It`s free; why not? A study examining the non-participation of children to the Free Pre-School year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme.
Supervisor: Dr Breda Mc Taggart
Funding Body: President’s Bursary Fund
Research strongly suggests that the impact and benefit of early education experiences for children can have a major influence on the social development, life outcomes and opportunities. Current Irish policy has put measures in place to support educational outcomes of all members of society through the provision of early educational opportunities in the form of the “Free Pre-School year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme”. Under this scheme, all children aged between 3 years 2 months and 4 years 7 months in September of the relevant year are entitled to a free pre-school year. While participation is voluntary, 68,000 or 94% of eligible children enrolled in this programme for the 2011/12 school year (Department of Children and Youth Affairs, (DCYA) 2009, 2013; Department of Education and Skills (DES), 2013). Whilst figures are very promising, no information exists on why some of Ireland’s children are not availing of this opportunity. Therefore the question must be asked; Why are over four thousand eligible children not availing of this initiative? Who are these children? And; Are there identifiable barriers to participation in this initiative for children and their families?