The Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services: Children and Young People is one of the most popular frameworks that we provide in East Lothian. It offers students the chance to gain an understanding of childcare, while also gaining real-world experience of working with young people. There may be some Foundation Apprenticeship students wondering where it can take them. There may also be some pupils considering undertaking it, and are unsure of what it will involve. To help find out more, I was lucky enough to get to spend the morning at ABC Nursery to see what their staff members get up to on a typical day.
ABC Nursery is a family-run business split across two properties in Tranent. I was warmly welcomed in to the building by smiling faces; there was a friendly, familial sense about the place. ABC has a wide range of children attending, alternating from young infants to children about to enter primary school. This allows the staff to interact with a variety of children on any given day, giving them the chance to put their skills into practice across an assortment of different needs from the children. Whilst I was there I was able to take a look at the ‘Baby Room’ (up to eighteen months old), the ‘Tweenie Room’ (between one year and two years old), the ‘Toddler Room’ (over the age of two), and the ‘Pre School Room’ (between the ages of four and five). The lovely staff at ABC emphasised to me that while the rooms were categorised by age, no child would move up a room until they felt ready.
I asked the staff at ABC to describe what they get up to on a typical day, and they kindly gave me a breakdown. Although of course, no two days are ever the same!
7.15am – Staff arrive at the nursery and set up their rooms for the day.
7.30am – Children are dropped off by their parents or carers. There is time here for free play, where the children are given the chance to explore the toys and games available to them.
9am – Snack time! ABC Nursery has a cook that provides nutritional food for the pupils. Staff often have the opportunity to take a short break here.
9.30am – Children are back at play. There is often an emphasis here on a different theme; one of the children may have been to the museum at the weekend and learnt about dinosaurs, so there may be a focus on dinosaur-related activities. Every activity is kept flexible to allow for children to make their own choices about what they do with their time.
11.30am – Staggered lunch takes place. Careful planning ensures all children receive at least one portion of each food group a day to guarantee a balanced diet during their time in nursery.
1pm – Play commences. This could include activities such as playing outside in the garden, story time, or playing with water and sand.
4pm – Children start to be collected and taken home, with last collection at 6pm.
Staff often work long days, so the childcare profession asks for those who are dedicated, willing to get stuck in with tasks, use their initiative, and are motivated to work with children.
We asked Karina, a Practitioner, and Rachel, an Apprentice, at ABC Nursery, some quick questions to gain a better understanding of what it is like to work in the childcare industry:
How did you get into the childcare industry?
Karina: My parents worked in childcare, and I have always wanted to work with children.
Rachel: I heard about the job through a friend.
What attracted you to a career in early years and childcare?
Karina: I wanted to be a part of a child’s learning and development, to help to nurture them, and to support confidence in young people.
Rachel: Childcare is something I have always been interested in.
What skills do you think people need to work with young children?
Karina: Creativity, patience, understanding, playfulness, compassion, and confidence.
Rachel: Patience and creativity are key.
What do you think are the best parts about the job?
Karina: Watching and supporting the children through their development and challenges, as well as watching them explore their independence and personality. Also, being a part of their learning and early life is great.
Rachel: helping the children to learn new skills is fantastic.
What do students get out of having work experience in a nursery?
Karina: They get to experience the practical side to their learning. They also get more hands-on experience with the children and they gain a familiarity with various age groups.
Rachel: They get more experience in the job which can be really beneficial.
What advice would you give students wanting to get into a career like yours?
Karina: Be passionate about your career; it is very hard work but extremely rewarding!
I’d like to say a huge thank you to ABC Nursery for having me for the morning. It is greatly appreciated. If you have an interest in the Social Services: Children and Young People framework, have a read about what our Foundation Apprenticeships are here. If you’d like to apply, speak to your guidance teacher for advice and an application form. If you have any questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.