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Child care in Ireland

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If you have moved to Ireland with young children, you are probably wondering to whom you can entrust them during your working hours. Here are some tips…

Moving to Ireland requires good planning, especially if you have kids. If your children are less than 5 years old, you will definitely have queries on their education and schooling. In general, less than 5 years old children are entrusted to child care centers until they are mature enough to join primary school. It is rather easy to find child care services anywhere in Ireland.

However, your choice will largely depend on your child's age, your time schedule and your budget. Take time to consider different options before choosing.

Education system

The Irish education system is very similar to that of many European countries. Education is compulsory as from 6 years until 16. Hence, children are enrolled in primary school from when they are 6 years old. Moreover, preprimary education is not compulsory in Ireland. However, it is highly recommended for the child's development and well-being.

In general, children join preprimary school at the age of 4. Those who are between 3 months and 3 years old are, in turn, taken care of by private and public child care centers which you can find anywhere in the country. Other types of childcare in Ireland include child minders, play groups, and Montessori schools. Note that the Irish preprimary education system is regulated by the Early Childhood Education Scheme (ECCE).

 Good to know:

3 months to 4 years old children are entitled to free pre schooling for three hours a day, five days a week through 38 weeks during the current year. Those enrolled in full-time or part-time child centers are eligible to two hours and 15 minutes daily, five days a week for 50 weeks during the current year.

Register

You can obtain information related to child care and nurseries with various organizations, namely your region's health centers, the health offices, Children and Family agencies, etc. Once you have found the most appropriate child care center, make sure to visit it in order to determine whether it meets your criteria regarding your child's education.

To register, you will have to produce your identity card, proof of address, as well as your child's birth certificate and health card. Monthly fees will vary according to the type of preschool, to its level and to the number of hours.

Nannies

You may also hire a nanny or babysitter to look after your children while you are at work or when you go out. You can find nannies or babysitters through specialized websites or agencies. An “au pair”, on the other hand, will not only look after your children but will also help you in your household chores. There will be an agreement between the parents and the “au pair”, according to which you will provide accommodation and meals, as well as a weekly pocket money. This practice is more common in language and cultural exchange cases.

Child minding is also quite widespread in Ireland. The childminder is often committed to a family and can look after a maximum of 5 children less than 6 years old. Conditions and salary may be negotiated.

Other types of child care

Moreover, other care centers are available for 3 months to 6 years old children for more than three and a half hours per day. Children will be entitled to facilities such as lunch, naps, games, etc. Montessori schools, on the other hand, focus on the child's social, moral, physical and academic development. You can also find playgroups which are supervised by parents and kindergartens.

 Useful links:

Childcare – Information child care in Ireland www.childcare.ie
My Childcare - Find child care in Ireland www.mychildcare.ie

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