Choosing a childcare service

Types of Childcare

There are a variety of options available when it comes to arranging childcare for your children. What suits you best depends on practical issues such as the hours that you work or study, where you live and the availability of places, as well as any personal preferences you may have for choosing a home or centre-based environment for your child. When choosing childcare it is important to take an honest look at what is best for your child’s personality and your parenting style.

In Fingal we have a large number of Childcare Providers. Childcare services may provide full time, part-time, sessional and school-age services. Fees charged are generally at the discretion of the childcare service. There are three categories of childcare providers, they are:

Private Childcare Providers

Private Providers offer quality childcare services that are run as private businesses. These childcare services range from small businesses that are operated by sole traders to large childcare facilities that are operated by companies, some of which may have a number of different childcare facilities in different locations.

Community Childcare Providers

Community Childcare Providers offer community based, not-for-profit childcare services. A Community Childcare Service is run by a voluntary Board of Management.


A Childminder is a self-employed person who minds other people’s children in their own home.

Childcare services providers: types of care


A sessional service refers to a programme for children for up to 3.5 hours per session.  Services may offer a morning and/or an afternoon session.

Part-Time Day Care

A part-time day care service refers to a programme for children over 3.5 hours and less than 5 hours per day.

Full Day Care

A full day service refers to programme of activities for children for more than 5 hours per day. A full day service may include sessional and part-time services and School-Age Childcare Services for children attending primary school.

School Age Childcare

School Age Childcare refers to centre-based services for school aged children from 4 years until their 15th birthday which operate during one or more of the following periods: before school – after school – during the school holidays.


Childminding services refers to care for children within a Childminders home. A Childminding service may include sessional and part-time services and School-Age Childcare services for children attending primary school. 

Choosing a good quality early years service for your child is very important for child’s early learning and development. Many parents are unsure what to look out for to ensure they are choosing a quality early years servcie. The following guides will assist you in making your decision.

What to Look for in an Early Years Service

This resource from Barnardos will support parents in consulting with early learning and care providers and in choosing a service if they are selecting a setting for their child for the first time.

The ebook covers areas such as children’s rights; relationships and attachment; interactions; social, emotional and behavioural development; the learning environment; and management of the setting.

Tusla and their resources

Researching various services allows you to make informed decisions when choosing an Early Learning and Care service.

School-Age Childcare services are regulated by the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) (Registration of School Age Services) Regulations 2018. 

The Early Learning and Care sector is regulated under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years’ Services) Regulations 2016. Tusla Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility to support compliance and quality standards through regular inspection.

To view Tusla registered service’s inspection reports:

Tusla Tips for parents

Tusla’s website contains some great advice on the practical steps towards choosing the right childcare for your family. Helpful tips for those looking for the first time, and also for those already attending an Early Years Childcare Service.

Children First in Early Learning and Care Services

Children First: National Guidance outlines that all organisations working with children, including Early Learning and Care Services should create a culture of safety that promotes the welfare of children and young people availing of their services.

First 5, A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families

First 5 is the first ever cross-Departmental strategy to support babies, young children and their families.

The aim of the  ambitious ten-year plan is to deliver:

  1. A broader range of options for parents to balance working and caring
  2. A new model of parenting support
  3. New developments in child health, including a dedicated child health workforce
  4. Reform of the Early Learning and Care (ELC) system, including a new funding model
  5. A package of measures to tackle early childhood poverty

Search for Childcare in Fingal

Find childcare listings in the Tusla Register of Early Years Services – click the button below and select Dublin. Plus there’s lots of other help on our site such as information on funding programmes. Alternatively if you can’t find what you need, get in touch with us on  

Complaints Form

If you have a query please contact us on 01 4851727 or   

But if you have a complaint please fill in the form below. Staff are trained to answer your queries/complaints and every effort is made to resolve them promptly and efficiently. We endeavour to get back to you within 48 hours.