Merton Council is to give more parents the opportunity to take advantage of free childcare and early education for two-year-olds in the borough.
The council is extending the free places to some low-income working families as well as the current families who qualify by receiving certain unemployment benefits. This means an extra 500 children will be eligible to benefit from high quality childcare for free. The programme is due to begin across the country in September, but has been brought forward by Merton so more families can benefit earlier in the borough.
Parents who take advantage of the free childcare can be assured their children will go to an approved nursery, preschool or childminder in Merton for up to 15 hours a week, for 38 weeks a year. It gives children the chance to learn new skills, develop their independence and meet and play with other children.
Cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Maxi Martin said: “I would encourage parents in Merton to check whether they are eligible to take up this offer. Good quality childcare can help with the development and social skills of children, as well as helping low income parents meet the cost of childcare whilst at work, in training or seeking employment.”
Parents can find out more at www.merton.gov.uk/two. Staff at Merton’s children’s centres will be happy to answer any questions about free places for the two-year-olds programme that families may have. To find out your nearest children centre visit www.merton.gov.uk/childrenscentres.