Ireland has made good progress over recent years in delivering early childhood development (ECD) policies and in supporting families with young children. Specifically, numerous policy provisions provide access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in health, and/or social and child protection services. Although early education is not compulsory in Ireland, and children can start attending a free, universal pre-school programme from the age of two years and eight months, different strategies and schemes have been introduced to address the needs of families and children in a holistic way.
The information provided in this Country Profile reflects the situation at the end of May 2021. Country profiles look at key indicators across all the countries involved in the campaign and identify gaps in national data and evidence on early childhood.