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Early Years Practice

A day in the life of a Nursery Deputy Manager

Our Bromley Deputy Manager Jake hasn’t been at Fennies for long but his wealth of experience and strong bonds with the children have certainly already made a lasting impression! We’re excited to share a snippet of what a typical day in the life of a Deputy Manager at Fennies looks like.  

toddler and nursery practitioner looking at sensory tray

Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name’s Jake and I’m the Deputy Manager at Fennies Bromley and I’d love to share with you what a typical day looks like.  

When I first started reflecting on this, I have to say it was a real challenge- a lot of people say that no two days at work at the same, but for me, no two hours are the same! One minute I’m responsible for staff observations, weekly rotas and office admin and the next moment I’m required to give the performance of a lifetime of Baby Shark to the toddler room! 

This variety is something that keeps me excited about coming into nursery every day, watching children become confident little learners as they reach an exciting milestone. There really is nothing more rewarding than working in the early years and I hope to share a little insight into my day with any aspiring nursery Deputy Managers.  

7:45- Children arrive

From 7:45am the children begin arriving at the nursery. As families drop their child off, I enjoy using this time to speak to them about their evenings and weekends this not only gives me a good idea of things like how well they may have slept the night before or how their child is feeling that morning, but I can also get some insight into each individual child’s current interests.

As insignificant as it may sound, it’s important for me to know whether that child’s moved on from dinosaurs to diggers or drawing to dressing up so that I can make sure there’s activities inspired by this set-up in their rooms to further enhance their learning.  

9am- Morning walkaround

toddler and nursery practitioner looking at sensory tray

At around 9am, I start to visit all the rooms in the nursery to make sure that all activities that are taking place link into previous planning and I will observe how the practitioners are engaging with the children. I believe there’s always room to add a little extra sparkle to the day so I will often speak to the practitioners about the intent behind the learning activity, how it could possibly be enhanced for both the child and the practitioner leading the activity.  

If there are any areas, I feel could be further enhanced to inspire learning I will reflect this back to the practitioner and ask them for their suggestions so we can then make these improvements together.  

10am- Morning activities

Today we had a visit from our Linguistics Coach, Christina, who teaches Spanish. During these lessons, I love popping my head in and seeing what the children are up to (and sometimes even learn something myself!) and it’s great to see how engaged they were in the session.  

I have decided to use this time to complete some quality monitoring, this involves observing each room to look out for how engaged the children are, quality of the activities that have been set up, staff effectiveness, safeguarding and health and safety and routines within the room. After these observations, I’ll give feedback to the Room Leader for them to make enhancements.

nursery staff

For example, today I wanted to make some improvements to the preschool room’s routine (as I said before, there’s always room for a little extra sparkle!) so I shared this with the Room Leader and other practitioners in the room. We came up with a way to enhance their morning routine by adding a daily circle time where children can share their thoughts and learn together. This has so far proved to be a hit!

As I make my way around all the other rooms making observations, I encourage staff to share if there’s any way I can support them throughout the rest of the day. This can be anything from helping come up with a fun learning activity, ordering new resources or even just booking in some time for a chat.  

Just before lunchtime, I pop into the kitchen to sign off the children’s lunches. I am required to make sure that all dietary requirements have been catered for before the meals are served to the rooms.  

During lunch, I often help the practitioners and lunchtime assistants bring the food to the rooms I also make sure that all mealtime policies are being followed which includes staff wearing red aprons when serving the children, and we are promoting positive mealtime routines and communication with children whilst they eat. Often the children are excited to tell me what they got up to that morning, which is always a highlight of my day!  

1pm- Naptime

Whilst the children are sleeping, I take this rare moment of calm to catch up on some admin in the office. I check emails, complete shift rotas for the following week and have a quick Google to see if there’s any exciting events in the local community that we might be able to get involved in.  

I then spend some time updating quality evidence folders. These are audits that list everything from parent partnerships, staff support and communication and self-evaluation so that I can monitor our progress.  

2 pm- 4pm - Afternoon walkaround

Now that the children have woken up from their naps, recharged and ready for more activities, I take another walk around the rooms to make some observations. Firstly, I will look at staff deployment, this includes how many staff are within each room to ensure that ratios are correct for the afternoon.  

Nursery practitioner reading story to children

I then take a look at the activities that are set up for the afternoon, as I did with the morning. I like to make sure that staff have a clear vision for everything that takes place in their room, and I ask what learning objectives they hope to achieve based on this. Sometimes staff will ask me if I have any suggestions to enhance the activity and I love working together with them to make something great, even better!

It typically takes me around two hours to make my way around all of the rooms as I like to make sure that I can spend lots of time interacting with our practitioners. I believe them feeling supported is a key element in enabling them to provide the highest quality of care.  

4pm-5pm - Collection time

nursery practitioner talking to parent

As the parents start beginning to collect their children, I make sure I’m back at the front door and asking them all about their day. I believe this is a really key part of building crucial bonds with our families and is a very important part of every child’s nursery experience.

 Sometimes this is the first chance they have to offload anything that’s happened during their busy days. I like to use both drop-off and collection times to speak to all parents about how their day was and whether they have anything exciting planned for the evening. This is often a great opportunity for parents to share any problems they may be facing and for me to offer a supportive listening ear. 

As the day draws to a close, I like to always take a moment to thank our team for the excellent work they’ve done throughout the day.  

Are you looking to progress within your childcare career? We have some fantastic opportunities available on our careers page!



Deputy Manager

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