Crèches and childminders have resumed their services more than three-and-a-half months after they closed their doors.

Children arrived at staggered drop-off times to crèches and were divided into separate groups known as pods.

These pods are not allowed to mix with each other or share toys and there is no requirement for social distancing within pods.

There are a minimum of two adults per pod and these adults will be required to social distance with each other and social distance with staff from other pods within a service.

There will be more cleaning of rooms and equipment required and an end to some practices, such as bringing soothers and blankets from home.

There are also plans in place and designated isolation areas in the event that a child or staff members develops symptoms of Covid-19.

Some services are operating reduced hours as they adjust to the new requirements.

Early Childhood Ireland said comprehensive guidelines issues by the Department of Children have given providers the confidence and ability to reopen and given parents reassurance.

But they also want the reopening phase monitored to ensure these new methods are enough to protect children and staff.

The reopening of the childcare sector is seen as a key component to getting the economy back up and running.

But it will also be watched closely by those in the education sector as they make plans for the reopening of schools in the autumn.