Giving children space to grow

New guide to improve childcare settings.

A new guide to enhance the design of childcare provision across Scotland is now available for local authorities, private and third sector providers.  

Based on the best national and international evidence, ‘Space to Grow’ will be used in the preparation of sites for the nationwide expansion to 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare by 2020. 

It contains case studies from as far afield as Japan, New Zealand and Sweden alongside local examples in Dunfermline, Glasgow, Aberdeen and the Highlands to demonstrate good design principles which are cost-effective and also have the potential to make a huge difference to the quality of learning for young children.

During a visit to Kilcoy Kindergarten at Muir of Ord, Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald said:

 “It is an incredibly exciting time for early learning and childcare in Scotland as we prepare to near double funded early learning and childcare provision to 1140 hours by 2020.  

“This guide will be is an extremely useful tool for all early learning and childcare providers to help in planning for this expansion. It is just one of 31 actions we have committed to delivering in the next year to keep quality, flexibility, accessibility and affordability at the heart of delivery.

“It features some fantastic examples of good design in early years settings from Scotland and further afield, and definitely shows that applying good design practice can have a really positive impact on children’s learning. During my visit to Kilcoy Kindergarten I was able to see how they have combined an existing resource with a range of different outdoor spaces to create a truly innovative environment which really capture the imagination of the children and help them to become more independent.

“We know that high quality learning and childcare can make a key contribution to closing the attainment gap which is why we are determined to deliver the strong foundations our children need to succeed at school and in life.”

Karen Reid, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “Early learning and childcare, and out of school care, play a hugely important role in the lives of thousands of children across Scotland.  Expanding early learning and childcare plays a vital role in delivering the national outcomes and in helping to make Scotland the best place to grow up.

“I am delighted the Care Inspectorate had the opportunity to work in a collaborative way with a range of stakeholders to produce this important resource which will support all early learning and childcare providers, and the out of school care sector, to develop new and innovative environments for children to grow and develop in.

“This will be a key document in our scrutiny and improvement work, and I would like to sincerely thank all those who have given of their time to produce it.”

Bill Alexander, Highland Council’s Director of Care and Learning said: “This guidance will provide helpful advice to local authorities and early learning providers across the country.  It should encourage both innovation and better informed judgement, about good design in early years settings, as we move towards the enhancement of provision by 2020.”


The publication of ‘Space to Grow’ is the first of the 2017-18 Action Plan commitments to be delivered.


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