There are a number of options when it comes to childcare. Services can either be community based or privately run, centre-based in a childcare facility, or home-based in your or the carers home. Find out what types of services are on offer in your area to help you choose childcare which best suits you and your child’s needs.
Centre Based Childcare Facilities
A centre-based childcare facility is ideal for you if you want your child to mix and socialise with similar-aged children in an environment that is centred around early childhood care and education. Whether private or community run they must be registered and inspected by Tusla.
Crèche/Nursery/ Full day care service
A Crèche, Nursery or full day care service provides care for children from six weeks to four or five years and beyond, often integrated with early education and other services such as School Age Childcare. Opening times are typically 7.30am-6.30pm, 50 weeks per year. Places are offered on a part time or full time basis.
Pre-Schools/Playgroups provide structured play and learning activities and usually follow a particular curriculum approach to early childhood education and care for the under fives.The duration of sessions typically range from 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours per day, five days per week during term-time. Many services extend their service over the summer months by way of offering summer camp activities.
A Naíonra is a playgroup for children who come together daily (usually for 2-3.5 hours) in a pleasant, cheerful and safe environment, under the guidance and supervision of a Naíonra Leader or Stiúrthóir. It is run solely through the medium of Irish. Staff in the Naíonra structure the environment to ensure that all facets of the child’s holistic development are catered for, while giving the child the opportunity to acquire Irish naturally through the medium of play.
School Age Childcare
A School Age Childcare (SAC) Service offers school-aged children a safe and stimulating recreational environment in which to play, learn and unwind outside school hours.
Parent and Toddler Groups
Parent and Toddler Groups offer parents and carers the opportunity to meet locally with their children on an informal regular basis. Parent and Toddler Groups meet one or two mornings per week and parents contribute a small fee per day. The Parent/carer is responsible for the care and supervision of their child/ren at all times.
Home Based Childcare
A home-based service is ideal for you if you want your children to be cared for in a home environment where they can socialise with small groups of children from varying age groups. Home-based childcare can also provide structured educational play and learning.
A childminder is someone who offers childcare in the childminders own home. They provide a home from home environment, which can offer continuity from the newborn to after-school stages. Childminders can offer flexible hours to meet parent’s needs and provide wrap around care, i.e. drop-off and collection from Pre-school or school. A Childminder who minds 4 or more pre-school children is obliged to notify and be inspected by Tusla, Pre-school Services under the Childcare (Pre-school Services) Regulations 2006, and should care for no more than 5 pre-school children (including their own). It is realistic for parents to pay for childcare on days where the child is not with the Childminder; for example, bank holidays, parent sick days, parent holidays etc.