Newmilns ECC gears up to new extra hours

With more room indoors and much more scope for outdoor learning and play outdoors, the centre is now all geared up for August 2020, when the Scottish Government’s Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland Action Plan  comes into force. It will nearly double the number of hours of free childcare available from 600 to 1140 hours, giving parents and carers the choice on when and where to use it.

Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning, East Ayrshire Council was one of a party of officers and members  including Council Leader Councillor Douglas Reid who joined children as they explored the new facility and helped them plant an apple tree. She said: “It’s great to see the children in their wee red suits and wellies playing and exploring the outdoors, and learning about nature – getting fresh air and learning to cope with our lovely Scottish weather are all a big part of it too!

“At this age, there’s so much to learn through play, it’s exciting to see these youngsters finding out all about how to work with others, make friends, learn about the world around them and all while having great fun too!  The newly enriched indoor and outdoor environment at Newmilns lends itself to giving these kids and opportunity to experience the very best  possible start in life.

“For parents, the new extra hours provision will make a big difference, with more flexibility in the system, meaning they can choose either to use  up to 30 hours a week through school term time or take advantage of up to 22 hours a week, every week, throughout the year. This will be available to all three and four year olds and some two year olds.

“For East Ayrshire, the new provision has meant a re-think of facilities at all our existing Early Childhood Centres and the creation of some new ones to meet expected demand. This new system allows parents or carers to choose between full days, part days, term time or year round or even mix and match providers. For those who’re working, studying or caring for others it should help with that difficult work/life balance and open up new possibilities, knowing children are being well looked after in a safe, stimulating educational environment.

“We’re well on the way to completing an extensive programme of redevelopment in all our centres and look forward to meeting the challenge of extra provision in  August 2020. We’re confident it will be lifechanging for children and parents throughout East Ayrshire in years to come.”