When looking for childcare you would be forgiven for getting lost with all the jargon. Here, MyChildcare.ie explains briefly what each type of childcare means. If you have any questions please do contact us.

Fulltime Day Care:

You probably know Full Day Care as simply a crèche or nursery. “Full day care service” means a pre-school service offering a structured day care service for pre-school children for more than 5 hours per day; and which may include a sessional pre-school service for pre-school children not attending the full day care service. Typically each premises will be broken down into various rooms e.g. baby room, wobbler room, toddler room, playschool etc (all explained below) and your child will be assigned a room depending on age, stage and ability.

Part Time Day Care:

This means a pre-school 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 and which may include a sessional pre-school service. The service must provide the same physical environment, including rest, play and sanitary facilities, as for full day care. Services covered by the above definition may include pre-schools, playgroups, crèches, montessori pre-schools, naíonraí, notifiable childminders or similar services which generally cater for pre-school children in the 0-6 year age bracket. Some facilities offer a 3 or 4 day week also, allowing you to leave your child there on a full or part time basis to suit your working or personal arrangements.

Sessional Care:

“sessional pre-school service” means a pre-school service offering a planned programme to pre-school children for a total of not more than 3.5 hours per session.

Drop in care:

You can drop your child in for a short period of time if you have something to do. You should be able to get an hourly rate from the premises owner. The following are drop-in care definitions as defined by Irish Regulation for pre-school service in a drop-in centre and in a temporary drop-in centre

“Pre-school service in a drop-in centre” means a pre-school service offering day care which is used exclusively on an intermittent basis.
“Pre-school service in a temporary drop-in centre” means a pre-school service offering day care exclusively on a temporary basis.
A pre-school service in a drop-in centre 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.
A pre-school service in a temporary drop-in centre 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.

Baby Room:

Caters for babies, approximately 4 months to 12 months old, depending on the premises. Generally your child’s day in a baby room should roughly mimic the routine you keep your child in at home and should incorporate time for sleep and bottle feeds too.

Wobbler Room:

Caters for children approximately 12 months to 2 years of age, depending on the premises. The next step up from the baby room, your child will enter the wobbler room when they start finding their feet. Routine in a wobbler room will incorporate meal times, sleep times and lots of play. Children typically spend 6 to 9 months in a wobbler room before they progress to the toddler room.

Toddler Room:

Caters for children approximately 2 years to 3 years of age, depending on the premises. Moving on from the wobbler room around the age of 2 your child will be introduced to more advanced equipment as well as arts and crafts and a more structured daily schedule of activities. During their time in the toddler room staff will work with toilet-training your child when you decide the time is right. A lot of toddler rooms have a sleep time incorporated in the daily routine.

Playschool:

Caters for children approximately 3 years to 4 years of age, depending on the premises. Some centres are playschool-only and some have a playschool as part of the larger facility. Similar to the toddler room, your child will be involved in free play, arts and crafts and have structured meal and rest times. However, playschool also starts to prepare your child the move to primary school and the structure that goes with it, incorporating more learning based play in the daily schedule. It can also be the stage before Montessori if you decide to send your child to Montessori.

Montessori:

Caters for children approximately 4 years to 5 years of age, depending on the premises. Montessori emphasises learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from many of possibilities.
Reference: Montessori education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children’s learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a “prepared environment” in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Now, nearly a century after Maria Montessori’s first lessons in Rome, Montessori education is found all over the world.

Naionra:

Usually for children aged 3 years to 5 years of age, who have sessional play in Irish with an Irish speaking supervisor. In brief, Naionra is preschool learning through the Irish language under the guidance of highly trained Irish speaking preschool teachers.

High Scope Childcare:

A holistic approach to developmental learning based around learning by activity and socialising. Teaching is on the theory that children learn best through active experiences with the people they socialise with, the materials they encounter, events they become involved in and ideas they have and not, in fact, through direct orchestrated teaching or exercises.

Afterschool Care:

Care for children of school going age, after school until you finish work. Usually incorporates an evening meal or snack and supervised time to complete homework exercises. But it’s not all work, afterschool play and outdoor activities are also included!

Summer Camps:

Day care during the summer holidays for children of school going age, usually activity filled days. Often summer camps are specific to an activity like GAA, football or tennis for example.

Community Childcare Service:

Childcare in your local community for residents, typically in a local hall or community centre

Childminders:

Childminders provide a Childcare service in their own homes and are self employed. Childminders cater for children’s physical, educational and emotional needs by providing a warm caring family environment with stimulating play and learning activities. It is the most common form of day care in Ireland with 70% of parents of a pre school child using a Childminder.

Childminders registered with Childminding Ireland are self employed , working in their own home, are committed to quality, have clearance from their family doctor and are insured to provide a Childminding Service. To get a listing of Childminders in your area contact Childminding Ireland at www.childminding.ie