ECCE Eligibility

The Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) programme is a universal two-year pre-school programme available to all children within the eligible age range.

It provides children with their first formal experience of early learning prior to commencing primary school. The programme is provided for three hours per day, five days per week over 38 weeks per year. 

There is one point of entry at the beginning of the programme year. The programme will be available to all children who have turned 2 years and 8 months of age before August 31st as long they won’t turn 5 years and 6 months of age on or before June 30th of the programme year.

Childcare services taking part in the ECCE programme must provide an appropriate pre-school educational programme which adheres to the principles of Síolta and Aistear, the national quality and curriculum frameworks for early learning and care.

ECCE Calculator

You can now check to see when your child qualitifies for the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme with our new ECCE calculator.


A childcare provider must ensure all staff working with children hold, at a minimum, a qualification that meets the requirements of the Regulations.

Room Leaders must, at a minimum, hold a qualification that meets the grant funding agreement requirements for ECCE Room Leader as set out on the published list of DCYA ‘Early Years Recognised Qualifications’ or hold a Letter of Eligibility to Practice at this level issued by the DCEDIY: 

DCEDIY website ECCE information

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