National Pyjama Day

Early Childhood Ireland’s National Pyjama Day is the largest one-day fundraising event organised by the early childhood care and education sector in Ireland.

National Pyjama Day


Early Childhood Ireland’s National Pyjama Day 2021 will take place on Friday 19 November .
More Details will be available shortly.
Unfortunately due to COVID-19 National Pyjama Day did not take place in 2020.


National Pyjama Day Fund last took place in May 2019 and a total of five charities will benefit from grants from the Fund, which that year amounted to €280,000.

The Fund was launched with a special event at the Central Remedial Clinic in Clontarf in December 2019. Early Childhood Ireland CEO Teresa Heeney was joined by Chief Executive of the Community Foundation for Ireland, Tina Roche, and representatives from each of the five recipient charities:

  • AsIAm
  • ReCreate
  • Central Remedial Clinic
  • Respond Housing Association
  • Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency (DESSA)

Over 65,000 children at 1,300 settings around Ireland participated in this year’s National Pyjama Day celebrations on Friday 10 May. The event is the biggest fundraising date in the Irish early years calendar and each year raises much-needed funds for charities that support children with additional needs. Now in its eighteenth year, it has to date raised over €3 million.

Speaking at the launch, Ms. Heeney commented, ‘Early Childhood Ireland’s National Pyjama Day is a very special event. It is one of the most exciting dates in our members’ diaries each year and one eagerly anticipated by children, families, and staff alike.’

She continued, ‘National Pyjama Day is a unique occasion that celebrates children helping children and having fun. All over the country, children and staff don their favourite PJs and take part in storytelling, pillow fights, bear hunts, and many more fun activities during the day. We are so very grateful to everyone who took part this year and helped to raise such a fantastic amount for children with additional needs. My warmest congratulations to all of the recipient charities!’

Early Childhood Ireland is supported by the Community Foundation for Ireland in the administration of the National Pyjama Day Fund. Commenting at this year’s launch, Chief Executive Ms. Roche said, ‘This is the third year we have worked with Early Childhood Ireland on the National Pyjama Day Fund and it is amazing to see the initiative going from strength to strength. We would like to congratulate the five worthy grant recipients and look forward to seeing the impact of their work.’


How does Pyjama Day work?

It is very simple. Children and staff in early years settings are sponsored to wear their pyjamas into the setting on National Pyjama Day. This is where the magic happens – children take part in dens, pillow fights, PJ picnics, bear hunts, storytelling, and nursery rhymes amid many other activities. Importantly, these activities are also an opportunity for settings to highlight the play-based, child-centred early years curriculum which underpins practice and nurtures children at this vital time in their young lives.


How are the funds managed?

The Pyjama Day Fund generally benefits charities that support children with additional needs under the age of 6. In previous years, Early Childhood Ireland worked with a designated recipient charity. In 2017, this was changed slightly. Henceforward, and based on the funds raised on the day, grant amounts will be awarded to a number of chosen charities.


The Charity Selection Process

Early Childhood Ireland is supported by the Community Foundation for Ireland in the assessment and administration of grants. The Community Foundation for Ireland is a philanthropic organisation which seeks just and progressive social change. The Foundation empowers people and organisations who want to make a difference through a model of philanthropy that is based on trust, effectiveness, and impact. In 2016, the Foundation and its donors distributed almost €6 million to charitable causes in Ireland and overseas and reached the milestone of €30 million in cumulative grants since its establishment in 2000. 

The Community Foundation fulfils the role of independent third party in the grant process. A set of criteria is established for charities which apply for a grant from the fund. The Community Foundation assesses applications against these criteria. When the grants are paid out, the organisation ensures that they are properly administered. 


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