Preparing for Early Learning and Care

Preparing for Early Learning and Care > Choosing Early Learning and Care > Types of Early Learning and Care Services

Preparing for Early Learning and Care

Types of Early Learning and Care Services


There are many different types of Early Learning and Care choices for children and families, the type of the service you choose will depend upon:

  • your child’s needs and your family needs
  • options available in your community
  • the type of service you prefer (see types of childcare below)


Different types of early learning and care services 

Sessional Service

A sessional  early learning and care service offers a planned programme to preschool children for a total of not more than 3.5 hours per session.  This may be either a morning and/or an afternoon session.

Sessional Services include pre-schools, playgroups, crèches, Montessori preschools, naíonraí (an Irish speaking preschool) and childminders.

Part-Time Day Care

A part-time day care service refers to a service offering care for children over 3.5 hours and less than 5 hours per day. Part-time Day Care Services include preschools, playgroups, crèches, Montesori pre-schools, naíonraí and childminders.

Full Day Care

A full day service refers to a programme of activities for children for more than 5 hours per day.

School Age Childcare

School Age Childcare refers to centre-based services for school aged children from 4-12 years which operate during one or more of the following periods: before school – after school – during the school holidays.


Childminding services refer to care for children within a Childminder’s home. A Childminding service may include sessional and part-time services and School-Age Childcare services for children attending primary school.

Overnight Early Learning and Care Service

A service in which preschool children are taken care of for a total of more than 2 hours between the hours of 7pm and 6am.


For more information on the Tusla registered  early learning and care services available in your area you can visit:

TUSLA: List of Preschool Services by County