ECCE – The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme 

The ECCE programme is a universal 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 weeks2 per year and the programme year runs from September to June.  There is an obligation on those in receipt of public funding to strictly adhere to all the rules contained in this entire document as set out by the Minister for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability,Integration and Youth.

A service must be registered with Tusla to receive funding from DCEDIY. Services who provide both an ELC and an SAC service must be registered with Tusla for both services. All facilities/locations operated
by a service must be registered with Tusla, have an individual Service Reference number and children must attend the facility/ location in which they are registered. Proof of Tusla registration must be available on the premises for inspection if required.

  • Service providers must be registered with Tusla for the places being provided:
  • Full day-care places (more than 5 hours per day)
  • Part-time places (between 3 hours 31 minutes and 5 hours per day)
  • Sessional places (between 2 hours 16 minutes and 3 hours 30 minutes per day)
  • Half-session places (between 1 hour and 2 hours 15 minutes per day)
    E.g. Services cannot be funded for part-time places when registered with Tusla as a sessional service. It is compulsory for all services providing childcare to register with Tusla.

The programme rules for ECCE 2022/23 & 2023/24 can be found below

Once the above tasks are complete, you are now ready to activate the funding agreement for ECCE .The funding agreement is available on the Programmes page. You can find a guide and a training video on activating an ECCE funding agreement in the Help & Support section of the Hive here.

Child registration for ECCE  will be available from July on Hive.

Childcare services taking part in the ECCE scheme must provide an appropriate pre-school educational programme which adheres to the principles of Síolta and Aistear, the national frameworks for early years care and education.  To download a copy of the compliance guide and checklist please click below:

An ELC Service provider must have a minimum enrolment number of eight ECCE-eligible children per session.

ECCE pre-registration form

Exceptions to the minimum enrolment number may be granted in some circumstances. Applications must be submitted to the City/County Childcare Committee.

ECCE is administered on the Early Years Hive portal and all Programme Readiness tasks must be completed on the Hive. Please see the below guides available in the Help & Support section of the Hive for guidance:

Once you complete the above tasks, you are now ready to activate the funding agreement for ECCE .The funding agreement is available under the Programmes tab. You can find a guide and a training video on activating an ECCE funding agreement in the Help & Support section of the Hive here.

Service Providers must be on-boarded on the Hive in order to complete these readiness tasks. If you are new to Hive and looking to on-board your service, please see the on-boarding page of Hive for more information.

Registering a child on the ECCE

Parents must complete an ECCE Pre Registration Form

The Childcare Service must provide the parent with a Fee Policy and Calendar.

The following table sets out relevant eligibility dates by year of birth:

Table 1: Eligibility for ECCE by month of birth and of enrolment in pre-school

Birth date betweenEligible Enrolment date(s)ECCE end date
1st January 2019 –

31st December 2019

1st September 2022 +

1st September 2023

June 2024
1st January 2020 – 31st December 20201st September 2023 + 1st September 2024June 2025
1st January 2021 – 31st December 20211st September 2024 + 1st September 2025June 2026
1st January 2022 – 31st December 20221st September 2025 + 1st September 2026June 2027
1st January 2023 – 31st December 20231st September 2026 + 1st September 2027June 2028
1st January 2024 – 31st December 20241st September 2027 + 1st September 2028June 2029

Useful Downloads for the ECCE Scheme

ECCE agreement

Declaration – Form 2

ECCE pre-registration form

Letters to parent/guardian


Attendance exemption forms

Force majeure

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