A charity is calling for all nurseries in South Yorkshire to have a qualified early years teacher to make sure kids start developing at an early age.
All nurseries have staff trained to care for children, but not all have trained specialists to help youngsters to develop their early language and numeracy skills.
New figures show only one in five nurseries in Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster have one. Around half of nurseries in Sheffield have one.
They also showed that more than a third of parents nationally don't know whether their nursery has a trained teacher or not.
The statistics were revealed in a YouGov poll commissioned by Save The Children and now the charity wants to see the government provide funding to every nursery to employ an early years teacher.
The charity said toddlers who don’t have access to these teachers, who are trained to help children develop their early language and numeracy skills through play, are at greater risk of starting reception behind their peers in areas like English and maths.
Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children, said: "Nurseries do an incredible job nurturing our children, but financial constraints are leaving many of them struggling to hire the qualified early years teachers who help give children the skills and confidence they need to learn and grow.
“The evidence clearly shows the huge and transformational difference early years teachers can make for children. That’s why we’re calling on government to ensure every nursery has a qualified teacher. It’s an investment we must make to help every child reach their full potential."