Catholic Education South Australia
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Early Years Services (Birth to Five Years)

Children's learning in their earliest years sets important foundations for life.

When their natural curiosity in the world around them flourishes, there are significant benefits to their communication, confidence and language development.

Our early years services will partner with your family as your child continues to grow as a creative and competent person.

We know your family is unique, that's why our early years services come in many shapes and sizes...

Supported Playgroups in Catholic Education (SPiCE)

CESA's SPiCE Program offers a time and place for all supported playgroup participants; children, families, ’older friends' and facilitators to love, grow and thrive together. 

CESA’s SPiCE Program strives to develop thriving people, capable learners and leaders for the world God desires. We enable supported playgroup participants, families, ‘older friends’ and facilitators time to grow and learn with others, and a place to make connections, build relationships and experience wonder, joy and love.

Playgroups within CESA's SPiCE Program are located in Catholic schools and ELC's and are supported, meaning they are run by trained and paid facilitators who have access to and are part of CESA's collaborative SPiCE Program professional network. CESA's SPiCE Program currently has 65 supported playgroups within Catholic schools that engage with and support over 2, 600 children and over 2,000 families across South Australia. CESA’s supported playgroup programs welcome families from the local community, not only those involved with our school communities and focus on catering for children aged birth-5.

CESA’s SPiCE Program is based on three Foundational Pillars: Faith Formation, Learning and Community, that are central to the program’s aims and mission. The program's pillars are influenced by national strategies, frameworks and statements relevant for South Australian children, families and ‘older friends’. Some of CESA’s supported playgroup programs have specific foci, including inter-generational, nature-play, and gross motor programs.

We partner with several external organisations such as Playgroup SA, Community Hubs, Nature Play SA, Raising Literacy Australia and Paint the Town REaD ensuring the program provides meaningful resources, professional learning and opportunities to uniquely support each playgroup.

We acknowledge that CESA's supported playgroups play and learn on the lands of Australia's First Peoples including Kaurna, Peramangk, Nukunu, Bindjali, Erawirung Meru, Boandik, Ngadjuri, Banggarla, and Narangga Countries.

Early Learning Centres

At the heart of our work in the early years is our commitment to children who we see as ‘thriving people, capable learners, leaders for the world God desires. Early Learning Centres provide education and care on a regular basis to children before school age. Run by educators who hold approved qualifications, ELCs also allow eligible families to access the Commonwealth Government Child Care Subsidy.

Alive Catholic Early Learning Centres offer child-centred early learning for children from 6 months to 5 years. The Centres are based on educational excellence, quality staff and close relationships with families.


CESA is committed to providing high quality play based early childhood education and care provision to enhance and promote the best outcomes for children and their families. Each Preschool offers a play-based program designed and delivered by qualified Early Childhood Teachers (ECT).  Children are entitled to access 4 terms (1 year) of preschool in the year before they start school. Mid-year intake is available at all preschools.

Occasional Care

Occasional care services offer education and care to children primarily on a part-time or casual basis for children under school age, with oversight by educators who hold approved qualifications. Our occasional care services are located in our school communities. 

Little Scientists Project

The Little Scientists project, available in a number of Catholic primary schools, promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in our early years services and the first year of primary school, delivered by a trained facilitator. Contact a school directly to confirm if they offer this program. 

Transition to Reception

Our schools welcome your child and family to the first year of primary school.

Please contact your chosen school to find out more about the Transition to Reception opportunities they provide.

Together we can make the transition into school a smoother process for both your child and your family.

Find an Early Years Service

You can search for specific Early Years Services on the directory of Catholic schools in South Australia.

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