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ECCE scheme

The Early Childhood Care & Education Scheme (ECCE) provides two years of free pre-school education to every child in Ireland aged between 3 years and 9 months and 4 years and 6 months on 1st September each year.

What is the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)?

ECCE is a scheme designed to give children access to two free Pre- School Years with appropriate programme-based activities in the two years prior to starting primary school. Participation in a pre-school programme provides children with their first formal experience of early learning, the starting point of their educational and social development outside the home. Children who avail of pre-school are more likely to be ready for school and a formal learning and social environment.

Will my child be eligible?

The programme is available to all children from the September after the child has turned 2 years and 8 months. More information can be found here.


The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) is a government run subvention that provides financial support to help with your childcare costs.

Universal Subsidies are available to all families with children under 3 years old. They are also available to families with children over 3 years who have not yet qualified for the free preschool programme (ECCE). This subsidy is not means tested and provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for a maximum of 45 hours per week.

Income Assessed Subsidies are available to families with children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years. This subsidy is means tested and will be calculated based on your individual circumstances. Your rate will vary depending on your level of family income, your child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family.

More information on the NCS can be found here 

Care and Education Academy Castlebar

T: 094 9034868
M: 087 7616739

Care and Education Academy Claremorris

T: 094 9373673
M: 087 6705441