Every nursery in England should have a qualified early years teacher to help toddlers develop skills like speech and language, a children's charity says.


Save the Children says pre-schoolers can be "set back decades" if their brains are not adequately stimulated before they start formal schooling.


It says early years teachers can assist children and parents with learning.


Ministers say they are making major investments in the sector, working with the profession to improve its status.


To become an early years teacher, candidates need a degree and at least a GCSE C grade in English, maths and science. They have to pass professional tests in numeracy and literacy and complete a period of initial teacher training.


The Save the Children report, Lighting Up Young Brains, is written in conjunction with the Institute of Child Health at University College London and highlights pre-school years as a "critical opportunity" for the brain to develop key skills.


The report suggests the government should make playtime "brain time" under the guidance of a qualified early years teacher.


The charity says failure to properly stimulate toddlers' brains during nursery years could set them back for decades.