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Early learning: Policy for children's first 3 years

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Policy brief, May 2012
Start Strong Ireland
Publication Date: 
15 May 2012


Children's development in their first three years has a huge impact on their later development. The evidence shows that early years services and supports can impact positively on this early development - provided they are of high quality.

From their very first days, children are learning about the world around them. Indeed, children's learning and development is at its fastest before the age of 3. But our main support for children's early learning - the Free Pre-School Year - is only available from 3 years and 2 months at the earliest, and some children only begin it at the age of 4. Children and families need services and supports right from the start of a child's life.


With so much at stake, it is vital that we have the right supports and services in place for our youngest children. There is a range of supports and programmes for parents already in place in Ireland which needs to be built on and further developed. In comparison with the care and education of over- 3s, however, the care and education of under-3s in Ireland is of less certain quality, less affordable and more fragmented.

fact sheet
Entered Date: 
15 May 2012
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