Variety Schools

Variety – the Children’s Charity BC is thrilled to announce the launch of our school grant program: Variety Schools. Imagine a school yard where students with special needs have permission to exercise their curiosity and explore their environment. Picture a classroom where children with special education designations have their unique needs met and are thriving. Variety BC is working with schools across the province to help make sure that learning is inclusive, accessible and safe for everyone – so kids from every background can achieve their full potential.

A diagnosis or identification of a special learning need or medical condition does not necessarily mean that a child will receive a special education designation from the BC Ministry of Education. Provincial funding is provided to the school district, not to the individual school that the student attends nor directly to the child. Often the need is greater than the support schools receive. And new families to BC who received assessments for their children outside the province find themselves on long waitlists to be reassessed before being eligible for designation and getting the supports they need.

That’s where Variety steps in.


“Schools are busy places with competing demands. Most students enjoy coming to school and find success here. Others have medical or developmental challenges that hinder their growth. Twenty-nine of our 380 students are officially designated for special education; we have several more families waiting for their children to be diagnosed.

Educators are working hard simply to keep students safe while meeting their educational requirements, but they are struggling to meet the increasing needs of our students with such limited staffing and resources. Special Education Assistants are purchasing items out of their own pockets (like sensory toys and noise reduction hearing protection) to help prevent deregulated students from harming themselves and others, and to keep children from running out of classes or off school grounds.

Thanks to our Variety Schools grant, we are able to add more expensive equipment (such as weighted vests and wiggle seats) to the school, and provide students with the tools they need to self-regulate and understand how their bodies and minds interact with their environment. Students are being set up for success in their own individual ways, and staff burnout is being reduced. With the immediate need met, our school can begin raising funds for a brand new sensory room to be completed in the fall/winter of 2022.”

– Ashley Moller-Hansen, PAC Co-Chair



Meet with your Parent Advisory Council, Principal, and/or Special Education staff to identify and brainstorm ways to make learning more accessible for students with unique learning needs.

Here are some ideas from participating schools:

  • Sensory path throughout school hallways
  • Wheelchair accessible playground
  • Tactile outdoor water play area
  • Closed captioning technologies
  • Library books in brail

Determine a budget, set a fundraising goal, and map out a timeline to implement your project.


Eligibility requirements:

  • Project must promote inclusivity and support students with special needs
  • Application must include your PAC’s most recent audited financial statement(s)
  • School administration must approve of the project prior to receiving your grant
  • Grant funding must be used within the same school year you apply
  • Variety will match up to a maximum of $10,000 per school


Contact Us

To learn more about the Variety Schools program, please email Anna Polden or call 604.268.3898.