This scheme provides a free year of pre-school education for children aged between three years three months and four years six months. However if your child’s illness or treatment will delay their entry to primary school, they may be able to continue in pre-school beyond four and a half. You should write to the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to ask for an exemption from the age band. Enclose a copy of confirmation of your child’s incapacity from the HSE or from a consultant who is treating your child. A letter from a GP is not enough to get an exemption for your child. Under the ECCE scheme, a child is expected to attend pre-school four or five days each week. However, this requirement does not apply to children with special needs if a shorter week would be more appropriate for them.
You can get a list of participating pre-schools and childcare providers from your city or county childcare committee.