Melanie Lockyer is the nursery manager at Tops Day Nursery Gillingham and admits she "loves seeing children complete a task that they’ve been struggling with" or see "staff complete a new qualification which makes a difference to their practice". Here she explains what it takes to do her job.
What does your job involve?
I am responsible for the smooth running of the nursery each day. I work closely with my three room managers, who organise and deploy their staff accordingly. I split my time between the units with the children and completing admin tasks in the office.
Describe a typical day at work for you?
There’s no typical day, no two days are ever the same. That’s what makes it such an enjoyable job. Each day, I check and answer emails, complete admin tasks, as well as spending time in the units. I may be in ratio if a staff member is off, which really keeps me in touch with the staff team and children.
What job did you want, when you were a child?
I initially wanted to work with horses but my parents weren’t very keen, so I only did this as a hobby. I worked in an office until I had both of my children and then started in childcare, when my daughter started at nursery.
Why did you decide to take the job?
After working in childcare for a few years, I was really keen to work my way up to management. This seemed a perfect role for me, as I can really make changes to enhance the lives of children.
What skills would you say are necessary to do your job?
To start with you need to be really passionate about childcare and love working with children. You need to be highly organised and have strong leadership skills. So much of the job is working with other people, staff, parents and children, so you need to be friendly, approachable and fun.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Organising my time to meet deadlines can be a challenge. I am really hands on in the units supporting my staff to set up new areas for the children. This sometimes means leaving admin until the last.
What makes you passionate about your role?
I just love watching children learn and develop. It’s an absolute honour to spend so much time with the children in our care. The things we do can make such a big difference to their lives and really give them a fantastic start to their education.
What makes you smile at work?
There’s lots of things that make me smile. When I see a child complete a task that they’ve been struggling with, when we develop an amazing area which the children really enjoy and when staff complete a new qualification which makes a difference to their practice.
What top tips do you have for anyone wanting to do your job?
If you really want to be a manager, you need to be prepared to work really hard to reach your goal. I am constantly striving to enhance the nursery and the environment that we provide.
If you could make one change in the early years sector, what would it be?
To stop the underfunding from the Government. Parents need nurseries desperately and so many have had to close due to the underfunding.
What is the best professional advice you have been given so far?
It’s not where you’ve been but where you are going that matters.
• daynurseries.co.uk has a huge range of nursery related jobs in its jobs section ranging from manager and room leader jobs to roles for early years teachers as well as early years practitioners. To view these go to www.daynurseries.co.uk/jobs/