Looking for some spring time activities?

Read our garden fun with children blog. Gardening Fun with Children – We hope you enjoy the read.

Gardening Fun with Children

Spring is here! It is a very exciting time of year– the weather is becoming slightly warmer and drier, spring flowers are beginning to peak through the soil and buds are popping back on the trees. There is a real sense of new life and growth and is a great time of year to be out and about in the back garden especially with young children.

There is also lots of fun garden activities and projects that you can do together. Getting children in touch with nature has huge value to their emotional wellbeing and also their social and developmental growth. Nature is a fantastic way to understand the world around us, it is a creative outlet for children and a safe space to express themselves. Gardening is a great way to teach children about nurturing and caring for their environment. Here are some tips for making gardening with children easier.

Keep it simple! As adults we begin our projects with an overall finished vision in mind. For young children this is not always easy. Our ideas can become very grand however, granduar can take a lot of time. For children their concentration and patience can be very limited. By keeping it simple it is easier to keep them invested. You can then build on this. Often an immediate result will give a young child easy gratification allowing you to do more.

Let them choose. When planning your garden project why not get your child involved in deciding what you could do. Perhaps a trip to the local garden centre to look at all the lovely flowers or is there some particular vegetables that they like to eat that you could grow at home.

Encourage Independence. Promoting independence with children is so important. It helps to build their self-confidence and encourages their development. If possible, try and provide them with their own tools such as a little fork and trowel.

Patience and mess! Whenever we are doing a project with children it is important to show patience! Children are so excitable it can be difficult for them to take instruction and listen. This is what makes them so special – this innocence comes with seeing the world through their eyes. Allow for mess – this is fine children exploring in garden dirt is great for their immunity. Make sure everyone is wearing old clothes and appropriate shoes.

Wellies, watering can and flowers - gardening fun with children

It is not all about flowers! Gardening is not for everyone but there are lots of other little project you can do with your little ones such as creating your own little fairy world, bird house, building a bug hotel or if you are feeling a little more confident how about growing some vegetables!

A fun Fairy Garden: There are lots of great ideas out on the internet for this. You can let your imagination go and create a wonderful fairy world with homemade furniture, decorative stones and a little fairy garden. Fairy gardens are created using lots of creative arts and craft ideas such as lollipop sticks. Some craft shops will have little fairy village accessories available to buy if you are not feeling brave enough to make.

A Bug Hotel is a fantastic way to teach children about the different bugs that live in our garden and the role they must play in our overall eco system. There are lots of easy and trickier options available when building your bug hotel. Here is an easy one from the National Geographic for Kids

Growing Fruit and Vegetables with children: A vegetable patch or container garden is a really nice treat for children. It is a great way for them to understand where our food comes from. There are some really easy fruit and vegetables out there to grow.  Sweet Peas and broad beans, carrots, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries. The fun piece about this is they get to pick and eat what they have sown, nurtured and cared for. Most importantly they will be yummy to eat!

Having fun with your child no matter what the activity is simply really the most important part. No matter what the outcome of the project!

Giving back to our communities

Hike for Ukraine

Giving to charities are a fantastic way of showing children the art of giving. It helps them to appreciate that often there are people in our community and world that are less fortunate and may need a little extra help from the community around us. It is also a way of showing them what a community is and what it does.  Children benefit through giving as it helps them to understand empathy, kindness, and thoughtfulness. For some, these come naturally to children and for others it can take a little longer. It is through practice, guidance, time, and maturity it will develop. We can encourage children to take part and practice the art of giving through praise and acknowledgement.

At Giraffe Childcare we have built on this act of giving across all our centres. We encourage our teams to take part in events throughout the year, create opportunities for our children and their families to be involved and to support these special events. 

Our activities are very often developed and chosen around fun activities that the children will enjoy whilst creating an engaging atmosphere for both them and our team. We regularly take part in sponsored PJ parties, cake sales, also on awareness days such as Down Syndrome Ireland’s Odd Sock Day ASIAM’s awareness month for Autism, Special Olympics Ireland’s Superhero day and so many more.

In 2022, Our team, the children and their families raised a total of €12,000 on behalf of several Irish Charities throughout the year. Some of these charities include Feileacain, Ireland for Ukraine, Temple Street Hospital, Make a Wish Foundation through Adam’s Adventure books and the Laura Lynn Foundation.

During April 2022, our Celbridge team completed a 13km hike for Ukraine and raised over €2,000. Our wonderful team in Milltown hosted their annual cake sale on behalf of Feilecain. In 2022 our team, the children and their families raised over €2,000.  This special event has been hosted by Giraffe Milltown for the last three years on behalf of this wonderful charity and has raised a total of €7,500  

Christmas time is a fantastic time of year to give a little extra. There are so many different charities out there that are so deserving of support. On behalf of the children in our care we purchased Gifts of Play for those children who are cared for by the Laura Lynn Foundation.

Each of our centres also received a selection of Adam’s Adventures Books written by Benji Bennett on behalf of the Make a Wish Foundation. These were a special gift given to the Children of Giraffe to enjoy from the management and the Support Team at Giraffe Childcare’s Head Office for the Children to enjoy and immerse in the world of reading.

Charities play a significant role in Irish society and contribute hugely to those in our community.  We are delighted to be able to play our role in this by supporting those in need or require a little TLC.

We would like to thank our parents who always generously support our centre teams with these efforts. Your generosity and support are greatly appreciated.

For 2023, we look forward to continuing this trend and would be grateful for your continued support.

Caring for children when they are sick

Read our new blog post on caring for children when they are sick, helpful tips on identifying if they are well enough to attend creche. Click here to read more – We hope you enjoy the read.

Caring for children when they are sick

We are often asked by parents when is it appropriate for their children to return to creche after an illness.  There are many guidelines from the HSE and other agencies to support parents and creche teams along with advice from GPs so creche management teams work within these guidelines and in partnership with their parents, to support the well-being of all the children attending creche.

Young children are often susceptible to picking up the odd cold, other childhood illnesses and viruses and these are to be expected as your child’s immune system is developing!  It is, however, difficult to see a young child struggling with temperatures, tiredness and not being their usual energetic and happy selves.  Some young children may be unfortunate and catch several colds in a year, particularly over the winter months, often resulting in a constant runny nose but there will be light at the end of the tunnel once the warmer summer months arrive.

As a parent, the three main considerations when deciding if your child is well enough to attend crèche:

We appreciate for parents that it can be difficult to know when it is right to send your child to creche as children are fantastic at bouncing back from sickness, they can be in high spirits and then in 30 minutes they hit a slump again.

  1. Does your child have a temperature, how are they feeling – general mood and temperament.
  2. Are they seeking additional comfort and support and seem lethargic or are there eyes glassy?
  3. Do they require medication such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen?

Guidelines are provided to childcare facilities by Tusla and the HSE. These guidelines provide guidance, support and knowledge to both parents and childcare care teams of when it is appropriate for their child to return to creche as sometimes it can be a tough call to make. However, the overall aim is to keep everyone well and reduce the spread of sickness.

Colds: A mild cold can often appear with coloured nasal discharge. If your child is mainly well with a minor cough and sneezing – it is ok for your child to come to creche. However, it is important to monitor and consider consulting with your doctor should the situation worsen.

Temperatures: Temperatures are often a signal that there may be other illnesses at play. If your child has a reoccurring temperature, this is something that requires additional attention. A child presenting with continuous temperatures require regular monitoring and should remain at home for 24 hours or until the temperature reverts to normal levels. If concerned, parents should contact their doctor for further advise.

Tummy upsets: Tummy upsets are never pleasant and can be particularly unpleasant for young children.  Thankfully, they often pass quite quickly and once the bug has passed through a child’s system, they bounce back quickly. Under the Tusla and HSE guidelines, children who have a tummy bug – this means if your child has vomited more than twice in 12 hours or had three or more episodes of loose stools or they persist for more than 12 hours, it is recommended that you consult with your GP. Also, your child must stay at home for 48 hours before returning to creche.  

Childcare care teams do their best to mitigate the spread of sickness. Outside of the daily cleaning and sanitisation of all equipment they teach young children how to correctly wash their hands, wipe their nose and eventually as they are a little older cough into their sleeves.

Children are so well rehearsed on this these they very often hold us grown-ups to account!  

Christmas fun with the family

Fun Christmas activities with the family

Christmas is a fun time of year for children and their families. It is about creating fun memories that last a lifetime.  Quite often, on the lead up to Christmas, parents and children are busy getting prepared for the Christmas season. Sometimes, it is just nice to pause and take stock of what is important and for young children it is time! They just adore it when the adults get down to their level and get involved in what they are doing. As adults, this can be often tricky to be in the right headspace for this. As we have hundreds of mental lists building in our heads of all the things that need to get done.  If you can set aside 30 minutes – it will be the best 30 minutes of your life! To see your little one smile, laugh and cherishing every moment will be the best gift you can ever receive.

Christmas time is great for this as there is some many fun little activities that you can do.

Christmas Role Playing

Role playing

Us adults do not often understand the importance and value of play in a young child’s life. It assists a child to learn life skills and often social interactions. There is so much to do -pretending to make a family train using the dining chairs it opens the world. Discussing where you are going, what you will see along the way and where you can stop will create a magical new world for you both to experience along the way! Who knows you might even get to meet Santa Claus himself!

If taking the magical train is not up your street, why not try creating a Christmas tea party with dolly and all her little friends can often spark conversations about friendships and other little social interactions.  

A Christmas Singing and Dancing

A Christmas boogie

Just having a boogie around the kitchen to all the Christmas songs that we as children once loved can be really good fun, it can tire everyone out and use up all the excess energy whilst creating little memories.

Christmas Arts and Crafts

Christmas arts and crafts

There are hundreds of ideas online, but this is a really cute one from Sitters.co.uk.

Upcycle your Christmas Baubles
Try jazzing up some of your old Christmas baubles for your Christmas tree by creating some cute finger snowmen. It is easy and simple to do plus great fun!

1xChristmas tree Bauble
1x washable paint – White, brown and red paint
1x paint brush

  • Using your child’s finger dip, it into a small amount of white paint.
  • Then using the finger stick the paint on to the bauble – this will create the body of the snowman.
  •  To create the snowman’s head using a smaller finger overlay another white spot overlapping at the top of the first paint spot.
  • Then using fine paint brush and using the black/brown coloured paint – create a hat, arms and eyes.
  • Do this all the way around the bauble until you have this complete. Let it dry and repeat on another if you wish.

Christmas Baking

Christmas baking treats

For some the idea of baking with children can cause panic. The thoughts of flour going everywhere can cause fear! However, baking does not have to be in the traditional sense of baking. It could be to make some simple no-baking treats for all the family to enjoy with very little mess. Here is a real easy recipe from Tesco!

  • 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 4 candy canes (or 16 lollipop sticks)
  • 16 marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut, or 6 tbsp sprinkles, stars, or hundreds and thousands (or a mix)
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a bowl over simmering water, then pour into a smaller bowl or shallow cup where the marshmallows can be individually submerged easily (too shallow and they’re harder to dunk). Leave for a few mins to cool slightly.
  • While the chocolate is cooling, break the candy canes into 4 equal pieces (a few pieces will be slightly hooked but that’s ok). Insert a piece of candy cane (or lollipop stick) into each marshmallow in the wider end. Line 2 boards or trays with baking paper and arrange a cooling rack over one of them. Put your coconut or sprinkles into small bowls.
  • Dunk the marshmallows into the chocolate – use a spoon to drizzle over the top of them if you need to (the chocolate around the top will help to keep them stuck when set). Let any excess drip off back into the bowl, then transfer to the cooling rack. Repeat with all the marshmallows.

Once the chocolate has stopped dripping and is starting to set, hold the dippers over the coconut or sprinkle bowls and scatter pinches over them, spinning to coat all over (any falling off will go back into the bowl). Once coated, leave to set on the baking paper for at least 1 hr in a cool place. Keep in a cool place for 2 weeks if using lollipop sticks, 2-3 days if using candy canes

Giraffe Childcare is Featured in In Education Magazine

Giraffe Celbridge is featured in the Education Magazine. Read all about the great activities that are taking place at Giraffe and what a career in Childcare looks like today!
Article – When childcare goes beyond care – what a childcare career looks like in Giraffe Childcare.

LYTW celebrations 2022

Thank you – We are nothing without you!

Wow! what a fabulous week we had at Giraffe Childcare last week celebrating our Love Your Team Week 2022.  We are delighted that our team received the recognition that they deserve as they do an amazing job providing a loving caring environment for each of the children in our care.

 The week was filled with lots of delicious treats and surprises.  The overall theme for the week was celebrating the meaning of team and reconnecting. To help signify this, each of our centre teams worked together to create a wonderful friendship wreath for their centres. 

We were delighted to share Thankful Tuesday with everyone! A yummy mug of hot chocolate was enjoyed by all, and everyone had a lovely chat. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other a little better. Thank you to O’Conniall in Cork for supplying our delicious chocolate spoons.

On Wednesday we celebrated with a “We are Muffin without you breakfast” from Sweet Cicley. and “You’re the icing on our cake” delicious cupcakes from the Cupcake Bloke on Thursday and stunning handmade lip balms from Donegal bog. Finally, we finished the week off with a beautiful team lunch on Friday and fruit baskets.

We want to thank our many Irish Suppliers who helped us make this a very special week with lots of delicious treats that they provided throughout the week. It was fantastic to be able to support Irish Artisan providers and work in partnership with them.

We also want to give an extra special shout out to our centre managers who helped to make all of this happen! #lyt2022

@sweetcicley; @cupcakebloke; @oconnaills; @donegalbog; @thefruitpeople

Have a spook-tastic weekend!

It is that wonderful time of year again where the witches and goblins are out on show and there are magnificent displays of pumpkins everywhere.  For some young children they love all the lights and the spooky witching wooing noises, the vibrant colours from the face-paints to dress-up.

For others this can be completely overwhelming to see all the scary facemasks, the loud noises from the fireworks that are been released throughout the month of October. This can often be supported with a little and often approach. Showing children that it is ok and been reassuring to their needs.

Young children love sensory play and Halloween is a fun time for this. The textures can be all squishy, sticky, slimy and wet. This sort of play is really beneficial and calming for any child but in particular young children really adore it. There are plenty off-the-shelf products out there. However, from a sustainability point of view it is very easy to achieve this using in the cupboard stables that you may have in your kitchen press.  

Sensory Activity -wriggly worms sensory play

A squishy sensory activity

1. Cook spaghetti according to packet instructions.
2. When it’s cooked immediately rinse it under cold water in a colander.
3. Separate the spaghetti into ziplock bags. {1 bag per colour}
4. In each bag add a few drops of food colouring and a cap full of vinegar.
5. Seal the bag and mix the colour around by lightly scrunching the bag.
6. Once the spaghetti is coloured, rinse it under cold water again to remove any excess food colouring.

A really simple activity to do. Using some cooled cooked spaghetti or pasta. Place this on a tray or into a Ziploc bag. You can try hiding some little plastic spiders, or some objects for your child to find. Your little one will love trying to remove these from the bag. It is a fun activity to do with your child. Watching their facial reactions is great fun!

Baking fun

Halloween Marshmallows

Baking is also a good activity to do with your child. There are lots of great ideas out there. This non-baking activity is a nice one to share with your child as you can allow them the freedom to get creative with their decoration skills.

Oww gooie Marshmallow Pops

300g’s chocolate to melt
assorted sprinkles
Lollipop sticks

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Insert a lollipop stick into each marshmallows.
Melt chocolate carefully.
Working with one marshmallow at a time, spoon the melted candy over the sides of a marshmallow and allow the excess to drip back into the bowl. Immediately coat with festive sprinkles. Place
marshmallow on prepared baking sheet until the chocolate coating is set.
Repeat with remaining marshmallows.

Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin Carving

Over the last 10 years Pumpkin carving has become a popular Halloween activity in Ireland. Pumpkins are readily available in our local supermarkets. However, for some the tradition of going to a pumpkin farm to pick their pumpkin is now an annual Halloween tradition and a fun way to create family memories. Especially when the children are young.

The traditional scary faced pumpkin is almost a thing of the past. Today, we see lots of creative artworks out there. Here is a quick easy how to help you carve your pumpkin guide.

What you need

  • Pumpkin
  • Metal ice scoop
  • Printed template
  • Washable markers
  • Pumpkin carving tool kit

Step-by-Step Directions

Pick Your Pumpkin
Plan your design in advance. If you are going to do a pumpkin with more detail try and get a pumpkin with a flatter surface, firm and have stems attached.

Cut and scrape
Rinse off your pumpkin, using a sharp knife cut an opening in the top or bottom of the pumpkin. Using your metal ice cream scoop or a large spoon scrape the flesh of the pumpkin out.

Draw your design
To create your design there are lots of templates out there available on the internet. You could select, one print, stick to your pumpkin and cut using the carving tools. Alternatively, if you want a authentic personalised designed pumpkin, using a washable marker or a white board marker – freehand draw your design. Then using the carving tools to carve your design.

The most important think is to have fun! The children will have great ideas and suggestions for the design so keeping it simple will go a long way!

Mum’s and Tot’s: Yummy Yummy Dinner Time

We are delighted to share this month installment of Mums and Tots with our parents. Giraffe Childcare is a regular contributor to this wonderful publication which offers supports to parents of young children. In this issue Dearbhala Cox-Giffin, discusses the trials and tribulations of meal times and includes some helpful tips which promotes young children to eat independently and try new foods!  Click here to read our Mums & Tots Article

Changes to the Government Childcare Funding!

With effect from 24 August 2020, all childcare subsidy schemes are being moved onto the National Childcare Scheme (NCS), except for the ECCE preschool scheme.

Depending on your child’s date of birth you will need to register your child for the following subsidy schemes :

Date of Birth of Child Childcare Scheme Link to Register
1 January 2016 to 31 December  2017 ECCE Scheme Giraffe.ie/childcare-subsidy
On or before 1 January 2018 NCS Scheme https://ncs.gov.ie/en/


ECCE Preschool Scheme

If your child was born in 2016 or 2017 (between 1st Jan 2016 and 31 December 2017), your child will qualify for the ECCE preschool scheme from September 2020. This scheme provides for a subsidy of €2,451 per annum based on 5 days per week care (€64.50 over 38 weeks). Funding is pro rata for part time care. In order to register children for the scheme, Giraffe will require your child’s full name, pps number and date of birth. One registered, we will deduct the ECCE preschool grant off your fees.

To register for the ECCE preschool year please CLICK HERE

National Childcare Scheme (NCS)

All children born on or after 1 January 2018, will need to register for the NCS scheme in order to avail of childcare fee subsidies from 24 August 2020.

If your child started with Giraffe before 20 November 2019, he/she will be registered under other schemes (such as the CCSPU and/or ECCE preschool schemes) and in order to continue to avail of fee subsidies you will need to apply for the NCS before 24 August 2020. For most parents the level of funding will not change, the change is only in the way the scheme is administered.

How to apply:

The easiest and fastest way to apply is online at https://ncs.gov.ie/en/

You will need:

  • A verified MyGovID account*
  • Your children’s information such as date of birth and PPSN
  • Your/your par employment and income related details for income assessed subsidy if the household net income is under €60,000. Otherwise you should apply for the Universal subsidy
  • Your partner’s PPSN, employment and income related details (if you are a member of a couple)

*  To obtain this you need a basic MyGovID account and a Public Service Card with a verified mobile phone number.  For full instructions, please go to https://www.ncs.gov.ie/en/how-to-apply/

If you or your partner don’t already have a Public Services Card you will need to apply by post. To do so, please contact the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. These applications will take longer to process and may affect the start date of the subsidy payment.

When your application has been approved, you will receive an NCS award for each child, containing their unique CHICK key (Childcare Identifier Code Key) and details of rate & number of eligible hours. You will need to share this with us so that we can register your child on the NCS portal (called HIVE) and enter the number of hours that your child attends.

After you receive your CHICK key please send this CHICK code in an email to accounts@giraffe.ie stating your child’s name , date of birth and the centre your child attends.

After Giraffe registers your child and the hours, you will receive a notification from the registration system asking you to confirm that the details entered are correct. Once you send your confirmation, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will pay the subsidy to us on your behalf, and we will, in turn, subtract this amount from your monthly fee. If you do not validate our registration on the HIVE Portal we cannot deduct the subsidy from your fees.

If your child started with Giraffe after 20 November 2019, he/she may already be registered under NCS. As you are aware, all NCS Government subsidies were suspended during the COVID-19 closure so childcare providers have to re-activate or “extend” the registrations from our reopening date of 29 June.  You will receive a message on the HIVE portal requesting that you validate the extension of your child’s registration.

Please note that it is important that you do this – if you do not, we cannot deduct the subsidy from your fees from 24th August 2020 onwards.

We Are Delighted To Welcome You Back!

Giraffe Childcare is happy to announce that our centres are reopening on 29th June and thank you to all of you who responded to our surveys to support us with planning and for all the positive messages to our staff over the last 3 months.   Many of you have questions about reopening so we have compiled a  helpful list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address some of your queries.  If you have any additional questions, please contact your centre manager of e-mail us at parents@giraffe.ie and we will add them to this list of FAQS. To read click here.

We can reassure you that we have been working very hard behind the scenes to prepare the centres for reopening as there is so much to do to support our staff teams and prepare the centres for reopening in line with Tusla guidelines and public health requirements.

Health and Safety is paramount at Giraffe Childcare so all our centres teams have completed their return to work Covid-19 training and  are familiarising themselves with our new ways of  working.   We have revised our Infection Control Policies and Procedures to reflect the increased hygiene, sickness and well-being procedures required for childcare settings during Covid-19 and they are available for you to view.

We will be asking all our parents for their support and to work with us and to agree to our revised protocols as we reopen during this health pandemic.  It is a priority for us that the health and well-being of the children, their families and our staff teams is maintained  at all times so there will be some visible new ways of working for adults which will be mainly seamless for young children.   Our staff teams have completed health declarations and we would ask that you advise your centre manager if you child  has been in contact with anyone who displayed Covid-19 symptoms in the last 2 weeks.

We are aware that some parents may be concerned around the changes their children will encounter on their return to our centres. However in reality there will be very little changes for the children in the centre and in their rooms or in the garden. You will have heard a lot in the media around  Play Pods but we are fortunate that our room sizes are in line with, and some are in excess of, the required square footage per child and as such the children’s room will be their play pod, along with their key carers.   Childcare providers have been issued guidance by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) and by Tusla which we will implement and follow as we reopen.

Our priority for the first two weeks will be to support the children’s well-being as they settle back in to creche and their routine.  To support the children settling-in, we will open on Monday 29th June and Tuesday 30th June from 9.30am to 3pm as settling in days for all children.  Children will be able to access the centre from 9am and we ask that collections begin from 2.30pm if possible and if your child is upset, the centre manager will call you and arrange collection if required.

For the remainder of that week and for the following week, we will be operating from 8am to 5pm to settle children back in to creche.  We are confident that they will settle back quickly and will be happy to play with their friends again which will make a wonderful difference to their well-being.

Some of the new requirements which you may already be familiar with are:

  • Under the guidance issued by DCYA there will be no social distancing  required between children in their rooms. However, they will operate as a play pod so will not mix with other age groups or their older/younger siblings.
  • Our staff teams will have to social distance themselves from each other where possible  but not from the children.  We have made arrangements in our centres to reduce and minimise adult interactions in as much as is possible and practical in a childcare setting.
  • For children who still sleep and rest within the centres, they will still be able to sleep comfortably and have their daily naps. There may be slight changes to the rooms where they sleep and they will be placed to sleep head to toe, however  their routine in the main will remain the same.
  • Our chefs will be working in line with the return to work protocol and we will not serve the food in the rooms but will hand over to the key carers to serve.  We will maintain our usual healthy menu plan with all the children’s favourite dishes but we will ask that you update the centre manager on any dietary requirements or food allergies that your child may have.
  • There will be increased hand-washing for everyone and also sanitisation stations at the entrance to every centre so that staff and visitors can sanitize their hands as required.
  • We are currently not permitted to have parents or visitors in the premises in line with Tusla guidance. We are conscious that this will be a challenge for many parents and in order to support this, we have set up our foyers as welcome areas, where possible, so that you and your child will be greeted daily by the centre management team and it’s a designated area where we can provide brief handovers at the end of the day.   The centre managers will of course call you if your child is upset or has had a bump or bruise during the day. Centre managers will work with you regarding signing the necessary paperwork.
  • We are also unable to accommodate buggies, trikes, scooters and car seats in the centres so we politely ask that you make arrangements to take them with you and store them elsewhere.
  • There will be no fees charged for 29th and 30th June as these will be settling in days for your child.
  • For those returning on 29th June, fees will apply from 1st July. For families returning at a later date in July, fees will apply from their return date. July fees will be processed by direct debit in the first week of July. Please notify your bank to reinstate your direct debit if you have cancelled it.

We have attached a brief video on some of the new hygiene procedures that will be in place when we re-open on 29th June. 

Again, we would like to thank you for your continued support as we reopen our centres safely.  There have been a number of new requirements, protocols and procedures introduced  for childcare providers to implement and  we appreciate your patience and understanding as we  begin to operate in a  new and different way.  We have attached these policies for your information.     We have also attached a revised way of working with our parents during Covid-19 and we ask that you read and sign the attached agreement and return it to your centre manager.

We are looking forward to welcoming you all back on 29th June and in the meantime, your centre manager will be in touch with you over the coming days and is available to respond to your queries.

Kind Regards

Giraffe Management Team


Covid19 Frequently Asked Questions

We are getting ready to reopen our centres on the 29th June and are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back. The health and well-being of the children, their families and our staff is paramount. We understand that you may have many questions, so we have prepared some frequently asked questions to address some of the queries that you may have.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask your centre manager or send an e-mail to parents@giraffe.ie and we will include a response here. We thank you in advance for your support and cooperation during these unusual times and are looking forward to welcoming you all back soon.

What is a play pod?
Following Government advice, children are not required to social distance so our base rooms will now operate as Play Pods. along with the children’s key carers.  It will effectively remain the same as we operated pre-Covid except that there will no mixing of groups, staff or siblings whilst in the centre. The children will have separate garden time throughout the day as individual play pod groups. We are maximising garden time as possible with many planned fun activities.

Do I have to social distance during drop off and collection?
We ask all families to respect social distancing and queue at the allocated areas when arriving at the centre for drop off and collection, this is of particular importance when awaiting temperature taking. Within a childcare environment social distancing can present challenges with young children and we will do all that we can in each centre to support this by taking the following measures:

  1. monitoring our occupancy carefully
  2. avoiding the movement of children and staff between rooms or within communal spaces
  3. using gardens as much as possible
  4. spending time in key groups
  5. each room working independently of other age groups
  6. repurposing of spaces to provide additional space for staff breaks or amending break schedules to support smaller groups 4 of four
  7. staff will be carefully deployed within the centre and will only work in one room, and as far as possible with their key children
  8. staff members who provide cover will wear PPE

 Are there staggered entrance times at the centre?
There are marked queuing arrangements outside each centre to manage social distancing and we anticipate that queues will be short as we first re-open, however, we will review access to our centres in line with Tusla guidelines as required.  There may be staggered times as the number of children in the centre increases and the centre managers will advise parents if there are any changes.

Will I be allowed to take my buggy/trike/scooter/car seat to the centre?
To prevent cross contamination and to ensure we adhere to public health guidelines we are unable to store children’s buggies/trikes/scooters or car seats within the centres. These can be brought to the centre but must be taken home with parent after drop off.

At drop off, will I be able to go into the centre?
We want to make the return to creche as smooth as possible for the children and their families but have to follow public health guidance and Tusla requirements to minimise adult access to our centres. Parents are invited to enter our welcome zone which will be positioned at our reception area.  Here, we will take the temperatures of the children and a member of our care team will take your child to their care room/Play Pod where our handwashing protocol will take place.

Can my child have their comforter or soother?
Yes of course. If your child uses a soother, please supply at least two so a spare one can be kept on hand in a Milton style solution. The use of dummy straps is not permitted as these enable the dummy to be in contact with surfaces. If your child has a blanket or soft toy, please supply these and have them as clean as possible. Comforters will be available to children when they need them, when they are upset, tired, or going for their nap. At other times comforters will be in the child’s bag or box to prevent other children accessing these.Please refrain from bringing in other favoured toys such as a car, or dinosaur. We have plenty of exciting experiences and resources to access.

Will you comfort my child if they are upset?
Absolutely. Social distancing must be carefully balanced with ensuring the emotional wellbeing of each child. If a child becomes upset at any time with us, we will comfort them as they need, be this with a cuddle or a story time for example. No child will be left crying because of social distancing.

Will staff be wearing face masks or coverings?
The evidence to support the use of masks, or not, is limited. At Giraffe staff who are taking temperatures will wear a face mask or shield, which will be changed for each session of temperature taking. Staff within rooms with children be given the option to wear face masks or shields and will be required to wear them if travelling on public transport (consistent with Government guidance). This will ensure a more familiar environment for the children who can be reassured by familiar faces and friendly smiles, which will be very much needed at this time of continued uncertainty.

 What happens when my child presents with a high temperature on arrival?
To protect all the children, their families and our staff it is essential that we carry out a temperature check on all who are attending our centres. On arrival, your child’s temperature will be checked using an infrared thermometer. If your child presents with a high temperature of 38 degrees, we will ask you to care for your child at home. We would ask that you do not return to the centre for a minimum of 24 hours. This is to ensure that the welfare of all the children, their families and the staff is maintained in the centre.

What happens if my child develops a temperature or a cough during the day?
At any point throughout the day, if your child becomes unwell or presents with a temperature of 38 degrees, we will ensure that they are made comfortable. We will move them from their care room to an isolation area where they can be observed and cared for. We will make contact with their parent and request to kindly collect them within a 45-minute timeframe. Your child is unable to return for a minimum of 24 hours and the centre manager will contact you to check on their well-being.

How frequently will temperature checks occur during the day?
Temperatures checks will occur through out the centre twice daily. Once on arrival and again in the afternoon. However, if a child or a member of staff become unwell throughout the day, we will check their temperature and ensure of Health and Wellbeing Protocol is adhered to.

How frequently will hand washing occur?
Hand washing and cough etiquette are important skills that we have always encouraged the children to partake in. Children will wash their hands on arrival at the centre and regularly throughout the day – after toileting, before eating, after gardening and as required. We have lots of fun songs and activities to help the children understand its importance.

Have you increased your hygiene protocols?
At Giraffe we have robust hygiene protocols and procedures in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of the children, their families and our staff. To minimise the risk of the spread of Covid-19, we have enhanced our cleaning protocols and all our cleaning products contain antiviral cleaning properties. Frequent touch points such as door handles, light switches and toilets will be cleaned several times throughout the day.

How will your centres manage visitors?
We are doing our best to minimise the number of visitors to our centres. Only essential visitors will be allowed to enter the centres for essential tasks such as electrics, plumbing, deliveries etc.  All our visitors will be required to follow our safety procedures and agree to our visitors protocol.

What happens if there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in our centre? 
If there is a confirmed case within/connected to your centre, we will make contact with you, whilst maintaining the confidentiality of all involved. We will follow all regulatory procedures and guidance in line with public health requirements.

What will my child’s day look like?
Your child’s day will be the same as before with plenty of activities both indoor and outdoor. Our team are familiar with your child and will ensure they are settled, happy and engaged in play. If your child is unsettled or unwell, contact will be made to communicate this. Handovers will be provided but will be limited to facilitate drop/collection for all families without too much delay.

What happens if we have been out of the country?
If your child has been out of the country and attended a country on the “green list”, your child may return to creche as normal. However, if the visiting country is not a “green list” country, your child/family unit (who travelled) must self-isolate for 14 days in line with public health guidance before returning to creche.  If a parent only is out if the county and is self-isolating, your child may attend creche if they do not have contact with you, but we would ask that you refrain from drop and collect for the first 14 days. Check out the listing of Green Listing Countries here https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/8868e-view-the-covid-19-travel-advice-list/

How will my fees be charged for the month of July?
For families returning on 29th June, there will be no fees charged for 29th and 30th June as these will be settling in days for your child. For those returning on 29th June, fees will apply from 1st For families returning at a later date in July, fees will apply from their return date. July fees will be processed by direct debit in the first week of July. Please notify your bank to reinstate direct debits if you have cancelled it.

Will I receive the Government fee subsidy?
We have been advised that the government grant schemes for parents will re-open for online registration in the week commencing 22nd June 2020 and we are required to re-register parents for their childcare schemes in advance of their return date. We will apply grants off all fees in respect of successful registrations, in advance of parent return dates.We will contact parents individually if we require any further information to process their grant registration.

Giraffe Re-opening 29 June, Parent Update

Dear Parent,

We are pleased to advise that Minister Zappone has expanded  the re-opening of childcare services on 29 June to include all parents who require full day childcare and who were registered with Giraffe prior to our closure in March.

We are working hard behind the scenes to plan and prepare the centre so that it will be as seamless as possible for all our returning children. As you will expect, there will be enhanced cleaning protocols within our centre and staff will need to observe social distancing measures. However our Government guidance is that children will not have to social distance within their own care rooms. Each care room, now classed as a play pod, will be maintained as before, along with the children’s key carers. Parents will be asked to drop their child at the entrance of the centre, as we are managing adult access to the centre.  As children will have been away from their centre for a number a weeks, we will be settling children back in on a staggered basis to support their transition back to creche.

We will contact you again shortly with a second parent survey in light of this new announcement and will also follow up with you when we have further detail and clarification for all our families.

We are looking forward to welcoming all our children and families back very soon.

Kind Regards

Giraffe Childcare

Inclusion is so important at all ages

Our children in Giraffe Stepaside have been very busy learning Lamh, sign language as part of our inclusion programme. As part of this learning the children learned to sign Perfect Love by Ed Sheeran. Watch the video and see what an amazing job they all did – we are so proud of them.

Delicious Spring Vegetable Pasta Bake

Giraffe Childcare

This delicious spring time dinner is a quick and easy dinner for all to enjoy. It is a great way to introduce lots of yummy vegetables. We hope you enjoy this as much as all the children do at our centres.

  • penne pasta,
  • cauliflower,
  • peppers,
  • onions,
  • celery,
  • garlic cloves,
  • ground & fresh coriander,
  • ground cumin,
  • turmeric,
  • garam masala,
  • chopped tomatoes,
  • lentils,
  • black pepper.
  1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Put into a large pan, cover with cold water and bring up to boil to part cook it.
  2. Take off the heat straight away, drain well and keep warm in the pan.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  4. Add the chopped onions, peppers, celery, garlic and sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add the small amount ground coriander, turmeric, cumin, and some pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the lentils.
  7. Stir well, then add the cooked cauliflower.
  8. Pour in enough cold water to almost cover everything and bring to a simmer.
  9. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the cauliflower is tender.
  10. Stir in the cooked penne pasta, garam masala and half the chopped coriander and place in the oven for additional 10 minutes and serve.


Infant Dinner:Puree well for babies.

Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia in China

At Giraffe, safeguarding the health and well-being of our children and staff is our priority. In light of the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia in China, we have put together some information, all of which is based on HSE advice.

Currently there are no confirmed cases in Ireland and that the public health risk is low . However, with the Chinese New Year holidays coming to a close, there is anticipated increase of travel from affected areas. If your family is travelling, we would like to urge you to take note of Government travel advice to countries that are affected. There are precautions in place at airports and screening is taking place where necessary.

As always, we will remain vigilant in our health, hygiene and hand washing practices and will be monitoring the health of our children and staff. We would ask that parents and staff advise us of any travel to affected countries and consider the onset time for symptoms may be two weeks or more. We will require them to seek medical attention if they feel unwell and inform their doctor of their travel history.

In addition to monitoring the situation closely, our staff will ensure the following is in place for both children and staff as advised by the HSE and HPSC:

Observe high levels of personal hygiene

  • Wash hands frequently with soap, especially before eating or handling food, after toilet visits, or when hands are contaminated by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing.
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and to discard the tissue immediately into a bin.
  • No sharing of food/ drinks/ utensils, toothbrushes or towels with others

Ensure good environmental hygiene

  • Keep the centre environment clean.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, toys and equipment regularly and when contaminated by nasal or oral secretions.
  • Ensure supplies such as hand soap, tissues, and paper towels are available for children and staff’s use.

Monitor health and seek medical attention promptly

  • Vigilance in recognising early symptoms of illnesses, increase in temperature or changes in behaviour for unwell children and staff.
  • Report to the Public Health Body immediately if there is a suspect case of respiratory illness (runny nose, coughs) or fever and there is a travel history to China within 14 days before onset of symptoms.
  • Suspected cases of the virus should not attend the centre.

To help us minimise the risk of infections and support the well-being of our children, we also seek your understanding and support in observing the following; together with your children:

  • Inform us of any travel plans to any affected areas;
  • Practice good personal hygiene and frequent hand washing with soap;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness;
  • Monitor your family’s health closely and seek medical attention promptly if you or your family are feeling unwell;

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will be implementing additional measures if the situation escalates.

Useful resources:

  1. HSE advise for Creches and Parents:
  2.  Health Protection Survillance Centre. Daily bulletin at 1pm:
  3.  World Health Organisation:
  4. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control:

Defibrilliators Installed in Each of our Centres

We have installed automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in our 21 centres across Dublin, Meath and Kildare. This is part of our commitment to safeguard children, staff, parents and visitors in the event of a cardiac arrest.

The installations were part of a wider campaign that has seen Busy Bees and Giraffe Childcare fit more than 320 AEDs in its facilities throughout the UK and Ireland. The industry-leading scheme will help boost the survival chances of people who have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.


“Every year in Ireland 5,000 lives are lost because of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest,” says Emily Brimson, Head of Compliance at Busy Bees. “Every minute without CPR and defibrillation, your chance of survival decreases by 10%. Installing more AEDs in creches, schools, businesses and public spaces, can only help to save lives and we hope more organisations will follow suit, as every minute counts when someone has a cardiac arrest.”

The AED, supplied by Cardiac Science, has both adult and paediatric pads. It was specially chosen as it provides both text and voice prompts to the rescuer to enable them to remain focused during the high-pressure situation. To mark the installation of the AEDs, a variety of activities were held across all 21 Giraffes centres which are located in the Greater Dublin Area. The National Ambulance Service visited Giraffe Griffeen, Lucan, Co. Dublin. The children received a tour of the Ambulance and a demonstration of what to do in the event of an emergency. Other activities included Staff training on how to use a defibrillator. The children received demonstrations from First Responders such as the Gardai, Doctors and Nurses on what to do in the event of an emergency and how a defibrillator works.

Siobhan Moore, CEO at Giraffe said; “Protecting and safeguarding the children in our care is our top priority and that’s why we’ve undertaken this potentially lifesaving initiative. We see it as part of our commitment to best practice and to deliver outstanding care to our children, as well as to protect staff, parents and visitors. Although we hope that our defibrillator never has to be used, it means that if the worst-case scenario happens, we are able to increase the survival chance of anyone who has a cardiac arrest inside or within minutes of our creche. Giraffe Creches are in many residential areas and Business Parks, this life saving equipment is available to the community in the event of an emergency. “

Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager at the Irish Heart Foundation said: “CPR and defibrillation have both been shown to save lives. By having people trained in CPR, and AEDs available for use in our communities, lives can be saved. AEDs are simple to use, and need to be available, accessible and in working order to make the difference in communities. We are delighted that local people, families and employees will benefit from these AED’s and it will improve their chance of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest in their community.”



Halloween 2018

We love Halloween in Giraffe! The children and staff alike love decorating the centres and dressing up and really getting into the spirit of the spooky season!

Each centre held a Halloween party and the children were delighted to dress up and see their carers dress up! For some of the younger children,  it was their first time wearing a costume! Everyone really enjoyed the fun and festivities 🙂

Many of our centres participated in Trick or Treat for Temple Street, combining their fancy dress party with a Fundraiser to raise much needed funds for the Children’s Hospital at Temple Street. Thank you all the parents and families who generously donated to this worthy cause. The staff in Park West baked cakes for a sale in aid of Temple Street also!


Spooky Staff Members

The children loved seeing their carers all dressed up for the Halloween parties also!

Annual Pumpkin Carving Competition

We held our annual friendly pumpkin carving competition between the centres for the most creative pumpkin carving! 15 Centres took part in the competition and their creations went to a public vote on our Facebook page.  The children helped to come up with the designs, tracing faces, painting the skin and scooping out the insides.


1st prize went to  Giraffe Celbridge, with this fabulous spooky display.









2nd prize went to our Baby Shark themed Cherrywood entry!









3rd prize went to Giraffe Leopardstown who prided themselves on the pumpkins being entirely created by the children themselves.









A big well done to all the centres for taking part and working so hard to come up with such amazing designs.

Halloween Arts and Crafts

Halloween provided lots of opportunity for sensory play and art activities in the centres also.



Read our instructions for carving pumpkins and our delicious recipe for pumpkin muffins.

Halloween @ Giraffe

Halloween is the time when scary skeletons, spooky ghosts and wicked witches roam the world. All of the Giraffe centres enjoyed the build up to Halloween last week, and the children and staff certainly got into the spirit of the festivities!

The children were delighted to dress up for the whole day for their Halloween parties. For some of the younger children,  it was their first time wearing a costume! They seem to have really enjoyed the fun and festivities 🙂

In NCI, the preschool children put on their own Halloween Concert!

Many of our centres participated in Trick or Treat for Temple Street, combining their fancy dress party with a Fundraiser to raise much needed funds for the Children’s Hospital at Temple Street. Thank you all the parents and families who generously donated to this worthy cause.

Joining in on the Fun

The children weren’t the only ones enjoying dressing up though! Many of the staff turned out in costume for the day and some even ran competitions for best costume.

Pumpkin Carving Competition

One of the highlights of the week was a friendly competition between the centres for the most creative pumpkin carving! 19 Centres took part in the competition and their creations went to a public vote on our Facebook page.  The children were encouraged to help carve their own pumpkins, tracing faces, painting the skin and scooping out the insides to make the pumpkins hollow.


This year’s winners were Giraffe Rathborne, Giraffe Rathfarnham and Giraffe Leopardstown for their incredibly creative pumpkin display! Well done to all the staff and children who helped make the centres spooky and colourful at this exciting time of year.

Here are some of the amazing pumpkin designs from other centres. Thank you to everyone who voted for our creative designs!

Our step-by step pumpkin carving guide!Save

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