Early Years Practice

A day in the life of a nursery Room Leader

Our Beckenham baby Room Leader, Elise, always adds a little creative spark to everything she does; whether it’s painting her own book characters to enhance story time or creating a beach tuff tray inspired by a child’s weekend trip to the seaside. Discover what it’s like to be a Room Leader at Fennies. 

nursery room leader setting up children's activity

I’d first like to introduce myself. My name is Elise, I am a level 3 qualified nursery practitioner that manages the baby room at Fennies Beckenham. I have always known that I wanted a career in early years education ever since I was little and used to create my own activities for my class of dolls!  

As I have always been a creative person I wanted to ignite this in the younger generation so I began my apprenticeship in childcare in 2016. Fast forward to today and I am a Room Leader putting my creative brain to good use every day – I create props and resources for the children as well as plan engaging activities, inspiring both the children and other practitioners in my nursery. 

I’m happy my role as a Room Leader allows me to add my creative flare to children’s education and would love to share my typical day at Fennies! 

7.30am - Morning preparation

child nursery activity

The first thing I do every morning, when I start my shift, is check the parent app. I especially enjoy doing this on a Monday morning as I’m always excited to see what the parents have posted about their weekend ventures! Have the children been up to something interesting? Maybe they’ve welcomed a new sibling? Or perhaps they’ve been to a farm and can’t wait to tell me about all the animals that they saw.

All these details will impact how I prepare for the day ahead. A recent example was one of our children visited the beach with their family and was fascinated by collecting different shells. To support this child with their next learning steps, which linked to communication and language, I set up a beach-themed tuff tray to explore after reading the book ‘Sharing a Shell’ by Julia Donaldson. The child loved exploring the wet sand beach and the blue hair gel “waves,” shaving cream “seafoam” and toy shells as we read together. This opened up lots of new language opportunities and we practised saying the new words, “shell” and “crab” we learnt together. As well as this, one of the children visited the ducks at the park so we created an exciting water tray inspired by this!

After I’m well up to date with all the children’s most recent adventures and have prepped the room to be as engaging and exciting as possible, I’m now ready for their arrival. 

7.45am - 9.00am- Drop off time

Nursery room leader feeding child

The children in my room will arrive between 7.45am and 9.00am. During drop off, I take the time to ask parents about how their child has been since I last saw them and they share with me anything from their sleep the night before to their most recent eating habits and, of course, if they've been up to anything exciting recently.

 I also take the time to ask parents how they are themselves, as maintaining positive parent relationships is essential for providing high standard care and we enjoy having the conversation. I will then get the child settled in by helping to remove their coat and shoes, putting their belongings on their peg and engaging them in play.

At around 8:00am, our Chef rolls in the breakfast tray and the children rush to sit at the table, after washing their hands. They can choose from a variety of cereals, fruit, crumpets, bagels and toast and the older children even begin to point at what they’d like to eat!  

child eating with practitioner at nursery

I encourage children to sit together so they’re able to copy their peer’s behaviour and try all the foods available on the table. We further support them to try new things by tucking into some of the food ourselves, demonstrating that we are positive role models. 

9:15am - Morning nap

By 9:00am, breakfast time has finished and all the staff members have started their shift. I take time to check in with the rest of the staff to ask how theyre doing and what plans they have with their key children for the day. As a Room Leader, I find that open communication is so important to have with the staff in order to provide the best possible outcomes for the children. 

baby sleeping with teddy bear

As I work in the baby room, the children have more specific needs and different routines due to the varied age range (3months- 2years old). Our strong parent partnerships mean that myself and my team know each child’s individual needs and can cater to these as well as keeping a strong set routine within the room. For example, we make sure that the room is just as relaxing for the younger children’s morning nap as it is for the main nap at lunchtime.

At around quarter past 9, the children require a morning nap. We make sure that the sleep room is dimly lit and peaceful, to help them settle down and snuggle up. I switch on the white noise machine and grab any comforters parents have bought in from home, like dummies, blankets and soft toys. It’s important that we mirror children’s home routines at nursery, so before every child joins the nursery we make sure to ask what time they usually nap and what comforts them. 

10:00am - Morning snack

Once the children gently wake up from their nap, a snack is to them which usually consists of breadsticks or crackers with a fruit or vegetable. We carry out a rolling snacktime, which means we sit four children at a time whilst the other children are playing or sleeping and alternate the children at the table. 

10:30am - Outdoor activities

The gruffalo story log art

Between 10:30am and 11.30am we have free play as well as adult led play. Adult led play is an activity that is set up and led by an adult, as opposed to child led play which is instigated by the child themselves. An adult-led activity is specifically planned for an individual child or group of children that is unique to them and their interests. For example, to help enhance story time this week, I created story logs inspired by our favourite book characters to bring learning to life!

Next, the children can have some fresh air outside. The younger babies usually have their own garden time “slot”, when the older children will not be outside. We make use of our garden slot by taking our own box of ageappropriate toys and setting up activities. We always make sure that every learning opportunity, be it outside or inside, follows our 7 areas of learning and we use the space in the garden to our advantage by magnifying the activities.  

child's hands painting

For example, we may have just been painting with brushes in the room, to refine those fine motor skills, but outdoors we can make this bigger and better. We do this by using large sheets of paper and give the children mops and sponges as paintbrushes to create marks using their whole body and focusing on gross motor skills.

At 11.30 am we begin to prepare for lunchtime. Firstly, myself or another qualified member of staff will always check the lunch tray to ensure all our children’s dietary needs are catered for before serving the food. Any children with dietary requirements will always sit on the same table together, monitored either by myself or another qualified staff member whilst wearing a red apron.  

We use lunchtime as an opportunity to spark conversations with the children, talking to them about what they can see on their plate and, again, encouraging them to try new foods. When they’ve finished eating, we promote independence by allowing the children to try and clean their own faces and hands (depending on their age) before we step in and help. The children are then taken over to the sleeping area to prepare for their afternoon nap. 

At 12.30pm, the children will all have a nap. We make the room cosy by dimming the lights and reading quiet stories as they snuggle up. 

beckenham nursery story time

When they wake up, their bottles will be prepared. As a qualified member of the team, I will check the bottle before it is given to the child to ensure it has been correctly made and is at the right temperature.

We will fill the afternoon with another activity and this usually involves going and playing outdoors together, again. The children love engaging in group sensory play activities like using the big parachute to move colourful balls as we wave it in the air, or,during the summertime, we will enjoy lots of water play outside using big buckets, funnels and guttering to support the children’s gross motor skills. 

At 3:00pm, the children are taken upstairs and sit down ready for their afternoon tea. This is another great time to practice using their spoons, forks and knives whilst Makaton signing ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when offered food.  

Between 4:00pm and 6:00pm, the children will start to be collected. During this time, we engage in group activities such as singing, drawing or reading.  

nursery room leader setting up children's activity

During parent hand over, I will explain what their child has done throughout the day and if there is anything that they need to know, such as the child not having a very good sleep or not eating their tea. I will then encourage the parent to look at their child’s care diary on our parent app for all the finer details.

When its nearing 6:00pm, the room will be tidied and set up for the next day. I will make sure that the planning is complete and up to date and I will leave any messages I may have, such as a child being absent the next day, on our message board for the early shift to see. 



Room Leader

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