Your early learning and childcare options

A Good Time To Be 2

When your child reaches the age of 2, you can add them to the waiting list of the early learning and childcare setting of your choice.

Contact your preferred setting to add your child to the waiting list. Your first choice may not be available, but a place is guaranteed as long as you live in Midlothian.

Free childcare for qualifying families

The 'Good Time To Be 2' scheme offers up to 1140 hours of free early learning and childcare per year, from a month and a day after the child's 2nd birthday.

  • 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 sharing of their previous learning with the new setting.


Childminders can also provide places for your ELC funded hours. If they do, your childminder will tell you about funded places.

For more information, contact:

For a list of childminders who provide places for 2 year olds, email Early Years.

Who is eligible?

Your child will be eligible if you, as their parent/carer, receive certain benefits.

If you are on Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, then your earnings can be £18,725 or less.

Visit the website (opens in a new window) for more information.

If you are not sure if you qualify, email or call 0131 271 3682.

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

You may still be able to apply, for example:

  • if your child has additional support needs
  • or you or your child receive medium to high PIP /DLA
  • or as a parent/carer, you have a care experience background.

Read about our discretionary criteria

If you are not sure whether you qualify, call 0131 271 3682.

Delivery model

Early learning and childcare settings in the private or voluntary sector (e.g. nurseries, childminders and playgroups) offer flexible patterns of attendance. Many providers are open all year, and may offer different ways of taking up the funding. You will need to contact funded providers to find out about the options, as they will vary.

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 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, 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.