Your guide to becoming a nursery manager 

Early years and childcare is a great sector for career growth and development. 

There are many different roles in the sector with opportunities for everyone to start a career, whether you want to work full-time, part-time or, initially, to volunteer.

If you are interested in management, you could end up being your own boss, running your own nursery, with responsibility for:

  • Staff
  • Budgets
  • Building effective relationships with parents.

There are many progression routes in the nursery setting including:

  • Trainee/Apprentice
  • Nursery Assistant
  • Nursery Practitioner
  • Senior practitioner/Room/Team Leader
  • Deputy Manager
  • Manager
  • Area Manager.

Trainee to Manager​

Elmscot Group director, Stephanie Molnar, shares some valuable tips about progressing employees from new starters to future leaders.

The Elmscot Group of day nurseries, nursery schools and out-of-school clubs in Greater Manchester has grown from two to 170 staff in its 14 years of operating.

From their early days, they realised the value of recognising talented, enthusiastic people, rewarding their long-term commitment to them by nurturing their careers.

As a manager, here are Stephanie’s three key secrets to success:

Talent spotting
If someone is good at finding creative solutions to things and welcomes reviews, self-assessment and constructive criticism, they are worth investing in.

If someone is ambitious, invest your time in them. Help to train them and prepare them for the next higher-level vacancy.

Support staff to find their strengths and utilise their skills. It may be valuable if each setting has several non-line-managing mentors that take time out to coach and staff who can be open about the help they need. 

Promoting further education and supporting staff financially, where possible, to study are good attributes of a collectively positive and progressive attitude.

Support from NDNA