Your early learning and childcare options

Age 2 to 3

When your child reaches the age of 2, you can add them to the waiting list of the early learning or nursery class of your choice. They will take up an available place a month after their 3rd birthday.

Contact the nursery directly. Your first choice may not be available, but a place is guaranteed as long as you live in Midlothian.


A Good Time To Be 2 - free childcare for qualifying families

The 'Good Time To Be 2' scheme offers up to 600 hours of free early learning and childcare per year, from the month after the child's 2nd birthday. By August 2020 the 600 hours will be increasing to up to 1140 hours.

  • Your child will enjoy a range of play experiences to support their learning and development.
  • Staff will be there to discuss your child’s interests and development with you.
  • There are opportunities to share learning from home and be involved in your child’s learning in the setting.
  • You will get support with your child’s transition to nursery and share their previous learning with their new setting.

Where your child can learn

Who is eligible

Your child will be eligible if you, as their parent/carer, receive certain benefits. Visit the website (opens in a new window) for more information. If you are not sure whether you qualify, call us on 0131 271 3682.

You may apply for:

  • at least 5 hours per week. This consists of:
    • 2 sessions of 2 and a half hours
    • up to 15 hours 50 minutes per week
    • no session lasting more than eight hours.
  • This must be for at least 38 weeks per year, but does not need to be only in term time.

Sessions are subject to availability. Some centres may operate set hours.

If you don't meet the Scottish Government's eligibility criteria

You may still be able to apply. Read about our discretionary criteria.

How to apply

A child becomes eligible from:

  • the month after their 2nd birthday, or
  • the first month after you - their parent/carer - meet the conditions.

If you think you may be eligible, please apply straight away.

Complete the "A good time to be 2" application form (Word) and return it to the address on the form, with:

  • child's birth certificate or passport
  • proof of address, such as council tax notice, child benefit letter or utility bill
  • proof of benefits

Download the good time to be 2 application form in PDF format

Or email us for a paper copy of the form

You can also get the form from providers, and from reception at Midlothian House, Buccleuch House or Fairfield House in Dalkeith. Providers can help fill in the form, or you can get help at Fairfield House.

What happens next

  1. The council will write to you and the provider, to confirm if the child is eligible.
  2. When you get the letter, please contact the provider directly to confirm a start date and sessions the child will attend.
  3. The provider will contact the council to confirm the start date and sessions agreed.

Peep Learning Together Programme