This Week in Childcare

Dear Colleagues,

These are the deadlines, information, and announcements for the week of 4th March-8thMarch 2024


Monday 11th March 2024

National Síolta Aistear Initiative: Aistear and Play 2024 – Better Start course application deadline

Thursday 21st March 2024

Playing Outside Grant Verification Checks

Friday 22nd March 2024

Financial reporting deadline for Core Funding

Wednesday 3rd April 2024

Building Blocks Expansion Grant 2024


National Síolta Aistear Initiative: Aistear and Play 2024 – Better Start

The purpose of the NSAI is to support the implementation of the two National Frameworks-Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood and Education and Aistear, The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework.

Aistear and Play is delivered by Better Start Early Years Specialists. This continuous professional development (CPD) can be a part of your Core Funding Quality Action Plan.

The training will take place over five, 2.5 hour in-person sessions. The course includes two on-site mentoring visits by a Better Start Early Years Specialist, one after session three and another after session five.

If your setting is interested in taking part in Aistear and Play, CLICK HERE and complete your expression of interest. For further information you can visit the Better Start website National Síolta Aistear Initiative: Aistear and Play – Better Start

NCS subsidy increase

From 2 September 2024, the minimum rate for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) subsidies will increase from €1.40 to €2.14. The increase, introduced by Minister Roderic O’Gorman as part of Budget 2024 measures, means that if parents receive a subsidy less than the new maximum (table below), they will receive a higher subsidy towards their childcare fees.

There will be no change to the NCS sponsor referral rate for children aged 0-52 weeks.

The remaining sponsor rates will have the max rate increased to €5.30 as demonstrated below.

Current Max RateNew Max Rate
1 to 2 years€5.00€5.30
3+ years€4.54€5.30
School Age€4.31€5.30

How will this affect awards and claims?

Universal Awards and income assessed as over the €60 000 threshold – these will be updated with the increased universal rate for the remainder of the award.

Income Assessed Awards – where the income was assessed within the income thresholds and an award was generated, these will be recalculated, and an increased rate may be applied for the remainder of the award.

Those at €26,000 and below are already on the highest levels of subsidy and therefore no further increase will apply to their subsidy.

Sponsor Awards – awards for sponsor children aged 1 or over will have their award updated with an increased max rate for the remainder of the award. There is no change to sponsor awards for children under 1 year of age.

Claims will automatically be updated with the new rate for these applicants. There will be no need for parents to confirm these claims again, however if parents have not yet confirmed their claims, they will still be required to do so. Claims must be confirmed by the applicant before payments can flow to the provider.

Important: It should be noted that where rates change, the parents’ co-payment must be updated, and the parent informed.

A tool highlighting the affected claims will be available on the Hive. More information on this tool will be made available closer to the time.


If you need further support, please raise a request on the Hive using the following dropdown options:

Request program type: NCS.

Request type: Registrations.

Request type detail: Claim.

Services located in schools that are closed 8th March due to referendums

Please note that if schools are being used as a polling station for elections/referendums on Friday 8th March which the ELC/SAC service is scheduled to be opened are not required:

  • To amend their calendars


  • Apply for force majeure

ECCE services are not required to make up this day for the purpose of meeting the 182-day rule in the programme year

Playing Outside Grants 2021

Pobal has been conducting verification checks on all Playing Outside Grants 2021. Please note that the checks will be performed remotely and no visit to your facility will be required.

In advance of uploading any information to the Hive return portal, please consult the relevant documents in the Hive Resources Section.

Core Funding Reporting Requirement Year 1

The Financial reporting requirements in this transitional phase is an Income and Expenditure Report. All relevant documents are available onHive> Resources> Programme Documents> Core Funding documents> Core Funding Reporting Requirement Year 1 (2022/23)

The DCEDIY have developed a new guidance document. The guidance note outlines the process for Partner Services regarding the submission of the Income and Expenditure Report. This document may also be useful to share with your accountant, to ensure they understand their role.

Please see attached document “Guidance Note for Core Funding Financial Reporting Requirements.”

Please contact your Development Worker if you require support.

Building Blocks Expansion Grant

Applications for the Building Blocks Expansion Grant Scheme are now available on the Early Years Hive by navigating to Programmes – Building Blocks Application

Detailed information regarding Building Blocks – Expansion Grant, is available in the Application Guidelines. Also, two additional support documents have been added, the Technical Guide an

d Demonstration Video to further assist service providers with their applications.

Minister O’Gorman’s Press Release can be accessed on the following link:

Public Consultation Information can be accessed on the following links:

gov – National Action Plan for Childminding 2021 – 2028 (

Seachtain na Gaeilge

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2024 is running from the 1-17 March. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Irish language. The Seachtain na Gaeilge website has resources that may be used to promote and increase the use of Irish  

Some useful links are also available on the Aistear/Síolta Practice Guide

Upcoming Workshops, Events and Information Session

Draft Childminding Regulations ConsultationCalling all childminders & parents – Don’t miss the opportunity to have your say‼      

Childminders Online Focus Group, on Monday 25th March 2024. 7pm – 8.30pm.

Join our Focus Groups on the Draft Childminding Regulations.  Your opinion matters, your voice, your experiences and your ideas are valued.  Join the Focus Groups and play an integral role in shaping the future of childminding in Ireland.

The public consultation on the Draft Childminding Regulations are now open.

Childminders are invited to share their views & Experiences.  Your Feeback will play an important role in creating the framework.

Did you know you can attend on-line from the convenience of your home.

Click the link to book your place on the On-line Childminders Focus Group here

Don’t miss out on this chance to be heard and influence the New Childminding Standards.

Minister O’Gorman’s Press Release can be accessed on the following link:

Public Consultation Information can be accessed on the following links:

gov – National Action Plan for Childminding 2021 – 2028 (

AIM Information Session: ELC Services – Tue, 16 Apr 2024 19:00 – 20:00

The information session will provide an introduction and an overview of the AIM model.

The session will be hosted online and further information on AIM can be found at

Booking through Eventbrite  –

Access and Inclusion (AIM) Parents & Guardians Information session Tue, 23 Apr 2024 19:00 – 20:00

AIM Information Session for Parents of ECCE Children

This information session is for parents of children already in ECCE or will be starting ECCE in September 2024.

Booking through Eventbrite –

Measles outbreak

In recent months there has been a rise in cases of measles in parts of the UK and Europe. On 7th February, the HSE reported the death of an adult with confirmed measles. This is the first confirmed measles case notified in Ireland in 2024. The HSE is writing to ask for your support in raising awareness among parents, guardians, and staff about:

  • Watching out for the symptoms of measles
  • The importance of the MMR vaccine in protecting children  

Visit Immunisation – for information about the importance of MMR vaccine.

Covid case advice

Please find below links to information from the HPSC in relation to Covid-19 and information from the HSE for ELC and SAC providers on preventing the spread of Covid-19 and children returning to ELC and SAC settings. We would be grateful if you shared this information with parents, guardians, and staff. Preventing the spread of covid 19 in school or childcare – HSE In addition, please find link to the Management of Infectious Disease in Childcare Facilities and Other Childcare Settings (2012)    For general Covid-19 queries you can contact HSE on 1800 700 700 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm Saturday and Sunday or visit the HSE website HSE Covid 19

Should you have any queries on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0449335454 or

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