This Section of our Website has been designed for Parents who need information on Childcare Provision in Carlow.

Service List

Please find the list of Childcare Services in Co Carlow Below

Parent & Toddler

A Parent and Toddler Group is an informal group within the local community, which provides an opportunity for young children and their parents/carers to meet. All children are cared for by the adult that attends with them.  There are many benefits for parents and children participating in P&T Groups i.e. building new friendships, support systems and children develop their social skills.

There are currently 13 P&T groups in Co Carlow.

P&T list for Carlow, November 2018

If you are interested in starting up a Parent & Toddler Group there are grants available through Carlow CCC which could entitle you to up to €1000. Please contact Carlow CCC on 059-9140244.

Parent & Toddler Group Initiative Grants 2018

Information on grants available:

Applications for funding under this scheme should only be made by Parent & Toddler Groups that are organised on a not for profit basis and involve the participation of parents in the community. Grants will normally range from €100 to €1,000.  Existing groups can apply for a maximum grant of €800.  New start up groups may apply for a maximum grant of up €1000.

Funding will be available for:  

  • Toys, equipment and books
  • Training for parents, e.g. paediatric first aid, committee skills, parenting courses
  • Children’s activities, e.g. arts and crafts, music
  • Limited funding will be available towards insurance, rent or minor refurbishment, up to a maximum of 30% of total funding.

All existing Carlow Parent & Toddler groups have been contacted in relation to this by post. If you are interested in setting up a new Parent & Toddler group and applying for funding please contact Carlow CCC on 059 9140244

Choosing Childcare

When and if the time comes to handing your child over to a stranger, you need to be fully informed of the different types of childcare services. This can be a daunting task for any parent and the type of childcare that you need will depend on your needs, your child’s needs and the type of childcare that you prefer. There are a number of options when it comes to childcare. Services can be Community or privately run, centre based in a childcare facility or home based in your or the carers home.

carlow childcare

Types of Childcare


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

Childminder: Childminding services refers to care for children within a childminders home

How do I find a Childminder?

The Carlow County Childcare Committee has a list of notified childminders in County Carlow.

Childminding Ireland – The National Voluntary Childminding Organisation may have a list of childminders in your area. Childminders become registered members with Childminding Ireland once they have had a medical clearance from their GP and Childminding Insurance.

Word of mouth – Relatives, friends, neighbours, may be able to recommend a childminder in your area. There may also be a ‘Parent and Toddler Group’ in your area where you could meet other parents and enquire.

Place an advert in the local paper, local advertiser or parish newsletter.

Reply to a childminders advert in the local paper, local advertiser, parish newsletter.

It is recommended that you should meet the childminder and his/her family or whoever may be in the house while your child is being cared for. It is also recommended to bring along another parents, grandparent or relative as choosing a childminder can be a very difficult decision to make on your own. Obviously, the prior consent of the childminder would be required for such a visit.

What to look for in a childminder:

  • A childminder who has the ability to relate well with children and has the following qualities and competencies:
  • Sensitive, caring and aware of children’s needs
  • Interacts well with both you and your child
  • Provides a warm, safe, home-from-home environment for your child, making your child feel like one of the family
  • Has completed training courses relevant to their role as a childminder
  • Can provide you with up to date character references

List of approved Carlow Childminders can be found here

Financial Supports

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) operate a number of Childcare Schemes.  These schemes provide free or reduced rate childcare to eligible children and their parents as outlined below:

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE):

This programme is a universal childcare programme otherwise known as ‘free pre-school’ with the stated objective of providing children with their first formal experience of early learning. The programme is delivered to children of pre-school age (2 years 8 months to 5 years 6 months) prior to commencing primary school.

From September 2018, all children within the relevant age bracket will be entitled to 76 weeks of the scheme (2 full academic years). The ECCE programme is provided for 3 hours per day, 5 days per week over 38 weeks per year. The programme generally runs in line with the primary school year, which is September to June. A capitation rate is paid directly to participating childcare services by Pobal. There is no charge to parents for the childcare hours provided under the ECCE scheme. However, if a child attends for extra hours outside of ECCE, then charges for the extra time will apply.

View our ECCE information leaflet here:  ECCE Parent Information leaflet

To avail of the ECCE programme with effect from Children must have been born between the following dates (both dates inclusive)
September 2018 – June 2019 1st January 2014 – 31st December 2015
September 2019 – June 2020 1st January 2015 – 31st December 2016
September 2020 – June 2021 1st January 2016 – 31st December 2017

There is also an ECCE calculator on our home page for your use.

Community Childcare Subvention (CCS): This programme provides childcare funding support targeting low income families in community childcare services

Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP): This programme provides childcare funding support targeting low income families in private childcare services and community childcare services who have children registered after the snapshot period (please see below for dates of snapshot period) and for those children aged between 6 months and 3 years under universal childcare subvention funding

Community Childcare Subvention Universal (CCSU): All families are eligible for financial childcare support for children between the ages of six months and the time at which they are eligible for the free pre-school programme. This subsidy will NOT be means tested and therefore will be available for families at any income level. To qualify the parent must provide both the child and parent PPS number to the childcare provider.

Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (CSSR): This programme provides childcare support to Programme Refugees to support their resettlement and integration into Irish society

Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement (Transitional) (CSSR(T)): As part of the “Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness” the DCYA has provided access to free childcare for children of families experiencing homelessness

Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) Programmes: These programmes provide childcare funding support for parents participating in eligible ETB/Solas vocational training courses, Community Employment (CE) programmes or returning to employment.

View our TEC information leaflet here: TEC Parent Information leaflet

For any additional information please contact Carlow County Childcare Committee on 059 9140244 


visit :

Each service is obliged to supply a fees list which would show you what you will pay for your childcare. You should also receive a service calendar which will state the days that the service will be closed.

Further information is available in the 2018-2019-A-Parents-Guide-to-Childcare


Aistear Information for Parents

Parents play a key role in their children’s education.  Effective early childhood settings and schools take account of the influence of the home on children’s learning and they build on the experience children bring to the setting or school.  Establishing strong links with parents helps make children’s education as successful as possible.

The NCCA developed Aistear:the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (2009) in partnership with the early childhood sector.  Parents played a role in this.

Aistear states that:

“Parents are the most important people in children’s lives.  The care and education that chidren receive from their parents and family, especially during their early months and years, greatly influence their overall development.  Extended family and community also have important roles to play”.

For more information and lots of useful resources go to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Aistear Toolkit at

 Síolta Information For Parents

Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education, was developed by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

It was published in 2006, following a three-year developmental process, which involved consultation with more than 50 diverse organisations, representing childcare workers, teachers, parents, policy makers, researchers and other interested parties. Síolta is designed to define, assess and support the improvement of quality across all aspects of practice in early childhood are and education (ECCE) settings where children aged birth to six years are present.  These settings include:

  • Full and Part-time Day-care
  • Childminding
  • Sessional Services
  • Infant classes in primary schools

Since December 2008, the Early Years Education Policy Unit, in the Department of Education and Skills, has been responsible for the implementation of Síolta.  Early Childhood Care and Eduction services participating in the Free Preschool Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) are required to “adhere to the principles of Síolta”.

Core Elements of Síolta

Síolta is comprised of three distinct but interrelated elements: Principles, Standards and Components of Quality.  The 12 Principles provide the overall vision of the Framework, while the 16 Standards and 75 Components allow for the practical application of this vision across all aspects of ECCE practice.  The Components of Quality are further explained by a set of Signposts for Reflection and “Think-abouts” which are intended to support practitioners in early education settings to become aware of and critical of their practice.  These core elements of Síolta are set out in detail in each of the Síolta user manuals. For more information to go to www.sí

Partnership with Parents

Parents and professionals working in partnership benefit children. The essence of partnership is respectful listening and sharing of information between parents and practitioners about children’s learning and development at home and at an early childhood care and education (ECCE) service. The partnership involves responsibility on both sides.

Please click here for more information on Partnership with Parents

Child Protection

Children First, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, applies to all those working in a voluntary or paid capacity with children and families. It outlines the roles and responsibilities in relation to recognising, responding and reporting child protection and welfare concerns. Early Years Providers are mandated under Children First to inform Tusla when they have reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been, is being, or is at risk of being abused or neglected. 

The National Vetting Bureau Act 2012-2016 makes it mandatory for persons working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted. 


Early-Years Education-focused Inspections (EYEIs)

Early-Years Education-focused Inspections are carried out in early-years services participating in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme.

During these inspections, the Preschool Inspector evaluates the quality of the nature, range and appropriateness of the early educational experiences for children participating in the ECCE Programme.

At the end of each inspection, the Preschool Inspector provide the early-years practitioners and the owners/managers (where available) with feedback on the quality of educational provision in the setting. Subsequently, the Preschool Inspector will send a written report to the pre-school inspected outlining the inspection findings and providing advice as to how educational provision in the setting can be developed further or improved. The inspection report is published online.

– See more at:

Click here for the Guide to Early Years Education Focused Inspections. 

Tusla Early Years Inspectorate

The Child and Family Agency is responsible for inspecting pre-schools, play groups, day nursery, crèches, day-care and similar services which cater for children aged 0-6 years.  The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, published the Child Care Regulations (The Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 on the 4th May 2016. These Regulations are effective on a phased basis from 30th June 2016. The 2016 Regulations provide for pre-school services, that is, those services catering for children under the age of 6 who are not attending primary school. The Child Care Regulations (The Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services)( Amendments) Regulations 2016 were published on the 20th December 2016 effective from the 31st December 2016.

Part 12 of The Child and Family Agency Act amends the Child Care Act 1991(as inserted by section 92 of The Child and Family Agency Act) known as Part VIIA sets out the Supervision of Early Years Services.

Please find all the information on the Tusla inspection via the link below:

All inspections undertaken by the Early Years Inspectorate generate an inspection report. These are available at the following link:

Pobal Compliance Visits

The Pobal Compliance Visits involve a series of standardised on-site checks aimed at ensuring adherence to certain programme rules set out by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA).

Compliance visits will involve checks on records held on site in respect of the following Early Years programmes:

  • Free Pre-school Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme
  • Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) programmes
  • Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme
  • Community Childcare Subvention (Private) (CCSP) programme
  • Community Childcare Subvention Resettlement / Relocation (CCSR) programme


Any concerns you may have should be discussed directly with the early years’ service provider. Providers are required by the childcare regulations to have a complaints policy outlining how your concern will be managed. You are advised to put your concern in writing to the early years’ service and request a copy of their complaints policy.

If you are dissatisfied with the response received from the provider or have reasons that you feel are prohibiting you from bringing the matter to your provider directly, you may contact Tusla. Tusla does not investigate individual concerns or complaints. They review all information, about early years’ services and assess this information against the childcare regulations with a view to forming an opinion. You will receive an acknowledgment indicating if your concern has been accepted by the Early Years Inspectorate. They may also contact you to clarify information you have provided.

If the inspectorate considers that a risk to the health and welfare of children in an early years’ service is present, the Inspectorate will take appropriate actions with the service provider to ensure that the risk is addressed. Information will be treated as received in confidence, however they may not in all incidences be able to guarantee anonymity.

If you wish to contact Tusla regarding a concern you have about an early years service you may do so in a number of ways:

By email at:

By telephone:  061 461700

You may also download the unsolicited information form here. This form can be emailed to them or posted to:

Unsolicited Information Office
Early Years Inspectorate
2nd Floor
Estuary House,
Henry St.