Please see the following information from PIP regarding DCYA Childcare Funding Programmes Optional Extras Guide.
The DCYA does not recommend charges for optional extras for children attending any of the
DCYA Childcare Funding Programmes; in practice most participating service providers do
not seek them. However, it is recognised that some services have genuinely additional
optional activities and, in many cases, it may not be reasonable to prevent participating
services from charging for these. For example, a trip to the zoo is not a key part of the
curriculum, and therefore a reasonable charge may be made for such an outing. In all cases,
there must be an alternative set of programme-based activities for children who do not
participate in the optional extra activity. It must be kept in mind that no child should ever feel
excluded if they are not participating in an optional extra for whatever reason.
Charging extra for items which would be expected to be part of a pre-school service
(e.g. arts and craft materials) is not permitted under the programme. Similarly, it is
not permitted for services to make payment of ‘optional’ charges a criterion for admission to
the service, or to combine a list of additional services into a single option on the fees list.
Any extra services must be individually optional, and this requires if necessary an
individualised charge for each optional extra.
Where an optional extra happens during class time, children not attending the optional
activity must have a full content-based session and the required child to adult ratio must be
maintained for children taking part in the optional extra as well as those not participating.
No additional activity should be held in such a way as would leave non-participating
children feeling excluded (e.g. colouring, while other children in sight of them are
baking), and if a service is unsure as to whether this would happen, the additional
optional events should happen outside the normal times/days of the session.
If a family is no longer in a position to continue to fund an optional extra previously agreed
to, they should be allowed to withdraw from it. While notice may be required for such
withdrawal, it must not exceed four weeks.
Potential optional extras (NB: Many of these will be provided by services free of
- Food over and above that which the service is required to offer children by the Pre-School
Regulations for the type of place provided. Children must also have the option of bringing
their own snack instead.
- Swimming classes and other classes which involve instruction not normally part of a preschool
School trips which incur a cost (e.g. admission fees)
- Additional hours/weeks
- ‘Gymboree’ type events, where outside providers deliver an educational and/or
entertainment based activity
- Nappies / pull-ups (where applicable)
- Class photo / yearbook
- Merchandise such as T-shirts etc.
- Aprons/smocks (option to wear one’s own must also be allowed)
- Gardening (where there is an education component, e.g. a plant cared for by the child
during the year)
- Baking (where this is a regular part of the programme)
- Pedagogical documentation e.g. memory books / learning stories showing the
development of the child in chronological order as shown through photos and artwork
Cannot be an extra charge
- Booking Fees (NB; a refundable booking deposit may be taken, but it must not exceed four
weeks capitation, and must be refunded once the child is successfully registered on PIP.)
- Arts & Crafts materials
- School trips which incur no cost (e.g. walking to a nearby park)
- Report cards
- Graduation diploma
- Claims to have higher quality, or to have lower staff ratios than other participating
- Different curricula
- Unspecified “flexibility” in drop-off and collection times
- Dancing (as opposed to programme-based dance instruction)
- School plays/concerts
- Anything which is required for effective participation in the programme
Please see DCYA Childcare Funding Programme Optional Extras Guide 2018-2019 for the original document.