Hundreds of two-year-olds from some of Scotland's most deprived communities are to be given free nursery places.
The two-year-olds will be given 12-and-a-half hours of nursery a week
Free part-time places are currently only available to children between the ages of three and five.
Under the £2m Scottish Executive pilot scheme, 900 toddlers from the poorest parts of Dundee, North Ayrshire and Glasgow will be eligible for a place.
The initiative was launched in Glasgow, which has been allocated 500 free places, on Thursday.
Parents of pre-school children aged three and over are currently entitled to 12-and-a-half hours a week of nursery education paid for by the executive.
Ministers took the decision after research showed that children, especially those from deprived communities, did better at school if they were given access to high-quality nursery education.
Ms Curran launched the pilot in Glasgow
Speaking at the launch at the Bridgeton Family Learning Centre in Glasgow, Minister for Parliamentary Business Margaret Curran said: "Nursery provision gives children a great start in life.
"We know that it helps prepare children for the challenges of their future, both in education and life.
"Sadly, some children face more challenges than others.
"By targeting this support to those who would benefit most we can clearly see the difference an early start at nursery makes to their lives, now and in the future."
Radio Clyde's Cash for Kids charity is providing £200,000 towards the Glasgow project, the biggest single grant in its history.
Sir John Orr, chairman of the charity, said: "Our hope is that this will make a big difference to their start in life and their future life chances."