Becoming an early years practitioner means you play an essential role in a child’s development between birth and age five.
For many households, nursery and preschool provides an invaluable service that allows parents to continue to work.
For the child it is an opportunity to develop, learn and grow through play and socialising with other children.
Anyone choosing to become an early years practitioner is making a commitment to the development and welfare of children. Which is a pretty big deal.
You will help children develop the social and learning skills in preparation for school. You will also get to watch the children’s earliest friendships develop and grow.
Professionally, it’s a career path that has a great many opportunities attached to it. Not least of which is starting your own nursery or childcare service.
If you enjoy working with children or want to combine a new career with caring for your family, an early years role could be for you.
What is an Early Years Practitioner’s role?
The average day of an early years practitioner covers quite a spectrum of responsibilities.
Should you choose to take up the profession you will encourage learning and development through play and teaching. An important part of this will be encouraging the use of the child’s imagination.
An important part of this is making them feel safe in their environment to express themselves. This can be through arts and crafts, story telling or using props such as toys and puppets.
An extension of this learning through play will be to develop literary, language and numeracy skills.
You will build a support plan around each child in order to help them obtain key developmental targets ahead of their transition into school.
A big part of this is helping to carry out tasks independently or work collaboratively with other children. Rather than relying on you or your colleagues for support.
You will also work with parents to address concerns of help to continue their development in the child’s home setting.
What are the different types of early years practitioner?
Early years practitioner is something of a vague term as it covers a range of different roles.
With more and more households relying on two incomes, safe and trusted childcare provision is more important than ever.
Afterall, parents are entrusting you with soemthing most precious to them, which is a big responsibility. While it’s important that any nursery of preschool experience is a positive one, it’s also crucial that it is a safe, secure and nourishing one. Both physically and emotionally. So no pressure.
By becoming an early years practitioner you have the option become:
Early years teacher
Eearly years teachers work with children aged 3-5. Your role will involve planning lessons and activities and creating the associated learning resources. You could be working in an infant or primary school, a children’s centre, or a nursery. If you do want to work in a school, you will first need to gain qualified teacher status (QTS).
In most instances, a nanny is hired by a family directly. It will be your responsibility to care for the family children. This role can include everything from personal care and hygiene to preparing meals and helping with homework.
The role can either be a day job or a residential role. Meaning you will have a room or annex within the family home.
Childminder’s traditionally care for other people’s children in their own home, rather than in a dedicated facility like a preschool or nursery.
However, a childminder’s role is very similar. You will be responsible for planning and preparing a programme of play based activities to encourage the child’s development.
As with preschool and nursery, you will look after children under the age of five. Additionally, you can also care for children of school going age both before and after school.
Childminders are also subject to OFTED inspections, just the same as preschools so add that into your decision-making process.
Preschools can be both privately run or attached to local state funded primary school. Regardless, they carry out the same function – preparing children for school through play orientated learning.
As a preschool assistant/educator your role is to ensure that the children in your care have an enriching experience. This can be from the food they eat to the friendships they make. Regardless it’s a highly rewarding experience.
Nurseries, like preschools, can be privately run or state funded. They can also be attached to colleges, schools or bigger corporations.
Like preschool, nurseries create a fun and safe environment in which children can develop key cognitive and social skills.
Qualifications are essential to building a career in a nursery environment. In a group, a manager must hold at least a Level 3 qualification and at least half of all other childcare staff must hold a Level 2 qualification.
How to Start your Career
Whichever avenue you want to go down, you need the relevant qualifications in order to work with young children. Whether that’s in your home or in a dedicated facility.
The Diploma for the Early Years Workforce level 3 is the essential qualification to become an early years practitioner.
The good news is that you don’t need previous experience or qualifications in order to take the course. So, if you’re retraining or didn’t get the grades at school the first-time round, then you don’t need to worry.
The qualification is essential for anyone looking to work with children from 0-5 years. Although it will also give you an understanding of child development for up to the age of 7.
By the end of the course you will possess the knowledge, skills and confidence for a successful career in early years education. But you will also have a nationally recognised qualification that will be the foundation of a fun and fulfilling career.
How do I enrol?
That’s the easy bit. All you need to do is find a recognised course that is approved by CACHE and follows the Early Years Foundation Stages framework.
Courses that aren’t CACHE approved almost certainly won’t be recognised by any potential employers, and certainly not by OFSTED.
Working on the assumption that you’re using an accredited education provider then it’s just a case of enrolling.
Opting for distance learning also gives you advantage of organising your studies around your existing commitments. That way, if you’re still working ahead of your career change, you don’t need to choose between learning and earning.
Plus, you get to set the pace of your education. So, if you want to complete your course in 6 months or two years, you have that choice available to you.
Assuming you’re happy all you need to do is get in touch or sign up online. There are flexible payment terms available to help you spread the cost.
You will also have access to a dedicated tutor who will help you through the process. Check out our blog for useful tips on how to get the most out of your study experience.
Learndirect offer a fully approved Diploma for the Early Years Workforce Level 3 in order to help you realise your ambitions.
Enrol today or contact a member of our sales team today to learn more.