3 & 4 Year Old Funding  

What is Three and Four Year Funding ?

All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 570 hours per year, which can be used over at least 38 weeks of the year.

Parents can request to use their full 15 hours over a minimum of 2 days per week.

Please note that:

  • No session can be longer than 10 hours;

  • No session can be shorter than 2.5 hours;

  • Sessions are restricted to between the hours of 7.00am and 7.00pm.

Additionally, although the free provision must be available over at least 38 weeks of the year, it can sometimes be stretched over more weeks so parents can request for their entitlement to be spread over 50/52 weeks. This is something that you will need to negotiate with your childcare provider.

When does my child become eligible for a free place ?

  • Children will qualify for a free early education place the term after their third birthday

  • Children born between 1 April and 31 August are eligible on 1 September following their third birthday.

  • Children born between 1 September and 31 December are eligible on 1 January following their third birthday.

  • Children born between 1 January and 31 March are eligible 1 April following their third birthday.

Where can my child attend ?

Your child can access their free entitlement in any childcare setting.  This includes:

  • Childminders

  • Pre-schools

  • Full day care nurseries

  • Schools with nursery units

  • Nursery schools

Please contact the Family Information Service for a list of childcare providers in your area.

Is It Really Free ?

Yes. The only additional cost you can be charged for is if your chosen hours cover a breakfast or lunch period, which means you could be charged for the cost of the meals. Please discuss this when you visit your chosen place. Also, any hours you use over the 15 free hours will incur a cost.

Please click on the link below to find out more about funding