Frequently Asked Questions

EBS is a Group 1 Independent School and follows the guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Education. Our education programs meet, and often exceed, the learning outcomes of the BC curriculum. Every two years the school receives a monitoring inspection, and every six years the school undergoes a full inspection by an External Evaluation Committee from the Ministry.
All of our teachers are certified by the Teacher Regulation Branch of the Ministry of Education.

The Cridge Centre for the Family offers out-of-school care programs located in the same building as EBS. Cridge care workers drop off in the morning and pick up in the afternoon right at the classroom door. To register for out-of-school care with the Cridge, call 250.995.6407.

Our elementary school has up to 48 students and three classes. We cap our classes at 16 students.
Our middle school will have up to 24 learners (grade 6/7/8) in a multi-age learning space.

Where possible, we welcome students with diverse learning needs. Some learning challenges can be addressed through smaller classes, more individualized programming, multiple modes of engagement/expression, and the cues that we habitually build into our classrooms (such as visual schedules, self-regulation instruction, and social coaching). We carefully build our classes to be supportive communities of learning. Before bringing a new student into the school, we meet with parents and arrange visits for the student to assess their needs and to assure that we have the resources to meet them.

At EBS we practice Universal Design for Learning. UDL was inspired by the Universal Design movement in architecture, which focuses on designing buildings to be accessible to all from the outset, rather than retrofitting structures with modifications.

UDL allows for multiple means of engagement, representation, and expression. This means that students are presented information and content through multiple modes of learning, (e.g. kinesthetic, visual, auditory). Concepts are introduced in ways that help students to integrate new ideas into prior learning. Classroom routines support students to develop strategies for goal-setting, self-regulation, and self-assessment. Students are given opportunities to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways (e.g. projects and discussion, not just pen-and-paper tasks). Multiple levels of challenge are built into the program, so children with a variety of skill levels are able to be challenged at a level appropriate to their needs.

In a UDL classroom, the adults act as facilitators for learning by providing experiences that allow the students to discover many of the concepts in a hands-on way.

EBS is committed to inclusion for students with special needs. The practice of inclusion means that students with special needs spend most of their day in the regular classroom. There are five critical steps to successful inclusion of students with special needs:

  1. support the student in the classroom,
  2. adjust instructional strategies,
  3. make the environment accessible,
  4. provide ongoing opportunities for meaningful interactions with peers, and
  5. provide selected short-term and individualized support outside of the classroom.

In-class support: every class at EBS is supported by a team of educators (teachers, education assistants, and specialists) who work together to provide integrated support for all of the students in the classroom.

Adapted instructional strategies: we practice Universal Design for Learning, which means that multiple modes of engagement, representation, and expression are built into the program from the outset. This allows us to address a wide range of learning needs within one classroom. The staff also engages in regular professional development to enhance their teaching craft.

Accessible environment: each classroom is carefully organized to make the learning environment safe and accessible, both physically and emotionally, for all students. Accessibility means not just physical access to the facility, but also that all of the visual cues in the classroom allow every student to understand the expectations and routines.

Ongoing opportunities for meaningful interactions with peers: because the students with special needs are included in the regular classroom, their peers see them as friends rather than focusing on their differences. They work, play, and learn together through meaningful interactions throughout the day.

Short-term individualized support outside of the classroom: students in need of targeted instruction in areas such as language development, physical development, or self-regulation, receive services from specialists (OT, PT, SLP) who are contracted by the school. Out-of-class supports may also include opportunities for short sensory or movement breaks throughout the day.

At EBS, we have a successful track record of helping children learn to cope with and overcome anxiety. We create a predictable and safe classroom environment that provides multiple cues for expectations and routines. We teach children to articulate their feelings and to understand their body’s physical manifestations of stress (e.g. tummy aches). We teach relaxation skills and provide social coaching (e.g. role-playing, practising “scripts”) to gently guide children to identify their fears and move past them. We provide targeted skill instruction to help children develop competencies in areas where they feel insecure. Finally, we work very hard to build a school culture where students are free to be themselves, and differences are normalized and accepted. At EBS, “everyone gets what they need, and everyone’s needs are different.”
Some examples of strategies that we use to help children develop self-regulation skills include classroom-wide and individual positive behaviour support, opportunities for fidgets and movement breaks, opportunities for choice during parts of the day, individual goal-setting, and social coaching both in the classroom and on the playground.
As part of our school philosophy, we believe that parents have the right to have input into their child’s program of learning. To facilitate this process, we have many avenues for communication between the home and school. First, many parents drop off and pick up their children directly at the school. This allows for daily quick check-ins as to how a child’s day is going, plus reminders about classroom work, upcoming events, etc. For more in-depth discussions about a child’s progress, teachers and administration are always available to book a meeting outside of school time. Parents of children with special needs are included in IEP meetings and have an active role in assessing and setting goals. Each teacher has an email account that can be used for communication outside of school hours as necessary. Finally, we provide information about the school community through the website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and monthly newsletters. To connect the community as a whole, we plan a number of school-wide events throughout the year, some of which include our Winter Celebration, movie night, annual camping trip, and Year-End Celebration.
Our students have graduated on to a number of different education settings after EBS. Some head to their catchment public school, some choose independent schools that offer higher grades, and some go on to homeschooling.
In addition to a strong foundation in reading, writing, and mathematics, students at EBS receive support and instruction in effective communication and conflict resolution, as well as strategies for problem-solving challenges. Our hands-on programs are designed to encourage critical thinking, reasoning, and personal responsibility in learning. Finally, our students are educated in an inclusive environment that helps them develop the compassion to interact successfully with people of all interests and skills. This strong foundation helps our students to succeed when moving into new learning environments.
Part of what makes EBS such a vibrant learning community are the opportunities we are able to provide by combining our resources. Parents play an important role in the school. Examples of volunteer work include serving hot lunches, helping in the library, building specialized equipment for the school, sharing a special skill with the students, and serving in an administrative capacity on our school board. Whatever a parent’s skills and time availability, there are many opportunities to make meaningful contributions to the learning environment at EBS.
Each year we have a limited amount of funding available to support families in need. Applications are accepted and assessed toward the end of the previous school year. Available funds are allocated among the applicants based on need.
When a family inquires about admission to EBS, we do our best to give accurate information about the state of the wait-list. Admission to the school is not based simply on the timing of the application; rather, it involves placing the students close to the top of the list whose needs can be met in the openings that come available after re-enrolment at the beginning of February of the preceding school year.
Each year we do a re-enrolment call out to families currently enrolled in the school. At that time we are able to assess how many spaces will be available to offer new families for the following school year. The earliest we can begin to offer spots for a given school year would be in February of the same calendar year in which you wish your child to enter the school. Once a child is offered a spot, the family is asked to provide a non-refundable, two-month deposit. The deposit will be applied to the student’s first and final months at the school.