Nursery Worker

Job Description:

Nursery workers help babies and children up to 5 years old to develop and learn in a safe and supportive environment.

Job Category:

What you will do:

Your day-to-day tasks will include:

  • planning and supervising activities like arts and crafts, music and cooking (creativity)
  • helping children to learn numeracy and language skills through games
  • taking children on outings
  • feeding and changing babies
  • observing children and making notes to write reports
  • making sure children are safe and well

With experience, you could become a key worker for one or more children. You’ll monitor their progress and share information about their development with parents or carers.


You’ll need:

  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • active listening skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Nursery Worker, you typically don’t need specific subjects, but having certain qualifications and skills can be advantageous for this role. Nursery Workers primarily require a compassionate and caring nature, along with practical skills related to child care. Here are some recommended subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. English Language: Strong communication skills, including reading, writing, and speaking, are essential for interacting with children, parents, and colleagues.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are useful for tasks such as measuring and preparing food, keeping records, and organizing activities.
  3. Science: While not mandatory, a basic understanding of science, particularly biology, can be helpful for understanding child health and development.

Post School

You’ll usually need a level 2 or level 3 qualification in childcare or early years.

Your local government Department for Education should have information on all approved childcare qualifications.

In the UK, if you don’t have a level 2 qualification, you can start out by working as a nursery assistant where you’ll be supervised by more experienced staff. This could be a paid job or through volunteering. You could then train while you work.

You may also find it useful to have a level 2 qualification in English and maths which includes functional skills.

You could get into this career through an apprenticeship.

You’ll also need an enhanced background check which your employer will arrange for you.

Working Hours and Environment:

If you’re working full-time, you’ll usually work an 8-hour day, 5 days a week. Nurseries are usually open from 7am to 6pm. You may need to work Saturdays.

You could work in local authority childcare settings, privately owned nurseries, government run nurseries and reception classes in primary schools.

Some jobs may be term-time only. There is also often lots of availability for part-time work.

The work involves a lot of physical activity, so you’ll need a reasonable level of personal fitness.

Career Path & Progression:

As an experienced nursery worker you could specialise in working with children with learning difficulties, physical difficulties or mental health problems.

IN the UK, you could also take a level 3 early years educator qualification to progress to room leader, senior nursery worker or centre manager.

You could also study towards a higher education qualification in early years or child development. You could then move into management or early years teaching.