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SESISEJ Childcare Centre

ŚEŚIŚEJ Childcare Centre

A nature based early learning and childcare program.

Location and Past Use

The childcare centre is located at the intersection of White Road and Veyaness Road on land once used to house South Saanich School. On April 7, 1873, Mr. William Turgoose donated two acres of land from the corner of his farm to the trustees of the South Saanich School District, with the condition the land be held and used for public school purpose.

South Saanich School, a school house measuring 25 feet by 50 feet, was constructed and opened on the donated site in 1873 with 53 pupils attending between the ages of 5 and 16. South Saanich School operated for about 40 years until 1913 when it was replaced by Saanichton School and Keatings School.

The Public Consultation Process

In 2016, School District No. 63 (Saanich) commenced a public consultation process focusing on the following question: “What should the School Board do with the White Road property so that the educational needs of our students and community are best served and the wishes of the donor are respected?” As the property is not suitable as a modern school site due to its smaller size and location, identifying a suitable alternative “public school purpose” was a key objective of the consultation.

Feasibility Study

Following an extensive community consultation, in October 2018 the Board of Education approved completing a review considering the benefits and feasibility of creating a Nature Based Early Learning Centre on the property. In October 2020, the Board of Education approved an early learning and childcare program plan and facility plan for a funding application to the Childcare BC New Spaces fund. Project funding was confirmed in the spring of 2022 and construction began in the spring of 2023 following successful rezoning of the property.

Coming Soon!

In April 2023, the Board of Education approved naming the new facility ŚEŚIŚEJ, a SENĆOŦEN word recommended by local Elders meaning “Little Forest”. We anticipate the ŚEŚIŚEJ Childcare Centre will open in late 2023 or early 2024 serving up to 84 children and families.