Our Approach

Arts Umbrella is working to create a more welcoming, safe, inclusive, and accessible environment for all students. Arts education is for everyone, but we also understand that sometimes it can be hard to ask for supports that you and/or your student need. We are always learning how to make our classes more comfortable for our diverse range of students. As a part of this work, we have been building and improving our approach to accessibility and learning supports.

Arts Umbrella programming serves students ages 2-22. We understand that for children and young people, both physical and mental conditions, illnesses, and disabilities can occur for the first time or become more prominent. We acknowledge that for many students, barriers exist to accessing the right care, medical diagnoses, treatments, tools, and/or medication options. Arts Umbrella strives to support students who need support whether they have a diagnosis or not.

Access and Learning Supports

A class at Arts Umbrella isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. Students are often working on a common project or a shared goal, but how they get there is unique and creative. Everyone needs different things to feel good about learning. Often the variety and flexibility of learning supports are met in our classes thanks to the care and attention of our instructors and assistants, who can each offer more support or guidance when needed. Sometimes, there is no clear way to know what supports are best for a particular student or which adaptations might be needed in order to feel confident and reach one’s full learning potential, and that’s why we ask.

Examples of accessibility and learning needs

  • Learning disabilities
  • Spectrum conditions
  • Allergies and chemical sensitivities
  • Health conditions
  • Mental illness
  • English as an additional language
  • Shyness
  • Separation anxiety
  • Changing family circumstances
  • Travelling/recently immigrated

Examples of Common Supports we offer

  • A tour of the building including studios and classrooms
  • Specific building and classroom accessibility information and features such as measurements, amount of light, automatic doors, and more
  • The Quiet Room: A lower sensory space
  • Briefs from instructors and/or assistants on upcoming classes
  • The opportunity to meet instructors ahead of classes
  • Rest breaks away from the classroom
  • Support persons or personal aides are welcome
  • Alternative formats for handouts and references such as captions, transcripts, and audio recordings
  • Sharing handouts and references in advance of classes
  • Instructors using student-provided access tools or assisted devices such as FM loops for D/deaf/hard-of-hearing students
  • Adapted movement within dance classes to accommodate injuries and mobility limitations
  • Flexible in-class participation
  • Warnings for flashing/strobe lights and loud noises

Physical Accessibility at Arts Umbrella Granville Island

Whether you or your student are visiting Arts Umbrella Granville Island for a class or an event, we have the following supports available:

  • Elevators and ramps provide access to all 4 floors
  • Universal and gender-inclusive washrooms on each floor
  • Accessible parking stalls with elevator access to the entrance of the building
  • Designated wheelchair areas within the Jack and Darlene Poole Theatre
  • 4 Sennheiser-assisted listening devices available for performances in the Jack and Darlene Poole Theatre
  • Guide and other assistance dogs are welcome

Arts Umbrella Granville Island is a nut and shellfish allergen-controlled environment.

Physical Accessibility at Arts Umbrella Surrey Centre

We have the following supports available:

  • Single-level facility (wheel-chair friendly)
  • Accessible parking stalls available (upper level; two hours max, ground level; four hours max, through INDIGO)
  • Two universal and gender-inclusive washrooms
  • Guide and other assistance dogs are welcome

Arts Umbrella Surrey Centre is a nut and shellfish allergen-controlled environment.

Additional Information