Scottish Government Viewpoint
WORKING in early learning and childcare can be a rewarding career.
Across the country there are opportunities for people to start in the vocation.
Nicola Johnstone is a childcare practitioner at a nursery and explains how she got involved.
She said: "After coming back from travelling in Australia and New Zealand, a friend got in touch that was looking for an au pair for a family back here in the UK so that was my first experience of childcare.
"I really enjoyed it but found it a little lonely so decided to look for a role that had more of a team aspect.
"Before working in early learning and childcare, I was a hairdresser, and I still do some weekend hairdressing, but I really enjoy spending time with children and find it much more rewarding.
"Lots of my friends told me they thought I was really good with kids and encouraged me to go for it.
"I thought working in a nursery would be much more chaotic than it is, but everything runs so smoothly.
"There is a structure to the day and the children are in a good routine in terms of meals and naps, but at the same time there is lots of variety in the activities we do each day, indoors and outdoors.
"I was also a bit nervous about looking after lots of children, but there is a good ratio of 1:3 and you're part of a team so you have great support.
"I like the fact you can be so creative. We choose our daily activities from messy trays, painting and baking to sensory play and spending time outdoors such as in the mud kitchen.
"I'm always looking for new ideas and get excited to try them with the children.
"Early learning and childcare develops social skills. Interaction with the other children is so beneficial, and helping them to have more independence, such as teaching them to wash their hands and why it's important.
"It all helps to give them a smooth transition into school. Communication with parents is also really important."