Parents and carers of children due to start nursery from August are urged to register their child for a place during enrolment week.
This takes place between March 5 and 9 for the 2018-19 session. The Scottish Government currently provides all three and four year olds with 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare.
The hours are provided in a range of settings including primary schools, playgroups, private nurseries and by some childminders.
Scottish Borders Council are urging parents with children born between March 1, 2014 and February 29, 2016 to visit the setting of their choice during enrolment week and register for a place.
Application packs will be available during the week from participating schools and funded providers, as well as online at www.scotborders.gov.uk/elc.
A number of drop in sessions are being held where staff from the early years team will be on hand to provide more information and answer any questions.
These will take place from 2-7pm at Berwickshire High School, Duns on March 5 covering Berwickshire and Eyemouth High catchment areas; the Abbotsford Room in the Transport Interchange, Galashiels on March 6, covering Earlston and Galashiels High catchment areas; Room 305, Tower Mill, Hawick on March 7 covering Selkirk and Hawick High catchment areas; Kelso High School on March 8 covering Kelso and Jedburgh High catchments and Peebles High on March 12 covering Peebles High catchment area.
Councillor Carol Hamilton, executive member for children and young people, said: “This is a very important milestone in a child’s life and we would ask all parents and carers of eligible children to register with their preferred setting during enrolment week and make sure that their child has a place for this year’s session.”
“There are a number of benefits to taking up these funded places as the hours help to give children a significant start to their education by encouraging them to learn through play with other children, develop their language and social skills and prepare for school.”
She added: “They also give parents time to help them get back to work, study or training and have more flexibility to organise their family life.”
In addition to the existing provision, from August 2020 some school catchment areas will be offering increased hours from the current 600 to 1140 hours.
As set out in a report to the council’s executive on 21 November 2017, this expansion will be phased in across the Borders over the next two years using a four phase approach.
Councillor Hamilton added: “The availability of these additional hours will provide parents with greater choice in terms of the time their child can attend and benefit from early learning and childcare. We are making good progress with our plans to deliver these to parents in the Eyemouth, Burnfoot, Coldstream, Greenlaw, Langlee, Kirkhope and Philiphaugh localities and once our funding allocation from the Scottish Government is confirmed, will then be able to look more closely at how best to make the hours available to parents in other communities.
“We know parents are keen to hear when they will be able to access the extra hours and we will let them know as soon as we can.
“In the meantime, if they are looking for more information, I would encourage them to come along to one of our drop-in sessions if they can, or make contact with our Early Years team.”
More information about early learning and childcare provision is available at: www.scotborders.gov.uk/elc or by contacting the Early Years team on 01835 824000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org