Better Start and AIM

Better Start Quality Development Service

Better Start National Early Years Quality Development is a national initiative of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Affairs (DCEDIY) collaborating with the Early Years Education Policy Unit of the Department of Education and Skills (DES), to ensure a coordinated approach to early year’s quality in Ireland.

The Better Start Quality Development Service is an additional resource to support and drive quality improvement. It provides a highly skilled and experienced Early Years Specialist team to work directly in a mentoring capacity with Early Years services. This support complements and adds to other quality resources such as training, continuing professional development programmes, networking support groups and individual or team-based development work provided by the City and County Childcare Committees and the Voluntary Childcare Organisations. Details of how to contact Better Start for support is included on the poster here:

For further information on Better Start click below.

Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)

The Better Start Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access and meaningfully participate in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme.  Its goal is to empower pre-school providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience, ensuring that every eligible child can meaningfully participate in the ECCE Programme and reap the benefits of quality Early Learning and Care.

The model is designed to be responsive to the needs of each individual child in the context of their pre-school setting. It offers tailored, practical supports based on need and does not require a formal diagnosis of a disability.

AIM is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child and the pre-school service. There are 7 levels of support available through AIM ranging from universal supports to targeted supports.

Universal Supports includes Levels 1-3 of the AIM model and are designed to promote and support an inclusive culture within pre-school settings. However, where a service provider, in partnership with a parent/guardian, considers that some further additional support may be necessary to meet the needs of a particular child, they can apply for one or more Targeted Supports under Levels 4 – 7 of the model.

Further detailed information for parents/guardians, including levels of support and frequently asked questions in relation to the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), can be found online at:

For more information on the ECCE Programme on AIM contact Dublin City Childcare Committee or the Early Learning and Care service your child attends.