The Access and Inclusion Model


Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

The benefits for children of quality early childhood care and education are well documented.

Under the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme, all eligible children in the Republic of Ireland are entitled to free early childhood care and education (otherwise known as ‘free pre-school’) in the period before they start primary school.

With effect from September 2018, there will only be one intake of children in September each year –  increasing all children’s participation on the ECCE programme to two full pre-school years, please see the ECCE eligibility calendar). Or check our the useful ECCE Calculator 

In order to support children with a disability to access free pre-school, a major new programme of supports, the Access and Inclusion Mode (AIM), has been introduced.

Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a programme of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme in mainstream pre-school settings and can participate fully in the pre-school curriculum alongside their peers.

AIM is a child centred model of supports, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child and the pre-school setting. The model is designed to be responsive to the needs of each individual child in the context of their pre-school setting.  It will offer tailored, practical supports based on need and will not require a formal diagnosis of disability.


Parent's FAQs

My child is starting ECCE and I have concerns they may need support under AIM - what should I do?
- Contact your preschool well ahead of your child's start date to ensure any additional supports can be made available as soon as possible.

My child's preschool has suggested my child will require AIM supports, I am not sure.
- It is definitely worth availing of any supports offered as anecdotally parents and providers are reporting that this support at an early age is making a huge difference to children's readiness to begin school when the time comes. It means that your child can be given help with any difficulties which they are having at the earliest possible opportunity and the results reported by parents so far have been very encouraging.

See for more information and how to apply for supports

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Government launches First 5, A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families

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