Scores of places are being created in nurseries across Fife to provide early learning and child care for two-year-olds.
From October, two-year-olds from ‘workless families’, as well as children looked after by the local authority or in kinship care, will be eliglible for free nursery places.
Since the legislation was introduced just seven months ago, Fife Council has been working to prepare accommodation to make sure it is suitable.
It expects to have over 600 places available for two-year-olds, including 200 new places. Locally, places will be available at Gallatown and Fair Isle nursery schools and Valley Primary School nursery in Kirkcaldy, and Burntisland Primary School nursery.
Councillor Bryan Poole, spokesman for education, children, young people and families, said: “In Fife a considerable amount of work and consultation has already gone into preparing for the change in hours which will see all three and four year olds receive an additional 125 hours of early learning and childcare per year.
“When it comes to the provision for two year olds, we have well established and very successful services which support early entry for vulnerable children.
“We will build on this strong foundation and work with our partners so that good quality care continues to be provided in an environment which will help both children and parents reach their full potential. We will do all we can to support parents, children and staff as we move forward. This is vital in our battle to break the cycle of deprivation and give children the best start in life.”
The overall aim of the new legislation is to not only provide more flexible early learning and childcare of 600 hours a year for three and four-year-olds, but to provide much-needed support to ‘workless families’, encouraging parents back to work and opening up more opportunities for vulnerable children at an earlier age.
Carrie Lindsay, area education officer, said: “We have an information campaign rolling out which encourages parents or carers of two year old children to come forward to see if they are eligible for early learning and child care places.
“As part of our preparation we have already identified some eligible families. Our challenge is that many families of two year olds who may be eligible for places are not known to us. We don’t want anyone to miss out, whilst, importantly we are ensuring we have the capacity and suitable accommodation within each local area.”