Find childcare options

Choosing childcare and early education is a big step for you and your child. There are many different types of childcare services available for children from birth to age 13:

Childcare costs vary between different services and providers and you will need to contact providers directly to find out how much they charge. You can get help to pay for childcare (including tax free childcare).

Education Scotland and Care Inspectorate regulate all early learning and childcare providers. We also check them for quality assurance. 


Childminders are professional day carers who look after children in their own home. They are self-employed so set their own charges and hours of business. Childminders are registered with the Care Inspectorate and inspected by them. 


Activities in nurseries are planned to help children develop and learn new skills, play and make friends. Children aged 3 and 4 and some 2-year-olds are eligible to get free hours towards funding their nursery place. However not all nurseries offer funded places and you need to pay for their childcare services.

Find out more about nursery places.

Out of school care

Out of school care services are for school age children to play, learn and have fun in groups. They must be registered with the Care Inspectorate if they run for more than 2 hours a day and more than 6 days per year. The services are usually based in or near schools. They are run by a team of qualified staff who will often pick children up from their school.

Holiday schemes often run as extensions of already existing out of school clubs. They provide care for children during holiday period, to attend for either full or half day sessions.

Find out more out of school care provision.

Parent and toddler groups

Parent and toddler groups are quite informal. They give parents or carers an opportunity to meet other parents and let children experience a social setting. They give a form of support. They may only meet for a few hours each week.