This paper describes the development of a national assessment guide to assist the Irish Pre-School Inspectorate in evaluating support for child development in early childhood care and education settings. The development arose as a direct result of changes to the regulations governing pre-school childcare provision in Ireland. Revised regulations, published in 2006, built on previous regulations and made explicit the whole-child perspective within them. This places an important and overt focus on support for children's development within the inspection process, and is based on a socio-ecological understanding of children's lives. Using a collaborative approach with the Pre-School Inspectorate, an assessment guide was developed to enhance practitioners' understanding of the whole-child perspective element of the revised regulations, and to ensure consistency in the inspection process.