Click through the below frequently asked questions to find answers to all your questions about the Arrowsmith Program and our schools. If we have missed any questions, please email our admissions director at admissions@eatonarrowsmithschool.com.

What is a typical day like at Eaton Arrowsmith?

A day in the full-time EA Program is divided into eight class periods, with a recess in the morning, a lunch break and an exercise break. Most students spend up to six periods on Arrowsmith Program brain exercises, and attend one period of English and one period of mathematics. Students visit three classrooms throughout the day. The majority of their time (up to six of eight daily periods) is spent in the cognitive classroom, where they are grouped by age and/or social maturity. The regular school day ends at 3:00pm, with a supervised Homework Program that is offered at a modest additional fee as a service to parents who are unable to pick their child up by 3:30pm. Depending on age, students complete between 70 and 100 minutes of cognitive homework five nights per week.

What is the difference between the full-time, part-time, and Motor Symbol Sequencing (MSS) programs?

Students in the full-time Eaton Arrowsmith Program attend classes from Monday to Friday (8:30am-3:00pm) from September to June and complete between 1-1.5 hours of homework each night. The full-time program can address up to six different cognitive areas, so students spend six periods on Arrowsmith cognitive exercises and also take one period of math and one period of English.

Students in the part-time, after school program attend classes Tuesdays and Thursdays (generally from 4:00pm-6:00pm) from October to May and work on strengthening one particular cognitive area. They do not have any homework, but like full-time students, are given an Arrowsmith Programming Assessment.

Students in the Motor Symbol Sequencing program attend classes every second Thursday (4:00pm-6:00pm) from October to May. They also have 1-1.5 hours of homework each night (5 nights a week), but are not given the complete Arrowsmith assessment. Students in this program are assessed to determine their proficiency on the Motor Symbol Sequencing area only.

How do academics fit into the EA curriculum?

EA follows the British Columbia and Washington State curriculum for math and English up to and including grade nine. As most of our students in the full-time program start out below where they “should be” (based on age), we meet students at their current academic level (which is typically below grade level) and then bring them up to grade level over their time at EA. Students work on programs such as Slingerland and Lindamood Bell in Language Arts, and Jump Math in mathematics.

Our older students (grade 10 and above) have a number of options available to them. Students who are currently working below grade level can take math and English at EA until they have reached the grade 10 level. They can then take these courses (and/or other courses required for graduation) through a distance education organization.

Other students take a full cognitive course load (eight cognitive periods per day), deferring academics until they have strengthened their cognitive capacities enough to fully benefit from academic instruction.

For information about the BC curriculum, please visit the Ministry of Education’s website by clicking on the links below.

For information about graduation/diploma options for older EA students, please click on the following links:

What do students do after EA?

After completing their cognitive programs at EA, our students transition back to typical public or private schools. Having strengthened their capacity for learning, they now have the ability to truly benefit from academic and social experiences. Students in grade nine or younger transition back into the same grade as their peers. The first year after EA is typically spent assimilating back into a full academic program. Students now have the capacity to learn, but may have gaps in their academic knowledge, due to their previous cognitive weaknesses and the fact that they have not been exposed to certain concepts while at EA. We recommend connecting with a tutor that first year in order to help fill those gaps. By the second year back, most students are fully independent learners.

Students who return to regular public and private schools after grade nine must collect credits in order to graduate high school with their peers. Many of our students in this category work towards these credits with us in their final year of the program, connect with local distance education support facilities, repeat a grade at school or take a GED (Graduation Equivalency Diploma) in order to graduate. After this, the majority of our alumni go on to colleges and universities, or find employment in their chosen fields.

What kind of extra/after-school help is offered at EA?

We offer a homework program, which enables students to complete their homework at EA with supervision and guidance. The homework program takes place every day after school. This extends pick-up time to 4:45pm (for younger students) and 5:15pm for older students. The cost of this program is $20 per day if it is prearranged, and $25 per day for drop-in.

What kind of assessments are done at EA?

There are two types of assessment at EA:

Assessment of Fit: This tells us whether the Arrowsmith Program is a good fit for your child and involves an admissions meeting, a review of your son or daughter’s records and a visit to the school. This assessment does not cost anything. If you live outside the Lower Mainland, the assessment can be done over the phone or via Skype.

Programming Assessment: This assessment is done after enrollment to determine a student’s education plan based on his or her cognitive needs. Each student works one-on-one with an assessor (typically the classroom teacher) to go through the cognitive areas. The cost of this assessment is included in each student’s tuition fee.

How long does the Arrowsmith Program take? 

There is no simple answer to this question because the Arrowsmith Program is highly individualized. On average, 3-4 years in the full-time program is required for a “typical” candidate (student with a learning disability).

In both the part-time and full-time programs, students receive a programming assessment to determine how many of the 19 areas addressed by the program are below average, and how far below average they are. The goal of the Arrowsmith Program is to bring these weaker cognitive areas up to an average or above average level through repeated stimulation.

Program length is determined by a number of factors, such as:

  1. Number of areas below average
  2. Level of weakness in those areas (the weaker the area, the longer it will take to reach average)
  3. Number of areas addressed at a time (working on six simultaneously vs. working on one at a time)
  4. Individual factors such as attendance and engagement (motivation and attention are important)
How do students re-integrate into the regular curriculum after EA?

Full-time EA students take BC curriculum math and English, but not social studies, science, art, or music. Math and English are the only cumulative courses at the elementary school level (ones that build on concepts year after year). Many of our students come to EA and are below their grade level in math and English. We work to bring them up to grade level so they can easily transition back to mainstream schools at the same level as their peers (e.g. a student who spends grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 at EA can enter grade 6 at another school).

Older students in BC start collecting course credits for graduation starting in grade 10 (and grade nine in the United States). We work with our grade nine, 10, 11 and 12 students on alternative ways to obtain these credits. Some choose to do distance education, while others may repeat grades when they return to mainstream schools with an increased ability to learn after their time at EA.

How do arts, science, and social studies fit into the EA curriculum?

We do not offer science and social studies as separate courses in the full-time Eaton Arrowsmith Program unless a student is cognitively ready for these subjects. However, teachers work to bring some science and social studies concepts into their classes. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, the purpose of the Arrowsmith Program is to strengthen the weaker cognitive areas in our students. It has been described as “weaving the basket in which to pour academic knowledge”, or as building the foundation. If the basket has holes in it, or if the foundation is not stable, it is much more difficult to learn academics. Second, students at EA are here for a limited time – our goal is not to be a “forever” school, but to build up weaker cognitive areas in our students so that they can transition back into the mainstream public or private school system without the need for support.

Interestingly, when our students do transition back into other schools, we have heard that science and social studies are their best subjects! Unlike math and English, which build on knowledge gained in previous years, science and social studies are very unit-based, which means there is less, or no “catching up” to be done.

How does physical education (PE) fit into the EA curriculum? 

We know that physical exercise plays an important role in your child’s physical, emotional, social and, of course, neurological development. For this reason, students begin their days with a run/walk and take PE 2-3 times per week. We also take our students outside for 30 minutes every day at lunch to get fresh air and exercise.

What is the best age for students to start at EA?

Students can make cognitive gains at a similar rate at any age. Earlier interventions are, however, preferred. This is because of the social and emotional ramifications of leaving a student in an environment where they are struggling. For example, some older students can start feeling disheartened and pessimistic, which makes progress difficult. Ultimately, each student is different, so it is hard to generalize.

What kind of tax credits are available for EA tuition?

The Medical Expense Tax Credit applies to the Arrowsmith Program. To find out more about tax credits, please click here.


What Vancouver schools do you recommend for siblings of EA students?

Many of our international students come to Vancouver with their entire families. There are great public and private schools in the Lower Mainland for the siblings of EA students. Please click on some of the helpful resources below.

Public Schools: Please visit the Government of British Columbia’s database to find schools in your community.

Private Schools: Please visit the Our Kids website. It’s a great resource about Vancouver’s private schools.

Catholic Schools: Please visit the Catholic Independent Schools of British Columbia (CISBC) website to find Catholic schools in your community.

Daycare: Please visit the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre website to find out about daycare options. This website comes highly recommended by our staff members who have young children!

How do you keep students motivated?

Our students are generally hardworking and motivated. We see them coming in the door with big smiles every morning, ready to get to work! This is not to say that students don’t struggle with motivation or go through tougher times, but for the most part, it’s not as tough to motivate students as you’d imagine!

Individualized programs with exercises set at a level specific to the student, motivational strategies designed by our incredible teachers, peer encouragement, the end-goal, and specific motivational strategies all play a role in helping maintain the motivation of our students.

How long will it take before I start seeing a difference in my son or daughter?

This varies from student to student. On average, we say it takes approximately three months for parents to see the first observable differences in their children. For students with more severe difficulties, we might not see observable behavioural developments until the second year. Our teachers will keep you up to date on the measurable differences they see in your child. And we would love to hear about any differences you see in your son or daughter outside of school.

How does EA foster the social and emotional needs of my son or daughter? 

Students’ academic needs can only be met in an environment that fosters social and emotional growth. Our teachers strive to create strong attachments with students. We believe healthy, strong adult connections help students navigate and establish long-lasting peer relationships. Our teachers communicate with students in a way that is respectful of their emotional needs and helps foster a sense of belonging and community. Our goal is to build up your child’s confidence and help them to reflect on their emotions and feelings. We use Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication method, through which the underlying needs of each child are considered when getting to the bottom of emotional struggles.

What are the schools’ policies for international students?

Please click on the link below to view our Policies and Codes of Conduct.

Schools’ policies for international students

EA Adults Policies and Code of Conduct

Everything about the school is excellent, from the principal to the teachers to the active parent group.

Dr. Daniel Bankson and Dr. Anne Bankson, EA parents
Do you think Eaton Arrowsmith is right for your child?
Learn about our admission process
News & Events
September 23, 2020

Online instruction has been a huge challenge for children with learning difficulties. This is even more so during this pandemic, as schools and programs designed for in-person instruction quickly adapt to offer remote learning. Children with learning difficulties are being left behind as having them engage online is proving to…  Read More »

July 28, 2020

Barbara Arrowsmith Young’s July 22nd 2020 virtual tour presentation is now available for viewing! Along with Barbara Arrowsmith Young and the other Arrowsmith educators who spoke, we are thankful to our wonderful Eaton Arrowsmith Vancouver parent, Barb Silverthorn, for her beautiful thoughts regarding her daughter and family’s journey with us…  Read More »