Early learning and childcare
Early learning and childcare is education and care for young children, delivered in a caring and nurturing setting.
Early learning and childcare settings offer education and childcare to children up to school age, they can be operated by the council, private businesses, voluntary organisations or childminders.
Choosing a provider
You can send your child to the provider of your choice. Council nurseries and other registered partners deliver the funded provision in Dumfries and Galloway.
You're welcome to arrange visits to providers to find out what's on offer before making your choice.
The Care Inspectorate inspects all providers to make sure they meet national standards. They publish inspection reports so you can find out what quality of care you can expect:
You can also visit the Scottish Family Information Service website to find out more about services near you.
Paying for childcare
Eligible 2 year olds and all 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to a maximum of 600 hours of early learning and childcare which is funded through the council. The number of funded hours and start dates depend on the child's date of birth:
You may wish to pay for additional hours over and above your funded entitlements if they are available. Some providers will also charge a registration fee and ask you to pay for snacks.
You may qualify for support with childcare costs in certain circumstances:
- Read Scottish Government guidance on the help that's available with childcare costs
- Use the GOV.UK calculator to get an idea of the help you could get with childcare costs
- Find out more about the Tax-Free Childcare Scheme
Best Start Grant
Best Start Grants is a Scottish Government scheme which awards 3 cash payments to parents and carers. You can apply if:
- you are a parent or carer
- if you have a child who is the right age for a payment
- if your in work or not but as long as you are on certain payments or tax credits
You can find out more and apply through the mygov.scot website
Additional entitlement for older children
Most children start school between 4 years 6 months and 5 years old but it's possible to start children later in certain circumstances. These children may be entitled to an extra year of funded early learning and childcare.