Applications open every year at Ysgol Y Berllan Deg in Cardiff for its pre-school breakfast club that has a capacity of between 80 and 150 youngsters.
The breakfast club was set up by the government to provide primary school children with the opportunity of receiving a free healthy breakfast each day.
It is an essential lifeline to parents with long commutes and those who have to get into work early.
Places are limited so parents camped outside overnight to secure their child a slot on Thursday.
Annett Farrow, from Carmarthen, whose grandchild goes to the school, said: “We have been on the road since 1am and got here at 3am.
“My son and daughter-in-law are on holiday so we had to come. If it gets them a place it will have been worth it.
“We have bought biscuits and crisps – the only problem is the toilets. We have been using the hotel opposite.”
Leane Taylor, who got there at 3.30am, said she had no choice. “I have two children, one of whom is starting in reception in September.
“For some it is essential. I work opposite Tredegar House and I drive in. If I drop them off at 8.30 I won’t be into work until 10 because of the traffic.
“If I didn’t have this I would not be able to go to work – I can’t risk not getting a place. I don’t have a plan B.”