If your child qualifies for Free Preschool in September 2020 please book immediately. If you wish your child to attend Cairdeas for their free preschool year in the future please book their place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.


In January 2010 the government introduced the new ECCE scheme designed to give all children access to a free Pre-School Year prior to going to primary school. The programme is designed to provide children with their first formal experience of early learning, the starting point of their educational and social development outside the home.


Will my child be eligible?

The ECCE scheme is open to all children aged over 2 years 8 months. Check your childs elegibility from the table below:

Birth date between                                          Eligible Enrolment date(s)                                  ECCE end date

1st January 2015 - 31st December 2015     1st September 2018 + 1st September 2019       June 2020

1st January 2016 - 31st December 2016     1st September 2019 + 1st September 2020       June 2021

1st January 2017 - 31st December 2017     1st September 2020 + 1st September 2021       June 2022

1st January 2018 - 31st December 2018     1st September 2021 + 1st September 2022       June 2023

1st January 2019 - 31st December 2019     1st September 2022 + 1st September 2023       June 2024


The ECCE scheme is funded through a capitation fee for each qualifying child enrolled. When enrolling your child in the centre we ask for a deposit of €50. This deposit secures your child's place. The deposit may then be used towards the cost of providing our Christmas party and visit from Santa, our end of term party and our Preschool outing at the end of the pre-school year.


We operate the ECCE scheme through our preschool sessional service which runs from  9.15am to 12.15pm or 9.30am to 12.30pm each day from September to June for 38 weeks. We open generally in line with the local primary school. You will be advised of closing times during the school year.


The ECCE scheme is also available to qualifying children who attend our full day care service. In the case of full day care children their weekly fee will be reduced by the capitation fee over the course of the year.


More details about the scheme are available at www.omc.gov.ie,  information leaflets are also available from our centre or from Westmeath County Childcare Committee. (044 9335454)