Providing the best start: What it’s like to work at a nursery

Rebecca Steventon and Alice Holtom read to one of the children at Tiddlywinks Kiddy’s Nursery in Tipton

No two days are rarely the same for the team at Tiddlywinks Kiddy’s Nursery in Tipton.

“We adapt each day to fit the children,” says room leader Chloe Pedley. “We might have a whole day’s activities planned out but we always adapt it to what the children want to do that day.

“We keep our main routines the same so our meal times are always the same but the activities can be completely different.”

The day nursery, located in Park Lane West, cares for children up to the age of five and aims to provide a warm, welcoming nurturing atmosphere for all.

There are separate rooms for babies aged under two, toddlers aged two and three years old and pre-school children aged three and four years old.

Outside, there is a play area and garden where the youngsters can also join in activities such as messy play and crafts.

The nursery recently celebrated its 10th anniversary

The team at the nursery, which remained opened during lockdown to support key workers, rose to the challenges caused by the pandemic, and have recently celebrated the business’ 10th anniversary.

When it first opened, there was just a handful of staff offering 55 places to youngsters. Now there are 20 people working on site, including full-time staff and apprentices and there are 95 children enrolled.

Chloe began working at nursery on a student placement in July 2017 before starting an apprenticeship a few months later.

The 21-year-old, who is now a qualified room leader, says they aim to provide a wide range of activities for children that also offer different learning opportunities, from water play to arts and crafts.

The play sessions are also designed to be educational and support the children’s development including boosting their fine motor skills as well as their communication skills.

“We are always very creative with our activities and adapt them to fit the children’s interests. It might be something they talk to us about or a parent might mention something they said on the way to nursery,” explains Chloe.

Chloe Pedley has worked at the nursery since 2017

Seeing the children develop and progress through the early stages of their lives is what makes the job so enjoyable for Chloe.

“I love the atmosphere in the nursery. It’s so welcoming and everyone is so kind. We get to spend every day watching the children grow. We see all the little steps they achieve. It’s nice to know we’ve made an impact.”

She believes nursery practitioners need to have a genuine passion and commitment to working with young children to help them engage in learning.

“You’ve got to be passionate about it, you’ve got to be creative, you’ve got to be jolly and you’ve got to want to put the kids first. When I’m here they are my main priority, You also need organizational skills as you are looking after their learning and making sure it’s at the stage it needs to be, “Chloe tells Weekend.

Early Years Practitioner Rebecca Steventon has worked at the nursery for nine and a half years and is also the equality named coordinator (ENCo) responsible for promoting diversity, equality and inclusion.

“We are very multi-cultural so we learn about different languages ​​and cultures and we celebrate everybody,” she explains.

Recent cultural activities have included the children marking Vesak Day and discovered the meaning behind the Buddhist celebration.

They also joined in activities including rose water dough modeling, creating lotus flower and mandala designs and learning about the Buddha bathing ceremony.

Last month, youngsters at the nursery, which can also joined in festivities to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

“It was such a big event for the country and the Commonwealth. The kids really enjoyed it. They loved finding out about the Queen and what she’s done for us,” explains Rebecca.

The 30-year-old says it’s a very rewarding job and working with the children is also a privilege.

“The best thing for me is watching the children grow from babies and seeing each stage until they are ready for school and they graduate. We know we’ve made a positive difference and given them the best start in life,” Rebecca tells Weekend.

All of the meals are cooked and prepared on site and children also get to have a go at making their own food such as pizzas, bread rolls and Halloween chocolate treats.

Cook Claire Richards has worked at the nursery since it opened in 2012 and is responsible for ensuring children have healthy meals and snacks five days a week.

“Breakfast is a selection of toast and cereals and they get two snacks a day like fruit. They also get one good meal a day. We try to keep it as healthy as possible with lots of vegetables.

“I love getting to know all the children and the different personalities. Some children are quiet and some are louder. They tell me what they like to eat. They love anything with sausages and cottage pie.”

“It’s really good fun – it does not really feel like a job,” she adds.

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