What is a Nursery Practitioner?

What is a Nursery Practitioner?

If you’re thinking about sending your child to a nursery or pre-school, or if you happen to be considering a career in childcare, you may be wondering, “what is a nursery practitioner?”

A nursery practitioner is someone who cares, guides and supports young children during their early years education. Often referred to as early years practitioners or nursery nurses, nursery practitioners act as role models for children throughout the first five years of their lives.

In this blog, we explore the roles and responsibilities that nursery practitioners have and how they prepare children for primary school.

What do nursery practitioners do?

As a nursery practitioner, your roles and responsibilities include:

  • Protect and promote the health and well-being of children
  • Ensure that safeguarding procedures are followed
  • Promote positive relationships in the early years setting
  • Support children’s learning and development through play
  • Be a ‘key person’ to a small group of children and build positive relationships with their families
  • Monitor children’s progress to ensure they reach their developmental targets
  • Plan and create activities which keep children engaged throughout the day
  • Enable children to become more independent
  • Help prepare children for the transition into school life

What skills do you need?


To be a successful nursery practitioner you need to have a commitment to working with children. Working in the early years sector can be as intensive as it is rewarding. You must have a passion for child development and be dedicated to caring for young children.

Building Relationships:

Children thrive in early years settings when they have strong bonds and healthy relationships with nursery practitioners. You need to be someone who enjoys the company of children and can empathise with how children express their feelings.

Personal Skills:

You also need to be personable and approachable with children’s parents. Parent partnerships are vital in helping you to understand how to keep children happy and supported, both in nursery and home life.


Children will engage in nursery activities if they are fun and enjoyable. The best activities are those that help children learn new skills and develop their understanding of the world without them even realising that they are learning. As a nursery practitioner, you will need to have a creative mind in order to create exciting and memorable activities. If you’re afraid of messy play activities, then this may not be the career for you!

What qualifications do you need to be a nursery practitioner?

Most nursery practitioners are required to have a minimum of an NVQ Level 2 or 3 qualification in early years care and education. Equivalent qualifications are also acceptable in some circumstances. There are occasions where you may not need a qualification in order to apply for a nursery practitioner vacancy.

Here at Tommies Childcare, we believe in hiring people who are clearly passionate and show enthusiasm for childcare as well as being highly skilled. We also run our own internal training programme so that staff receive bespoke training in line with our vision and company values.

What is a key person?

As a nursery practitioner, you will be expected to be a key person for a small group of children. As a key person, you will be there to help children make a smooth transition from home to nursery life. You will also be there to support the children in your key group to reach their early years milestones. To do this, you will be expected to build strong bonds with the children to understand their own interests and passions, enabling you to then create activities that are tailored to their interests.

If you are thinking about beginning or progressing your career as a nursery practitioner, then head to our careers page to see our current job vacancies.

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