Types of Childcare Services

Please note that under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, the term pre-school service refers to all categories of Early Years (Childcare) Services that cater for children under 6 years of age/not yet in Primary School. And a Pre-School Child refers to all children under 6 years of age/not yet in Primary School.

  • Childminding Service – A Pre-School service which may include an overnight service offered by a person who single-handedly takes care of pre-school children, including the childminder’s own children, in the childminder’s home for a total of more than 2 hours per day, except when the exemptions in Section 58 of the Child Care Act 1991 apply.
  • Sessional Pre-School Service – a Pre-School Service offering a planned programme to pre-school children for a total of not more than 3.5 hours per session. Services covered by the above definition may include Pre-schools, Playgroups, Crèches, Montessori, Naíonraí, Notifiable Childminders or similar services which generally cater for pre-school children.
  • Part-Time Day Care Service – A Pre-School service offering a structured day care service for pre-school children for more than 3.5 hours and less than 5 hours per day. Services covered by the above definition may include Pre-schools, Playgroups, Crèches, Montessori, Naíonraí, Notifiable Childminders or similar services which generally cater for pre-school children.
  • Full Day Care Service – A Pre-School Service offering a structured day care service for Pre-School children for more than 5 hours per day. Services such as those currently described as day nurseries and crèches are included in this definition.
  • Pre-school Service in a Drop-in-Centre – A Pre-School Service offering day care which is used exclusively on an intermittent basis. This refers to a service where a pre-school child is cared for over a period of not more than two hours while the parent or guardian is availing of a service or attending an event. Such services are mainly located in shopping centres, leisure centres or other establishments as part of customer/client service.
  • Pre-school Service in a Temporary Drop-in-Centre – A Pre-School Service offering day care exclusively on a temporary basis. This refers to a service where a pre-school child is cared for while the parent or guardian is attending a once-off event such as a conference or a sports event.
  • Overnight pre-school Service – A service in which Pre-School children are taken care of for a total of more than 2 hours between the hours of 7pm and 6am except where the exemptions provided in Section 58 of the Child Care Act 1991 apply.