The first one thousand days of a child’s life are the most important. This is a time when a child’s life is moulded, where key skills are developed, knowledge is built, and relationships are made.
High quality childcare, play opportunities and early education are crucial for young children to get the best possible start in life and working with children can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
If you love being with children, are dedicated to keeping them safe and happy, and are interested in educating and stimulating them to prepare for later life then a career in childcare could be perfect for you.
Childcare professionals play a vital role in supporting, inspiring and laying the foundation for all-round development in children’s formative years and preparing them for adulthood. The work of childcare professionals has a far reaching impact. Recognising the importance of play in supporting children’s social and emotional development and creativity, childcare professionals enable children to be resilient and prepare them for the range of transitions in their lives.
All kinds of people work in early years and childcare. Children need a variety of positive role models and good influences. School leavers and students, adults of all ages, people from all cultures and backgrounds, men and women - with or without previous experience - all play an important part.
What they have in common is patience, enthusiasm, empathy, a sense of responsibility and a sense of fun!
Working with children often involves working with parents too, helping them to understand and support their child's development in the home learning environment. It often involves working with others or as part of a team. Find out more about why careers in childcare are so rewarding and the best route into a valued profession.
Five reasons to work in childcare
Whether you're thinking about what to do after leaving school, are already working with children or looking for a change of career, we've got information and inspiration to help you find the right route.
Being a professional childcarer can be so rewarding. We've asked our members what they enjoy most about working in childcare/early years. Here are just five of the reasons they give to work in childcare:
Every day, early years and childcare professionals are supporting the most important first years of a child's life. It is those little moments, such as giving a child emotional support or teaching them about numbers that although may seem small, have a huge impact on the development of that child and the rest of their life.
Find out more about our #ChangedALife campaign
Thinking about a job in childcare?
Do you love the time you spend with little ones and have thought about working with children, but you don’t know where to start?
Here are some first steps to take to help you decide if a job in childcare is a good fit for you:
Talk to people who already work in childcare
Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are used to visitors asking questions and when you're looking around childcare settings for your child, you can also ask about how they got started, and whether there is any training they'd recommend. Toddler groups, playgrounds and soft play centres are also great places to meet childminders and nannies.
You might find your local authority or adult education college offers taster days on working with children. They are good places to ask questions too.
You don't need to be at school to do work experience. Once you’ve found somewhere you’d really like to work, offer to do work experience there for a few sessions to see what it’s like. While you’re there, ask about the best way to get started working in childcare. If you enjoy it, keep in touch in case any vacancies come up.
Even though there are some things you need to do for a job in childcare to keep the children safe and help them develop well, every day is different, and often fun and rewarding! You could be preparing snacks, playing in a sandpit, cutting and sticking, or joining in with a group singing session. How many jobs can you say that about?
Find out more about childcare roles
There are many different childcare roles and lots of opportunity for progression in the sector. Find out more about just some of the roles in childcare and how you can start your career in one of the most important and rewarding sectors.
Working in a home-based environment
Working in a group setting
You can share exciting experiences with and learn from children to prepare them for the wider world