AN EXTENDED early learning and childcare provision has opened in Alloa this month following refurbishment.

The provision opened at Park PS in what is the latest development in the Wee County's commitment to providing families with 1,140 hours of free early learning and childcare (ELC) per year.

Built on the grounds of Park Nursery Class, high quality outdoor learning is part of the offering at Park Primary ELC, explained Clackmannanshire Council which has completed an expansion programme of early learning settings with “significant investments made”.

The Park PS extension, for children aged two to five, has capacity for 140 pupils and will be open all year between 8am and 5.40pm.

Cllr Graham Lindsay, spokesman for education, said: “I am delighted that the excellent learning environment that has been created for our youngest children at Park ELC is open.

“This is the latest high quality project the council has completed in Clackmannanshire to provide extended ELC provision, with significant investments made to deliver new and improved provision.

“We are determined to improve outcomes for families in Clackmannanshire, and the provision of quality and flexible early learning and childcare is a key component in that continuing journey.”

In addition to Park ELC, the local authority has also developed existing settings and created new facilities at Tulach ELC at the Tullibody South Campus as well as at Menstrie and Craigbank ELC.

The council has already increased the number of partnerships with childminders and private nurseries to offer more provision.

This August marked the official date from which all children in Scotland will receive 1,140 hours of free childcare a year.

The Wee County met this milestone a year ahead of time last August.

As part of the 1,140 hours of provision, eligible two year olds as well as three to five year olds can access 30 hours of childcare per week during the school term or around 22 hours a week across the full calendar year.

The expanded hours are available in ELC settings including standalone ones as well as those attached to a school or private nursery.

Partner childminders can also be utilised or the provision can be taken as a mixture of the two, known and blended childcare.