Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

The Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) is a universal childcare programme designed to give children access to up to 2 years free pre-school education before they start primary school.


Parent’s wishing to enrol their child for the ECCE programme can register with an Early Year’s provider of their choice. To see a list of services visit the Childcare Search Directory on our homepage. Once you have found this list of services, we would advise you to make contact with the childcare facilities to see if they offer the ECCE programme and if they have a place available.


Is my child eligible for the ECCE Programme?

The ECCE programme is available to all children from the September after they have turned 2 years and 8 months. For Programme year 2021-2022, a child must have turned 2 years and 8 months on or before 31st August 2021, and not be older than 5 years and 6 months on or before 30th June 2021. 

Check your child's eligibility

The Table below shows eligibility for ECCE by year of birth.

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

For further information on the ECCE Programme including the Rules for ECCE Programme, Valid for the 2021-22 Programme Year

and for information on DCEDIY Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) Click Here: