The city council aims to roll out increased hours for children at nurseries in Aberdeen after the summer holidays next year.
The local authority approved £23 million of works to be carried out at 27 schools and nurseries across the city to prepare for the rollout of extended Early Years Learning and Childcare hours.
It was hoped that families could benefit from the new Scottish Government scheme to increase childcare from 600 to 1,140 hours at sites across the country this year.
But the Scottish Government revoked the requirement, putting the plans on hold for at least a year because of coronavirus.
Aberdeenshire Council previously revealed council staff would be in a position to launch the scheme for all three and four-year-olds by August.
And now the city council has confirmed staff aim for it to be up and running in Aberdeen by the same date.
Councillors were updated on progress staff are making to bring in the hours at a capital programme committee meeting.
Councillor Alex McLellan asked if the council would be prepared to deliver the extra hours when the new Scottish Government rules come into force in 2021.
Steve Whyte, director of resources at Aberdeen City Council, said: “We are working on the premise that we expect by the time schools come back after next summer, August, September time.
“We’re trying to push to make sure we can offer it from then but we don’t have a timeline from the Scottish Government, we don’t have an indication or a formal notification for us to have to provide it going forward as it’s still suspended.
“We’re still working on the basis that we will be advised of the given date. In our minds we’re working towards next summer, so we’re in a position to deliver that.”
He said the council would work with corporate landlords and the head of education to work out how the hours would be delivered if it became a legal requirement before the new term started in September.
He said: “We’d need to see if we could find alternative methods of being able to provide that. Given we’ve lost six or seven months through Covid which is essentially why the Scottish Government has allowed us to take it off the table, we’d expect to get that kind of notice.
“Without a date, it’s difficult to say how we could or would fulfil it.”
Aberdeenshire Council planned for 20% of its nurseries to have started the scheme by this month.
Although initial modelling carried out by the council using trials showed that many parents did not take up the 1,140 hours of childcare offered, with an average update of 900 hours instead.
The council is aiming to provide 1,140 hours at 30% of its sites by February and deliver up to 900 hours at the remaining 70% of nurseries. Further roll-outs are planned for over the following months leading up to the summer holidays.
Nursery upgrades are being carried out at 27 schools and nurseries in Aberdeen in three phases, with extensions being built at some sites along with new buildings on others.
Two of the revamped nurseries were unveiled as part of Aberdeen City Council’s investment earlier this month.
Work at Tullos and Quarryhill nurseries, within the schools, is now complete. They are due to open in the coming weeks, subject to formal approval from the Care Inspectorate.