ECCE - Free Preschool Year

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme

This table is also useful:
2014-2015 Births ECCE eligibility

What is the ECCE?

Children are eligible for two free preschool years in Ireland, from the age of 3- 5 approx (see calculator above to work out 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).

Where can I find a service offering ECCE?

We have a list of childcare services in County Kildare, most of whom offer ECCE, available here

My child has a disability, are they eligible for ECCE?

Yes. The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) allows children with a disability to access additional supports in their free preschool years. This does not require a formal diagnosis, rather each child will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If you have a concern about your child’s development contact the preschool your child will attend, well in advance of your child’s start-date, to discuss the AIM programme.

What level of support is available?

  • Supports available range from expert advice, mentoring to extra support in the classroom

How do I apply?

  • Your childcare service/ creche or preschool will submit your child’s application. Applications will remain open throughout the year although, in the case of children with more complex disabilities, parents and providers are encouraged to apply early.

More information can be found on:

See Department of Children and Youth Affairs for all administrative procedures for the ECCE scheme – Click Here

See Department of Children and Youth Affairs Website for latest updates – Click Here

Copyright 2023 by Kildare County Childcare Committee