Careers

We are always looking for people passionate about working with children to join our team. Find out more about working at Ark Start here.

Why work in Early Years

Working in a nursery can be challenging but it is one of the most rewarding jobs there is. As an early educator, you will have a genuinely life-changing impact not only on the children but on their families as well and be free to use your creativity and passion to inspire children about the world around them.

At Ark Start, we invest in our staff’s learning and professional development and work hard to make sure that wellbeing is prioritised. Because we are part of a larger organisation, we have the infrastructure to provide broader opportunities and career progression. There are multiple career paths that you can choose to pursue, whether training up to being a manger or deepening your expertise working with children, we want to help guide and support you to achieve your dreams.

nursery playworker with happy children dressing up

Apprentices

Do you want to become an early years educator – we are always looking for people with a genuine passion for young children to join our team as apprentices and aim to offer every apprentice a full time role when they qualify.

Why become an early years educator?

Working in a nursery provides many benefits, both personal and professional. Here are some of them:

  • The opportunity to make a difference: working in a nursery provides an opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of young children. Nursery practitioners help children develop important skills and behaviours and provide a nurturing and supportive environment that sets the stage for future success.
  • Job satisfaction: Seeing children learn and grow is incredibly rewarding and provides a strong sense of fulfilment. Nursery educators have the opportunity to witness first hand the progress that children make and be part of their success.
  • Professional development: Working at Ark Start offers many opportunities for professional growth and development. Nursery apprentices will have the opportunity to meet with very experienced staff regularly, attend fortnightly meetings focused on child development and regular coaching.
  • Collaboration and support: Nursery staff work closely with colleagues, families, and other professionals to support children’s development.
  • Flexibility: Ark Start work hard to offer flexible work hours and schedules, which can be ideal for individuals with other commitments or responsibilities.
  • Career progression: Ark Start is a growing organisation and part of a much larger charity, so there are many opportunities for progression whether you want to be a nursery manager or perhaps train as a teacher.

 

What does being an early years educator involve?

As an early years nursery educator, you would be responsible for the care and education of children up to the age of five. Your duties would vary depending on the age group of the children you work with, but here are some general tasks you would perform:

  • Planning and preparing activities: You will plan and prepare developmentally appropriate activities and experiences that promote children’s learning and development. These might include art and craft activities, sensory play, and outdoor exploration.
  • Providing care: You will be responsible for the personal care needs of young children, such as feeding, changing, and toileting. You will also ensure that children are safe, healthy and happy.
  • Supporting learning: You will create a nurturing and stimulating environment that encourages children’s curiosity and exploration. You will observe children’s play and interactions, and provide support and guidance to help them learn and develop.
  • Working with families: You will work closely with families to support children’s development and wellbeing. You will communicate regularly with families, sharing information about children’s progress and needs, and working collaboratively to support their ongoing learning and development.
  • Record keeping: You will maintain accurate records of children’s progress and activities, using this information to inform planning and support children’s ongoing development.

 

A day in the life of an early educator at Ark Start

One of the great things about working in a nursery is that no day is ever the same! But in general, a day in the life of an early educator at Ark Start will be something like this……

Morning:

  • Arrive at the nursery before the children to prepare the classroom, set up activities, and review the daily schedule.
  • Greet the children and their families as they arrive, and help children settle in and transition smoothly.
  • Lead a group circle time, which may include songs, stories, and games to help children develop social skills and prepare for the day ahead.
  • Supervise children during free play and exploration time, helping them engage in age-appropriate activities and supporting their learning.
  • Support children with toileting and to develop independent self-care skills

 

Midday:

  • Assist children during meal and snack times, providing guidance on healthy eating habits and encouraging social interactions.
  • Lead small-group activities that promote specific skills, such as language development, fine motor skills, or problem-solving.
  • and encourage children to develop independent self-care skills.

 

Afternoon:

  • Support children during nap or rest time, providing a quiet and calm environment for them to recharge.
  • Engage in one-on-one or small-group interactions with children, building relationships and providing individualised support.
  • Provide regular communication and updates to families about their child’s progress and activities throughout the day.
  • Assist with end-of-day routines, such as packing up belongings and preparing for pick-up.
  • Reflect on the day’s activities and plan for the next day’s lessons and activities.

Overall, a nursery educator’s day is focused on creating a safe, nurturing, and engaging environment where young children can learn and grow. They must be flexible, patient, and attentive to the needs of each child, while also providing guidance and support for their ongoing development.

Current Vacancies

Explore opportunities at Ark Start 

Various locations, Full Time

Various locations, Full Time

Why join Ark Start?

Interested in a position at one of our nurseries? Here are some of the many benefits and perks of working at Ark Start.

Ongoing learning and support

We are committed to providing the best development for all our staff. We close the nurseries for five days each year to focus on staff training and ensure there is protected time for training and supervision each week for every adult. We work hard to ensure there are clear career progression routes.

Part of a large charity

Ark Start is part of Ark, a charity that aims to transform children’s lives through education. That means we don’t operate for profit and any surplus is used to improve our nurseries for staff and children. Being part of a network means our staff get access to the opportunities, infrastructure and support of a large organisation.

Staff
wellbeing

We know that while incredibly rewarding, working in a nursery can be challenging so we work hard to ensure all staff have the support and infrastructure they need. Staff can accesssavings and discounts and the Employee Assistance Programme is available offering everything from counselling to pension advice.

Diversity and inclusion

We aim to build a diverse and inclusive organisation where everyone can do their best work and achieve their full potential. We are committed to ensuring our nurseries are happy environments where wellbeing is prioritised and where everyone is treated with respect.

Holiday entitlement

We are proud of our staff and want everyone to feel valued for playing their part. That’s why staff receive 25 days holiday each year, excluding bank holidays.

Competitive staff salaries

We believe early years staff should be better remunerated and we pay above market rates. We are a Real Living Wage employer so have a minimum salary of £11.95 per hour for all permanent roles. We also pay 11% pension contributions.

Flexible working opportunities

Our standard contract is 36.5 hours per week, all year round. But we know that that doesn’t work for everyone so also offer term time only and part time contracts to match people’s individual requirements.

A Growing community

Ark Start is at an exciting time in its evolution. We opened two nurseries in South London last year and aim to expand our reach over the coming years.

What we are looking for

We are looking for people with a genuine passion for working with very young children. We want to hear about you and why you want to work with us, as well as what you think you can bring to the organisation and what you would like to learn more about. We always want to hear more about your ambitions and future hopes and dreams. 

How to apply  

If you want to join us, you will be asked to complete a short application form and include your CV and a short cover letter if you would like. We will then ask you to join us for a short online or phone interview. If you are successful, we will then ask you to come to one of our nurseries where you will have the opportunity to spend some time in the room, get to know the team and  meet with one of our senior managers to ask any questions you have about the role or the organisation.

We're a Living Wage employer

Ark Start is a Real Living Wage employer. The real living wage is a rate that is voluntarily paid to ensure that every permanent member of staff gets a wage which meets everyday needs – like the weekly shop, or a surprise trip to the dentist.

The living wage is currently £11.95/hour in Greater London and is calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK.

So Much More Than Childcare