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How To Become a Nursery Teacher

Zoey had always wanted a career in child care, but she was also fascinated by the prospects of being a teacher. After her graduation, she figured out the perfect job to fulfil both roles. And started working towards becoming a Nursery Teacher. 

Eventually, she acquired the qualifications and has been working for a nursery school in this role for a year now. Although there are some demanding days. But at the end of the day when she thinks of the innocent smiling faces, she knows it’s worth the work!

Any career that involves the well-being of children is highly rewarding. Working with kids requires a person to be compassionate, understanding and patient. And the vocation of a Nursery Teacher is no different.

Why Should You Become A Nursery Teacher?

The role of a Nursery Teacher is a crucial yet underappreciated job. People often think it’s all about playing all day and accompanying their children. But the function of a nursery teacher is of much more importance.

A shortage of about 11000 early years’ teachers in the UK was revealed by Save The Children. The reason behind it could be lack of proper qualification and training. Also, genuine compassion and responsibility towards the children play a definitive role in getting into this job, rather than just the monetary rewards. 

Usually, a nursery teacher has to teach and supervise pupils of age up to 5. This period is the formative period for the child’s overall development. 

These five years shape a child’s – 

  • Physical growth. 
  • Mental growth
  • Social development and sense of community

This is the time when they learn to “learn” as they are the most curious and easily inspired at this age. 

Rest assured, your work hours will be eventful. From supervising their napping hours to shielding yourself from the paint attacks, you have to figure out creative and exciting ways to navigate them. You will often have to think like the children but in a more responsible way.

Duties & Responsibilities of a Nursery Teacher

As a Nursery Teacher, you would have to play a variety of roles. Typical responsibilities include:

  • Prepare daily lesson plans for children to educate them as an individual and as a group.
  • Prepare outdoor activities to help them develop their motor skills
  • Plan and enable a creative learning environment for the kids.
  • Monitoring the children’s activities and progress.
  • Identifying any issues or discomfort any children may be facing and solve the issue.
  • Collaborate with parents and other caregivers for the little one’s overall development.
  • Create visual aids and engaging materials to facilitate easy and fun learning.
  • Making an effort to do the impossible! Keep the classroom and the children tidy!
  • Coordinating and supervising other teaching assistants, nurses and helpers.
  • Arrange and attend parents and teachers meeting.
  • Any administrative duty assigned to you.
  • Update your skills and knowledge with training activities regularly.
  • Work on to ensure a comforting and nurturing environment for the children.

How to become a Nursery Teacher in the UK?

You can work towards this role by working in a relevant field and gaining a degree in childhood development or by obtaining a University degree in this subject. Either way, some volunteer work or apprenticeship will benefit you finding a job in this role.

Qualifications required to become a Nursery Teacher


Undergraduate entry is possible with relevant degrees and experience in working early years setting. However, a graduation degree will equip you with better knowledge, skills and credentials to be placed in your preferred school. 

Also, it will boost your chance to fast-track your career growth. And if you intend to teach pupils above 5 years old, you are required to obtain a Qualified teacher status (QTS) in the UK (where a bachelor’s degree is a general requirement).

Get Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

To be a nursery teacher and teach children up to 5 years old you need to get the early years’ teacher status (EYTS). The entry requirement for this status is generally 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, with emphasis on English, Mathematics and Science.

This EYTS will qualify you to be a Nursery Teacher, although, you will have to pass a literacy and numeracy test before you can start working as a nursery teacher.

You can get this qualification in several possible ways –

  • Graduate entry: A full-time course spread over one year.
  • Graduate employment-based: Part-time option by working in an early years’ education setting.
  • Undergraduate: If you are looking to get a degree in early childhood relevant subjects, you can enrol to a 3-4 years degree course, which will lead you to EYTS.
  • Assessment: this three months assessment course is for experienced graduates who have already worked with early years kids.

DBS Check

Since you will be working on the development and well-being of vulnerable children, you have to go through a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before you can be employed.

Online Training On Becoming a Nursery Teacher

There are numerous online courses available on early years’ childhood education, many of them like this Nursery Teacher Course offer CPD Accredited Credentials. These course will provide you with in-depth knowledge and skill and professional certification. 

Additionally, you can enrol to relevant child development, psychology and child care courses to advance in a childhood education career.

The best thing about these courses is, they are accessible from any device and you can learn at your own pace. Many of these courses also offer tutor support for you.

7 Essential Skills Required to Become a Nursery Teacher 

Apart from the ability to provide formal and informal guidance to the children, you will require to have some essential skills to excel as an early years’ teacher. The following skills should come in handy in any profession, especially when it involves pupils of nursery education.

A nursery teacher needs to have versatile skills.

1. Communication skills

Communication skills are crucial in any aspect of life, more so in your professional practice. Since you would be working with children as a Nursery Teacher, this skill is going to be most valuable of your assets. 

Children can be fragile and vulnerable, especially at this age. Your listening skill and directive approach can be a make or break deal to succeed in this profession.

2. Time Management skills

As part of your job responsibility, you have to plan and create daily lessons along with other regular tasks. You will require to be at your best in terms of effective time management. Keeping track of all these at some point can be exhaustive unless you can develop a workable schedule.

3. Imaginative & Creative thinking ability

Children start to show their creative side at this age. To inspire them, you will have to think and plan creatively too.  They can get bored easily and guess what they do when they are bored? You don’t want to know! 

Keep them motivated, active and engaged. The teaching and learning process both should be a fun experience. The idea is to let their creative fluid colour your classroom.

4. Resourcefulness

To plan the indoor and outdoor activities and other functions expected of a Nursery Teacher, you will have to be resourceful. There is bound to be some difference in expectation and reality we plan something, especially to a kids’ perspective. 

But, in spite of any shortcomings, you have to apply yourself to make their experience a delightful one.

5. Teamwork skills

As a Nursery teacher, you will have to collaborate with a group of people for the well-being and development of the children. For instance, you have to organise and sit with the child’s parents, individually and as a group to provide feedback and discuss challenges. 

Also, you will often have to collaborate with the therapist, social workers and of course, the administrative staffs. 

6. Administrative skills

Apart from daily, weekly and monthly reporting, some other administrative tasks could be assigned to you. How professionally you deal with them could be a determining factor in your career progress at an upper management position. Some basic administrative skills are always expected from a professional, regardless of the job sector.

7. Empathy and Patience

Empathy is a human virtue, which basically means putting yourself in other people’s shoe to understand their emotional and rational perspective. It will help you immensely while dealing with the children.

If you can’t do that and have a lack of patience, you will become unapproachable. It means, this career is not for you.

Along with these, some basic organisation skills and a good sense of humour will make your life easier as an early years’ teacher.

Career Prospects As A Nursery Teacher 

After gaining some experience in a childhood education setting, and some additional training in professional development, you can move up to a management role. 

You can also work towards primary school education or higher by gaining QTS. There are also job opportunities as a supply teacher and play therapist.

If you are interested in working with Special Educational Needs Children, read this article to explore your option: Skills and Qualifications Required to Become a SEN Teacher 

How to become a nursery teacher

Challenges in The Life of an Early Years’ Teacher

It’s a no-brainer that, your job responsibility required you to have to deal with lots of energetic children. The jumping around, snots, tears, slippery floor, paint and the brawls, all these can be exhaustive. 

Some kids may have learning difficulties or special educational needs, you have to pay special care to their development. The effort to keep the children’s attention,  solving unique problems can be tiring. The long hours will feel longer and the repetitive routines will feel like a bore. 

Not to mention the demanding parents, who can often act as their children! 

But imagine the difference you would be making in their life! The opportunity of preparing the children for years ahead in the future to become a responsible generation is a privilege. In addition, the presence of joy and innocence of the little ones will take over these apparent obstacles. 

And if you can develop some organisational skills, you will have a better balance in your life as a Nursery Teacher and overcome any of these issues.

Salary of a Nursery Teacher

An early years’ teacher’s pay varies from region to region and institutions. But on average a nursery teacher gets around £19000 per annum at the beginning. 

With further experience and qualification, you can get around £22000 – £30000 as you progress in your career. In a managerial and supervisory role, you will be paid a better honorarium. 

To Conclude

A Nursery Teacher’s career is not for everyone. The sole idea behind this role is to develop the children socially, emotionally and physically for the following years. This requires you to have genuine compassion and the essential skill sets to work with the children. 

Albeit there will be challenges, like any other job. But at the end of the day, you will go to sleep knowing, you are making a difference in their and life. Your contribution in the early years is to lay the foundation to whatever they become in the future. Essentially, you are preparing humans for a better world!

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