Application and selection processes
How to apply
The application is online only through the Early Childhood Ireland website. The application form is the same for each of the awards. Please complete it in full and upload the supporting documents for the award you are entering. The application form is available here.
An Awards FAQ page is available here
Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.
Who can apply?
All awards categories are open to services, and educators within services in the case of the Pedagogical Leader Award, that are:
Note: where a service submitting an entry to the awards is owned/operated by a person or organisation/franchise with more than one service, all the services/franchises must be Tusla-registered, be deemed to have sufficiently met the required national regulatory standards and should not be subject to Tusla enforcement action.
What does the selection process look like?
There are three stages in the selection process.
- ECI Panel
- Apply criteria
- External Panel
- Apply criteria
- Gala Night
Stage 1: Early Childhood Ireland checks your eligibility to apply
- We check your eligibility to apply using the criteria under the ‘who can apply’ heading.
- The evidence of meeting these criteria is:
- The service’s current Tusla registration number in the application form; and
- Ticking a box in the signed declaration form returned to ECI that the service, and other early years services if relevant, is compliant with national regulations and are not subject to Tusla enforcement action.
Only applications that meet these initial Stage 1 entry criteria can proceed to the Stage 2 and Stage 3 short-listing and judging processes.
Applications that cannot proceed to stage 2 will be informed by Early Childhood Ireland
Stage 2: An internal Early Childhood Ireland Panel short-lists application
- The applications that meet the stage 1 criteria will be evaluated by an internal ECI Panel using the judging and selection criteria applicable to each of the 8 awards.
- Three finalists are shortlisted by an ECI internal Panel for each award.
- Three short-listed entries are passed to the external judging panel.
Applications that have not been shortlisted for stage 3 will be informed by Early Childhood Ireland.
Stage 3: The external Judging Panel and winners selected
- The External Judging Panel use the same judging and section criteria as the internal panel to choose a final winner for each of the 8 awards.
- The external panel announce the 8 winners at the Early Childhood Ireland Gala Awards Dinner.
NOTE: To be eligible for short-listing to the finals, and to be declared an award winner, the service must continue to meet the Stage 1 criteria during the stage 2 and Stage 3 selection processes, and on the day of the announcement of the winners at the Gala Awards Dinner.