kidplayingThe Scottish Government is committed to encouraging high quality, flexible early learning and childcare which is accessible and affordable for all families.

Free early learning and childcare is available for all three and four-year-olds and for around a quarter of two-year-olds in Scotland.

Scotland’s free early learning and childcare helps to give children a great start to their education. It encourages them to learn through play with other children and promotes the development of language and social skills in a safe and fun environment. It also helps them to prepare for school.

It’s good for parents too, giving them the flexibility they need to organise family life. It also allows parents to get back to work, study or training by supporting their childcare needs.

One of the key benefits free early learning and childcare hours have had on Gail is that they have allowed her to go back to work. She says; ‘The real difference to me was that it gave me the time to look for a job. I didn’t have any childcare arrangements for Rhys which made things like going to the Jobcentre very difficult. Once Rhys was in nursery, I was able to go and work on my CV and apply for jobs in the library round the corner. I could focus on my job search and use my time better without the worry of childcare.

Gail Wallace, 31 from Dundee

Read the full case study >

For most people early learning and childcare will mean a place at a nursery but it can also mean childminders, playgroups or other types of childcare providers.

You can find out how to claim your child’s free place here.