Created on: February 23, 2024
Modified on: February 23, 2024

Children have been able to start ECCE when they reached 3 years of age and continue until they transfer to primary school (provided that they are not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the pre-school year).

To avail of the scheme as soon as possible once your child reaches 3 years of age, children will be able to enroll in pre-school at 3 different points (September, January and April) in the school year in order to access the scheme. The school year is normally from September to June.

You can use the ECCE calculator to check when your child is eligible for an ECCE place.

As providers are limited to the number of children they can enrol it is important to book early. Finding a school that will take an enrolment in January or April can be harder to find as many places are booked up from the previous September for the year.

To get a place for your child you need to apply directly to a participating school/creche. You can find participating services on

Most settings will have either a waiting list or an enrolment procedure. When you have made your decision, make contact with them and fill in a booking form.

A large number of settings require a booking deposit to secure the place which will be refunded once your child’s place has been verified by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth .

When your child starts, the setting will ask you to complete a declaration form confirming your child’s details and this is sent to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth who will then fund your child’s place.