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Historically, the development of ECCE in Ireland has been very piecemeal, largely responding to the needs of parent’s employment patterns rather than focusing on children’s needs. ECCE services include pre-schools, play groups, day nurseries, creches, childminders and other similar services looking after more than 3 preschool age children. These services target children under 6 years of age, who are not attending a national school.
ECCE does have a positive impact, but only when the quality is high enough. Research shows that quality depends on having a highly skilled and trained workforce, with low staff turnover, and a high ratio of staff to children.
The costs for ECCE services in Ireland are among the highest in the EU making the issue of affordability a constant feature. According to the CSO, 60% of households in Ireland say they do not have access to high quality, affordable childcare in their community. Figures from OECD show that for a typical dual-earner family seeking full-day care for two children it costs 29% of the family’s net income compared to an OECD average of 13%. For a one-parent family earning two-thirds of the average wage, ECCE costs 52% of the family’s net income in Ireland, compared to an OECD average of 12%.
Historically, the development of ECCE in Ireland has been very piecemeal, largely responding to the needs of parent’s employment patterns rather than focusing on children’s needs. ECCE services include pre-schools, play groups, day nurseries, creches, childminders and other similar services looking after more than 3 preschool age children. These services target children under 6 years of age, who are not attending a national school.
ECCE does have a positive impact, but only when the quality is high enough. Research shows that quality depends on having a highly skilled and trained workforce, with low staff turnover, and a high ratio of staff to children.
The costs for ECCE services in Ireland are among the highest in the EU…

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