Skip to content

Nature-based child-care centre opens in Central Saanich

SESISEJ Childcare Centre includes Indigenous learning principles, 84 spaces
The SESISEJ Childcare Centre offers nature-based programming to Central Saanich families. (Courtesy of Saanich School District)

A new 84-space, nature-based child-care centre that will be able to equip kids with Indigenous learning principles has opened for families on the Saanich Peninsula.

The B.C. government and the Saanich School District (SD63) board partnered to build the SESISEJ Childcare Centre with $3.6 million from a provincial fund dedicated to creating new child-care spaces.

The centre – located at the intersection of White and Veyaness roads – includes 12 spaces for kids under three-years-old, 48 spots for those up to 30-months-old and another 24 openings for school-aged children.

“We are delighted to open the SESISEJ Childcare Centre and to be delivering services that families in the community really count on,” SD63 board chair Tim Dunford said in a news release.

The school district and Beacon Community Services will work with the Queen Alexandra Centre and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre to serve children with additional needs.

“Our nature-based centre will incorporate our licensed-care philosophy of understanding the relationship we have with the land and our communities,” said Beacon Community Services CEO Tricia Guelette. “Indigenous ways of knowing in the early learning curriculum teaches us that children are sacred gifts.”

Guelette added that the centre will strive to nurture and protect the sense of belonging of children in its care.

SESISEJ refers to the SENCOTEN word for “Little Forest.” The centre will provide SENCOTEN language teaching, incorporate First Peoples learning principles in its programming and partner with WSANEC elders and educators.

“Happy, healthy, muddy kids, growing up with a deep and personal connection to the beautiful unceded traditional WSANEC territories is a good thing for our children, families, communities and the Earth, and it’s something to celebrate,” said Megan Misovic, chair of the Confederation of Parents’ Advisory Councils of Saanich.

The site will provide accessible, culturally responsive and inclusive care for children of all ages, said Mitzi Dean, B.C.’s minister of child care.

“We continue our work to make access to affordable, quality, inclusive child care a core service that families can rely on.”

READ: Province holding session into plans for Uptown-area changes in Saanich