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Saanich Peninsula families benefit from new ŚEŚIŚEJ Childcare Centre

April 23, 2024 at 10:45 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Families in the Saanich School District (SD63) are benefiting from the new ŚEŚIŚEJ Childcare Centre 84 licensed spaces that is giving children early learning experiences and allowing parents and guardians to work or pursue other opportunities.

“ŚEŚIŚEJ Childcare Centre provides accessible, culturally responsive and inclusive care for all ages of children, which the community needs,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of State for Child Care. “We continue our work to make access to affordable, quality, inclusive child care a core service that families can rely on.”

The Province partnered with the SD63 board of education to build the ŚEŚIŚEJ Childcare Centre with approximately $3.6 million in ChildCareBC New Spaces funding. The new centre offers 12 spaces for children under 36 months, 48 spaces for children 30 months to school age, and 24 spaces for school-age children.

“We are delighted to open the ŚEŚIŚEJ Childcare Centre and to be delivering services that families in the community really count on through our valued partnership with Beacon Community Services,” said Tim Dunford, board chair, SD63.

Together, SD63 and Beacon Community Services are working with the Queen Alexandra Centre and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre to serve children with additional support needs. On top of providing child care, Beacon offers food-security programs, counsellors and educational programs to support families in budgeting, nutrition, life skills and other supports.

“Our nature-based centre will incorporate our licensed-care philosophy of understanding the relationship we have with the land and our communities,” said Tricia Guelette, chief executive officer, Beacon Community Services. “Indigenous ways of knowing in the early learning curriculum teaches us that children are sacred gifts. Children are strong, capable and resourceful, and ŚEŚIŚEJ will strive to impart these values and ensure that the children in our care experience an environment where their positive identities and sense of belonging are nurtured and protected.”

In April 2023, the Saanich School District approved naming the new centre ŚEŚIŚEJ, a SENĆOŦEN word recommended by local Elders meaning “Little Forest.” The centre will provide SENĆOŦEN language teaching and incorporate First Peoples Principles of Learning in their programming along with partnering with W̱SÁNEĆ Elders and educators.

“Happy, healthy, muddy kids, growing up with a deep and personal connection to the beautiful unceded traditional W̱SÁNEĆ territories is a good thing for our children, families, communities and the Earth, and it’s something to celebrate,” said Megan Misovic, chair, Confederation of Parents’ Advisory Councils of Saanich. “Thank you to those who worked to make the ŚEŚIŚEJ Childcare Centre a reality and those who will build memories for our precious children there in the years to come.”

Since 2018, through the ChildCareBC accelerated space-creation programs, more than 34,000 new child care spaces have been funded. More than 16,000 of these spaces are operational. Of these spaces, almost 300 are on the Saanich Peninsula.

The Province and the Government of Canada invested more than $260 million last year to fund the creation of new licensed child care spaces in high-need areas throughout B.C.

Learn More:

For information about ChildCareBC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare

For information about the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund

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