Advice for parents when choosing childcare

Choosing the right childcare for your child can be a daunting task for parents. Many factors come into play. The quality of care and education in the service is paramount, whilst other factors such as cost, location and the ethos of the service are often also key drivers when choosing childcare. This page is a resource for parents who are either searching for childcare for the first time or are thinking of switching their child to a different provider.

We hope you find the information and resources below useful. If we have omitted anything or you a specific query, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us by phoning 0404 64455 or by emailing We have an experienced and dedicated team who are happy to help in any way they can.

A Parents Guide to Childcare in Ireland (English)

A Parents Guide to Childcare in Ireland (Ukrainian)

A Parents Guide to Childcare in Ireland (Russian)

Types of childcare

There are many types of childcare available, ranging from au pairs and nannies through to childminders, pre-schools, full-day care, Monetssori, Steiner, drop-in and sessional services, as well as services offered through the Irish language (known as Naoinra)

Click here for an overview of the various types.

For specific information on Childminders, please click here to visit the dedicated section of our website on childminding, which includes a Frequently Asked Questions section.

What to look for when choosing a quality preschool for your child?

Please see below a list of points you may wish to consider when choosing a pre school for your child.

This list is not exhaustive and includes some suggestions, but you may have some specific requirements also.

  • A quality childcare service nurtures the physical, emotional, social, moral and intellectual development of the child.
  • It  should provide an environment that has a happy relaxed atmosphere, is well planned and inviting, is clean, healthy and comfortable, offers age appropriate activities with a range of materials and is well supervised, safe and secure.
  • The service should have information readily available for you the parent which should include – the hours of operation, fees charged, aims and philosophy of the service.

You should consider the following questions when choosing a service

Is the atmosphere warm, relaxed and welcoming?
Do the children look comfortable and relaxed?
Is their good interaction between the children and staff?
Have the staff a good  level of qualifications and experience? (From 2015 it will be compulsory that Room leaders in ECCE rooms have a Level 6 and assistants Level 5 childcare qualification)
Is there a key worker system in place?
Is there a broad range of activities available and is there evidence of these?
Is there evidence of child led chosen activities?
Is there a good variety of toys/equipment to suit the ages and abilities of the children and are they clean and in good repair?
How does the service cater for children with additional needs?
Is there a respectful approach towards the diversity and identity  of all children and families?
Are parents encouraged to become involved in the service and how?
How does the service inform the parent of the child’s progress and general well being?
Has the service appropriate policies and procedures in place?  Some of the key ones include – admissions, fee payment, complaints, child protection, positive behaviour management, recruitment, collection of children, equality and diversity.

Before choosing a service you should review the information you have gathered.   Talk to other people.   Trust your feelings, if the service feels right to you, it should be good for your child.

Finding a childcare service in County Wicklow

Having decided on the type of service that suits your need. You can also use our website to search for childcare throughout Co. Wicklow, including Parent & Toddler groups for parents. Click here to use this search tool.

Please note that we are unable to recommend or comment on the quality of individual services.

Other useful information

You can find other useful information by visiting the Parents Section of our website, which includes information on the Government Funded Schemes for childcare. There is also information on helping your child make the transition from the home to a pre-school environment and again when they move on to Primary school as well as information for parents of children with special needs and much more.

For any other information or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0404 64455 or

Pobal Logo DOCYA Logo