Childcare - Manager of Early Years Setting

What do you do for a living?

Manager of an early years education setting - charitable playgroup, looking after (currently) 35 children aged 2.5 years to school age)

How did you get interested in what you do?

Got interested because of the experience there of my own children.  Little advice as this did not used to be a career as such, and this has changed
(dramatically, with the introduction of compulsory qualifications to degree level) in recent years.

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?

Volunteering followed by working as support staff, then practitioner, becoming qualified through SVQ route, and finally doing part time degree while working on the job as lead practitioner/manager.

Talk us through a day in your life
  • Getting up and seeing my kids off to school.
  • Going into work and setting up all equipment necessary for the day inside and out. 
  • Briefing the staff on what we are all doing that session.
  • Welcoming children and parents as they arrive, dealing with any queries or points brought to my attention 
  • Free play for the children 
  • Circle time and curricular activities 
  • Free play 
  • Snack time routines 
  • Conversation over snack to do with home activities, extending curricular learning from circle time or what children want to talk about 
  • Free play 
  • Sometimes completion of personal learning journeys or achievement books 
  • Home time, talking to parents, telling them about points to note, particular attention paid to parents of those settling in, with some difficulties or celebrating an achievement. 
  • When all children and parents gone, tidy playroom and put all equipment and toys away after required cleaning. 
  • Complete paperwork for the day. Create or finish displays. 
  • Go home - then reply or initiate emails as required. Liaise with other professionals as required. 
  • Squish in two hours study

Welcome children home and do their thing until after supper While they are watching tv etc, I do more studying.

Was this your planned career when you were 18?

No!! :)

What did your parents want you to do?

Didn't have any particular thing they wanted me to do; I had vague ideas of wanting to be a vet, but no specific vocation or interest

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

It's incredibly rewarding, but also incredibly hard work looking after young children, and may not suit everyone. I started this as my second career post children and it suits me well and I think I am good at it, but I would have been rubbish at it in my 20s.  Sometimes, you have to be flexible enough to change horses mid-stream depending on where your life takes you, and this I  have done.

What other career directions could you go in?

I could have gone back to my pre-children career in financial services, but I wanted to stay at home to be there when my children came back from school.  I also did not want to be a purely stay at home mum, so this fitted well.  However, what drew me to it was the experience I had as a volunteer when my children were little as I realised there was a lot more to it than I had thought.

Anything you have not covered about your area of expertise? 

1.  Don't expect to get rich looking after people in whatever sphere this happens (nursing, teaching, childcare etc)
2.  Increasingly, childcare requires qualified people - which is only right given the importance of the sector to children's long term prospects. Minimum level from December 2013 will be at SCQF level 6 - SVQ2.  Maths and English are likely to be required as minimum entry points in the future too