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Early Years

The Belfast Education and Library Board’s recognises the importance of the early years (0-6) of a child’s life and is committed to providing quality education services for  young children through nursery and primary schools and  working in partnership with other agencies in the city eg Belfast Health Trust and Sure Start.

Pre-School Education

In the area served by the BELB Nursery Education is offered throughout the city in 32 nursery schools and in 33 primary schools with nursery units in the controlled, maintained and Irish-medium sectors.

Nursery Education Directory

Nursery Schools

Primary Schools with Nursery Units [ 12KB ]

Pre-school places are also available in playgroups and day care centres under the Pre-school Education Expansion Programme funded by the Department of Education.

The BELB Open Enrolment Section administers the enrolment process for all DE funded pre-school places. Enrolment information booklets and forms are available from November each year and submitted at the end of January for enrolment in the following September.  Dates may vary slightly from year to year.

Enrolment forms are available from Nursery and Primary schools, playgroups, local libraries and from BELB Headquarters at 40 Academy Street, Belfast, BT1 2NQ.


Curricular Guidance for Pre-school Education [ 1.1MB ]

Learning through Play in the Early Years [ 5.2MB ]

Learning Outdoors [ 3.1MB ]

Together towards Improvement, Pre-school [ 2.7MB ]

Every School a Good School [ 707KB ]

The Foundation Stage

The Foundation Stage of Primary Education relates to children in Years 1 and 2 in primary schools. It builds on the good practice in the pre-school sector. The Foundation Stage promotes quality learning experiences appropriate for children from 4-6 years of age.


The Revised Curriculum Primary [ 980KB ]

Understanding the Foundation Stage [ 704KB ]

Additional Foundation Stage resources from the Council for Curriculum Examination & Assessment (CCEA)

Learning through Play in the Early Years [ 5.2MB ]

Learning Outdoors [ 3.1MB ]

Every School a Good School [ 707KB ]

Together Toward Improvement - Primary [ 2.5MB ]

Interagency Links

Officers of the BELB and teachers and Principals in schools work in partnership with many early years organisations and providers in the city eg Belfast Health Trust and  Sure Start to provide quality services for young children and their families.

Early Years Board Support

BELB CASS officers provide support for teachers and schools in a variety of ways, supporting schools and individual teachers, organising cluster groups and providing a range of INSET as requested.


Early Years Curriculum Advice and Support Officer
Liz Crowe
028 9056 4045

Nursery Clusters

There have been 3 nursery clusters throughout 2010/11 on the subject of   Supporting Speech Language and Communication Skills in the Nursery. The sessions were provided by Speech and Language Therapist Mary Cahalane. The presentations are available here to support further work in nursery schools and units.

Attention, Listening and Auditory Memory [ 1.8MB ]

Understanding Spoken Language [ 1.5MB ]

Expressive Language including Development of Vocabulary, Grammar & Phonological Awareness [ 2.5MB ]

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