Childcare word list
Do you work in childcare, or do you have children who attend nursery? Here are some of the most common words used in childcare related jobs, plus what they mean. You might find it useful to print this list and keep it with you when you are at work, or use it to practise your spelling. Useful words absence acceptable accident accidental Meaning non attendance (noun) Kirsty's frequent absence from work had been noted. satisfactory, suitable (adjective) Hitting other children isn't acceptable behaviour. mishap, something that wasn't meant to happen (noun) Don't worry about it Ziad, it was an accident. unintentional, unplanned (adjective) The teacher didn't know if the broken vase had been accidental, or if George had done it on purpose. nervous, restless (adjective) Amy seemed very agitated so the staff tried to calm her down. suitable, acceptable (adjective) When painting with small children, make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing. presence (noun) Sita's attendance at school is very bad this term. infant (noun) A normal, healthy baby cries between one and three hours per day. belonging to one baby Your baby's cry is designed to affect you. plural of 'baby' - more than one infant (noun) Newborn babies don't know the difference between night and day. belonging to more than one baby Resources for all infants aged between 3 and 6 months can be found in the babies' room. manners, performance, the way somebody acts (noun) Bad behaviour towards other children or staff will not be tolerated. adjective relating to behaviour

agitated appropriate

attendance baby

baby's babies




Useful words CACHE

Meaning Derek has behavioural problems. Council for Awards in Children's Care and Education (noun) CACHE was formed from the merger of the NNEB (National Nursery Examination Board) and CEYA (Council for Early Years Awards) in 1994. youngster, kid (noun) This environment is very child-friendly. belonging to a child That child's mother never picks him up on time. a person who looks after children, normally in his or her home (noun) I'm late, I have to pick Chi up from the childminder by 6pm. more than one child (noun) The children can have their tea in the kitchen. belonging to more than one child Where did you put the children's coats? hygiene, being clean (noun) The nursery showed a high level of cleanliness. interaction, sharing information (noun) Ben has very advanced communication skills for his age. helpful, supportive (adjective) Gina's always very co-operative when you want to get her dressed. bringing together, synchronisation (noun) Lila has excellent co-ordination skills; she can dress herself and can even do up her own shoes. a small bed for a baby (noun) I am giving my sister my old cot for her new baby. imaginative, artistic (adjective) Andrew is a very creative child. His paintings are excellent. second-in-command (noun) I'm afraid that the nursery manager is out. Would you like to speak to the deputy manager? expand, increase, grow (verb) I would really like to develop my childcare skills. the process of expanding, increasing and growing (noun) Your child's musical development has really come on this term. stomach upset that causes you to go to the toilet more frequently

child child's childminder

children children's cleanliness communication co-operative


cot creative deputy

develop development


Useful words

Meaning Please do not bring children to nursery if they have any symptoms of diarrhoea or sickness.


surroundings (noun) Think about baby proofing your home even before your baby becomes mobile; babies need a safe environment. tools, apparatus (noun) This nursery has lots of play equipment. practical, observed (adjective) Experiential learning recognises learning that results from work or life experience, as opposed to a taught course. dried milk given to babies and young children If you are using formula (as opposed to expressed breastmilk) for your baby, you need to choose a recognised infant formula. cleanliness, being very clean and safe (noun) Hygiene is very important when dealing with babies' feeding bottles. execute, to put into practice (verb) The school has now implemented a policy of no chips at lunchtime. tell, notify (verb) All parents need to be informed about what their child has eaten during the day and how much they have slept. to wound, to hurt (verb) Candace injured her arm today when she ran into the door. wounds (noun) Richard's injuries aren't serious, he just has some bruising. rational, logical, using your brain to understand things Alex's intellectual development is very good for his age. communication between people (noun) There is a need for greater interaction between the school and parents. a system of communication, spoken, written and visual (noun) When your baby is a little older, talk about everything as this helps language development. the process of getting education, wisdom (noun) This is a new method for language learning. keeping something in good order (noun) This house needs a lot of maintenance. physical (adjective)

equipment experiential





injure injuries intellectual interaction


learning maintenance manual

Useful words

Meaning Also a book that tells you how to do something (noun) Unfortunately, babies don't come with a manual!


equipment (noun) All the painting materials must be returned to the art cupboard. medicine, prescription (noun) Parents must inform staff of any medication that their child is taking. ability to move and get around (noun) Moving and dancing to rhymes and songs can be a good way to practice new found balance and motor skills. paper or cloth underwear that a child wears before it's pottytrained (noun) Does his nappy need changing? plural of 'nappy', more than one (noun) Disposable nappies are very convenient as they don't need to be washed! National Nursery Examination Board (noun) Getting an NNEB diploma in nursery nursing is a full-time, two-year course covering ages 0 - 7. a place where children can be looked after (noun) I have worked at the 'Happy Child' nursery for eight years. the way food and nourishment effects your health (noun) Babies on a balanced and varied vegetarian diet will do well, although more extreme diets such as vegan increase the risks of deficiencies and need careful supervision to ensure adequate nutrition. healthy (noun) Sprouts are a fantastically nutritious winter vegetable; weight for weight they contain three times the vitamin C in an orange. National Vocational Qualification (noun) Deputy manager wanted for 'Safe and Sound' day nursery. Must have minimum NVQ Level 3. Office for Standards in Education (noun) OFSTED are now responsible for the regulation and registration of childcare providers. chance, prospect (noun) I would love the opportunity to take on more responsibility. adults responsible for a child (noun) Alice's parents have raised a lot of money for the school. manual, non-verbal (adjective)


motor skills




nursery nutrition




opportunity parents physical

Useful words

Meaning Sunita is a very physical child. It's very difficult to make her sit still.


drawings (noun) We did some painting today and the children have done some really great pictures. to get ready (verb) It's your go to prepare the lunches today. action, way of doing something (noun) If a parent makes a complaint, the nursery has a set procedure to follow. defend, look after (verb) In good weather, please protect your child with a hat and sun cream. supply (noun) The OFSTED report said that the nursery didn't have adequate provision for playing outside. notes, information, files (noun) If you complete an accident report form, please make sure that a copy is added to the child's records. needs, wants, desires (noun) When you are looking for a nursery, why not make a list of your requirements? Should it be close to home or to work? What's the maximum number of children you would like your child to be with? Etc. to react, take action (verb) If a child is ill, it is very important that you respond quickly. reactive, receptive, quick to notice things (adjective) William is very responsive - he's looking all around him and really noticing what is going on. verse or poem (noun) How many nursery rhymes can you remember? imaginative play where children take on characters (noun) There is a large box of dressing up clothes, a castle and a wendy-house to encourage role-play. special gate to stop children getting into dangerous areas or falling down the stairs (noun) The accident happened when Carlos forgot to shut the safety gate to the garden. self-worth, self-respect (noun) Wayne and Carla are very shy and are afraid of joining in so we are working with them to improve their self-esteem.

prepare procedure





respond responsive

rhyme role-play

safety gate


Useful words self-reliance

Meaning independence (noun) As a childminder you have to have a lot of self-reliance as there is nobody else to talk to or to call. awareness - touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing (noun) Today we learned about the five human senses by working with different types of food. disinfect, to clean thoroughly (verb) It's important to keep all baby feeding equipment clean; you MUST sterilise between uses for the first six months. inspiring, thought-provoking (adjective) Young children need stimulation, but they also need quiet time to consolidate the skills and information they're taking in. space to store items, e.g. cupboard (noun) It's important that you have a safe storage area to store items that might be dangerous to your child. plural (more than one) of 'story' (noun) You can start to read stories with your child from a very young age. tale, fairy tale (noun) A bedtime story or song and a cuddle are the best way to end the day. a person who is in charge (noun) My supervisor has given me time off to visit my mum in hospital. helpful, sympathetic (adjective) When your child is starting school, avoid major changes at home and keep life as calm, stable and supportive as possible. soft attachment on a baby's bottle where the milk passes through (noun) When you bottle-feed, hold your baby close and tip the bottle up so the teat fills with milk and not with air. comprehend, make sense of (verb) Paran is from Albania and sometimes he doesn't understand English. spoken, oral, unwritten Amy's verbal communication skills are very good, but she needs to work on her writing.












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