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Early Years Practice

A Day in the Life of a Nursery Manager

Tatiana Carvalho

Tatiana Carvalho

Nursery Manager

Amongst the hussle and bustle of nursery life, I often get asked what the role as a Nursery Manager actually involves. The Chef cooks, the practitioners care for the children, the maintenance team fix things but what about the Nursery Manager? Welllet me give you a little insight! 

I’m Fennies Wimbledon’s Nursery Manager and I’ve worked in childcare for over 10 years, during that time I’ve progressed from apprentice to Nursery Manager through a lot of hard work and dedication (and possibly some blood, sweat and some tears too!

When thinking about my day as a Nursery Manager, I found myself listing the typical day to day jobs however, the more I thought about it, the longer the list got. One thing is for sure though, no two days are the same. 

nursery manager and staff member

7:30am Morning prep

At this time, I usually go around each room making sure the breakfast trays are set up. I also observe the environments; are they welcoming and inviting? Do they encourage curiosity and imagination? Do children have easy access to the resources? Does it enable the children to return to their explorations and consolidate their learning? These are all things that I take into consideration when getting ready for the day. 

This is also the time when I will complete safety checks by risk assessing the room, toys, equipment and taking the room temperatures. 

7:45am Good morning!

When children start arriving at the nurseryI usually take this opportunity to have a morning chat with a few parents to find out how their child has been and asking the parents how they are. You just never know when it’s been one of THOSE mornings.. you know the ones… trying to rush out the door, late for work, child has refused breakfast at home, won’t put their coat on and you are yet to have your morning coffee. Sometimes a friendly chat and check-in is all you need to brighten someone’s day. 

9:00am Staff deployment

By this time all the staff have arrived, and I usually check staff deployment by ensuring compliance and that staff are deployed effectively throughout each room. For example, how many first aiders do we have on-site and ensuring child to staff ratios are maintained throughout the day. 

nursery manager working in office

10am- Morning walk around

At 10am, I visit each room to complete quality monitoring and to observe practice and staff interactions with children.  

I usually take this opportunity to provide support to my teams by checking that processes are being followed as well as quizzing staff on their safeguarding knowledge as this is one of our highest priorities. 

Wimbledon nursery
Activities at Fennies Wimbledon

11:30am Lunch time

All our meals are cooked fresh on site by our wonderful Nursery Chefs. It’s usually around this time that the Chef and I monitor portion sizes and the appropriateness of the quantities and consistencies served for each age group. 

We follow a strict and robust approach to dietary requirements by using a traffic light system to help us clearly identify the children who require alternatives for cultural and religious reasons or allergy and intolerances to food. Before the food even reaches the child, it must be checked and signed by the Chef, management team and a further check and sign off by a qualified level 3 practitioner. All staff, including myself are also provided with a delicious meal, this is part of our approach in supporting staff well-being and ensuring staff are fueling their bodies and minds to look after these little treasures.    

We work very closely with the team at the Early Years Nutrition Partnership working towards the advanced EYNP accreditation. I often liaise with their nutritionists for advice that I can share with parents about their child’s fussy eating, weaning and portion control. 

child eating at fennies Wimbledon nursery
Lunchtime at Fennies Wimbledon

1:00pm Sleep

Children are usually sleeping after a fun-packed, busy morning. Staff will use this time to carry out sleep checks and a daily care diary on our parent app. I will also use this time to talk through planning with staff and we discuss how each child is being supported with their learning and development.  

3:00 pm Afternoon walk around

By mid-afternoon, I will do my second walk around of the day. Overseeing the environment and assessing whether it is enriched with learning opportunities. I will check whether the planned activities reflect the 7 areas of the EYFS curriculum and whether it will help support each child’s development.  

In addition to this, we also have our own bespoke Fennies curriculum which is made up of PE, Spanish and French, well-being activities, a STEM program and focused art sessions. These extra enhancements are part of our school readiness program and are designed by our education experts to support children’s next stage of learning. I will evaluate the effectiveness of the program and the learning impact that this has on the children and provide any feedback that may be helpful for any upcoming lessons. 

5:00 pm Home time

Children gradually begin to go home from 5pm and I really enjoy taking this time to catch up with parents and give them a little personal insight into how their child’s day has been.

6:00 pm

When the nursery door closes at 6pm, I reflect on the day and the tasks that I hadn’t even anticipated. The social media post to be sent to the Marketing team, the two virtual tours to show potential new families around the nursery and arranging for staff to complete internal training. When I get into the car most evenings I feel proud that I’ve been able to make an impact on a child’s early years. After a busy day, I sit back and reflect and I’m ready to do it all again tomorrow!

parent and baby waving

And then before you know it, another summer is over, another set of preschoolers are leaving for school. I told myself I wouldn’t get emotional again, this happens every year. But I get a glimpse or small memory of little Billy on his first day all those years ago, he was only tiny, barely walking. Oh, the tears during settling in! And the endless cups of tea to comfort his parents and now here he is… confident, happy, and most importantly so ready to thrive in this next stage of his academic learning.  And it’s moments like this where I am reminded…. This is why I love my job!

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