About this Centre

SDN Surry Hills first opened its doors in 1918 and has been a place of warmth and welcome ever since, providing quality early childhood education and child care for 60 children to Sydney’s inner east community.

Knowing and being active in the local community is important to our team and we pride ourselves on the connections we have made and maintained over the years, all the while watching the local area transform into the vibrant, creative and colourful place it is today.

Our team is made up of a diverse group of university-educated early childhood teachers, as well as diploma and certificate III-trained educators, many long-standing staff. Relationships with children, families and one another are the basis of our educational program and we know children need to feel safe and welcomed in order to reach their full potential. When your child begins at SDN Surry Hills, our dedicated team of professionals will first spend time asking questions in order to get to know their unique needs, as well as the needs of your family.

Our learning environments are developed over days, weeks, months and years, with problem-solving, creativity and collaboration among our most valued teaching and learning tools. Our playground is a place of natural wonder and a rare gem in this inner city suburb - brimming with mature gum trees, open space, lush gardens and home to our resident guinea pigs. Children and adults alike benefit from the connections our garden makes to body, mind and spirit.

SDN Surry Hills welcomes children with disabilities or developmental delays, and families in need of support and assistance.

Exceeding national quality standards

Our families say…

"I feel very grateful to have qualified and caring professionals educating my son. It’s wonderful to feel at ease when I leave him for the day.”

“I feel confident that my son is happy, safe and engaged when he is in care.”  

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Nutrition and mealtimes

We provide children with a variety of healthy foods, with special care taken to accommodate children with allergies and intolerances

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Our educational program explained

The four key concepts that shape the SDN educational program.

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Outdoor spaces

Outdoor spaces provide opportunities for children to be loud, messy and boisterous. Families often call our outdoor areas a “green oasis”.

Centre History

SDN Surry Hills History

The traditional owners of the Surry Hills area are the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

SDN Surry Hills opened on 8 April 1918, operating out of two terrace houses on Riley Street offered by philanthropist Mrs Hugh Dixson (later Lady Dixson). Working mothers had written to SDN to request a day nursery in Surry Hills, which back then was a poor suburb known for its terrace houses crowded with workers and their families.

In 1922, the centre collaborated with other early childhood organisations to become the Emma Elizabeth Dixson Welfare Centre. The adjoining terrace houses were remodelled to form one large building. In 1957 the Sydney City Council purchased the building, which was eventually demolished and on 27 July 1977 a brand new building, the current home of SDN Surry Hills, was opened by the Lord Mayor of Sydney.

Since its beginnings as an integrated ‘welfare centre’, SDN Surry Hills has undergone many changes, maintaining and reflecting a strong connection with families in this vibrant and diverse community.

Interested in how SDN Surry Hills can help your child?

Call us today on 02 9319 4988