Figtree Early Learning Centre at St Anthony’s Family Care.

St Anthony’s Family Care (SAFC) has been a vital part of its local community for over 70 years, with the childcare centre being its longest running service.

While programs may have changed to better meet client needs, St Anthony’s commitment to supporting children and families is unwavering and remains core to its mission.

Peers & Play Program

Over the past 15 years, the childcare centre (now known as Figtree Early Learning Centre), has evolved and continues to work towards providing programs that acknowledge each child’s strengths while also helping to support the development of new skills, particularly where children have a diagnosed disability or developmental delay. This support is provided through the Peers & Play Program.

The Peers & Play Program helps to ensure that children receive the additional support they require so they can actively participate within the care environment and learn alongside their peers.

Welcome back to the Ahmed Family

This year, Figtree Early Learning Centre has been delighted to welcome back the Ahmed family. In 2017, St Anthony’s first welcomed Lana who had been referred to the service after it became clear that she was not reaching her developmental milestones and required the additional supports provided at St Anthony’s.

Lana had been diagnosed with a Global Developmental Delay (GDD), and in partnership with her family and other allied health professionals, work began to help strengthen Lana’s motor skills, communication, and self-help skills. During the three years that Lana was part of the Peers & Play Program she was able to make significant progress as she developed the ability to feed herself independently, began walking and was able to communicate choices with support. St Anthony’s was also key in helping to ensure Lana was able to experience a positive transition to school so that her education could continue as she moved to kindergarten.

When the Ahmed family recently discovered that their second child Mustafa also needs additional support, they knew exactly where to go to find the help they need. Mustafa’s mum contacted the Manager at Figtree Early Learning Centre and enrolled her son. Now within its brand-new state of the art childcare centre, the Figtree team is working in partnership with Mustafa’s family to support him to achieve his individual goals while at the same time have the opportunity to make those important connections with children his own age.

History of St Anthony’s

In 1974, St Anthony’s began providing childcare services to families living in Croydon, New South Wales, and the surrounding suburbs. Children of parents needing relief were welcomed, with first priority going to poorer families who needed the additional support offered by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. By 1979, St Anthony’s Home had obtained a licence to operate a childcare centre and early learning services at the site formally began.

After many years and following feedback from the community, an inclusive childcare service began in 2007 when the Special Preschool and the mainstream centre were merged.

For many families, Figtree Early Learning Centre is the preferred service as parents have confidence that the programs offered can meet the needs of their child.

St Anthony’s and Figtree are proud of both their achievements to date and their commitment to the ongoing support of children with disabilities. This is only possible due to the support of donors and benefactors as the cost of additional staff required to meet the individual needs of children is met through generous contributions.

If you’d like to find out more about the work of St Anthony’s Family Care, you can visit

Teresa Petrone
Manager, Early Learning Services
St Anthony’s Family Care