Working in a pre-school | Oxfordshire County Council

Working in a pre-school

Information on what pre-school workers do, entry requirements and opportunities for development.

Pre-school careers

What is a pre-school?

Pre-schools (formerly known as playgroups) provide early years education, childcare and play opportunities for children between 2 and 5 years old.

Pre-schools generally operate during school term-time, usually for three hours per session. They operate from a variety of locations including community centres, church halls and within schools.

What will I be doing?

The tasks you may be involved in when working in a pre-school include:

  • encouraging children to develop social skills and discover more about the world through play
  • supporting children to explore the outdoors and their community
  • helping children to develop number and language skills through a wide variety of activities
  • nurturing children's natural curiosity
  • Changing nappies and taking care of children's personal needs. Helping them to learn to dress themselves, use cutlery and use the lavatory
  • ensuring appropriate health and safety and child protection requirements are met
  • building relationships with parents and other family members to support their child's development
  • observing and assessing children and producing brief written reports
  • consulting and attending meetings with other professionals, for example social workers, health workers or speech therapists.

Entry requirements

You can work or volunteer as a pre-school assistant without any childcare qualifications. However you will need to have the desire and ability to undertake on the job training to achieve a childcare qualification in order to be counted in the ratios.

In order to become a qualified Early Years Teacher you will need to have a GCSE maths, English, and science at grade C or above.

Opportunities for development

As with working in a nursery there are opportunities for promotion, and with further qualifications and training you can progress to be an Early Years Teacher, a supervisor, or pre-school leader.

Last reviewed
12 July 2017
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