Early childhood, education and care

Preschool and kindergarten

In South Australia preschools are also known as kindergartens and some private preschools are known as early learning centres. In preschool, children learn through play-based programs that are designed and delivered by qualified teachers.

Non-government preschools

Contact the preschool direct for information about eligibility, fees and attendance requirements.

Government preschools

Preschool is not compulsory. Children can access up to four terms of preschool before they start school. Talk to your local preschool director or principal to determine how this will work for your child.

Aboriginal children and children under guardianship of the Minister are entitled to attend preschool once they turn three.

Children with additional needs may be able to start preschool two terms before they would normally start. Use the preschool directory to find a preschool near you.

Starting preschool

If your child turns four before May 1, they can start preschool on the first day of Term One in that year. If your child turns four on or after May 1, they can start preschool on the first day of Term One the following year.

Integrated centres and services

Integrated centres are places that offer two or more services. The combinations of services vary from centre to centre and may include child care, playgroup, preschool, early education and learning, early development, health services and family support services. Children's Centres for Early Childhood Development and Parenting offer a mix of education, health and family services and are supported by the state government. These centres aim to meet the needs of the community so each may offer a slightly different mix of services.

Find out more by contacting an integrated centre near you.

Waiting lists

Before enrolling your child you will need to place their name on the waiting list at the preschool. The success of your application depends on the places available at the time. Government preschools and kindergartens in South Australia are guided by the education department's preschool enrolment guidelines and policy. Private kindergartens have their own policies.

Parent involvement

Parents can get involved and contribute in a number of ways:

  • help with fundraising
  • volunteering for working bees
  • being involved with the government council or parent groups.

More information on being involved and volunteering.


Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting children and others in the community by reducing the spread of disease.

The education department values the importance of vaccinating children to help protect them from preventable diseases, to help protect others who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons from being exposed to those diseases and its staff.

Families with children enrolled in a government preschool, rural care, occasional care, family day care or respite care service will be asked to provide evidence of their child’s immunisation status by the end of term 1 2017.

Parents and carers can provide immunisation evidence by showing their service a copy of their child’s:

  • SA Child Health and Development record (known as the ‘Blue Book’) or
  • Australian Immunisation Childhood register (ACIR) history statement.

If a child is not up to date with their immunisations and there is an occurrence of a vaccine preventable disease at the service, parents or carers will be asked to keep their child away for a period of time which is known as an exclusion period.

The exclusion period is determined by SA Health and is designed to protect those who are at risk of getting the disease and those who may be able to pass the disease onto others.

While it is not mandatory to show evidence of a child’s immunisation status, if there is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease then the child will be treated as not up to date with their immunisations and excluded.

For more information on the new ‘protecting children against vaccine preventable disease' procedure, contact the Department for Education and Child Development on 8207 2458, email decd.ecsupport@sa.gov.au

Health, wellbeing and special needs

Many preschools offer specialist services for children with health conditions, disability or other special needs. A number of other support programs and services are also available including respite care.

Get information about health, wellbeing and special needs.

Related information

On this site

The education system in South Australia
Early childhood, education and care
Parenting, playcentres and playgroups
Disability support in preschools
Choosing a school
Term dates and academic year

Other websites

Locate a preschool near you
Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority

Parenting Easy Guides (PEGs) - Parenting SA
Government Preschool Enrolment Policy


Enquiries about new preschool starting date arrangements
Phone (08) 8207 2494
email: decd.firstday@sa.gov.au

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Page last updated 16 January 2017

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Department for Education and Child Development
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