All 36 Early Childhood Centres (ECC) in East Ayrshire are now delivering 1140 hours of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC), after the completion of the Early Learning and Childcare expansion programme. In addition, seven funded ELC providers and 40 childminders are on the Council’s contract framework to deliver funded ELC.
This means that all 3 and 4 year olds, and eligible 2 year olds, could benefit from 1140 hours a year of funded Early Learning and Childcare. That works out at about 30 hours a week if parents and carers use it during school term-time, or around 22 hours a week if used all year-round.
Last September, the Council also agreed to fund increased hours in cross boundary places for the children of parents resident in East Ayrshire but who work or study in other local authority areas. We listened to our parents and carers and understood that this policy would make a positive improvement to their lives and to the lives of their children.
Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning said: “Early Learning and Childcare is incredibly important for our parents and carers and our youngest learners. Setting a foundation of learning helps to reduce the attainment gap and of course access to Early Learning and Childcare helps parents and carers to remain within the workplace, something that is essential during this time of economic uncertainty.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Early Learning and Childcare expansion delivery team and our contractors who worked in difficult circumstances to ensure that we were in a position to deliver 1140hrs this month.”
Early learning and childcare is an important stage in a child’s development and helps children to learn through play. Attending an ECC supports the valuable learning that takes place in and around the home and promotes the development of essential skills that children rely on later in life. Skilled practitioners understand and respond to children’s needs and interests, encouraging them to be creative and curious, to explore, communicate and build friendships.
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.