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Working in childcare: Frequently asked questions!


6 January 2023

A new year for many means one thing – a new start! With goals, resolutions and intentions aplenty, January can be the ideal time to find that new job you have been considering.

When it comes to childcare, we believe it’s much more than a job – it’s a vital and rewarding career choice.

If you have wondered whether a career in childcare could be for you, here are some commonly asked questions (and answers) about our diverse sector:

What does a typical day look like?

You won’t be surprised to hear that no day is ever the same in childcare. However, it is important for children to get used to a routine, including elements such as mealtimes, activities, naps, and outdoor time. You can see an example of ‘A Day In The Life’ of a baby, tot, toddler and preschooler.

What makes an outstanding early years practitioner?

Patience, communication, and a love of young children are just a few of the qualities you’ll need if you want to become an early childhood educator. It requires someone who is positive and passionate and wants to work with children. We don’t expect experience, but we do expect focus.

Will it be interesting enough in one room with one age group?

We have people asking this at first, but there is always a lot going on to ensure there is never any boredom! We have age-appropriate gardens, different activities, and practitioners can provide creative experiences and challenges for the children.

For new practitioners, it’s always a good idea to try out all age groups – you might surprise yourself! Once you have experience with working with under 5s, some people have a favourite age which they prefer to work with. In this case, it’s worth talking to your manager about this as they may be able to accommodate this and predominantly place you with this age group.

Can I work either full-time or part-time/flexibly?

Settings differ but are generally open between 8-6pm and there are various shift patterns and contracts available, which will be discussed with your manager.

For full-time and part-time, many of our nurseries are very flexible and do try their best to accommodate different working patterns, but it can depend on their current needs.

Can I take my own child with me?

We do offer staff discounts on childcare at our nurseries. However, in most cases, you won’t be working in the same room as your child.

When will I have Key Children?

This depends on your level of experience, knowledge and qualifications. If you’re new to being a Key Worker, this will be gradual and you will be given training on how to plan activities based on the child’s interests, write observations and work with parents. You will be expected to read the EYFS Policy and your room leader will support you.

What qualifications do I need?

You don’t always need qualifications to work as a nursery practitioner – although it certainly helps! It’s worthwhile enrolling onto an Early Years Practitioner or Early Years Educator Apprenticeship as this will support your career progression.

How would you support me through my apprenticeship/further qualifications?

We have our own dedicated Training Academy. Education, training and the continual professional development of staff is a crucial priority at Kids Planet. In February 2018, due to a growth in the number of settings, an increase in personnel, the need to recruit new staff plus the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, we decided to develop our internal approach to the delivery of accredited programmes. These include Apprenticeships in Early Years, sector-specific courses and Higher Education courses.

We are lucky to have a highly skilled training team of tutors, assessors, mentors and staff with extensive and current experience in Early Years. It is important to achieve outstanding provision in everything we do, and we believe we are doing this by putting teaching and learning at the heart of our training.

What is career progression like at Kids Planet?

We aim to give learners the opportunities to develop a career in a growing, forward-thinking business, ongoing professional development and clear training opportunities, helping them to feel empowered and appreciated by a company they trust.

Many of our Managers actually started out as apprentices, and with lots of areas having clusters of nurseries, transferring to a nearby nursery for progression purposes can often be explored as an option.

We offer the following routes to enhance Early Years careers:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Leadership programme
  • Traineeship programme
  • Sector Specific awards
  • Higher Level Qualifications
  • Teaching and Assessing Qualifications
  • Continuous Professional Development

There are roles for many interests and passions, including our own Chef Academy, Sports coach traineeship, Udeskole and Forest School accreditations, as well as joining our support teams in Head Office or at our Training Academy.

Not only that, there are lots of Early Years CPD opportunities such as Baby Massage training, Makaton training, working with children with SEND and Forest Schools and also e-courses such as Food Hygiene and safeguarding. Your manager will usually support you with your personal interests and find a course that’s right for you. CPD should be led by you and your areas of interest.

No matter what stage you are at in your career, your development is important to us – we have opportunities waiting for you.

When starting as a level 2 apprentice, what is next?

Level 3 would come next. Then once you’ve achieved level 3 you can go on to levels 5, 6 and beyond!

What qualifications/experience is required to be a Room Leader?

Normally, a minimum Level 3 full and relevant early years qualification. Each situation is unique, but you’d also often be expected to have at least two years of hands-on experience in an early years setting.

How will I learn on the job?

You will receive an induction and ongoing training from management and/or a senior early years educator. You will shadow the practitioners within your setting and have the opportunity to ask questions and get involved straight away. You will be shown the nursery policies and procedures and management will go through these with you. You will also complete some training courses such as food hygiene and safeguarding.

How will I work and communicate with parents?

We use iConnect to communicate with parents/carers of children. We also communicate during handovers and invite them into the setting for scheduled stay and play sessions and parents evenings. There are landline phones in every room for communication too.

Will I be able to create my own activities for the children?

Absolutely. Implementing playful and creative activities for children based on their interests, developmental stages, and needs is one of the perks of the job… especially because you get to join in too! Initially, you would run your ideas by the room leader as they will have a wealth of experience and may be able to offer support or guidance.

What skills can you learn working in early years?

The list is endless, but skills you can develop include:

  • An understanding of child development
  • Problem solving/critical thinking
  • Communication skills (e.g. working in partnership with families, colleagues and other agencies) in different ways (e.g. in person, phone calls, iConnect, email etc)
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Leadership/management
  • The ability to reflect on practice and continuously improve
  • Skills within how to safeguard children
  • Understanding of health and safety; risk assessments, keeping children, yourself, colleagues and families safe.

Is childcare for men too?

At Kids Planet we believe we should be modelling the fact that looking after educating young children should be a job for everyone, not just women.

We are now in 2023 and still only 3% of UK nursery workers are male. Thankfully, at Kids Planet we strive to combat this in our recruitment, training and career prospects and are pleased that throughout our support teams and nursery-facing roles, 17% of Kids Planet employees are male.

Our male employees play an important role in the care and education of children in our care. As a result, we are actively recruiting males for apprenticeships at Levels 2, 3 and 5, and also in our office support and Sports Coach roles.

How do I find out what opportunities are available?

You can view our latest vacancies here:

We are always looking for enthusiastic and passionate people to join our Kids Planet family. We pride ourselves on valuing our employees and recognising hard work, providing progression, training and support throughout your career with us.


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