What is early years

Early years is a dynamic and vitally important sector which needs high quality staff at all levels. Those who work in it play a crucial role in shaping the lives of future generations. It is a career that you can rightly be very proud of.

A career in early years is rewarding, enjoyable and profoundly important. Most people who work in the sector love their jobs and look forward to going to work every day. Not only do you get to enjoy playing and having fun with children but you are also helping them to develop and learn. Children will use some of the skills they learn with you, such as how to get on with other children, for the rest of their lives. There is no other career choice which will provide you with as many laughs and smiles during the working day.

There are many different roles in the early years sector with opportunities for everyone to start a career, whether you want to work full time or part time and in a range of roles. If you are interested in management, you could end up being your own boss, running your own nursery, with responsibility for staff, budgets and building effective relationships with parents. As you progress your early years career you could aspire to become an early years professional, combining both high level practitioner skills and leadership in a variety of settings.

Some of the work you might expect to be involved in when working in early years include:

  • Encouraging children to develop social skills and discover more about the world through play.
  • Helping children to develop number and language skills through activities like counting games and storytelling.
  • Feeding, bathing and dressing babies and youngest children, changing nappies and preparing bottles or baby food.
  • Taking care of children's personal needs and helping them to learn skills like dressing themselves, using cutlery and using the lavatory.
  • Ensuring appropriate health and safety and child protection requirements are met.
  • Working with and supporting parents and other family members to improve their child's development.
  • Observing and assessing children and producing written reports on each child's development.
  • Consulting and attending meetings with other professionals, eg social workers, health workers or speech therapists.

 If you have passion, enthusiasm, and enjoy working with very young children (birth to five years old), this could be the career for you.