SDN Surry Hills provides quality early childhood education and child care for 60 children per day in Sydney’s vibrant inner east community.

The centre first opened its doors in 1918, and has been a place of warmth and welcome ever since. 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.

Relationships with children, families and one another are the basis of our educational program and we know children need to feel safe and welcomed to reach their full potential. When your child begins at SDN Surry Hills our dedicated team of professionals will asking many questions to help them 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. You can learn more about our educational program here.

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.”  

Important information
Meet the Director - Olivia Liva
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SDN Surry Hills Centre Director Olivia Liva

I’ve worked for SDN since 2008 when I completed my Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) through Macquarie University, and have been Director at SDN Surry Hills since 2013.

I really enjoy the collaboration and collegiality of leading a large team. I’m particularly passionate about young children and the arts, building sustainable and engaging learning environments and advocating for social justice in local and broader communities.

There are so many great things about SDN Surry Hills that it’s difficult to pick one. Our playground is a rare gem in the inner city and we also have a great way of working with infants and toddlers, building secure attachments through sensitive observation in a calm, respectful environment. But if I had to pick the best thing (besides the children of course) I’d have to say the staff. Our team is highly skilled and dedicated, able to see and nurture the strengths in every child and family.

I live in Sydney’s inner west with my husband and young son. We also have two Jack Russell terriers who keep us very much entertained with their wild ways!

Infant & Toddler Educational program
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Growing bodies need movement and exercise. Growing minds need stimulus and exploration. Growing hearts need opportunities to play and mix with others.

At SDN we know that the best thing we can do for your infant or toddler is to support them to grow and develop in safe, unhurried, nurturing and challenging environments.

Because infants and toddlers are naturally curious, our centres have well-equipped indoor and outdoor areas that will keep your child moving and give them daily opportunities to explore their limits and grow their abilities.

Your child is unique and so we will devise a learning and development program based on what we know about your child’s interests, learning and development. Because they will always be changing and growing, we consistently review the program to ensure we are keeping up with your child’s development, providing them with the best learning opportunities.

Read more about our Child-led Educational program here.

Preschool Educational program
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Developed by university-trained early childhood teachers, our preschool program focuses on the whole child, building healthy bodies, caring hearts and curious minds.

We will draw on your child’s interests, strengths, needs and culture to plan and implement a program that best meets their learning and developmental needs.

The program is flexible and will give your child a voice in their learning and development. Your child will be our co-planner, sharing ideas and questions that drive their learning. Our preschool teachers will plan experiences for your child that focus on specific skills in an engaging and meaningful way to support their growing skills and knowledge.

We will immerse your child in a language-rich environment and support them to develop the skills and mindset they need for a successful start to school. Through planned play and learning experiences your child will develop the listening and social skills as well as a passion for learning with curiosity, enthusiasm, persistence, cooperation and focused attention they will need when they transition to school.

Our centres have a transition to school program where our educators work together with local kindergarten teachers and our preschool teachers attend transition to school meetings with local schools.

Read more about our Child-led Educational program here.

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From 1 January 2021, our fees will be $166 per day for children under three years old and $149 per day for children three years and over. 

The majority of families in our centres do not pay the full daily fee because they receive Child Care Subsidy (CCS) from the government.

The subsidy you may receive through the CCS will depend on:

  • Your combined family income
  • The number of hours you work, study or participate in recognised volunteer work. This is called the ‘activity test’. If your child is in the year before school, if you are on a very low income, or if you are on parental leave, you will not have to pass the activity test to receive some CCS.

Your child will need to meet immunisation requirements and you will need to meet residency requirements to be eligible to receive the CCS.

You can calculate what your out of pocket child care costs will be on the government’s child care subsidy calculator.

This centre is part of SDN’s low income access program which reduces fees and makes SDN more affordable.

The lower fee reduces the gap between the daily fee and the amount families can claim back through the government’s Child Care Subsidy.

To be eligible, the child’s primary care giver must hold a valid income health care card or pensioner concession card and enrol their child on days that include a Monday or Friday if a space is available on those days. The subsidy covers each child for up three days a week.

If you’ve read this information and you’re still unsure about what you’ll pay, please call us or book a centre tour. We’re happy to answer your questions.

Outdoor space
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Families in our urban based centres often call our outdoor areas their “green oasis”.

SDN's outdoor spaces provide opportunities for children to enjoy themselves and have adventures. They’re safe environments for children to run, jump and yell, make mud cakes, and use their energy.

Outdoor spaces provide more than physical benefits. Even though you may think that children only play outside to have fun, they're also improving their thinking, social, and emotional skills. When they’re playing outside, they’re inventing games, learning about the world at their own pace, and figuring out social customs like turn taking.

These are just some of the reasons SDN invests in developing new, award winning outdoor spaces with natural designs that inspire children’s curiosity, physical play, and social play.

What to bring
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0-2 Babies

  • Nappies
  • Change of clothes x 3-4
  • Hat – sun safe  
  • Shoes and Socks
  • Warm clothes / Jacket (for outside play)
  • Comforter – soft toy/blanket/dummy
  • Bottles and milk formula/breast milk
  • Wet bag
  • Sippy cup

2-3 Toddlers

  • Nappies / spare underwear
  • Change of clothes x 2-3
  • Hat – sun safe
  • Shoes and Socks
  • Warm clothes / Jacket (for outside play)
  • Comforter – for rest time
  • Wet bag
  • Raincoat in wet weather

3-5 Preschoolers  

  • Spare underwear
  • Change of clothes
  • Hat – sun safe
  • Shoes and Socks
  • Warm clothes / Jacket (for outside play)
  • Wet bag
  • Raincoat in wet weather
Centre history
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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.

Read more about SDN Surry Hill's history here

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Nutrition and Mealtimes

We provide children with a variety of healthy foods, and cater for children with allergies and intolerances.

Interested in how SDN Surry Hills can help your child?

Call us today on 1300 831 445

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