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The State’s Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) is an initiative to provide a free pre-school year for children before they start primary school.

With effect from 1st September 2016, children can avail of the ECCE scheme for up to two years prior to starting primary school, depending on the date the child turned three years old. Once your child has turned three years old, there are three entry points during which a child can join the scheme. These entry points are 1st January, 1st April and 1st September of each year.

The examples below may assist you with in ascertaining when your child will be eligible:

If born within these dates below: Your child can join the ECCE scheme at the entry point below
July 2012 to August 2013 September 2016
September 2013 to December 2013 January 2017
January 2014 to March 2014 April 2017
April 2014 to August 2014 September 2017
September 2014 to December 2014 January 2018
January 2015 to March 2015 April 2018
The ECCE scheme provides for a free placement of up to 15 hours per week for 38 weeks in line with the school term. The normal schedule for the free pre-school year is 3 hours per day over 38 weeks. However, children attending on a full-time/part-time schedule who are eligible for the ECCE pre-school year will receive the ECCE grant deducted from their monthly fees.

Once your child is three years of age, and has joined the ECCE scheme at the relevant entry point, they can remain in the scheme until they start primary school, at either four or five years of age.

In delivering the ECCE scheme to all our Preschool children, Trinity Day Nursery adheres to the principles of Síolta and Aistear, the national framework for early years care and education.

The Community Childcare Subvention

The CCS is another bursary available to parents. The TCD Nursery is a part of the scheme. When applying it is only the PPSN numbers of one parent and the child that are put on the form meaning that if you are not a lone parent, your partners benefits are not taken into account. If you currently have a medical card, especially if the child is over 6, and are receiving jobseekers or BTEA, then it is likely you will be eligible for the CCS payment. Have a look at their criteria here:

Forms and information available from the TCD crèche on 018961938

You can contact the Department of Youth and Children’s Affairs for more information on 016473000

Community resources

There are also community charity resources such as Saint Vincent De Paul and your local Community Development Project which can offer bursaries for childcare in college. It would be worth talking to their offices and other charity organizations in your area to see if they can offer support.

Back to education allowance

You may be eligible for BTEA  (back to education allowance) if you are returning to education. You can find more information on your eligibility for BTEA here:

They also have a general outline of the scheme here:

If you have specific questions you could call their offices at 01 704 3000


Crèche places for Community Employment Participants – Government Funded CEC Scheme. The CEC programme provides subsidised part time crèche places (up to 19.5 hours per week) for Community Employment participants. Trinity operates the CEC scheme and in order to book a place, you will require a letter from your sponsor confirming that you are eligible for a childcare place.


Training and Employment Childcare scheme for ETB students (Education and Training Board; formerly FAS and VEC) – Providing Free Crèche places.

If you have applied for an ETB training programme, you may qualify for a free childcare place under the government Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) scheme. The purpose of this programme is to assist parents taking eligible ETB (formerly FÁS and VEC) courses to undertake training by providing supported childcare places.

The allocation of places under the scheme is managed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, via the City and County Childcare Committees (CCC’s). In order to book a childcare place in any of our crèches settings, you will require a letter from your course co-ordinator confirming that you are eligible for a TEC place. The letter should also outline the start date and finish date of the course. There is an additional charge where a child is less than 12 months old or is attending afterschool provision.

TCDSU Childcare Assistance Fund

Every year the SU awards a childcare bursary to a number of student parents.. Every year the SU awards a financial grant to a number of student parents. The grant amount is €20 over 40 weeks and is paid directly to a registered childcare provider. It is awarded to the students deemed to be in the greatest need. This will be advertised in the SU email at the start of the college year. Further information is available here

Student Assistance Fund/Student Hardship Fund/Benefactions

The financial support available in the university are the Student Hardship Fund, the Student Assistance Fund and childcare bursaries. They are administered by the Senior Tutor's Office. These funds are issued internally by the Senior Tutor’s Office in TCD. The Student Assistance Fund is a European funded initiative and the Hardship Fund is an internal college financial assistance fund. The application process for both forms of financial assistance is the same. You can read more information on the funds here. It may be useful to meet with the Undergraduate Support Officer in the Senior Tutor’s Office to discuss whether or not it would be worthwhile applying. You can contact her on