Dáil Éireann - Volume 686 - 30 June, 2009
Written Answers. - Pre-school Services.
Deputy Mary Upton Deputy Mary Upton
Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the position for parents of children born during June, July or August 2006 in respect of the new child care grant (details supplied), particularly where these children have already been accepted to enrol in national schools in September 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25902/09]
Deputy Barry Andrews Deputy Barry Andrews
Deputy Barry Andrews: As the Deputy will be aware I have responsibility for the implementation of the new scheme to provide a free Pre-School year of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) which will be implemented from January 2010.
The scheme will allow qualifying children to avail of a free pre-school place in the year before they commence primary school. The scheme is open to all private and voluntary pre-school services which are notified to the Health Service Executive (HSE) or registered with the Irish Montessori Educational Board (IMEB). Sessional playschools will, normally, participate in the scheme by providing the pre-school year for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week over 38 weeks while full or part-time daycare services will, normally, participate by providing the pre-school year for 2 hours, 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week over 50 weeks.
While exceptions to the upper age limit will be allowed where children have been assessed by the Health Service Executive as having a special need which will delay their entry to primary school, or it is necessary to accept children at an older age due to the enrolment policy of local primary schools, participating children must, normally be aged between 3 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months on 1 September of each year.
In January 2010, children will be eligible if they were born between 1 March 2005 and 30 June 2006. Children born after 30 June 2006 will be eligible for the free Pre-School Year from September 2010. Most children commence school at around 5 years of age and it is considered that the 15 month age range provided for under the scheme, recognises this position while allowing flexibility to parents to assess the best time for their child to commence school.
Dáil Éireann 686 Written Answers. Pre-school Services.