What is the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme?
The Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) is designed to give children access to a free Pre-School Year of appropriate programme-based activities in the year before they start primary school. A good quality preschool helps get your child ready for Primary School.
Is my child eligible for the ECCE Programme?
Parents who wish to apply for a waiver of the upper age limit or to avail of the pre-school year on a pro-rata basis over two years, on the grounds that their child has special needs,must apply in writing to the Childcare Directorate not later than 1st July of each year.
How do I know which Pre Schools are currently in the Programme?
A list of current ECCE services is available on Search Childcare page.
Information for Parents
The childcare provider is paid €64.50/week to provide each free place. Information for Childcare Providers Payment under the ECCE programme is by way of capitation fees which are paid directly to the service provider. A capitation fee is payable in respect of each child enrolled in the free preschool year.
Can I use a Childminder instead?
Yes, Childminders who meet the general requirements can apply to provide the ECCE programme.
Childminders who have the necessary qualification: Fetac Level 5 and who are notified to the HSE are able to operate the Free Preschool year. If you are a Childminder and interested in finding out more please contact your local CCC.