Early learning, childcare and out of school care services: design guidance

Guidance on good design for supporting the delivery of high quality early learning, childcare and out of school care services.

Appendix 1: Good Design: Guidance On Environment Input Standards

The Scottish Government has responded to comments from providers and planners, who requested a list of key principles for all early learning and child care and out of school care settings.


Current Care Inspectorate Expectations:

  • For children under two years - a minimum of 3.7 square metres, per child
  • For children aged two years to under three years - a minimum of 2.8 square meters, per child
  • For children aged three and over - a minimum of 2.3 square meters, per child.

Natural light

Natural light should be available within playrooms used by children.

Number of toilets

For children aged over two years, one w.c. for every 10 children, or part thereof, not less than four. For example a service registered for 34 children, three toilets would be sufficient. A service registered for 35 children four toilets should be provided.

Outdoor play space

Children should have access to suitable, safe outdoor space adjacent to the accommodation.


Email: Jeff Maguire, jeff.maguire@gov.scot

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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