions, so there are no real permanent roles that are a launching pad to working in a childcare environment. However, there are casual roles with transferable skills, such as:
Babysitters or nannies
People who have cared for children even in an informal, casual basis will have the ability to demonstrate the personal traits that will suit a nursery assistant. For example, they will know some basics about child development, how to keep children entertained and how to create a safe environment for them.
Which senior jobs do nursery assistants progress to?
Nursery assistants are the first rung on the ladder in the child care and education industry. There are a number of opportunities to progress, including:
Nursery nurse or practitioner
Nursery nurses will generally require qualifications in childcare or early years education, as well as demonstrated work experience in a child care facility. While many of the day-to-day duties will be the same as a nursery assistant, the nursery nurse will generally be more autonomous and have a higher salary.
Nursery room supervisor or centre manager
Responsible for the running of the room or centre, this role is also often tasked with overseeing more junior staff and providing guidance and on-the-job training. To achieve this role, candidates will need a Level 3 qualification in childcare and several years’ experience working in a nursery.
Nursery assistants may wish to continue their tertiary education by enrolling in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. This would qualify them to work as a teacher in a preschool classroom at a public or private school, teaching children aged between three and five.
Nursery assistants job description – conclusion
Becoming a nursery assistant is a rewarding role where you will be able to provide care and education to young children.
There are a number of opportunities to grow a career as a carer or an educator, in a supportive environment that values training and development.