Types of Childcare Services

Full Day care

A full day care service is one that offers a structured programme of care and education for children under the age of six years for more than 5 hours per day. Services such as crèches or day nurseries are included in this definition.

Part time care

A part time day care service is one that offers a structured programme of care and education for children under the age of 6 for between 3.5 and 5 hours per day.

Sessional Service

A sessional service is one that provides a structured programme of activites to children under the age of 6 for no more than 3.5 hours a day. Such services include - pre school, playgroup, Montessori, Stenier, Naoinrai and High scope. Preschool sessional services can also be provided as part of full and part time care. Sessional service providers are also required to have certain adult:child ratios as defined in the table below.


Child Care (Pre school Services) (No.2) Regulations2006

All childcare services providing full day, part time or sessional care, must have certain adult :child Ratios as defined in the Child Care (Pre school Services) (No.2) Regulations 2006 and set out in the table below:


Age Range Adult/Child ratio
0-1 years 1:3
1-2 years 1:5
2-3 years 1:6
3-6 years 1:8



Childminding / Family Home Base Care

There are 2 types of Childminders- Those who are required to notify the Health Service Executive (HSE) preschool inspection team and those who can voluntary notify the City / County Childcare Committee.

A notified Childminder - is someone who cares for over 3 but no more than 5 children under the age of 6 in their own family home.

A voluntary notified Childminder – is one who cares for 3 children or less under the age of 6 in their own family home, these childminders are not required to notify the HSE.

School age Childcare

This type of service cares for children who are attending primary school. Children may attend before school begins( breakfast club) or in the afternoon when the school has finished (afterschool/ homework club). This service may also care for children during school holidays. At present this service is not regulated by the Child Care(Pre school Services) (No.2) Regulations 2006 so there are no recommended adult:child ratios.


* A pre school child is a child under 6 years of age who is not attending a primary school or a school providing an educational programme similar to a primary school.