How would your child benefit from 1140 hours of early learning?
Hundreds of local people have already filled in our short survey about how they would like to use the 1140 hours of FREE early learning and childcare all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds will be entitled to by 2020.
There is still time
If you’ve not filled it in, there’s still time. The survey runs until Friday 15 December.
We want to hear from more people
Midlothian’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Jim Muirhead said: “We’re really pleased with the response so far but we still want to hear from more local people. That way, we can be confident of shaping a service around the needs of as many families and carers as possible.
Please fill it in
“So please fill it in whether you’ve currently got a young family or you will have by 2020 and beyond. Your views are extremely important to us.”
A pilot project is running at Mount Esk Nursery
Mount Esk Nursery head teacher John Dagger is an enthusiastic champion of the 1140 hours of Early Learning & Childcare (ELC).
John and his Bonnyrigg staff members are taking part in a pilot project, which has been running since August 2017, offering the expanded hours to 24 families.
The head teacher's experience has been positive
His experience has been very positive. He says: “We know the extended hours are coming and staff members are very enthusiastic. We’d much rather get stuck in, work out any issues and build up our capacity than wait until 2020.”
Two new staff members have been taken on
He says with the staff to children ratio requirement now one staff member to eight children, up from one to ten, two new full time members of staff have been taken on.
A new lunch rota is organised
A new staff lunch rota is organised and children too now take lunches in small family style groups of three or four people at a table.
Cosy corners have been created to accommodate any children needing a nap throughout the longer school day and new routines have been implemented to cope with arrivals and departures and tooth brushing.
The extra time has many advantages
Among the most rewarding aspects of the pilot is being able to observe and build relationships with the children across the longer day.
John says: “Here children lead their learning. You can watch their play develop over the course of the day so they can move their play around the room, take and experience and modify it. It’s really interesting.”
Forest schools and outdoor classes are all being considered
By 2020, assuming all parents and carers take up their entitlement, Mount Esk will be accommodating 120 children enjoying the 1140 hours.
John says: “We’re looking now at how to do that. We might have an outdoor classroom, we’re looking at forest schools and how to have more experiences outwith the school. Really, how can the extra hours not be a good thing?”