Aberdeen parents trial Stay, Play and Learn initiative

A childcare trial in Aberdeen which encourages parents to stay, play and learn is helping to shape future provision across the country.

The 2 Stay, Play and Learn trial - developed in partnership by the Scottish Government, Aberdeen City Council and Early Years Scotland (EYS) - offers families with eligible two-year-olds up to 600 hours annually of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) provision through a programme of family learning and engagement.

Parents can choose to stay and take part in activities such as crafting, role play, construction and story time alongside their children, as a way of encouraging and supporting their learning and development. Parents also have the option of participating in adult learning opportunities, with the guidance and support of a qualified early years staff team.

Running at the city’s Kirkhill Primary School and Manor Park Learning Centre, the trial forms part of a national drive to increase ELC provision and to look at new and different models which fit the needs of parents.

Aberdeen City Council leader Cllr Jenny Laing joined the Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, and Jean Carwood-Edwards, Early Years Scotland Chief Executive, on a visit to learn more about the successful trial.

Cllr Laing said: “It is great to see children and parents engaged in a supportive environment, with both the youngsters and adults benefiting from the type of quality time that will make a lasting impact.

“As a Council our ambition is to ensure every resident of Aberdeen is able to fulfil their potential and we recognise the importance of giving our young people the best possible start in life, continuing that focus through school years and beyond.

“We are proud of our track record of innovation in our approach, for example through the successful Big Noise Torry project, and of the commitment Aberdeen City Council makes to supporting new ways of engaging with children and parents. This trial is a good example of that in action.”

Mr McDonald said: “It has been fantastic to see this trial in action and to hear the positive feedback of families who are benefitting from this service. Parental engagement is vital to achieving positive outcomes for children and closing the attainment gap, and this trial is aimed at encouraging exactly that.”

Jean Carwood-Edwards, Early Years Scotland Chief Executive, said: “Our 2 Stay Play and Learn is an alternative approach to nursery provision. It is potentially a very powerful model, and one which we believe will truly trigger transformational change for many children and families at the earliest possible stage in their lives."

The 2 Stay, Play and Learn trial began in March 2017 and is supported by £43,500 of Aberdeen City Council funding and a £39,000 of Scottish Government investment.

The trial is based on the existing model of Stay and Play delivered by Early Years Scotland and focuses on parental engagement to achieve positive outcomes for children. Fourteen trials are currently underway across Scotland.