What are smilechildcare’s opening hours?

smilechildcare’s ELC centres are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.  We offer full day sessions or half day sessions, either 8am to 1pm or 1pm to 6pm, we can offer full year childcare or term-time only to suit your needs.

Our Out of School clubs are open Monday to Friday from the end of the school day. We will collect your child from our local schools and provide care for them until 5.45pm.  We also provide a holiday club which runs Monday to Friday from 8am to 5.45pm throughout the school holiday periods.

smilechildcare are open the full year except for Scottish Public Holidays and we also close over the Christmas Period.  We do not charge fees for these days we are closed.

How soon can my child start?

Once we have received your application form and passed your child’s details on to the centre manager, and once there is available space a member of the staff team will contact you to arrange visits. These visits are free allowing you and your child to meet the staff and children and to become familiar with the setting.

Following these visits a mutually agreed start date will be arranged.  It is not possible for a child to start without these vital visits, therefore, if you require a place urgently, please allow time for this important procedure.

Can I apply for childcare in advance?

During busy periods smilechildcare have a waiting list, we would recommend you complete a registration form and place your child on the waiting list in advance.  If you are entering college or university and need funding to pay for childcare, please do not wait until this is confirmed, again, to ensure availability for your child have them placed on our waiting list and provide us with the supporting documents to claim childcare funding as quickly as possible.  As in all cases 4 weeks advance payment must be made once a start date has been provided, smilechildcare cannot wait for 3rd part payment to come through.

Do I need to provide lunch and snack for my child?

Within the Under 5 settings your child will be provided with a nutritious breakfast, a well-balanced, appetising lunch and a healthy afternoon snack. In our breakfast club your child will be provided with a nutritional breakfast and within our out of school clubs your child will receive a nutritious snack. In our holiday clubs your child will be provided with a nutritious breakfast and snack however we ask that you provide a healthy nutritious packed lunch.

Do I need to provide nappies, cream and wipes for my child?

Yes please, we ask you to provide nappies, creams and wipes for your child as so many children’s skin react to different products, we want to ensure that your child is comfortable throughout the day.

How will my child get to the Out of School Club?

We will collect your child from school and take them to our OOS centre either by our own transport or walking where they will meet up with their friends and enjoy their afternoon until you collect them by 5.45pm.

Can you collect my child from another nursery/childminder if required?

No, unfortunately, smilechildcare cannot offer this service.

Do you offer a sibling discount?

Unfortunately, we do not offer a sibling discount, but, as above, if you meet the means tested criteria, we can offer a subsidised reduction to your children’s fees.

If we choose to go on holiday or my child is absent do I still need to pay my fees?

Unfortunately, yes, fees must still be paid whether your child attends or not.  When you start with smilechildcare you are entering into a contract where your childcare is guaranteed for the regular sessions you have requested or we have agreed upon.  You must also still pay if your child is off sick or absent for any other reason.  This is stipulated in your Parent Contract and Terms & Conditions which you are required to sign as agreed before your child’s start date.

Who can collect my child?

When you apply for childcare, we ask you to complete a child registration form, this form asks who you wish to be allowed to collect your child.  Please ensure you list some emergency contacts in case you are unable to collect your child.  If someone arrives to collect your child and they are not on your approved list, for your child’s safety we will not hand your child over.  In an emergency you may be able to arrange for someone we do not have listed but, you must inform us first and you must provide them and us with a password so we know this is allowed on this one occasion.

You can update your contacts list at any time by speaking to us then emailing confirmation.  Any person listed as an emergency contact must email mailbox@smilechildcare.org to confirm they are happy to be contacted by us to collect your child.

Can I request additional sessions out with my regular sessions?

smilechildcare will be happy to accommodate any additional adhoc sessions requested where possible, as we must follow strict guidance on the number of children within our centres at any given period this will depend on availability on the day.

Will I still be required to pay fees if your centre is closed

smilechildcare will not charge for any centre closures for Scottish public holidays or when we are closed over the Christmas period, this is around 10 days per year uncharged.

Any unforeseen circumstances out with our control such as severe weather closures or quarantine/self-isolation periods will still be chargeable, with the exception of Scottish Government funding or Business Interruption Insurance covering such periods.  This is stipulated in your Parent Contract and Terms & Conditions which you must sign as agreed before your child’s start date.

Do I need to apply for a place at the 3 – 5 setting if my child attends the Under 3 setting?

smilechildcare prides ourselves in providing continuous uninterrupted childcare from the age of 3 months.  Once your child begins their journey with smilechildcare they will automatically be transitioned between our settings, for example just before or after your 3rd birthday you will transfer to our 3 – 5 setting and when you are ready to go to school you will transition to our Out of School settings if this service is required.

Does my child have to go outside every day?

Your child will have the opportunity to choose whether to be in or out doors throughout the day and as childcare professionals we have extensively researched the benefits of outdoor experiences and most importantly the impact it can have on their health & wellbeing. We do ask that your child is dressed appropriately to meet all weather conditions.

Food & Nutrition

smilechildcare have our very own highly qualified, experienced Nursery Chef who prepares well-balanced, nutritious and appetising meals in smilechildcare’s large kitchen. Our seasonal menus are carefully thought through and are full of all the essential ingredients necessary to support children’s health and well- being, ensuring children are “fully fuelled” and ready to be busy at play. Government documents such as Setting the Table and Food Matters are used to develop our menus to ensure that cultural and dietary requirements including allergies are accommodated as best as possible. Whenever possible we source our food locally and organically, including seasonal fruit & vegetables

During meal times children enjoy a home like experience, using our separate dining areas indoors and outdoors with staff on hand to support them to be independent and help themselves from serving dishes on the table so they can decide how much food to put on their plate promoting children’s choice.  Children are encouraged and respected in using stainless steel cutlery and ceramic crockery with appropriate supervision, enabling them to develop skills. Staff sit and eat with the children, modelling and encouraging children to try a wide variety of tastes and textures to promote a healthy positive attitude to food.  Children have a choice of milk or water at meal times and can independently access water to drink regularly throughout the day.

smilechildcare believe that meal-times should be a happy, relaxed time where children learn social skills, manners, good hygiene practice and healthy eating habits to last them a lifetime.  Click the below links to view our menus:

Several parents have commented on how well their children eat at nursery and how pleased they are that their children have the opportunity to try new foods and extend their palates.

Setting the table (healthscotland.com)

Food Matters | Care Inspectorate Hub

Healthy eating

We believe that mealtimes should be happy, social occasions for children and staff alike. We promote shared, enjoyable positive interactions at these times.

Seasonal menus are planned to ensure children are offered a balanced healthy diet in line with Scottish Government Setting the Table document. Individual dietary requirements and allergies are accommodated as best as possible and children are encouraged to taste a range of foods and develop a healthy attitude to food. Please see smilechildcare’s Healthy Eating policy for more information.

As we offer a varied selection of funding options, please call us on 0131 476 7800 Ext. 1 to discuss costs or you can email: 


Payment of Fees

Fees are charged per calendar month, this means we charge fees based on your child’s scheduled attendance from the 1st day to the last day in the month, therefore, monthly fee amounts invoiced will vary depending on how many sessions are in that particular month. We can provide you with a 12 equal monthly payment agreement if required. smilechildcare require fees to be paid in advance and in full at the beginning of each new month. We accept most payment options which include: standing order, bank payment, childcare vouchers and tax-free childcare payments, or you can call admin and pay over the phone using debit/credit card.

1140 hours funded childcare

The Scottish Government has pledged that all children aged 3-4 years and eligible 2-year-olds across Scotland will be able to access 1140 childcare from August 2021, you may not know you can access this funding with smilechildcare just as you would with a Local Authority nursery.

smilechildcare have a range of different childcare session options available for full year or term-time only, enabling you to select the best arrangement to suit your family’s needs.  You can use the free hours available to you or add additional sessions which are chargeable.

FREE Full year hours spread over 49 weeks will provide you with 23 hours and 10 minutes free childcare each week, for example:

Your child could attend 2 days 8am–5.05pm and 1 half-day session 8am-1pm/1pm-6pm.

Or 3 full days = 7 hours and 43 minutes per day (hours offered to suit family and centre)

Or 5 AM or PM sessions 8.30am-1.08pm or 1pm-5.38pm completely free of charge.

If you prefer, we can also provide FREE term-time childcare which is available for 38 set weeks of the year based on The City of Edinburgh Councils Local Authority term dates, for example:

Your child could attend 3 full days 8am-6pm each week.

Or, this can be mixed with full days and half days depending on your needs to a maximum of 30 hours completely free, again you can add additional sessions which are chargeable.

Only August starters get the full 1140 hours = 23 hours and 10 minutes spread over 49.2 weeks per year (All late starters are pro rata and hours will be calculated from their start date to the end of term),

January funded children will receive 624 hours (roughly 20 free hours per week).

April funded children will receive 270 hours (roughly 17.5 hours per week).

Help paying your childcare fees

Universal/Child Tax Credit

You can check to see if you are able to access help paying your childcare fees by contacting the services listed below:

If you are working Universal Credit can help with the costs of childcare no matter how many hours you work.  You may be able to claim up to 85% of your childcare costs if you are eligible for Universal Credit and meet some additional conditions.

Please follow the link below for Universal Credits, or if you are already in receipt of Tax Credits use the link supplied:

https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/universal -credit


Child Tax Free Childcare

If you are not eligible for Child/Universal Tax Credits you may be interested in Child Tax Free Childcare, for further information please follow the link below:


Childcare Vouchers

smilechildcare accept all childcare voucher scheme payments.  If you are not already registered for these voucher scheme’s you can no longer apply, you will be able to sign up for Child Tax Free Childcare through the link provided above.

Key worker System

We operate a key worker system to support children’s experience of secure attachments. Your child’s key worker will work in partnership with you to ensure continuity of care and will share your child’s achievements, experiences, and development through Learning Journals.

Learning Journals

Learning Journals is an online technology platform where smilechildcare staff can create personal and meaningful observations of your child throughout the day in either the Under 3 or 3 – 5 setting evidencing your child’s learning journey.  Alongside these observations’ links can be made to developmental milestones evidencing tracking and monitoring of your child’s progress with the option to link to relevant government documentation such as Scotland’s latest government guidance Realising the Ambition: Being Me (SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT, 2020)

The Learning Journal platform can be accessed by parents on computers or mobile phones at any time of the day through a secure password system giving you the opportunity to feel part of your child’s journey. Parents comments are hugely welcomed on this site and we love it when you share your important events in your family’s life or achievements out with the nursery through photographs or stories.

Outdoor learning & outings

Children will be invited on outings around the local community to develop their interests and extend their play experiences. Consent for this will be requested when completing the application pack and when we travel further, outwith the local area we will seek permission prior to each outing taking place.


Outdoor Play

At smilechildcare we are committed to the importance of daily outdoor play and the physical development of all children regardless of their age and stage of development. We provide outdoor play in all weathers.

We recognise that children need regular access to outdoor play in order to keep fit and healthy, develop their large and fine motor skills, experience learning in a natural environment and access sunlight in order to absorb vitamin D more effectively.

The outdoor areas, both within the under 5 settings/school grounds and in the local community have a wealth of experiences and resources which help children to develop in a variety of ways, including independence, exploration and investigative skills, risk taking and self-esteem, all of which support children to develop skills now and for the future.

We ensure all areas are safe and secure through close supervision and the use of robust risk assessments and safety checks. Where possible and appropriate, we plan and encourage play that supports children to understand and manage risks. This type of play enables children to explore and find their own boundaries in a safe environment with supportive early learning and childcare practitioners. Staff are informed of the importance of safety procedures and are trained appropriately to ensure these procedures are followed effectively.

Please click links below for additional information on outdoor play experiences


smilechildcare believe that the earliest years of a child’s life have a significant impact on their long-term development and their life choices.

We pride ourselves on offering high quality, free flow child-centred approach childcare where children have the opportunity to follow their interests and develop at their own pace.

smilechildcare’s staff team work hard to ensure that every child gets the best possible start to their education at our settings to support them to become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens enabling them to reach their full potential.

smilechildcare promote play-based education indoors and outdoors by following government documentation Realising the Ambition Being Me (Scottish Government 2020) and Curriculum of Excellence Early Level.

Realising the Ambition explores the range of interactions, experiences and spaces needed to provide for babies and young children to help them learn and grow from their earliest days through to being a young child in early primary.

Curriculum for Excellence, supports our children to gain knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century. Learning in the early level has a strong emphasis on learning through play. This approach continues to be a focus throughout the stages of the curriculum.

Smilechildcare are supported to deliver these documents by working in partnership with Edinburgh Council.

We take further guidance from the following documents:-

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) Developmental/health concerns

Getting it right for every child is a national approach, focusing on parents and carers working together with agencies to take early action to support children and young people when any difficulties arise. Should we have concerns about your child’s development or health we will follow Scotland’s Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) process to ensure your child receives the right help, at the right time, by the right people.


smilechildcare follow the Edinburgh and Lothian’s Inter-agency Child Protection Procedures (2015).

Should we have any concerns regarding a child /family we will contact social care direct to seek advice.

All of our centres have trained Child Protection Officers. Their names are displayed within your child’s centres.

A copy of the Child Protection & Confidentiality Procedure is displayed on your centres parent notice board. For further information please ask the centre manager for a copy of smilechildcare’s Child Protection Procedure (2018).

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

smilechildcare has a legal responsibility to deliver safe childcare to all children and their parents. To do this, we need to collect personal data about the children in our care and their families so we can keep them safe. The type of data collected meet with the requirements of GDPR. Please see our GDPR policy for more information.

Social Media

smilechildcare aim to ensure that the use of social media is undertaken responsibly, and that the confidentiality of children and staff along with the reputation of smilechildcare are safeguarded. Prior to your child starting we will seek permission to use your child’s photograph/video within the Over 3 centre and on media platforms.

Changes to personal information

It is important the information we have on record is accurate regarding your child, yourself, or your child’s emergency contact, therefore, please keep us updated should there be any changes.

Medical Information

We ask you to share with us any known medical condition, health problem or allergy your child may have, along with dates of vaccinations, or prescribed medication that your child may be receiving. This allows us, if necessary, to complete a care plan to ensure we carry out care to meet your child’s needs. We also ask you to inform us in writing of any changes to your child’s health.

If your child becomes ill during the session a member of staff will contact you, if you are unavailable, we will contact the emergency contact indicated on the registration form.If your child is sent home due to ill health, we ask you to keep them at home for a minimum of 24 hours. Should they be prescribed antibiotics by a GP or hospital you will be required to allow 48 hours before bringing your child back to nursery, to allow the medication to take effect.

If your child vomits or has diarrhoea, please keep them at home for 48 hours after the final episode, as this is highly contagious and can spread to staff and other children rapidly.

Tooth Brushing

Children will have their own toothbrush in the setting, and it will be stored hygienically. Tooth brushing takes place after lunch and we follow guidelines from childsmile, supported by NHS.

Under 3’s

“Me and my husband really like smilechildcare nursery because we see that Sophie is very happy every time, we drop her off – and that means the world to us. Knowing that she likes the place is comfortable there and has a perfect natural setting to grow is very important to us.  Since the first weeks she has attended when she was only 11 months old, we notice how much it has helped her development.  Our little Miss Trouble also has special dietary requirements – which can be very tricky to manage.  Knowing that the staff keep her safe in that area is also very important to us – so a big thank you to all of you who go this extra mile for us every day”

“Since joining in January 21 Andrew and I have been so happy with everyone and everything at smile.  Every member of staff has put me at complete ease since the first phone call I had and seeing Andrew playing at pickups/through online Journals, I know he is having a wonderful time. I feel that each member of staff truly cares for Andrew and knows his cheeky personality so well.  Feeling and knowing he is in safe and loving hands is priceless to me”

“Staff Provide a high level of care and are very supportive”

“Great food, mealtimes and activities”

“Our child is growing and developing hugely through the support he gets at nursery”

Over 3’s

“I am extremely happy with the care my son has had since starting with smilechildcare when he was 5 months old, lovely team of people.  I felt the staff really cared for my son and are a lovely group of people.  I trusted them with my son”.

“I believe the childcare we have received has been exceptional.  My son has come a long way in growing in confidence and in his eating habits. He has really grown up while he has been there and I believe it has a lot to do with the care and encouragement he has received”.

“It has been a great time at smilechildcare, the kids are well taken care of and taught all the skills they need to develop.  smilechildcare is a wonderful nursery as they have helped my child develop physically, mentally and academically”.

“My children have attended a couple of nurseries over the years, smilechildcare is by far the best one we have used.  From the first time we left our daughter to settle in we knew that we had made the right decision”

“The most noticeable thing is that a lot of the staff are long serving, in fact most of the staff have been there the entire time my daughter attended”

“Even in lockdown the staff made sure we were okay and they kept in touch with my son, they even sent him a letter, he was so excited.  This is our third child to attend this nursery, can’t thank them enough”

“My son has attended nursery since he was 9 months old, you have looked after him like he was your own.  He has truly loved his time at smile”.

“Smilechildcare has been a wonderful nursery for our child.  He has had great opportunities of making new friends, learning new skills and a way of life.  We are truly happy he had the opportunity of being an early learner”

“My child looks forward to coming every day, the staff are professional, very respectful and kind”.

“Great childcare with the staff focused on child specific needs and building great relationships and support”.

Out of School

“The venue is easily accessible”

“Out of School club offers activities some of which I wouldn’t be able to do myself, so I am glad that they provide my child the opportunity to experience these.”

“I loved the fact that the children were out doing an activity each day during the October holidays which allowed them to gain new experiences. My child enjoyed every day at the holiday club and made new friends which is such a relief when you feel guilty when working through the holidays.”

“All the staff are lovely, such a lovely group of people working in the Out of School”.

“I am glad my children got a place in this Out of School Club they really enjoy their time there”.

“I hope the hard work from the team continues as they are already wonderful”.

“My kids love it here”.