We wrote about the ECCE scheme as far back as April 2009 . This scheme was introduced to allow children to receive free pre-school provision of 3 hours per day, 5 days each week over a 38 week year. The pre-school providers will get a weekly capitation of €64.50 per child and parents will not be charged.
The deadline for parents to register with a provider for the ECCE scheme was January 13th 2010 but Barry Andrews, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has extended the deadline for parents to January 20th. The the deadline for childcare providers to return the forms to the department is now January 29
Children in the pre-school year who were born between 2 February 2005 and 30 June 2006, will be eligible for the scheme . Parents of children in this age range can avail of the pre-school year by enrolling their child in a local participating pre-school service.If a parent has not yet enrolled a child in this age range for a Pre-School Year place, they should do so now. If a parent is unsure of how to go about doing this, s/he should contact the local City or County Childcare Committee for information.
There are about 4,200 organisations offering the scheme, but some providers have not signed up because of the rule that parents could not top up the fees paid by the state for sessional care.
Under the scheme, the government will pay pre-schools a maximum of €64.50 to cover three hours of early childhood education for five days each week. That works out at a monthly payment of €258 for a four-week month. However, many pre-schools in urban areas charge well over €500 a month for a child who attends for 15 hours a week.