Key information

  1. Reference: ST0135
  2. Date updated: 02/04/2024
  3. Level: 3
  4. Route: Education and early years
  5. Regulated occupation: No
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Details of the occupational standard

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Occupation summary

This occupation is found in a range of maintained and private, voluntary, and independent settings such as full day care, children's centres, pre-schools, reception classes, playgroups, nursery schools, home based provision, hospitals, social care settings, out of school environments, and local authority provision. 

The broad purpose of the occupation is to provide high quality early education and care to children. Through an evidence based approach, they provide opportunities and learning experiences for all children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Early years educators follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requirements set by government for the learning, development, and care of children from birth to 5 in both indoor and outdoor environments. 

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with children, parents, carers, colleagues, and wider multi agency professionals such as health visitors, early help services, social workers, and speech and language therapists. This includes supporting children with SEND.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for ensuring a safe and secure environment for children's learning. They ensure that the learning environment and provision is inclusive and supports all children, and demonstrate a clear understand of equality, diversity, and inclusion. Early years educator's teach and facilitate children's learning play. They apply the observation, assessment, and planning cycle to support progress and children's development. An early years educator will act as the key person for one or more children within their setting. They may play a leadership role within the setting or may act under the supervision of a manager.

Typical job titles include:

Early years educator Early years worker Nursery educator Nursery nurse Nursery worker Childminder assistant

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Support children's learning and development through applying knowledge of pedagogy and the observation, assessment, and planning cycle.

K6 K17 K18 K22 K23 K24 K25

S18 S20

Duty 2 Develop secure and supportive relationships with children and families as the key person for children in their care, advocating for those children.

K3 K10 K11 K14 K15

S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S17

B1 B5

Duty 3 Provide respectful and responsive physical and emotional care to children, promoting health and wellbeing.

K1 K5 K9 K20 K26

S7 S8 S9

B4 B5

Duty 4 Work with key individuals in children’s lives (for example parents, families, and carers) to improve all children’s outcomes and wellbeing.

K9 K11 K14 K15 K16 K19 K21 K23

S5 S6 S7 S8 S10 S17

B1 B2 B5 B6

Duty 5 Work in partnership with other organisations and agencies to support children’s learning, development, health and wellbeing.

K1 K2 K3 K6 K8 K9 K11 K12 K13 K14

S5 S6 S10

B1 B2 B5 B6

Duty 6 Support the implementation of change to improve practice.

K8 K14 K27

B1 B6 B8

Duty 7 Initiate and engage in continuous professional development, underpinned by reflective practice.

K9 K27


B6 B8

Duty 8 Ensure compliance with child protection and safeguarding legislation, policies, and procedures.

K2 K3 K5 K7

S1 S16

B1 B3 B4

Duty 9 Work in ways that promote and support equality, diversity, and the inclusion of all children, respecting their social and cultural context.

K1 K6 K7 K17 K18 K19 K20 K21

S2 S9 S10 S11 S12 S16 S20

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 10 Ensure compliance with Health and Safety legislation, policies, and procedures.

K2 K4 K5 K7 K18 K20

S2 S3

B3 B4

Duty 11 Use technology to record and update information for example observations, assessments, reports, risk assessments, and safeguarding concerns.

K2 K3 K4 K24 K25


Duty 12 Promote and engage in children’s play. Support all children to create and adapt the environment to reflect their interests and enable their learning and development.

K1 K5 K6 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K22 K23 K24

S4 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S19 S20


Duty 13 Ensure legal requirements of statutory frameworks are met within policy, procedure, and practice.

K1 K2 K3 K6 K7

S1 S2 S3

B1 B3 B4



K1: The importance of equality, diversity, and inclusion, and respecting children’s social and cultural context. Back to Duty

K2: Safeguarding policies and procedures for children and colleagues, including child protection and wellbeing. Back to Duty

K3: Types of abuse including domestic, neglect, physical, emotional and sexual, and know how to act to protect children and colleagues. Back to Duty

K4: The legal requirements and guidance on health and safety, security, confidentiality of information, and safeguarding. Back to Duty

K5: The principles of risk assessment and management, and how to balance risks and benefits of activities for children. Back to Duty

K6: The statutory and non-statutory frameworks and guidance for provision in early years including SEND. Back to Duty

K7: The legal rights of each individual child according to their current and future needs. Back to Duty

K8: The role of colleagues and multi-agency working to support the child. Back to Duty

K9: The role and responsibilities of the early years educator, including providing supervision to staff. Back to Duty

K10: The role and responsibilities of the key person. Back to Duty

K11: Theories and significance of attachment. Back to Duty

K12: The importance of professional relationships and collaboration with parents, families, or carers. Back to Duty

K13: The importance of professional relationships with colleagues, other organisations, and agencies. Back to Duty

K14: The influence of all key individuals in children's lives on children's learning and development. Back to Duty

K15: The development of social skills and maintaining relationships. Back to Duty

K16: How children learn and develop from conception to age 7; physiologically, neurologically, biologically, psychologically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Including the interaction and impact of biological and environmental factors. Back to Duty

K17: The elements and characteristics of a wide range of enabling environments. Back to Duty

K18: How the design, resourcing, and use of the indoor and outdoor physical environment supports children’s learning and development. Back to Duty

K19: How the design of the day and expectations adapts to support and reflect all children’s current needs (for example, those children with SEND, EAL, communication difficulties, and the most able). Back to Duty

K20: How the organisations approach and values underpin the environment. Back to Duty

K21: How children experience change, transition, and significant events. Back to Duty

K22: The theories of play and its fundamental role in learning and development. Back to Duty

K23: How children develop characteristics for effective learning. Back to Duty

K24: How, when, and why to conduct observation and assessment. Back to Duty

K25: How the observation, assessment, and planning cycle is used to analyse and respond to children’s learning, development, and interests. Back to Duty

K26: How to create experiences and opportunities for children informed by the setting's curriculum and pedagogy. Back to Duty

K27: Methods of reflective practice, including supervision, and opportunities for continuous professional development. Back to Duty


S1: Recognise when a child or a colleague is in danger or at risk of abuse and act to protect them in line with safeguarding policy and procedure. Back to Duty

S2: Apply legislation, policy and procedure to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of children in the setting (for example, food safety, diets, starting solid food, allergies, COSHH, and accidents, injuries, and emergencies). Back to Duty

S3: Apply the principles of risk assessment and risk management within documentation and practice. Back to Duty

S4: Teach children to develop skills to manage risk and maintain their own and others safety. Back to Duty

S5: Use a range of communication methods, including technology, with other professionals to meet the individual needs of the child. Back to Duty

S6: Develop and maintain effective professional, collaborative relationships with others involved in the education and care of the child. Back to Duty

S7: Undertake the role and responsibilities of key person. Back to Duty

S8: Recognise and apply theories of attachment to develop effective relationships with children. Back to Duty

S9: Provide sensitive and respectful personal care for children from birth to 5 years. Back to Duty

S10: Advocate for all children’s needs, including children which require SEND or EAL support. Back to Duty

S11: Promote and facilitate children’s interpersonal communication to develop their social interactions and relationships. Back to Duty

S12: Support children to develop a positive sense of their own identity and culture. Back to Duty

S13: Support children to understand and respond to their emotions and make considered choices about their behaviours. Back to Duty

S14: Assess the responsiveness of the environment for effective child-centred experiences in line with curriculum requirements. Back to Duty

S15: Create inclusive, child-centred, dynamic, innovative, and evolving physical environments both indoors and outdoors. Back to Duty

S16: Create inclusive and supportive emotional environment that enables the child to feel safe, secure, respected and experience a sense of wellbeing; maintaining and prioritising the individual child’s voice. Back to Duty

S17: Apply strategies that support children’s ability to manage change, transition, and significant events. Back to Duty

S18: Analyse observation evidence to assess and plan holistic individual learning based on a comprehensive understanding of the child’s needs and interests. Back to Duty

S19: Facilitate and support child-centred opportunities and experiences based on the setting's curriculum and pedagogy. Back to Duty

S20: Provide adult led opportunities and experience based on the setting's curriculum and pedagogy. Back to Duty

S21: Use reflection to develop themselves both professionally and personally. Back to Duty


B1: Confident to have difficult conversations. Back to Duty

B2: Child-centred and empathetic, valuing equality, diversity, and inclusion and the uniqueness of each child. Back to Duty

B3: Vigilant and act with professional curiosity. Back to Duty

B4: Caring, compassionate and sensitive. Back to Duty

B5: Honest, open, respectful, and a role model. Back to Duty

B6: Self-motivated, using initiative and proactive. Back to Duty

B7: Playful and creative. Back to Duty

B8: Reflective and reflexive and committed to CPD. Back to Duty

T Level in education and childcare

Qualification type: T Level

Qualification level: 3

Awarding organisation: NCFE

Approval date: 01/04/2020

Available from: 01/09/2020

Occupational specialism: Early years educator

Product page

Aligned occupational standards

ST0135 Early years educator

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