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

This information note explains when children can enrol in early years’ education through the national ECCE programme. You may find it useful to understand what is available to your child and what they will experience in early learning and care settings, so you can decide what is best for them at this stage.

Early Childhood Education and Care (ECCE):

  • free to parents
  • 3 hours per day
  • 5 days per week (except Public Holidays)
  • 38 weeks from September to June
  • available for children from age 2 years 8 months–5 years 6 months


    Birth date between:                                                Eligible Enrolment date(s):

• 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020        →      1 September 2023 & 1 September 2024

• 1 January 2021 – 31 December 2021        →       1 September 2024 & 1 September 2025


Depending on their age, children can be enrolled on the ECCE programme for up to 2 years. Some ECCE providers offer additional activities for a fee. How to find an ECCE provider Contact the City and County Childcare Committee for your area. Details are available at myccc.ie.

The ECCE programme focuses on early learning through play. The learning is child-centred and responds
to children’s interests, strengths and challenges to deliver meaningful learning experiences. Children with disabilities are supported in ELC settings through the Access and Inclusion Model, sometimes called AIM. Further information is available at aim.gov.ie.

More information about how children’s learning in early learning and care settings is guided is here Síolta,the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education.

ECCE – Infographic pdf