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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


General language studies

Publication Details

European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 29:3, 441-454


This study investigated the reasons Irish parents chose to send their children to Irish-medium preschools settings over other forms of early childhood education. The international literature on parental decision making regarding childcare and relevant studies on immersion education in Celtic countries were reviewed. A parental questionnaire, informed by this literature, was distributed through selected immersion settings in Ireland. Social and cognitive development were the main reasons parents cited in regard to early childhood education and an interest in the Irish language and bilingualism along with the good reputation of the immersion preschool were the reasons they chose immersion preschooling. Comparisons were made with the reasons parents chose immersion primary education in Scotland, Wales and Ireland and the findings were broadly similar across the studies. Recommendations include disseminating information about immersion preschools more widely as well as reviewing the impact of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act (DES, Admission to Schools Policy. Dublin: DES., 2018)) on enrolment in Irish-medium preschools and primary schools.