The Saanich School District is shedding more light on a new nature-based child-care centre set to open in Central Saanich by the fall with 84 spaces.
The program – developed in partnership with Beacon Community Services and set to be built at the corner of Veyaness Road and White Road – is based on the WSANEC ways of knowing and being, and is aimed at helping children establish a sense of community, place and belonging to help them transition into future education, according to the district.
With 84 child-care spaces in total, the facility will provide a mix of full-time infant and toddler care, full and part-time group care for children aged three to five, and after-school care.
The property itself, donated to the school district’s predecessor in 1873 by William Turgoose for public school purposes, has been vacant since 1913. It features a mostly forested terrain, and the district plans to retain as many of those trees as possible to maximize the amount of outdoor space for learning and play.
The district first decided to develop the new program in 2018 following consultations, and funding was secured in spring 2022. With the rezoning and development permit process nearing completion, construction on the new building is set to start soon and finish in the fall.
The single-storey building will be built in a modular manner to allow a more economical and efficient delivery and will include three child-care studios, admin space, barrier-free access, and an exterior design intended to help it blend into the surrounding environment.
SD63 put out a survey for parents and residents to weigh in on to potential names for the new centre. SESISEJ, meaning little forest in SECOTEN, was recommended by WSANEC elders and the second option, TITETEM, means little bird. The chosen name has yet to be announced as the survey closed March 12.
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