About Early Childhood Services in The Diocese of Parramatta
Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Services Limited (CDPSL), a new agency announced in August 2019, delivers a range of early childhood services throughout the Diocese.
Catholic Out of School Hours Care (COSHC) for children attending Kindergarten to Year 6
- Before and After School Care for in 27 primary schools
- School vacation care in 11 locations
COSHC also supports schools and families on pupil free days.
Catholic Early Learning Centres (CELC) for children ages 3-5 years
- Pre-school at Emerton, Blacktown South, Greystanes and Stanhope Gardens
- Extended Hours Pre-school/Long Day Care at St Luke’s Marsden Park
Anthony Goonan, CEO of CDPSL, leads an ambitious program not only to increase the number of schools provided with these services but also to extend our services to the broader community of the Diocese.
“We are very proud that all of our early childhood services meet or exceed the National Quality Standards laid down by the Department of Education. We have wonderful early childhood teachers and educators who are very invested in respect, encouragement and care for the children and families attending our services,” Anthony says.
More information about service locations and enrolments can be found at:
“Graduation” to Kindergarten made easier
Pre-school children attending Diocese of Parramatta Early Learning Centres get a wonderful opportunity to get a taste of Kindergarten before turning up for their big “first day” at school.
Connections formed between Catholic Early Learning Centres (CELC) and Primary School Kindergarten (Early Stage One) supports the continuity of experience for children who will continue their learning into Early Stage One next year.
For example, at St Luke’s CELC Marsden Park the children make regular visits to the school throughout the year, joining the Early Stage One for shared reading and numeracy experiences. These visits are a wonderful way to support the children’s understanding and familiarity with the school environment, building a sense of belonging to the Preschool to Post-school community at St Luke’s.
Mrs Jo Tapley, Director, says regular visits to the Early Stage One learning spaces, along with participation in school events such as Activities Days and liturgies, creates a strong bond to the St Luke’s Catholic community.
CELC educators identify strongly with their associated school’s pillars of learning and translate this into the pre-school education programs to enhance e the continuity of experience for the children and families.
Catholic Early Learning Partner with CathWest Innovation College
Catholic Early Learning Centre – Stanhope Gardens has partnered with CathWest Innovation College – Loyola to provide a pathway for students to complete an Early Childhood qualification. Since the partnership began in 2015, students have had the opportunity to complete a Certificate 3 in Early Education and Care as part of their school studies while completing work experience at CELC.
This partnership not only benefits the student, but also the team of teachers and educators at the CELC. Mrs Victoria Parkes, Director, says her team take great pride in the mentoring and support of their students, and they learn too with the new ideas students bring. Upon graduating from school, students have continued the early childhood career pathway, successfully gained employment with CELC and independently continued their studies.
CELC are looking forward to continuing to build their relationship with CathWest.
Catholic Out of School Hours Care Expansion
Catholic Early Learning and Care have recently opened two new services and expanded four services to include Vacation Care.
Two new Catholic Out of School Hours Care (COSHC) were opened in January this year at Our Lady of the Nativity Lawson and St Thomas Aquinas Springwood. Since opening in January 2020, both services have seen a steep growth in enrolments.
COSHC St Angela’s Castle Hill, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Wentworthville, St Paul the Apostle Winston Hills and St Joseph’s Schofields have expanded their services to offer Vacation Care. We have received a positive response from families as we expanded our services to now offer 13 vacation care programs to over 3500 children.
In 2021, we have plans for new COSHC services at St John’s Riverstone and St Aidan’s Rooty Hill. We also anticipate our second extended hours preschool – 6:30am – 6:30pm – at Santa Sophia Box Hill upon completion of the construction of this new school.
Early childhood services during COVID
We are very proud that all our early childhood services have remained open during this difficult period of pandemic. This is due in no small part to the dedication of our teachers and educators. We have had much feedback from families who have appreciated being able to depend on us as they have had to cope with their changing circumstances.
Hygiene protocols have been continually strengthened to protect children, families and staff alike. At all centres, children now leave and meet their families “at the door” to minimise visitors within the service. This has had the unexpected benefit of reducing separation anxiety and making it quicker and easier for carers to drop off and pick up their children. An innovation we expect to keep after COVID!
This article was originally featured in the Spring 2020 Edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine.