A major expansion of the free pre-school scheme which can knock an average of €4,000 off the childcare costs for each child has been launched by Minister Katherine Zappone during a visit to Rainbow House, Jobstown.
The Minister visited the childcare centre to alert parents and families to the huge expansion of the scheme.
Local parents can now avail of an average of 61 weeks of free childcare with children being admitted from the age of three.
Speaking in Jobstown, Minister Zappone added:
“It is always a thrill to return to Rainbow House and to the other services run out of An Cosán in Jobstown.
“It is important that we get the message out not just in Jobstown but in all neighbouring communities that the biggest expansion in the history of the free pre-school scheme is now underway.
“The increase of the number of free weeks up to an average of 61-weeks will translate into average savings of €4,000 per child, a €1,500 increase in savings.
“This is significant for families right across South and West Dublin, as well as the entire country.
“It is an honour as Minister for Children to see at first hand the incredible work being carried out by Rainbow House and childcare providers in every community. Their dedication has transformed the lives of children and families and each and every centre is now an integral part of its local community.
“Nationally 85-thousand children are now eligible for childcare, with many in areas like Jobstown where there is a young population.
“In three-weeks I will also host the first meeting of a National Forum on Early Years which will look at issues in the sector and ways in which can we ensure that providers and services in areas have the support they need to continue delivering this important service.”