The Access and Inclusion Model – AIM

The goal of AIM is to create a more inclusive environment in pre-schools, so all children, regardless of ability, can benefit from quality early learning and care. The model achieves this by providing universal supports to pre-school settings, and targeted supports, which focus on the needs of the individual child, without requiring a diagnosis of disability.

AIM commenced in 2016, since then, it has helped tens of thousands of children with a disability to access and meaningfully participate in the ECCE programme in pre-school settings nationwide. The model has been recognised internationally and has won awards for both excellence in practice, and inclusive policy.AIM Policy and Rules

All pre-school providers and staff should be familiar with the AIM Policy & Rules. Pre-school services that avail of AIM are obliged to comply with these rules. They are a useful resource for both parents and for the early learning and care sector.

Compliance checks will be included for the Access and Inclusion Model in 2024 to confirm adherence with programme rules. Further information on these checks are included in this rule document.

AIM Supports

AIM Targeted Supports cater to a wide range of abilities and are focused on the needs of the child and do not need a diagnosis of disability.

AIM Universal Supports benefit the whole pre-school environment through empowering pre-school providers to create a more inclusive culture in their settings.

How to Apply – The Application Process

When starting the application process, it is important to carefully read the application form and ensure that both parent and provider consent to the application for AIM supports. You should consider the following: what supports are required? is the child eligible for AIM support?  is the child moving pre-school? or currently in receipt of AIM supports?

Once all information is to hand, the provider will submit an application form to Pobal through the Early Years Hive Platform in collaboration with the parent.

If a pre-school provider requires support submitting an AIM application, they can raise a request via the Early Years Hive. Alternatively, you can contact the Early Years Provider Centre (EYPC) Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (10am to 5pm on Wednesday) at 01 511 7222. A pre-school provider or parent who has not applied for AIM level 4 can raise a request via the Early Years Hive or call the Early Years Provider Centre and request a call back from an Early Years Specialist in relation to the application process also. The EYSS can provide advice on the appropriate supports for a child, transitions to primary school and assist with any stage of the targeted supports application process.

After submission, Pobal will review the application and notify the provider and parent of the outcome. Applicants can accept, reject or request more information on the application. A rejection can be appealed by the parent or the provider through the Early Years Hive also. All application queries can be made to Pobal – ( / 01 5117222).

AIM Inclusive Play

AIM Inclusive Play was introduced in 2018 as a set of sensory and educational play resources to support inclusive practice within Early Learning and Care settings. The AIM Inclusive Play (AIP) pack was supplied to over 4,000 Early Learning and Care settings in 2018. These resources included equipment, toys and materials to support the development of coordination and audio, visual and tactile skills among all children, and in particular, children with a disability.

The resources were carefully chosen with the help of Learning SPACE (Specialised Products Aiding Child Education) to support all children, regardless of ability, within the learning environment. Items from the AIP packs and other resources can be purchased from Learning SPACE at

AIM Inclusive Play reinforces an important message – that children’s play is a vital ingredient of childhood, essential for both growth and learning and an integral element of high quality pre-school provision. Read on for more information on AIM Inclusive play.

Image of young child for "LINC"LINC – Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years programme

The  Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years programme is designed to support the inclusion of all children in the early years. The course is offered for free to people working within Early Learning and Care and is fully funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. Once qualified, graduates will perform the role of Inclusion Coordinator within their Early Learning and Care Setting.

The development of the programme is part of a government response to local, national and international demands for high quality education and training leading towards graduate pathways in the combined field of early childhood care and education (ECCE). The programme seeks to address the need for continuing professional development (CPD) in relation to the inclusion of all children.

LINC – Programme Structure

The LINC+ CPD Programme will open for new applications on Monday, January 22nd 2024 for graduates of the LINC Level 6 Programme.

The LINC+ CPD programme consists of 6 packages; the 1st of which Communities of Practice, will be available in March 2024. Download LINC Brochure Here

The LINC+ CPD Programme is only open to graduates of the LINC Level 6 Programme and consists of six 10 hour continuing professional development packages. All six packages are now available. The first Package, Communities of Practice, must be completed by all participants. Following completion of Package 1, Communities of Practice, participants can then choose whichever package they wish to engage with. The LINC+ CPD Programme is delivered 100% online. Flexible learning is at the heart of LINC+ CPD and participants can engage with the programme content at a time that suits their own schedule.

For those who wish to participate in the programme, they must register by Friday, February 16th 2024 at 4pm. They can do this by filling out the registration form on the LINC website when the applications open.  We will host three online information sessions for graduates interested in registering for the LINC+ CPD Programme. Further information about these sessions and registration details will be sent to you next week.

More information on the LINC+ CPD Programme can be found here.

Module Title (credits)SemesterModule Outline
Inclusion in Early Years Settings: Concepts and Strategies (12 ECTS)AutumnView Here
Child Development (6 ECTS)AutumnView Here
Promoting Collaborative Practice for Inclusion in Early Childhood Care and Education (12 ECTS)Autumn/SpringView Here
Curriculum for Inclusion (6 ECTS)SpringView Here
Leadership for Inclusion (12 ECTS)SpringView Here
Portfolio Module (12 ECTS)Autumn/SpringView Here


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