My working life ... Head of baby room

Published: 03 Jul 2015

Susan Carter is head of the 0-1 years room at Busy Bears Children's Day Nursery, Durham. She is in charge of a team of four staff and up to 14 babies.

'I had previously been a nursery manager, but when the nursery shut I had a few months at home with my baby before sending CVs out to nurseries. Busy Bears was expanding and I have now been here for just over two years.


'We work long hours and are here to greet parents in the morning. The day then starts with some interaction time, where we give the children lots of cuddles. Then we have breakfast where all the babies sit down together. We tend to put them in circles or little groups for the social interaction side of it. Then after breakfast we will have play time. Obviously being babies, some children will need their bottle because they will have been up early.


'As well as the main room, we have a separate, smaller room which we use as our kitchen. We can do messy play with playdough and gloop and then shut it off for tidying up.


'About 11.30am, we have lunch and then the babies may have a sleep. We always go outside at some point during the day. Later, the children will have a snack rather than tea so they can eat with their parents. We go out again to the nursery garden later on, and that is where parents will come to pick up their children.


'We work hard with parents, helping the children settle in. We give them advice when people have started to wean or potty train. I can share my experience from working in the room and my experience as a parent as well.'


Rewards 'When you come in in the morning there are so many who just smile at you it sets you up for the day. Also being there to support the children with their first milestones - first tooth, crawling for the first time - which is really nice. And it is rewarding being able to help.' Challenges 'When they are all crying at once, when you feel as if you don't have enough hands, when they all want to feed at the same time, or when all want to sleep.'


CV Qualifications and Training East Durham College Health and Social Care Level 2 - 1995. BTEC National Diploma in Childhood Studies - 1997. CACHE Advanced Diploma in Childcare and Education - 2002. Basic Food Hygiene - 2008. First Aid - 2010. E learning: Safeguarding Children - 2010. Northumbria University Effective Leadership and Management Level 5 - January 2006. Sure Start County Durham Early Years Foundation Stage training. Self Evaluation in Day Care Management training. CAF Awareness ... plus many other courses.




1997-2002: Childcare officer at Positive Steps Day Nursery, East Durham College.


2002-2007: Moved to newly opened Positive Steps nursery in Peterlee to take up the position of deputy manager.


2007-2010: Worked as manager within the Peterlee branch of Positive Steps Day Nursery.


2010-2011: Short break following the closure of the nursery.


2011 to present: Head of 0-1 years room at Busy Bears, Durham.






City and Guilds Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for the Children and Young People's workforce, Early Years (QCF)


The National Day Nurseries Association information on training,with free resources and factsheets;


National Children's Bureau has guidance on the statutory progress check at two as required in the EYFS Framework 2012




Experience of working with this age group is obviously preferred, and most employers would expect candidates to have spent much of their career working in a baby room. A Level 3 qualification in childcare is required in order to be considered for the position of head of baby room, and in September 2014 CACHE will be launching the new Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification, which it describes as being the ideal qualification for those looking to apply for such positions.


As the role involves managing a small team of staff, additional training and qualifications in mentoring, support and supervision, as well as management training, would be of benefit. CACHE Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young People's Services (England) (QCF) or City and Guilds Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for the Children and Young People's Workforce - Early Years (QCF) could fit the bill.


The head of room would also be expected to take part in continuing professional development in areas such as baby and childcare, learning, play and development and health. A good understanding of the EYFS requirements would also be expected.


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