A list of registered full day care, part time and sessional services and childminder’s is available from our office, please call 051 295045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the list.
Choosing a suitable Early Learning & Care (ELC) and School Age (SAC) Service for your child can be a very daunting and a major decision. It is important for you to gather all the information you need in order to make an informed choice that best suits your family and child’s needs. It is imperative to ask questions, look for recommendations, visit or call to prospective services, be observant and look for indicators of a quality, stimulating and happy environment.
Parents should speak to the ELC and SAC service directly about the opening hours, type of service, fees & the type of government funded schemes; the ethos & early learning programmes; regulatory & quality standards; staff experience & qualifications; policies and procedures etc. of the service.
Although it is not always feasible, an important element to finding the best suitable service is to allow ample time to undertake and complete your search. As a parent you know more about your child than any other person and when choosing an ELC or SAC service, you will want a service that will meet your child’s individual needs.
There are a variety of options available to you and your child. It is important when considering these, to think about what type of early learning & care or school age service you prefer, your child’s needs, what hours you will require, and the options that are available in your community.
2. Types of Services
Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) are broad terms used to describe any childcare service which your child may attend including a crèche, nursery, day care, preschool, playgroup, montessori, naíonra, school age or afterschool, childminding service etc.
ELC and SAC services can either be community based or privately run, centre or home based. Under the Childcare Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 and the Childcare Act 1991 (Early Years’ Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018, all Early Learning & Care and School Age services must be registered with TUSLA, the Child and Family Agency. Parents can find a list of Tusla registered ELC and SAC services in Waterford at this link ELC and SAC services in Waterford
ELC and SAC services in Waterford fall within one of the following categories in keeping with legal definitions of the different types of childcare services as per the above regulations:
Sessional preschool services: means a service offering a planned programme to pre-school children for a total of not more than 3.5 hours per session; these services generally offer the ECCE free pre-school programme.
Part-time day care services (PT): means a service offering a structured day care service for pre-school children for a total of more than 3.5 hours and less than 5 hours per day. Part time day care services generally offer the ECCE plus some additional day care hours to parents to meet their specific childcare requirements.
Full day care services (FDC): means a service offering day care for children for more than 5 hours per day. The service may offer a range of options for parents including sessional, part time or full day care and may include ECCE.
Childminding services (preschool): means a service, which may include an overnight pre-school service, offered by a person who single-handedly takes care of pre-school children, which may include the person’s own children, in the person’s home for a total of more than 2 hours per day, except where the exemptions provided in section 58L of the Childcare Act 1991 apply.
Childminding service (School age): means a service, which may include an overnight school age service, offered by a person who single-handedly takes care of school age children, which may include the person’s own children in the person’s home for a total of more than 2 hours per day, except where the exemptions provided in section 58L of the Childcare Act 1991 (as amended) apply.
School Age Childcare (SAC): A ‘school age service’ means any early learning and care service, play group, day nursery, crèche, day-care or other similar service which;
3. Government Funded Schemes
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) operate a number of Government funded schemes. These schemes provide free or reduced rate childcare to eligible children and their parents and are described as follows;
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE):
This programme is a universal childcare programme otherwise known as ‘free pre-school’ with the stated objective of providing children with their first formal experience of early learning. It is delivered to children of pre-school age (2 years 8 months on 1st September to 5 years 6 months) prior to commencing primary school and is provided for 3 hours per day, 5 days per week over 38 weeks per year. Further information on the ECCE scheme can be accessed on Early Childhood Care & Education Programme
National Childcare Scheme (NCS):
The National Childcare Scheme provides subsidies to help parents meet the cost of quality Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare. It will in time replace all previous targeted childcare support programmes with a single scheme.
Under the National Childcare Scheme, subsidies are available for families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years, who are attending any participating TUSLA registered childcare service, including any TUSLA registered Early Learning & Care and School Age Services which is in contract to provide the scheme. A list of all services providing the NCS scheme can be obtained from the https://www. ncs.gov.ie/ or you can check with the service directly.
4. Other Information for Parents:
Síolta and Aistear
To support quality and early learning in their settings, all ELC services are guided by Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Aistear, the National Curriculum Framework for Early Learning. Parents should speak to the ELC service manager directly about how Síolta and Aistear is, being implemented in the ELC setting. Find more information at this link http://www.aistearsiolta.ie/en/.
Barnardos has produced this booklet for parents and carers of young children to help parents/guardians choose the best care and education setting for their child.
All registered Early Learning and Care services are subject to TUSLA Early Years Inspections. TUSLA Inspection Reports for Early Learning and Care Services may be viewed by parents at the following links:
ECCE preschool services are also subject to The Department of Education and Skills (DES) education focussed inspections in addition to TUSLA Inspections. DES Early Years Education focussed Inspection Reports may be viewed by parents at the following link:
If you a concern about a service you should contact Tusla about your concern by: