Childcare Information for Parents

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. You can also view a service's latest HSE Inspection Report via the following link.

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 center-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.


Over 5 hours, age range 0-6 years. Services covered under this definition are those offering a structured full day service for children which may include a part-time service and a sessional service also.


Up to 5 hours, age range 0-6 years. Services covered under this definition may include a sessional pre-school service for pre-school children not attending the part-time day care service. The service must provide the same physical environment including rest, play and sanitary facilities as for full day services.


Up to 3.5 hours, age range 2 years 10 months - 6 years. Services covered by this definition may include pre-schools, playgroups, montessori pre-schools, naoínraí.


One morning per week, age range between 0 – 2.5 years. A Parent & Toddler Group is a local support group where parents and carers can meet to compare notes and develop friendships in a safe and friendly environment while their children play and socialise together. In a Parent & Toddler Group, each parent or carer is responsible for their own children at all times. The age of children would range from 0 to 2.5 years.


Up to 2 hours. Services provided in shopping centers, leisure centers, hotels etc. on a temporary basis. In drop-in services the children are cared for over a period of not more than two hours.


People who mind children for all or part of a day in the childminders home. Childminders who care for up to 5 children are legally required to notify their service to Health Service Executive, they receive an inspection from the Pre-school Services Officer. Childminders who care for 3 children or less are invited to voluntarily notify their service to HSE. Thes *2.5 to 3.5 hours, age range 2 years 10 months – 6 years


Age range 6 – 12 years. An out of school service is provided and takes responsibility for children when they are not in the school setting i.e. before school, after school and during school holidays. Out of school services should operate on the basis of an agreement between parents/carers and staff with on-going structured links with local schools.

This section of our website contains information of relevance to parents. Please click the links below for further information,

and lots more.


Dublin City Childcare have developed An Easy Guide to the Funding Programmes which outlines the ECCE, CCS, CETs and afterschool programme. The most important information for parents has been highlighted in the blue boxes.

The HSE has published the pre-school inspection reports for Westmeath. In order to view these reports Click on HSE reports and chose Co. Westmeath and childcare provider. The report will then become available on the left side of your screen at the bottom of the provider details.

We are always happy to hear your comments and suggestions so please get in touch if you have any, or if you require more information.


Children with Special Educational Needs:Information Booklet for Parents

Westmeath County Childcare Committee (WCCC) welcome the publication of a guide detailing the full range of educational supports available to children with special needs. The new booklet published by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) allows parents to access a range of important information in one document. The document provides practical answers to questions parents ask on a daily basis about the educational options and supports available for their child with special educational needs. Spanning the age range from early childhood to post primary education, the document includes accessible information regarding supports available, how special education needs are assessed, individual education plans, benefits and allowances and contact details for a range of disability organisations.

Please click here to view the Information Booklet.


A Parent's Guide to the ChildCare (Pre-School) Regulations

barnardos The purpose of this guide is to provide parents and guardians of young children with information about the Pre-School Regulations, 2006. The aim of these Regulations is to improve childcare standards and to ensure the health, safety and welfare of pre-school children, as well as promoting their development while attending pre-school services. This guide also provides information about childcare quality and the importance of play for young children.





Triple P, for every parent

Kids don’t come with an instruction manual so when it comes to parenting, how do you know what’s best and what works? Longford/Westmeath Parenting Partnership is taking the guesswork out of parenting, by supporting parents and carers of children between birth and 7 years in Longford and Westmeath with the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program®. Triple P is one of the few parenting programmes in the world that’s been scientifically proven to work. Over more than 30 years, Triple P has helped hundreds of thousands families deal with issues ranging from temper tantrums to disobedience, bedtime dramas to homework battles, school bullying to teenage rebellion. So you can be sure that whatever your parenting needs – no matter how simple or how complex – Triple P can help.