The ECCE programme is a universal programme available to all children between the ages of 2 years and 8 months and 5 years and 5 months. The ECCE programme consists of a 3 hour session per day, 5 days a week over 38 weeks of the year.  It generally runs alongside the primary school year calendar.  

This programme is to support children in the early years of the educational journey and to prepare them for the transition to primary school education.

The ECCE programme encompasses Aistear, the Early Years Curriculum Framework and Siolta, the National Quality Framework.  Early Years Providers who sign up to offer this programme meet qualification and training requirements to provide this programme.

Children must be 2 years and 8 months by the 31st of August of the same year they will be enrolling in the programme.

Please see the table below or use our ECCE Calculator to see when they are eligible for the programme. For further information click on the following link:

Check your child's eligibility

The Table below shows eligibility for ECCE by year of birth.

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Here’s some further information on the ECCE Programme including the Rules for ECCE Programme, Valid for the 2021/22 Programme Year. Here’s Information on Minimum Enrolment Exemptions & here’s the ECCE Minimum Exemption Form.