New $4.2M children's development centre coming to Saanich, adds mental health resources
The current children's development centre in Saanich is shown. A $4.2M replacement is expected to open in September: (Google Maps)
VICTORIA -- Construction has begun on a multimillion-dollar children's development centre in Saanich, the B.C. government announced Wednesday.
The $4.2 million facility will replace the current children's development centre, and will offer specialized courses and mental health support programs for children and families.
Currently, children in kindergarten to Grade 5 attend the development centre. Students visit the centre for 20 weeks if they are struggling in a traditional school setting. Once the 20-week program is complete, students return to their regular school more prepared for the environment.
"Every child is unique. We want to ensure the right services are in place to meet their specific needs – whether that’s helping them with learning challenges, mental health issues or connecting them to family counselling or specific therapies if they have extra-support needs," said Mitzi Dean, B.C. Minister of Children and Family Development.
Meanwhile, an "alternate learning program" is also offered at the centre for middle school-aged children, while staff at the centre also visit schools to help support students' mental health.
Construction of the new children's development centre is currently underway, and it's scheduled to open in September. It is being built with the province's latest seismic safety standards in mind.
The current centre opened 53 years ago. Its replacement is being built at a cost of $4.2 million, with the B.C. government providing $3.7 million and the Saanich Board of Education contributing $500,000.