In Ireland, children of pre-school age (3yrs 2mths to 4yrs 7mths) can benefit from the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) in Ireland.
View more information on the above link. A quick overview:
The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme provides a free year of early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age. In general, children are eligible for the ECCE scheme if they are aged over 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months on 1 September of the year that they will be starting. The upper age limit can be extended in some cases – see ‘Rules’ below.
The State pays a capitation fee to participating playschools and daycare services. In return, they provide a pre-school service free of charge to all children within the qualifying age range for a set number of hours over a set period of weeks (see ‘How the ECCE scheme is provided’ below).
In general, children only qualify for ECCE in one school year. However, a child who has been assessed as having a disability may be able to spread their free pre-school year over 2 years – see ‘Children with special needs’ below.