Your early learning and childcare options
Children aged 3 and 4
All 3 and 4 year olds can have up to 1140 hours of early learning and childcare per year, depending on the child's start date.
Look out for a letter from the council about places at council-run early learning settings.
When children can start
|The child turns 3 in||The child can start in|
|January||February (1 month and 1 day after 3rd birthday)|
|February||March (1 month and 1 day after 3rd birthday)|
|March to August||August (start of autumn term)|
|September||October (1 month and 1 day after 3rd birthday)|
|October||November (1 month and 1 day after 3rd birthday)|
|November||January (start of winter term)|
|December||January (start of winter term)|
How to apply
There are separate application processes for:
- school nurseries
- and all other funded providers.
When the child turns 2, you can register at a school nursery. Ask the school for the application form.
Schools will confirm places:
- in May for children due to start between August and December
- in October for children due to start between January and March.
All other providers process their own applications for 3 and 4 year-olds. Contact them directly.
You can also download and print an application (PDF). Complete the form and take it to your chosen provider.
Childminders can also provide places for your ELC funded hours. If so, they will tell you about funded places.
For more information, contact Kelly Eckley, Midlothian Development Officer for the Scottish Childminding Association:
Search in your area
- Council run nurseries
- Directory of early learning and childcare for 3-4-year-olds
- Vogrie Outdoor Early Learning and Childcare Centre
Additional support needs
Children with additional support needs may get support to overcome barriers to attending.
Do I need to attend the school nursery for my child’s catchment Primary school?
No, your child does not have to go to your catchment school nursery to get a P1 place there. They can go anywhere you choose, in or out of Midlothian, as long as the provider meets the national standard and has a place.
All providers have robust transition programmes in place to support your child’s move to Primary School.
Will I have to take up the full 1140 hours?
You may prefer not to take the full 1140 hours. Providers tend to be flexible, so discuss your preferred pattern with them.
Can my child attend for more than the funded 1140 hours?
You may be able to pay for more hours, depending on the provider and on available places. The hours will be agreed between yourself and the provider, and a charge will apply.
For more information, visit Childcare you can pay for.
Can I split my hours over more than one provider?
You can have a “blended” place between 2 approved providers. Both must be able to offer the hours you are looking for, so research the options ahead of time.
You must apply to both settings. If one is in a school, the child must attend there for at least 2 days per week.
Will my child receive a snack and meal?
Yes, children attending funded ELC sessions are entitled to a free meal and a drink and snack.
Meals and snacks are nutritious and low in added sugars. Children can make their own choices, making snack time a learning experience.
You can ask providers about the food, and discuss any dietary requirements.