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General guidelines

Universal Design Guidelines for Early Learning and Care Settings


Publication date
1 January 2019
Tom Grey | Máire Corbett | Jacinta Sheerin | Teresa Heeney | Professor Emer Ring | Dr. Lisha O’Sullivan
  • English
  • 2019


Editorial Information: National Disability Authority

These guidelines are underpinned by a systematic literature review including national and international best practice; site-based case studies; and a wide-ranging stakeholder engagement process. 

The guidelines raise awareness about the importance of a supportive built environment in inclusive Early Learning and Care settings and the role of Universal Design (UD) , in the following ways:

  • An Introduction Section that sets out the wider context for ELC settings in Ireland and the benefits of UD.
  • An At a Glance Section that provides a brief overview of the key UD considerations and issues across a variety of typical Early Learning and Care settings. This section shows how the guidance can respond to different levels of design and intervention, from minor to major works. It provides information relating to design, participation and collaboration to ensure the design process takes account of the expertise, needs and preferences of all users.
  • Four Sections of detailed guidance ranging from overall site approach and entry to detailed guidance around building components and technology.
  • An Appendix Section with a bibliography, glossary of terms, links to useful information, and an outline of the stakeholder consultation process. 


3 OCTOBER 2023
Universal Design Guidelines for Early Learning and Care Settings