Low income families in four areas will be helped with the cost of childcare for primary school children.
Ministers have pledged £1m to expand services in parts of Dundee, Glasgow, Clackmannanshire and Inverclyde.
It means that low-income families will receive help with the cost of care outside of school hours, with some families having to pay nothing at all as a result of the initiative.
A roll-out of similar provisions in other parts of Scotland is expected from April 2023.
Children’s minister Clare Haughey said pilots in the four areas will help the Scottish Government “understand what is needed to support families in different communities”.
She was speaking after meeting families in the Linlathen area of Dundee who are already benefiting from the project.
She said: “Delivering our vision of a high-quality, affordable and accessible system of childcare is crucial to our national mission to tackle child poverty. It can help parents and carers to access work, training or study, while children benefit from additional opportunities to socialise and take part in a range of activities.
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to delivering school age childcare – what we learn from the four areas that will see services expanded will help us understand what is needed to support families in different communities.”
The Scottish Government also confirmed it is to continue the Nursery Rates Relief Scheme, providing 100% relief on non-domestic rates to eligible day nurseries beyond the current end date of June 30, 2023.
Dundee City Council family support worker Doug Millar said: “The Linlathen project will go a long way to help remove barriers to childcare for people in this area.
“Parents will be able to access employment opportunities while their children are enjoying activities delivered in a safe and nurturing environment.”
Early Years Scotland chief executive Jane Brumpton said: “We welcome the extension of the nursery rates relief scheme which will support the sector during these challenging times ahead.
“We will look forward to working in partnership with the Scottish Government and the early learning and childcare sector to implement the priorities within this plan and support innovative solutions that focus on the needs of children and families and support the early years sector to thrive and flourish.”
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