Are you looking for help to find Early Years Services in the Dublin City Area?


Beginning your search

Step 1: Consider your early years’ service requirements, the type of the service you choose will depend upon:

•      your child’s needs and your family needs

•      the type of service you prefer (see Types of Childcare below)

•      options available in your community


Step 2: Decide on the type of early years’ service you require.  

You may choose a full time early years’ service (5 hours and more each day) or part time care (3.5 hours up to 5 hours), sessional care (up to 3.5 hours) or perhaps home-based childminding service. Further details on the types of services are available in Types of Childcare below.


Step 3: Childcare Search: Use the Childcare Directory search tool on this website to search for childcare options. Our database allows you to narrow down your choices according to the service location-area code and range of programmes they provide (e.g. Full Time/Part Time/Sessional/School Age, etc.)

You can find this list of Early Years services and Statutory/Voluntary Notified Childminders on the Childcare Directory located on the homepage, in the Parents section or you can access it directly by clicking here: CHILDCARE DIRECTORY

If you cannot find the service you are looking for please email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 Dublin City Childcare Committee endeavors to keep the list of childcare services up to date. However, changes may occur during the year and parents should check with the childcare service they wish to attend to find out what funding programmes they are involved in and whether or not they have any vacancies.


Step 4: Once you find a list of early years' services in your area that provide the care option you require, you can then shortlist your preferred services and contact them directly. Guidance on contacting a service and arranging a visit are detailed below.


      Step 5: Find out if you are eligible for financial support through available National Funding Programmes.

There are various financial supports available for parents and families through the current National Funding Programmes and also through a Universal Subsidy for children between the age of 6 months to 36 months.

For more information on the National Funding Programmes click here 

You can view our Parent’s Guide to the National Childcare Funding Programmes 2017-2018 here: A Parent's Guide to the National Childcare Funding Programmes 2018 - 2019

 For information on more affordable childcare please see


 Types of Childcare

Sessional: 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 4-12 years which operate during one or more of the following periods: before school - after school - during the school holidays. 

 Childminders: Childminding services refer 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. 


Making an Informed Decision

By completing background research into early years' services, it supports you to make informed decisions related to choosing early years' care and education.

The Early Years Care and Education 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.

For more information on the Regulations and Early Years Inspections see Page 5 of  A Parent's Guide to the National Childcare Funding Programmes 2018 - 2019

To view Tusla registered service's inspection reports visit: 


Contacting an Early Years' Service:

Initial contact/phone interview:

Once you have completed research regarding services, the next task is to shortlist potential early years' services. A brief email or phone interview asking your key questions will guide you to the next stage of choosing a suitable service. When you contact an early years service, you can ask a number of questions initially. These questions may help you to shortlist providers and make informed decisions in choosing an appropriate care for your child.

Such questions may include:

  •   Is the service registered with Tusla?
  •   What are the opening hours of the service?
  •   What age range does the service cater for?
  •   Are there spaces currently available or is there a waiting list in operation?
  •   What types of care are provided, e.g., full day care, part-time, sessional, etc.?
  •   If your child has specific needs, is the service resourced to meet those needs?
  •   Which National Childcare Funding Programme does the service participate in, if any
  •   What information is already available to you - Website, Facebook page etc.?

Arranging a visit to an Early Years' Service

      After an initial phone interview, you are ready to visit some services. Arrange a number of visits to your shortlisted services during operating hours; if possible, bring another family member and your child along.

      It is essential that you get the opportunity to meet the manager and staff and explore the setting’s environments, and discuss the policies and procedures that are in place.

      This is your opportunity to ask about the service's approach to behaviour management, the procedures in place for emergencies, is there a healthy eating policy and how the service will cultivate your child's interests and independence. Then as a parent/guardian, you can decide if the service compliments your approach to parenting and is the appropriate fit for you and your family.

  Some points to consider:

  • Narrow your choices down to a couple of services that best suit your child and your family.
  • Consider first impressions of the service. Would you be happy to leave your child in that service?
  • Check references: Tusla's early years inspection reports are available online and can be accessed here.
  • Has anyone been able to recommend a service to you?
  • What do your instincts tell you about the service?

      Click on the Choosing an Early Years Service section for a list of questions to ask and what to look for.

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