free pre-school years
This is unaffected by the introduction of the National Childcare Scheme.
Children are eligible for two free preschool years in Ireland, from the age of 3-5 approx (see calculator below to workout your child's eligiblity), and can continue in free pre-school until they start primary school (once the child is not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the relevant pre-school year i.e. end June).
They can attend for 3 hours per day, 5 days a week, 38 weeks of the year.
Childcare services receive a payment for each child attending full-time.
There is an option for a child to attend part-time with the agreement of the parents and the service (payment will be pro-rata).