Children's centres for early childhood development, and parenting and children and family centres bring together care, education, health, community development activities and family services for families and their young children.
All centres focus on children’s learning and development within the context of their family and community.
Children and family centres also focus on supporting Aboriginal families with young children.
Through a collaborative partnership approach centres provide services to strengthen the capacity of families and the community to respond to children and provide the best possible start in life.
Each centre offers a different range of services tailored to their local setting. These services are offered with a strong focus on partnerships with the local community and other agencies
Check with your local children’s centre to find out which services are offered in your area.
- Preschool is offered for children who will be starting school within the next year (4 to 5 year olds). Some 3 year olds are also eligible to attend. See preschools and kindergartens for further information.
- A range of services support preschool children with disabilities and additional needs according to specific needs and eligibility criteria.
- Learning Together programs are part of or work in conjunction with centres and are an early literacy learning and support program for families with children from up to 4 years of age.
- Long day care provides full or part-time care for babies, toddlers and children under the age of 6.
- Occasional care provides short-term child care for babies, toddlers and children aged under 4 years.
- Playgroups provide an interactive and fun opportunity for children and parents to play and learn together.
- Crèche services may be available for parents participating in centre programs.
The Community Development program coordinates services to enhance parenting by supporting parents and their connection with their community. Activities vary depending on parent needs and may include:
- parenting programs
- community events
- personal development opportunities.
- Health promotion materials and activities on dental health, healthy eating and physical activity and health, child development and parenting information is available.
- Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS) provide child and family health services and advice and child health checks.
- Nutrition groups, parenting groups and Aboriginal health programs are available.
- Antenatal services are available at three children’s centres.
- The Allied Health program builds the capacity of centre staff and parents in identifying children from birth to 3 years who are at risk of developmental delay. The program supports staff and parents in promoting children’s optimal development. Allied Health staff are:
- speech pathologists, who assist with all aspects of communication including speech, language, literacy, signs, symbols and gestures and can also assist with issues around eating and drinking
- occupational therapists, who support children’s participation in and performance of daily activities involving the strengthening of play skills, fine and gross motor skills, concentration and self-regulation skills.
Families have access to a diversity of parenting programs at centres. These programs focus on parenting skills and child development including literacy, behaviour guidance, food, nutrition, exercise, and caring for children’s development, learning and health needs.
The Family Services program supports vulnerable families to strengthen and enhance family and community capacity.
Family services coordinators work with centre staff and other agencies to help families develop and maintain safe, caring, connected and resilient relationships.
Children's centres team
Phone: 8226 3845
Email: DECD.ChildrensCentres [at] sa.gov.au