Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)
The benefits for children of quality early childhood care and education ar well documented.
Under the Early Childhood Care and Education 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 2016, children will be able to start in free pre-school in the September, January or April after they reach their third birthday and remain in free pre-school until they transfer to primary school (provided that they are not older than 5½ years at the end of the pre-school year, please see ECCE Eligibility).
In order to support children with a disability to access free pre-school, a major new programme of supports, the Access and Inclusion Model, has been introduced.