Full details about the scheme can be found on the DCYA website.
The programme is available to all children from the September after the child has turned 2 years and 8 months.
This table shows the eligibility for ECCE by year of birth.
|Birth date between||ECCE start date||ECCE end date|
|1st January 2015 – 31st December 2015||1st September 2018 +1st September 2019||June 2020|
|1st January 2016 – 31st December 2016||1st September 2019 + 1st September 2020||June 2021|
|1st January 2017 – 31st December 2017||1st September 2020 + 1st September 2021||June 2022|
|1st January 2018 – 31st December 2018||1st September 2021 + 1st September 2022||June 2023|
|1st January 2019 – 31st December 2019||1st September 2022 + 1st September 2023||June 2024|
If your child attends a half-day or “sessional” service, such as a playschool, Montessori or Naíonra, the normal pattern for the free pre-school year is 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, over 38 weeks. If your child attends for more than 3 hours, you will be charged for the extra time. If your child’s sessional service cannot open for 5 days a week, the normal pattern for the free pre-school year is 3 hours and 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week, over 41 weeks.
If your child attends a full-time or part-time daycare service, the normal pattern for the free pre-school year is 2 hours and 15 minutes per day over 50 weeks. If your child attends for longer than this each day, you will be charged for the extra time. To facilitate parents whose children attend a full or part-time service for only 3 days a week, such a service can opt to provide 3 daily free pre-school sessions of 3 hours 45 minutes each week over 50 weeks.