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Published 30 June 2021

The expansion at Dalmonach Early Learning and Childcare Centre to accommodate the introduction of 1140 hours, has seen both staff and children numbers double.

The popular Bonhill centre, which has been delivering the free 1140 hours entitlement to three and four-year-olds as well as eligible two-year-olds since August 2019, has increased placements from 60 to 112 and doubled the number of staff from seven to 14. This includes a new post of Equity and Excellence lead, a role created as part of the early years expansion to raise attainment.  

The extension has created larger spaces for children to explore and learn through play, both indoors and outdoors with children having access to specially created  areas to promote independence, curiosity and discovery.

Children are encouraged to be independent and problem solve by managing their own risks and developed their literacy and numeracy skills. Children’s health and wellbeing is key and the centre offers  cosy areas where children can relax.  

The additional outdoor space also promotes learning through play and increases the opportunity for free flow access to outdoor learning. Children have access to block play resources, which supports children's social-emotional development and also teaches critical skills in problem-solving, maths, engineering and  creative thinking.

The centre plans to further develop the outdoor learning environment to incorporate a Forest Schools area in future.

Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services said: “It is fantastic to see the children enjoying their new early learning and childcare centre and making the very most of the additional space both inside and outside. I am really delighted that as an authority we have managed to deliver the commitment to 1140 hours of free early learning and childcare which will be a great benefit to families who rely on childcare to secure further education, training or employment.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, Vice Convener of Educational Services, added: “Our early years expansion has resulted in more than 1,900 eligible families accessing free childcare across West Dunbartonshire ahead of the Scottish Government target of August 2021.  The extension at Dalmonach has given children more space to grow and develop their learning and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed in helping deliver this project which is helping families and also giving children the very best start to their education.”