Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Siobhan Murphy, a senior nursery nurse at Stepping Stones Day Nursery in Nottingham, shared her daily routine working in an early years setting.
Stepping Stones is a family-run childcare setting which has been operating for the past 19 years, currently looking after over 200 children aged zero to four-years-old.
Ms Murphy, who has worked at the setting for the past three years, said she has always wanted to work with the children to help develop their skills and confidence. She also described how staff build a “strong bond” with the children in their care.
Ms Murphy worked as a nanny while travelling in Australia, and upon returning to the UK, she decided that Stepping Stones was “very friendly”, and she felt she would “fit in”.
She said to Nottinghamshire Live: “I always wanted to work with children.
“I was a nursery nurse initially and progressed to room leader before I became a senior, which I have been doing for just over a year.
“I am also a student mentor providing support to university students who want to gain experience.”
“It’s the same routine, but we have different activities depending on age groups – the two- to three-year-olds are very active.
“It differs on the weather too; we like to get outside when it’s nice.
“We do a lot to develop language skills, such as ‘stories of the week’, which we use props for.
“We feel we are setting the foundations for their future.”
Stepping Stones has four rooms based on the children’s age, as well as an additional playroom.
“It’s unique to have such a large nursery close to the city, and with so many facilities.
“Each room has garden access, and then we have a larger playground at the back of the nursery.
I really enjoy the messy activities because that’s when the children come out of their shell and start to copy your words.
“During the role play, they get really involved as well and copy actions they’ve seen at home.
“Each room in the nursery has a key person who has a strong bond with the children.
“Because they’re at the nursery so much, they do start to see you as another parent,” added Ms Murphy.
Siobhan continued to describe how looking after so many children can be difficult, and how the staff cope with it.
“We have positive behaviour strategies such as getting the children to use kind terms and not think negatively.”
Siobhan continued to say that Ofsted inspection is an important day that rates every aspect of the nursery. Stepping Stones are currently rated “good” after being rated “inadequate” on their previous inspection.
“We only get around 24 hours’ notice for an inspection, but we keep everything up to date on a daily basis anyway.
“You’ve just got to believe in yourself, and let the nursery speak for itself.
“Everyone was so pleased with the last inspection, it feels good to have our work shine, and staff morale was very high.
“I see myself doing this for the foreseeable future. All the children are so happy, and everything is running smoothly.”