History of EarlyEd

History of EarlyEd

Some of the EarlyEd North Sydney team

EarlyEd has a rich history having been operating for almost 40 years, officially opening in 1979; coinciding with UNESCO’s International Year of the Child. It was the first service of its kind in NSW to cater for all children aged 0-5 who had an intellectual disability. While other services existed for specific disabilities such as physical disabilities, sight or hearing, EarlyEd was unique in that it supported all children with disability, aiming to help each child to achieve their full potential and offer training to parents to help support their child’s development at home.

EarlyEd’s first clinic, located in Cremorne, provided 1-1 instruction modelled on the Macquarie Down Syndrome Program.  Research showed this program could effectively increase the language, fine and gross motor skills and the social skills of the children who attended. In its initial years, the program helped to support 25 children.

Recognising the growing need for early intervention services in other part of Sydney, EarlyEd has seen its services expand over time, with new centres established to support families and local communities across Northern & Western Sydney. EarlyEd’s services include supporting children transition to school and providing ongoing support for school aged children as well as capacity building the wider community to support the inclusion of children with disabilities or delays in their development.

Today, EarlyEd supports over 350 families each year across Northern and Western Sydney, employing over 60 staff across six disciplines, with administration and management support.  Group services are offered in eight locations (North Sydney, Pendle Hill, Kellyville, Lane Cove, Kingswood, Auburn, Lidcombe and Forestville) in addition to support at home and in the community.

EarlyEd North Sydney at time of opening
EarlyEd’s History Through the Years

1979 – EarlyEd established, under Director Sandra Leonard, with clinic opening in Cremorne, coinciding with UNESCO’s International Year of the Child.

1980 – New clinics established in Parramatta and Camperdown, recognising the growing need for early intervention services across other parts of Sydney.

1981 – Parramatta clinic moves to new premises, leased from Parramatta Council for minimum rent.

1982 – North Sydney clinic opened on land provided by North Sydney Council. The building comprised of two teaching rooms, a small office, a waiting room, group classroom area and associated amenities.  Camperdown clinic moved to Stanmore.

1985 – Stanmore clinic closed.

1988 – Beth Facer replaces Sandra Leonard as Director of EarlyEd.

Previous Rosehill Location

1996 – Name changed through incorporation as Early Education Clinic become Early Education Inc., known as EarlyEd.

1996 – EarlyEd Western Sydney moved from Parramatta to the grounds of Rosehill Public School into a permanent purpose-built building. The building was owned by EarlyEd, who leased the land from the Department of Education. The new building comprised of three teaching rooms, a large room for group activities, a waiting room, an office, a staff room, amenities and three storage areas.

2002 – Simone Gerber replaces Beth Facer as Director of EarlyEd

2005 – North Sydney centre extended to meet growing demand for services. North Sydney Council provided support, suppling building contractors and architects as part of their funding for community access. EarlyEd services continued on the third floor of the North Sydney Library until the extensions were completed in 2006.

2012 Kerry Dominish replaces Simon Gerber as CEO of EarlyEd

Re-opening of Cubby House Toy Library at Dee Why in 2015

2014 – The Cubby House Toy Library, which has been operating since 1979 in Dee Why, integrated into EarlyEd.

2016 – Cubby House Toy Library moves from Dee Why to current location in Forestville.

2017 – Lease at Rosehill Public School expires and not renewed by the Department of Education.  EarlyEd’s Western Sydney centre moves into temporary office space in Rosehill, with groups running out of Pendle Hill Baptist Church whilst awaiting a more permanent location.