The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme provides a free early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age (2 years & 8 months to 5 years & 6 months.

As of September 2018  there is only one entry point for children to avail of the scheme for the academic year. Children must be aged 2 years and 8 months by the 31st of August if they wish to participate in the scheme for that year. Children will be entitled to two years free preschool education. The upper age limit can be extended in some cases.

Please see Budget 2018 Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

ECCE Information for Early Years Services

The Dept. of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) pays a capitation fee to participating early years services. In return, they provide a pre-school service free of charge to all children within the qualifying age range for a set number of hours over a set period of weeks.

ECCE Information for Parents

ECCE provides your child with 3 hours free early years care and education, five days a week,  for 38 weeks between September and June. In sessional services (operating for up to 3.5hrs per day) fees for extra time or activities must be offered to you on an optional basis. If you wish to avail of the service for three hours in total the early years service will advise you of the specific ECCE session time.

Services are now able to register ECCE children on PIP for the ECCE year 2018 -2019.