The first Family Learning Centre to support families from before their children are born right up until they start school has opened in Woodburn, Dalkeith.
Dr Mary Smith, Midlothian Council’s director of education, communities and economy, said: “We’re absolutely delighted the centre has opened and we are planning to develop this approach in Mayfield and Gorebridge over the coming years.
“The Woodburn centre is a new innovation, a first-class facility where families will work in partnership with a team of professionals in early learning and childcare, family support, the health service and third sector. This model has at its heart the development of family resilience.”
The Scottish Government is providing £2.3 million capital funding to Midlothian from 2014 to 2016 for early learning and childcare for two, three and four-year-old children. Some of this funding has been used to improve the existing provision in Woodburn and will meet the majority of the centre’s costs.
Communities have been consulted about the design and delivery of services.
Parents and carers will have access to speech and language therapy for their children. The centre will work in partnership with local parents to design a range of group and adult learning courses.
There will be a strong emphasis on encouraging parents’ involvement in their children’s learning and development. This will be supported by the one-way viewing gallery in the parents’ room where they can observe their children at play. The children’s space has been planned to promote a rich learning environment, including access to a secure garden.