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Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme

A year of free early childhood care and education in Ireland


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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Looking after kids can be pretty expensive sometimes. If you’re raising small kids, you probably have a million and one costs on your mind, but because of the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme, the cost of playschool or early daycare is one thing you can knock off your list of expenses. 

What’s the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme?

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age. From September 2018, children can start ECCE when they are 2 years and 8 months of age and continue until they transfer to primary school (provided that they are not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the pre-school year).

Who’s eligible for it?

Children can start ECCE when they reach 2 years and 8 months of age and continue until they go to primary school (once they are not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the pre-school year). Children can only be enrolled in pre-school in September. There are no longer entry points in January and April.

You can check to see if your child is eligible for entry here.

So how exactly does the ECCE scheme work?

How the scheme works depends on the type of childcare that your child attends and how they operate their services. For more information on the different type of childcare services and what you are entitled to click here.

How do I apply?

To get a place for your child you apply to a partcipating playschool or daycare centre. You can find a list of where to apply here.

You will need to provide a copy of your child's birth cert or passport and PPS number. 

For more information about the ECCE scheme click here.

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Published June 11th2015
Last updated June 22nd2018
Tags young parent lone parent education
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