ECCE Eligibility:

The ECCE programme is a universal 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 and the programme year runs from September to June. There are three points of entry throughout the programme year – September, January and April. However, in the Early Years Budget for 2018, this is changing, and all eligible children will be eligible for two full programme years from September 2018.

Please see the following links to the DCYA website:

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.

Useful ECCE documentation for Childcare Providers:


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 DCYA (see more information relating to qualifications, including the published list on


Higher Capitation

The ECCE higher capitation rate is equivalent to an additional €10.50 per child per week above the €64.50 standard rate.

These rates are changing from September 2018 and you can find more information below:

Minimum ECCE Enrolment Exemptions

In certain circumstances a service may receive an exemption from the minimum number of ECCE children required per session for an ECCE contract. For more information and how to apply please see the following documents:

For further information, please click here to view the ECCE section of the DCYA website.

ECCE eligibility

* Children born between 1st January and 31st December 2014 will continue to be eligible for free pre-school under the terms of the ECCE expansion as announced in Budget 2016. ECCE eligibility criteria as announced under Budget 2018 will come into effect with effect from 1st September 2018.
  • To view the FAQs re Early Years Budget 2018 changes document, please click here.

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