What is it like being a Nursery Manager?

We asked Kellie Butler, a nursery manager, about how she got to where she is today. Sharing her skills and challenges she has to face, she reveals what a typical day as a nursery manager is like.


What does your job involve?

My job involves being the person who staff depend on and look up to, to ensure that I can show staff what needs to be done and being there for them no matter what they need. I guarantee the happiness and safety of all staff, children and visitors on site as well as ensuring we are meeting our goals as a nursery. I enable an environment for both children and staff to thrive. By doing this, I create a safe space where everyone can forget about the troubles of the outside world and be in the bubble of my nursery.

Describe a typical day at work for you?

Every morning I will walk around my nursery saying morning to all children and staff and then having catch up with the staff who opened the nursery to find out any important information needed to start the day. Every day then changes which could lead me to be on training, interviews, sorting emails and stepping into rooms to help and support the staff. Working for Tops we use a schema play. We use this to support the children’s development along with daily snapshots for the parents/carers to view and keep up to date as well as full in-depth observations.

How did you get to where you are today?

I studied childcare in college as working with children is something I had always wanted to do. I didn’t at the time realise that I would be so good at it. I feel being caring, compassionate and willing to help children and adults comes so naturally that running a nursery setting was the perfect goal for me.

I went straight into my level 3 when I left school. It was a 2 year cache diploma and then once I was qualified I got a job in a nursery in Liverpool. Throughout my career I have worked my way up and around nurseries in Liverpool, where I am from, and also down south. I worked as a room leader in a nursery in the New Forest and then applied for Deputy Manager here at Tops.

I started as a level 3 practitioner at Tops in May 2012. One year later I progressed to room manager which then lead me onto deputy manager, which I excelled in my skills to prove that I was an eligible candidate for the Manager of the nursery which is what I continue to do now.

I am also studying my level 5 in childcare whilst being manager. This is an apprenticeship which will help further my career in the future.

What skills do you need to do your job?

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging aspect of my role as a manager is learning that you can’t please everyone all of the time. As an empathetic person I wish I could do this but there are times when difficult discussions need to take place with parents / staff and other agencies. However, these always are worthwhile as you should always have the children’s best interests at heart.

What makes you smile at work?

Watching the children develop and watching my staff develop their skills and knowledge and seeing everyone have fun! Seeing the funny little personalities and how the children develop from babies into children ready to start school and become the best version of themselves. This is defiantly one of the the most rewarding job you could ever have.

What job did you want, when you were a child?

I wanted to be a Butlins Redcoat to entertain children and families and make long lasting memories. Through hard work and determination I did indeed become a Butlins Redcoat in 2014 – 2017 in Butlins Bognor Regis and made all my childhood dreams come true.

What top tips do you have for anyone wanting to be a nursery manager?

My top tips for anyone wanting to be a nursery manager is to be open and transparent with staff, parents/carers, outside agencies, anyone in the company and keep that communication going with the children’s best interests at heart.

To not be afraid to get stuck in. I still change nappies, clean floors, tables, toilets, potties and close the nursery and open the nursery. There is nothing I would ask my staff to do that I don’t do myself.

The job is a stressful job and we as a sector will be forever fighting to be seen but it is important to have a work life balance and figure out what works for you when you come up against stressful situations. It’s not just sitting and playing with children. All day we work hard to be able to make it look that way but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The role of a nursery manager is dynamic and fulfilling. It’s about creating a safe, engaging and nurturing environment where children can thrive. It’s about leading a team of dedicated professionals and building a strong bond with staff and families. Most importantly, it’s about shaping the future for these children to give them the best start at life and enable them to blossom wherever life takes them.

If you have a passion for early childhood education and enjoy working with children, this could defiantly be the career for you. We are currently hiring at Tops Day nurseries. With 30+ nurseries in and around Dorset, there is a place for everyone. Apply below or email us: talent@topsdaynurseries.co.uk

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