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Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a nursery nurse. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?

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      17.02.2009 13:25
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      Worthwhile if you really love kids

      I do love this job, I am lucky to work in a nursery full of girls who are actually really nice...or maybe they just like me and I like them. As I have heard that it can be quite a nasty and bitchy atmosphere to work in - like I said I've been lucky. I think the reality of it is it's a very female orientated profession, although men are so valuable to any setting as I have seen through a male agency worker in my setting and a man on my childcare course who were both very dynamic and amazing with children.

      I feel it's a good job in that it prepares you for motherhood by really getting you experienced and reinforcing that experience everyday. I am not a mother though so I can't really say that but it has made me less daunted and aprehensive of the prospect.

      I love my children so much and miss them whenever I have time off, I have recentely been made senior of my room which is the 1-2's age group so I get to stay in my room most of the time which is good for consistency for the children and getting to know you. I love how you really feel you're doing something worthwhile, caring for the children and allowing the parents to be able to go out and earn money to support them. Unlike working in an office where you really can't see a reason for doing the work you do and have no sense of responsibility for anything truly important. I just don't like the fact that you develop such an attachment to them and then they leave the nursery and you'll never see them again, and with younger ones - wouldn't remember who you were in a few months time anyway!

      At the moment I get broody everyday I'm there but this may be just me - I have heard it said that it puts you off children! In terms of paperwork there is so much more to do now, like observations, activity plans and summative assessments. Not to mention having key children and keeping up to date learning diaries for them. Unlike being a teacher there is little available allocated time to complete this and as a result it can get rushed off when the children are eating or sleeping!

      Working with the parents is also a very mixed bag, you will get those mother's who you just can't understand why they are so rushed and don't seem to even have the time to hear about what their child has been doing all day. Or those parents who don't even seem to appreciate their child for who he/she is, but you still have to try to show understanding and see it from their point of view. On the other hand there are mum's, dad's, gran's and grandad's who are so loving and doting and who really work together with you to try and make an improvement (if needed). Or to implement a new routine and they give you constant feedback and listen when you give them feedback in order to build up a more holistic picture of that child. I have even known parents to cry when a member of staff has left the setting and kept up regular meetings with them as they 'didn't want their child to loose contact with the special attachments in their lives.' So partnership with parents can really range all the way from one extreme to the other.

      There are many qualifications to be gained within the field of childcare, BTEC's, NNEB's, NVQ's and of course even degree's. They are all allocated a level from 2 to 6 (level 6 being a full degree) to be a senior you must have level 3 or above and have being qualified for a certain number of years (depending on the setting). However you do not need any formal qualifications to start in a setting and most nurseries will allow you to work towards your level 2 on the job.

      The pay is not great, as its famed not to be but I think given all the training your now expected to have/do. It will soon be recognized as a more valuable profession and the pay balanced more accordingly especially to reflect qualification level.

      Overall it is a very rewarding and validating career, you can go for weeks with everything being really stressful and mad and then little Susie takes her first steps, or the little boy who you've never heard speak before says your name, and suddenly it was all worth it.

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