ECCE Scheme



The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age. From September 2018, children can start ECCE when they are 2 years and 8 months of age and continue until they transfer to primary school (provided that they are not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the pre-school year).

The State pays a capitation fee to participating services. In return, they provide a pre-school service free of charge to all children within the qualifying age range for 3 hours per day, 5 days a week over a 38 week period from September to June. 



Eligible Age Range

From September 2018, children can start ECCE from minimum 2 years and 8 months of age and continue until they transfer to primary school (provided that they are not older than 5 years and 6 months at the end of the pre-school year). Children must be turning 3 years on or before December 31st to be eligible for September ECCE enrollment. There are no longer entry points in January and April.

Exemptions from age limit

If your child is over the eligibility age requirement due to special needs they may be able to get an exemption from the upper age limit for the ECCE Scheme.

There are no exemptions to the lower age limit.

Children with Special Needs

A new Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) was introduced on the 15 June 2016 for children starting ECCE in September 2016. AIM supports 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. The model will offer tailored, practical supports based on need.

Levels 1 – 3 of the model involve a suite of universal supports which are designed to promote and support an inclusive culture within pre-school settings by means of educational and capacity-building initiatives for providers and practitioners. Where a pre-school service provider, in partnership with a parent, considers that some further additional support may be necessary to meet the needs of a particular child, they can apply for one or more additional targeted supports under levels 4 – 7 of the model.

Additional targeted supports could take the form of expert early childhood care and educational advice and mentoring (level 4), specialised equipment, appliances and minor alterations (level 5), therapeutic supports (level 6) or additional capitation to fund extra assistance in the ECCE pre-school room (level 7).

Dandelions Montessori, in consultation with you, will consider what supports may be needed to ensure your child’s participation in pre-school.

Where it is considered that your child needs additional support, Dandelions Montessori can apply, in partnership with you, for targeted supports under AIM.

The AIM website provides information for Parents and Frequently Asked Questions on supports available. Fingal County Childcare Committee will also be able to provide you with information and guidance on AIM.

Diversity and Inclusion

At Dandelions Montessori the children in our care are always our primary concern. We provide positive and meaningful experiences, giving children the opportunity to excel in all areas in an environment where they feel loved and developed as individuals. We promote the concept of diversity by welcoming all families into our setting and encourage parents to have an active role in their children’s learning.  

Contact us for further details about ecce