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ECCE Programme


The 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 and the programme year runs from September to June each year. There will be one point of entry at the beginning of the programme year from this September 2018. The programme will be available to all children who have turned 2 years and 8 months before September as long they won’t turn 5 years and 6 months at any point during the pre-school year. Childcare services taking part in the ECCE scheme must provide an appropriate pre-school educational programme which adheres to the principles of Síolta, the national framework for early years care and education.


Guide to DCYA Childcare Programmes 2018/2019

Rules for DCYA Funding Programmes 2018/2019  (Irish)


Guide to DCYA ECCE Programme 2019/2020


Rules for DCYA Funding Programmes 2019/2020



Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, has introduced a new model to enable children with disabilities to access and fully participate in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)  Programme.

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child and the pre-school provider.  Further information is available at Access Inclusion Model website and Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) - Information and Contact Leaflet.


Consultation on overage exemptions to the ECCE programme

A consultation is being carried out by the National Disability Authority (NDA) on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Education and Skills. This will involve input from parents of children who are currently availing of overage exemptions and a final report will be produced at the end of June 2018.

Please find further information on overage exemptions here.


Please see our section on Qualifications for more information.


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 our information document and application form.                       
Contact Details
ECCE Section,
Early Years Policies and Programmes,
Department of Children and Youth Affairs,
Block 1, Miesian Plaza,
50-58 Baggot Street Lower,  
Dublin 2. D02 XWI4
Tel: 01 6473000
Sonraí Teagmhála
An Rannóg ECCE,
Polasaithe agus Cláir na Luathbhlianta,
An Roinn Leanaí agus Gnóthaí Óige,
Bloc 1, Plaza Míesian,
50-58 Sráid Bhagóid Íochtarach,
Baile Átha Cliath 2. D02 XW14
Teil: 01 6473000