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Childcare in Ireland

Types of Care - Regulations - Complaint process

Childminding Service

A service offered by a person who single-handedly takes care of pre-school children, this may include the childminder’s own children, in the childminder’s home more than 2 hours per day 

Regulations
: If a Childminder plans to mind 4 or more pre-school children they must register with Tusla, 3 months prior to the commencement of minding the 4th pre-school child. Tusla registered Childminders are subject to inspection by Tusla’s Early Years’ Inspectorate.    

Sessional pre-school service

A pre-school service offering a planned programme to pre-school (Montessori) children for a total of not more than 3.5 hours per session. This services category covers may include pre-schools, playgroups, crèches, Montesorri pre-schools, naíonraí or similar services which generally cater for pre-school children. 

Adult to Child ratio 
0-1 year              1:3
1 — 2.5 years    1:5
2.5— 6 years     1:11

Part-Time Day Care service

A pre-school service offering a care service for children for a total of not more than 3.5 hours and less than 5 hours per day. This may include a sessional pre-school service for a child not attending the full day care service but instead a half day service. The service must provide the same physical environment, including rest, play and facilities, as for full day care.  This service category may include pre-schools, playgroups, crèches, Montesorri pre-schools, naíonraí or similar services which cater for pre-school children.    

Adult to Child ratio
0-1 year       1:3
1-2 years     1:5
2-3 years     1:6
3-6 years     1:8
(While within a sessional class - 2.5— 6 years  1:11)

Full Day Care service

A pre-school service offers a structured day care service for pre-school children for more than 5 hours per day. This may include a sessional pre-school service for children as part of that day. This category includes day nurseries and crèches.   

Adult to Child ratio
0-1 year      1:3
1-2 years    1:5
2-3 years    1:6
3-6 years    1:8
(While within a sessional class - 2.5— 6 years  1:11)
 

A Drop-in-Centre

A drop in creche is used exclusively on an intermittent basis. This refers to a service where a 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. 

Adult to Child ratio
0-6 year        1:4

Child Numbers

A Preschool service is regulated on the amount of children they can care for and this is calculated based on the open (clear) floor space available to the children. Floor space obstructed by furniture or equipment etc is not taken into consideration. 

0 - 1 year           3.5 square metres 
1 - 2 years         2.8 square metres
2 - 3 years         2.35 square metres
3 - 6 years         2.3 square metres    


Childcare Regulation in Ireland

The current childcare regulation in Ireland came into force in 1991 and have been updated since 2016. All childcare services in Ireland (caring for more than 4 children) must be Tusla registered, comply with these regulations and are subject to regular inspections. If you would like to read up more on the full childcare regulations in Ireland here is a link to download the CHILD CARE ACT 1991 (EARLY YEARS SERVICES) REGULATIONS 2016    

Have a concern

It is advised that if you have an issue within a childcare service in Ireland that you first take this up with the management of that service before making an official complaint. However, if you have gone through this stage or we understand that this is not always possible you may take this concern to the regulatory body Tusla. To find out more about this visit the Tusla Inspection unit website. Here they give you the stages involved in how to report a complaint or concern about a childcare service.


While Childcare.ie is a private company and not a regulatory body we are always happy to help support parents and childcare providers. We might not have all the answers but we can certainly point you in the right direction to help you find the answers you are looking for, so feel free to contact our support team