Early learning and childcare (ELC) is an important stage in a child’s development and helps children to learn through play. A high quality early learning and childcare experience builds on the valuable learning that takes place in and around the home and also promotes the development of other essential skills that they will rely on in later life. Children greatly enjoy and benefit from playing and sharing their learning with other children.
Early childhood centres and funded providers are staffed by practitioners skilled in responding to children’s needs and interests in a nurturing, caring and child friendly environment.
Learning experiences, which are developmentally appropriate, provide children with opportunities to be creative and curious, to explore, experiment and pursue their interests, to communicate, collaborate and forge friendships which can last a lifetime.
All providers of government funded early learning and childcare are currently inspected by the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland. Practitioners follow national guidelines for the learning and care of children aged 0-5 years that encourage learning through play.
From August 2021, all three and four year olds and eligible two year olds will have access to 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare.
That means 30 hours per week Monday to Friday during school term time or around 23 hours a week if taken across a calendar year.
The 'Funding Follows the Child' approach will be introduced from August 2021 along with the statutory roll out of the increased hours of early learning and childcare.
The approach ensures that the funded entitlement is delivered in high quality settings that meet the new National Standard for Early Learning and Childcare (ELC). At the heart of the new Standard is a clear and consistent set of quality criteria, to ensure that all settings which offer the funded entitlement are delivering the highest quality early learning and childcare experience.
Providers who meet the new National Standard for ELC, have contracted with a local authority and have a space available can offer your child a funded place. Providers can include:
- Registered childminders
- Private or voluntary sector nurseries
- Early childhood centres and nurseries
Information on the National Standard can be found on Scottish Government's website.
The statutory funded early learning and childcare is an entitlement for children and attendance is not compulsory.
If you are seeking a more flexible pattern of hours for your child, including less than 1140 hours, please discuss this with the Head of Centre/Head Teacher, Depute Manager or Senior Lead early learning and childcare practitioner.