First 5

First 5 is a whole-of-Government strategy to improve the lives of babies, young children and their families. It is a ten-year plan to help make sure all children have positive early experiences and get a great start in life.

The First 5 Strategy uses evidence to identify goals, objectives and the specific actions required from across Government to support children (and their families) in the early years of life. First 5 commits to major initiatives on family leave, children’s health services, parenting supports, child-friendly communities and Early Learning and Care services among a broad range of actions. The Strategy will significantly enhance early childhood and make a huge contribution to the lives of young children, society and the economy over the short, medium and long term. For more information, visit the First 5 website  

A vision for early childhood…

All babies’ and young children’s early years will be valued as a critical and distinct period which should be enjoyed. Families will be assisted and enabled to nurture babies and young children and support their development, with additional support for those who need it. Those providing services for babies, young children and their families will be equipped to contribute to their learning, development, health and wellbeing. Community contexts will help babies and young children make the most of their early years and fulfil their potential.

Together for Better


Together for Better is the new funding model for Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare.

Together for Better brings together three major elements, the Early Childhood Care and Education programme, including the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), the National Childcare Scheme and Core Funding. It implements a series of recommendations in the Expert Group report Partnership for the Public Good.

9 out of 10 Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare providers – over 4,100 services – have become Partner Services under Core Funding, committing to working in partnership with the State for the public good, and to a freeze on parental fees.

A list of Partner Services is available here: Partner Service List 15/03/23

My Little Library 2024


Ministers O’Gorman and Humphreys launch the My Little Library Book Bag 2024
Minister Roderic O’Gorman and Minister Heather Humphreys have today (21 June) launched My Little Library Book Bag 2024, which will provide every child starting school with free books and inviting them to join their local library.
The focus of the My Little Library – an initiative under First 5 – is to build strong links between young children, their families and their local library. For the past two years, children leaving the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) pre-school programme and starting primary school were invited to visit their local library to pick up a My Little Library book bag and take the opportunity to join the library.
This has resulted in tens of thousands of children collecting their book bags and joining their local library. In addition to My Little Library, younger children and their families were also invited to their local library pick up a bedtime story book to keep and join the library under the Little Book at Bedtime initiative.
The launch this year follows a successful pilot project in 2023. From 21 June 2024, all children completing the ECCE pre-school programme and starting school this September are invited to visit their library, pick up a My Little Library Book Bag, in Irish or English, and join the library if they are not already members. Book bags are available at the library throughout the summer. All families are welcome to join the library too, if they aren’t already members.
In making the announcement, Minister O’Gorman said:
“I am delighted to announce this new Little Libraries initiative, offering free books to all children starting school, and encouraging them to join their local library. My hope is that this initiative supports children to take those first steps towards a lifelong love of reading.
“We know from the pilot project that 99% of parents and library staff supported the book gifting from the library becoming an annual initiative. The strength of this response coupled with my own belief in the importance of stories and books for young children means I am pleased to ensure My Little Library will now be run every year.”
Please bring your child that will be starting Primary School in September along to your local libary, to sign up for the library and receive “Your Little Library Bag”.


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