Find early learning and childcare

Early learning and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

Drawing of group of pre-school children

Eligibility for funded hours starts the term after a child’s third birthday and all children receive the full number of hours they are entitled to whether they attend a full year or term time placement in either a local authority or partner provider setting.  The number of funded hours a child receives depends on the start date of their eligibility.

Number of funded hours for session 2024 / 2025

Date of birth

Eligible from

Offer letters sent out

Funded entitlement for year 2024 / 2025

1 March 2021 to
31 August 2021      

August 2024
(autumn term)

Week beginning
25 March 2024

1140 hours 

1 September 2021 to
31 December 2021

January 2025 
(spring term)

Week beginning
7th October 2024

624 hours

1 January 2022 to
29 February 2022

April 2025
(summer term)

Week beginning
3rd February 2025

270 hours

Nursery places for children younger than three are provided at full cost by private nurseries and childminders, unless you’re eligible for free early learning and childcare for two-year olds.

View early years 1140 hours video with audio description

Contact your nursery to discuss how you can use your funded hours, for example

  • term time in line with school hours
  • morning or afternoon sessions
  • ten-hour day sessions.

Option to purchase additional hours in nursery

From August 2024 you may be able to purchase additional hours of early learning and childcare in local authority settings that are open all year round.

The cost for additional hours from August 2024 will be

  • £6.10 for children aged between 2 and 3 years
  • £5.60 for children aged between 3 and 5 years.

For more information, please email

Applying for a place 

Please submit one application only to your first choice setting and agree when you can drop off your documents at the nursery. To apply please take along the documents noted below: 

  • Apply for nursery form (PDF)
  • Child's birth certificate - or, if informed by the nursery, their passport
  • Proof of your address, such as a Council Tax letter or utility bill

When completing the form for a local authority nursery, you must give a second and third choice.

To apply at a partner-provider nursery or a childminder please contact them directly.

Children who do not live in Edinburgh

Parents who are not residents in Edinburgh can access their early learning and childcare funded hours in any of our local authority settings

Early Years Admissions Criteria – The City of Edinburgh Council

Nursery admissions - flowchart – The City of Edinburgh Council

Find nurseries 

Search for a nursery in your area

Find a childminder

Download a print-friendly list of council and partner provide centres - PDF

Please note, some downloads may not be accessible. For help, please email