Nursery Deputy Manager

Sam Tanner

I work in Hollies Day Care Nursery, this is a private nursery setting based in Cardiff.

Sam Tanner - Nursery Deputy Manager

Sam Tanner - Nursery Deputy Manager

Hollies cater for children aged six weeks to five years old and I am based in the three-five room.   

A typical working day would start off setting up the base room at 7.30am so that it is warm and welcoming with relaxing music in the background and activities for the children to enjoy - this can help ease the children’s transition into nursery as they are distracted with a lot of fun and inviting areas to explore. I then welcome the children into the nursery and plan for the day. I provide breakfast, dinner, tea and snacks throughout the day. They have story and circle time so that we can welcome every child by name and discuss activities we have planned. I then sit with the children in the areas, whether it be building towers, painting, play dough, water play, cooking, garden time or many other activities. I have so much fun listening and planning activities around their interests, including hairdressers, pirates or healthy eating. I also plan activities around the children’s age and stage of development and think of different things to do in order to help them learn and improve their skills. It’s always rewarding when the children can show their parents something new they have learnt in nursery. We help the children with intimate care routines such as changing nappies, going to the toilet and changing clothes is they are messy. I record all my observations on each child in their individual development book to show that I am helping them grow and develop.  My day ends at 6pm when I talk to each parent regarding their child’s day. I have two other staff members in the room to help support me and they’re like a second family.  

Like I have said before, it’s rewarding teaching children new skills that they will need. You make many new friends and the staff are like family. You form good bonds with children and parents, and every day is different.   

Your career journey:   

I knew in high school that I wanted to work with children. I had nieces and nephews and it always made me happy helping them walk, speak and having fun playing games. I took child development in high school and attended a work experience day in a school. After that I decide to go to college and study for my CACHE Diploma level 3. This is where I had many experiences in different settings to complete my course work. This experience help me decide a private nursery was where I felt more comfortable and I enjoyed being able to experience the wide age range of six weeks to five years old.  

I completed my CACHE Diploma level 3 in order to start my role as a Nursery Nurse but you can also have a CACHE level 2 to be a Nursery Assistant. I worked my way up to NVQ level 5 to widen my knowledge and now I’m a Deputy Manager.   

I studied in Coleg Glan Hafren for three years. After I had been working in Hollies for a couple of years I completed my NVQ level 5 while working and an assessor came out to visit me in the setting.  

I enjoy my role because you have so many opportunities to grow and develop. I enjoy going on courses to improve my knowledge about different subjects. Having a child myself it helps me plan for the weekends and know how to deal with different behaviours. Things change all the time so there is always something new to learn. Starting off as a Nursery Nurse and now becoming a Deputy Manager is a great achievement. You make many new friends and Hollies is like a second family to me. I enjoy thinking of new activities for the children and thinking on my feet. There is also a lot of paper work involved with accident forms, daily take home sheets and daily development books, but when you look back and see how much the children have grown and how much you have taught them it’s so rewarding. Even when you see the children after they have left the setting they still remember you and talk to you about their experiences. This always puts a smile on my face as you know you’ve made a massive difference and the children have lovely memories. You have to remember that some children may spend more of their time in nursery than they do at home in the day. I enjoy having the bonds with parents and talking to them about their children and it’s nice to be able to support them through different transitions like moving house, new siblings and starting school. If you have a good bond then you can discuss and plan activities around the areas that might be changing in a child’s life. It’s important to allow the children to have a voice and be confident to speak so they can become independent thinkers and leaners. Giving the children the first-hand experiences that they may not get at home and them talking about if for weeks afterwards is always satisfying.   

Some key skills to do my role well are:  

  • Good time keeping - you need this to be able to follow routines and keep continuity for the children and staff   
  • Enthusiasm - to be able to keep everyone entertained and be approachable for the children, parents and other staff members that may need advice or help  
  • Patience and be able to reflect on your own actions - not everything will go right the first time so you need to be patient and think of new and different ways to deal with situations. Not all children are the same and some will respond to different strategies   
  • Warm, passionate and caring - no day is the same and you are caring for children as young as six weeks to five years old  
  • Team work and communication - you need to be able to work effectively as a team. It can range from two to four staff members in your room and you need to be able to communicate with them as they may have ideas that will help the day run smoothly   
  • Knowledge of health and safety, and hygiene - you are planning activities to help children grow and take risks, so you need to understand how and when the activities are too dangerous or how to minimise the dangers     
  • Fun, creativity and imagination - if you are bored so will the children be. You have to put yourself in their shoes and think what would you like to do as a child.