This scheme provides a free year of pre-school education. In general, children are eligible for the scheme if they are aged between 3 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months on 1 September of the year that they will be starting.

There are exemptions given in certain cases such as when your child has special needs. But I have found that a lot of my client struggle to get a second year free. If you feel you might be entitled to such an exemption contact the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on 01 635 4000 or visit for further clarification.

How the scheme works is the government will pays for your child’s playschool or daycare direct. General guideline are a free placement for 3-hours a day, 5-days a week, over 38-weeks.

If your child attends for more than 3 hours, you will be charged for the extra time separately by your provider. You would be best contacting your local playschool or daycare centre for clarification of opening hours that qualify for the free sessions.

Your childcare services provider must also provide an appropriate pre-school educational programme which adheres to the principles of Síolta, the national framework for early years care and education.

Don’t forget to get your child’s name down early for the scheme and visit a number of different childcare provider to assess which one suits your family best.