There are many different early childhood services available to families. Some organisations offer more than one of these services.
Long day care is generally available all day or on a part-time basis until children start school.
You have the choice of government, private, community or non-profit organisations. In most cases your child will go to long day care at an early childhood centre in your local area. These centres may be called a child care centre, early learning centre, kindergarten or preschool.
Long day care may also be provided:
Occasional care is sessional occasional child care for babies, toddlers and children under school age. In South Australia, occasional care is generally offered through government preschools and in some child care centres.
Occasional care can be used to participate in a range of activities including non-work and casual work commitments.
First priority of access is given to children:
Second priority is given to low income families with an Australian Government Pensioner Concession or Health Care Card.
Occasional care is generally provided in small day care centres and may also be available in some child care centres, preschools, family day care homes, nanny and babysitting services or through the In-home Care Program.
Search for SA government occasional care services by selecting occasional care as the ‘site type’.
Find occasional care providers on the Care for Kids (SA) website.
Family Day Care is where a professional carer looks after your child in their home. It is sometimes known as home-based care. The hours of care are flexible and carers may offer full-time, part-time or occasional care options.
Some professional carers offer overnight, weekend or vacation care. This service may suit shift-workers or people who are on call.
Family Day Care is small group care for a maximum of four children under school age plus three school age children.
For enquires and further information: email - DECSFDCBusiness@sa.gov.au
Phone - 8343 6533 or freecall 1300 551 890.
Find Family Day Care in your area on the Care for Kids (SA) website.
There are two types of care that can be provided in your home:
The hours of care can be flexible and matched to your needs:
This program is only available where other forms of care are not suitable - eg in cases where:
To find out more about the In-home Care program contact the MyChild hotline on 13 36 84 or visit the
This service is available to school-aged children:
More about Out of School Hours Care.
These options offer parents with babies and toddlers the opportunity to meet regularly with other parents, share experiences and build a support network. Generally parents bring their children along to these groups and participate in play-based learning that supports the child's growth and development.
Find out more about about parenting, playgroups and playcentres.
Preschools are sometimes called kindergartens. They may be run by government, private or community providers.
Children who will be starting school within the next year (4-5 year olds) can attend preschool. Some 3 year olds are also eligible to attend - for details see preschools and kindergartens.
Children usually attend up to four sessions per week for up to four terms.
Preschools may be:
Integrated early childhood services offer a combination of two or more services. The 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. Each centre may offer a slightly different mix of services depending on the needs of the community.
Find an integrated centre near you or read more about Children's Centres for Early Childhood Development and Parenting.
Approved carers are individuals or organisations that have a licence to operate and have been approved by the Australian Government as:
You can apply for financial assistance if you use an approved carer. All approved carers will have a certificate on display or show you on request.
Registered carers are people who are registered with the Family Assistance Office.
They may include grandparents, relatives, friends or nannies as well as individuals in preschools, some outside school hours care services and some occasional care centres. You can apply for financial assistance if you use a registered carer.
The table indicates what is common for each type of service. We recommend that you enquire directly with the service provider if you have special circumstances or require additional support.
|Availability||Long Day Care||Occasional Care||Family Day Care||In-Home Care||Out of School Hours Care||Preschool|
|Limited sessions per week|
|Student free days|
|One year old|
|Two years old|
|Three years old|
|Four years old|
|Five years old|
|Primary school students|
|In the carers home|
|In your home|
MyChild line for enquiries about childcare - 133 684
Childcare access hotline - freecall 1800 670 305
Child Care Access Hotline teletypewriter (TTY) - 639 327