The Sherpa Kids service, which has been launched at St Joseph’s National School in Clonakilty, sees trained childcare professionals based on the school grounds caring for children after school hours.
The man who brought the service to Ireland, former investment banker, John Miles, said it took the stress away from working parents rushing to make school collections.
And he hopes to expand the service countrywide within the next five years through over 80 franchisees servicing more than 10,000 families. He also hopes to create up to 2,000 jobs.
Mr Miles, 51, worked in the global markets before retiring in 2002, and moving to Clonakilty in 2005.
“This is going to be far more challenging — and far more enjoyable, he said.
“As a dad myself, it is important for me to know that children will be safe and happy among trained professionals and classmates.
“Not only will they experience an array of fun and educational activities, they will also have the opportunity to complete their homework while attending Sherpa Kids.”
The concept originated in New Zealand before Sherpa Kids International was founded in Australia in 2011. It has since expanded to eight countries, with Ireland the latest to roll it out.
Mr Miles, who is managing director of the Sherpa Kids franchise in Ireland, said it provided a great opportunity for people who have a passion for childcare and want to become their own boss.
The service, which pays a percentage of its revenue to the schools in which it is based, works with each individual school to tailor its after-school programme.
“It’s not an extension of the school day — it’s a completely different environment,” Mr Miles said.
“We have soft furnishings and TVs, it’s like a little club.” The service in St Joseph’s is available between 3pm and 6pm, Monday to Friday, during term time.
It offers flexible enrolment, with full-time, part-time and casual places available, and prices ranging from €15 per three-hour session, a casual rate of €5.50 an hour, a 10% discount for a second child and a 20% discount for a third child from the same family.