Document Type



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

Publication Details

International Journal of Early Childhood, Volume 45, Issue 2, August 2013, special issue “National Policies in a Globalised World”, pp.191-205.


The rapidity of change in Irish early childhood policy over the last 20 years is clear to observers (OECD 2004). What may be debated is how significant the changes are. In this paper, we analyse changes in early childhood education and care policy in Ireland since 1995, using Hall’s (1993) typology of policy change to help understand how policies and institutions could change so much in appearance without changing their fundamental features or underlying philosophy. We demonstrate that, despite extensive change, a traditional policy paradigm has held constant, where the State’s role in direct service delivery remains limited, the State continues to be reluctant to intervene in “family matters” and education is prioritised over care.