The ECCE programme is a universal programme available to all children from the age of three. The programme is provided for three hours per day, five days per week over 38 weeks per year and the programme year runs from September to June.
There are three points of entry throughout the programme year – September, January and April. Childcare services taking part in the ECCE scheme provide an appropriate pre-school educational programme which adheres to the principles of Síolta and Aistear, the national frameworks for early years care and education.
The three entry points allow children to begin free pre-school as soon as possible after they have turned three years of age. The three eligibility points for the 2017/18 ECCE Programme are as follows:
September, for children who turn 3 years on or before the 31st August.
January, for children who turn 3 years on or before the 31st December.
April, for children who turn 3 years on or before the 31st March.
For further information on eligibility please see our ECCE calculator below.