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Main Programs and Courses Teaching Education Programs Education Assistant

Education Assistant

Start a rewarding and in-demand career with the Education Assistant diploma program at Reeves College. In less than a year, you'll learn how to help children and youth who require extra support achieve their full potential.

Your courses will cover key areas including foundations of special education, learning and behaviour, autism, cognitive and physical challenges, and more. To solidify your new skills and knowledge, you'll also complete two real-world practicum placements.

Once you graduate, you'll be ready to make a difference in the classroom and other educational environments.

This program is 45 weeks in length.
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Early Childhood Education Settings
  • Community Care and Youth Centres
  • Recreation Programs
  • Home/Community Support
  • Group Homes
  • Family Service Centres


Tasha discusses the hands-on training she received at Reeves College.

Program Courses
SSS4 / Student Success Strategies
Emphasis is placed on thinking about achieving success from day one, and developing the non-technical skills to enhance personal, academic, and career success.
AB-EA100 / Being an Education Assistant

This course covers the foundations of being an education assistant and working as part of a school team. Students are introduced to Individualized Program Plans (IPPs) whilst supporting teaching and learning. (IPPs are presented throughout the program as part of case studies, observation and recording, and making adaptations to plans.) The course discusses provincial and school board practices, philosophies, and professional ethics. Students will analyze their own educational beliefs and discuss how to put them into practice. Emphasis is also placed on discussing the development selfregulated learners, the relationship to social-emotional learning and executive functioning, meeting the needs of diverse learners, and motivating and engaging learners. The provincial guidelines for special education services are also reviewed.

AB-EA110 / Foundations of Inclusive Education

Pre-requisites: AB-EA100
This course is an introduction to inclusive education in BC and Canada. Students examine positive ways of including children of all needs and abilities in the regular classroom, shaping the skills and strategies needed to create an inclusive classroom by individualizing learning for each student regardless of their exceptionality. The first part of the course provides fundamental background knowledge in the field of special education; topics include introduction to the Individualized Program Plan; students with learning and behaviour exceptionalities, intellectual disabilities, communication exceptionalities; and equity and diversity. The second part of the course focuses on instructional approaches that emphasize teaching students effectively regardless of exceptionality or other forms of diversity: topics include climate, organization, and management of inclusive classrooms; using universal design and differentiating teaching; differentiating assessment; enhancing social relations; and transitions. This course also introduces the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) which addresses the support of students with very diverse learning needs. This includes a set of online training modules. A further set of training modules assists students in creating a UDL toolkit of resources and a term assignment to present these resources. 

AB-EA120 / Child and Adolescent Development

How does an education assistant learn to be outstanding? One key pathway is to learn the science of child development and know how to apply it in the classroom. This course provides education assistants with a solid foundation from which to problem solve how to best educate each student. To be successful, one must understand each student as a learning, feeling, relating human being. The goal of this course is to help participants create classrooms that optimize students’ development. Using case studies, research, and reflections on practice, students gain a solid foundation in developmental psychology as well as practical skills for applying that knowledge in a classroom. The course emphasizes diversity – individual and group –age trends, and classroom implications, along with sections on the foundations of child development, the cognitive child, the emotional child, the social child, and the whole child. This course will address human development from conception through adolescence, with a focus on childhood to teenage years. Students will learn about fetal development and the effect of teratogens on an unborn child. There will be in depth review of a child’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive and cultural development. Students will study psychological theories and how they relate to child development. 

AB-EA130 / Communication and Communicative Disorders

Students are introduced to the basic concepts and methods related to studying communication, covering both typical speech and language development along with information on disordered speech and language. Foundational science is covered (the anatomy and physiology of speech, language, and voice production) as well as articulation and phonology and related disorders. Language development in children and the related disorders are also studied, including communication in a multicultural society and its characteristics and these speech/language differences versus disorders. Speech and language disorders in adults – neurological impairment – are also discussed. Other subjects in this course cover various impairments and conditions: voice disorders; swallowing disorders; fluency disorders; the anatomy and physiology of hearing and hearing disorders; and hearing testing and management of hearing disorders. During this course, students are also introduced to American Sign Language (ASL) where they begin to learn basic vocabulary development, the manual alphabet, simple structures, and grammatical forms of ASL, history, finger spelling, numbers, terminology, and insight into the culture and community of deaf people. 

AB-EA135 / Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Student will learn about various methods of augmentative and alternative communication and assistive technology, software and programs that can assist children and adults with communication. This course includes curriculum based on SET-BC standards: augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, activities, and ways of thinking. Students will be introduced to, accessibility options for computers and communication boards, and Blisssymbolics. The course requires students to maintain a blog or learning log and a project building an assistive technology (AT) plan and implementation analysis after working with a special needs student. This term project must be completed by the end of the first practicum. This course will include additional workshops which include lecture, group and online learning activities, and assignments required to be completed. The workshops are:
-SET-BC: Assistive Technology in the Classroom (mostly selfdirected course accessed online)
-SOLO 6+ Essentials: a literacy suite of popular assistive technology supporting Read:Outloud, Draft:Builder, Write:Outloud, and Co:Writer.
-Introduction to Picture-Based Software for the Classroom: Boardmaker®: this course introduces students to this software tool; students will create a project they could use in a classroom and present to class.
-Digital Education Basics: SMARTBoard – this workshop introduces students to smart boards (interactive whiteboards), learning how to get started with the SMART board, create objects, and create interactive lesson activities. Students will present a short lesson activity to complete the workshop.

AB-EA140 / Professional Communication for the Education Assistant

Pre-requisite: AB-EA100
This subject provides a comprehensive study of effective communication skills and techniques the student will use both professionally and personally. The subject will sharpen skills to work effectively in a professional, helping relationship including communicating with parents, colleagues, and administrators. The main focus of the course is the classroom and student, the rationale for using certain communication strategies, and guidance on how to implement them. Many issues are discussed, including intrapersonal skills and interpersonal and small group communication; listening skills; verbal and non-verbal communication (from both the EA’s and student’s perspective); instructional strategies such as lecturing, discussions, and storytelling; teacher influence; ethical considerations; and racism/sexism in the classroom. Students will deliver a mini-lesson for a small group discussion and/or a storytelling session targeted for a small group of children. 

AB-EA150 / Teaching Students with Learning and Behavioural Differences

Pre-requisites: AB-EA140
All children are special; however, children with exceptionalities have difficulty reaching their full potential. Their intellectual, emotional, physical, or social performance falls below or rises above that of other children. They have special needs related to physical, psychological, emotional, or social factors, or a combination of these. This course examines students with exceptionalities within Canadian schools. It stresses the psychological, cognitive, social, and physical differences that more and less able learners bring to the teaching/learning situation, the unique difficulties faced by children who are exceptional, the developmental consequences of various exceptionalities, and the multiple types of interventions necessary to accommodate these students effectively. The age range spans infants to young adults. Emphasis is placed on children with mild differences in learning and children with behavioural disorders. 

PD-NCI / Non-Violent Crisis Intervention® Foundation Course

Pre-requisite (or co-requisite): EA150
This is a two-day workshop of certified training on behaviour management. The first day focuses participants on gaining a basic understanding of crisis intervention methods with the emphasis on early intervention and non-physical methods for preventing or managing disruptive behaviour. The second day of training expands on crisis intervention methods to include the study and practice of holding skills, used as a last resort when an individual becomes an immediate danger to themselves or others. 

AB-EA160 / Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behaviour Analysis

Children with autism are sometimes challenging to accommodate in the classroom setting. Students will learn characteristics of autism, teaching strategies and behaviour modifications/adaptions in order to assist children who are on the autism spectrum. ASD topics include characteristics of ASD; diagnosis and assessment; cognitive profiles and ranges of ability; theory of mind; sensory difference; social and communication skills; challenging behaviour; effective instructional practices; and applications in the classroom. The course also includes an introduction to Applied Behavioral Analysis; ABA topics include basic ABA theory and definitions; implementing basic ABA instructional strategies and techniques; how to collect reliable and consistent data when working with students; the ABCs of behaviour; reinforcement strategies for students; the discrete trial teaching format; errorless learning techniques; recording the level of prompting for instruction when collecting data; definition of prompts; shaping a behaviour or skill; identifying chaining strategies and prompting levels; completing a task analysis and collecting data; and identifying naturalistic opportunities for instruction. 

AB-EA165 / ASD workshops and report

Pre-requisite: EA160
This course continues the exploration of ASD. Students participate in ASD Workshops where they learn diagnostic criteria and strategies for more effective interactions with students with ADS. Students will also gain an understanding of how to develop effective behavioural interventions and how to de-escalate challenging behaviours.

AB-EA161 / Introduction to Picture Exchange Communication Systems

Pre-requisite: AB-EA160
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is used to rapidly teach communication skills to those with limited functional speech. PECs promotes communication with a social context without lengthy prerequisite training. Training in PECs begins by teaching a spontaneous request and goes on to teach additional communicative functions such as responding to questions and commenting. An added attraction for preschool children with autism and related disorders is the high proportion of children who acquire independent speech. Participants will learn how to implement the six phases of PECS, plus attributes, through presenter demonstrations, video examples, and role-play opportunities. Participants will leave the course with an understanding of how to implement PECS with individuals with autism, related developmental disabilities, and/or limited communication skills. 

AB-EA170 / Teaching Students with Mental Health Disorders

Students are introduced to the terminology used by professionals working in the field of mental health, as well as the issue of mental illness and its stigma in the classroom and society in general. Many areas are covered including trauma- and stressor-related disorders; neurodevelopmental disorders; attention deficits; disruptive behaviour; anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and related disturbances; mood disturbances; eating disturbances; psychosis and schizophrenia; and substance misuse and addictions. Additional discussions include understanding suicide and brain structures. Some special attention is given to learning and resources for depression and eating disorders. A presentation/report is also assigned for students to demonstrate their knowledge from research on a specific mental health disorder.

PD-ASIST / Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training

ASIST is an internationally recognized two-day workshop which uses multimedia presentations in a practice-oriented training to build skills and confidence in suicide intervention. The ASIST workshop is divided into five sections that follow in a logical progression to gradually build comfort and understanding around suicide and suicide intervention.

AB-EA180 / Working with Learners with Reading and Math Challenges

Pre-requisite: AB-EA150
Throughout this course, students will learn various strategies in language and math, such as Base 10 principles and TouchMath. Students will be required to put together two lessons and present to class (one for reading, one for math). Students will also earn a certificate after completing sessions and assignments for “Overview of the Orton-Gillingham Approach”. Topics include the characteristics of the individual with dyslexia; principles of the Orton-Gillingham Approach; brain organization and multi-sensory instruction; phonology and the language system; structure of the English language; history of the English language; and lesson planning using the approach. Students will then participate in seminar training that guides them step-by-step through TouchMath® computation and methodology. This multisensory approach combines auditory, visual, and tactile/kinesthetic elements that enable students of all learning styles to be successful. Participants will practise and quickly master TouchMath counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

AB-EA200 / English Language Learning in Special Education

This course provides students with knowledge of how language is developed in a child, starting with foundations of linguistics; communication development in infancy; phonological development; semantic development; morphology and syntax; development of communicative competence; theoretical approaches to language acquisition; variation in language development; atypical language development; language and literacy in school years; and bilingual language development. The second part of the source reviews language development and reasons it is difficult to learn from some students and the basics of distinguishing between various communication disorders versus second language acquisition. Some basic principles and approaches to teaching English as a second language are outlined.

AB-EA210 / Supporting Learners with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Pre-requisite: AB-EA200
This course is organized around areas of concern and a clear understanding of the needs of students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAS/E) by defining FAS/E, describing the common learning and behavioural characteristics of children with FAS/E, and strategies that may be helpful in meeting the challenges these children present in the classroom. Needs and strategies for several characteristics are discussed, including attention difficulties, cause and effect thinking, social skills, personal skills, memory skills, language development, reading and writing, motor skills, mathematics skills, science skills, and fine arts. Students will also learn to develop a sample IPP through case studies of examples; other activities include observation and discussion during a meeting with parents, common misinterpretations of normal responses in students with FAS/E, and various skills checklists (scenarios and group work).

AB-EA220 / Supporting Learners with Acquired Brain Injury and Physical Impairments

Pre-requisite: AB-EA200
In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness of students with acquired brain injury (ABI) in the school system. Advancements have led to an increase in the number of children and adolescents who are surviving and being served in our schools. Length of stay in hospitals and rehabilitation centres also is decreasing and students return to the school system. This course introduces students to planning and supporting these students. Topics include structure and function of the brain; defining ABI; characteristics associated with ABI; planning support; teaching students; managing challenging behaviour, students with mild ABI; and transition planning. Students will participate in case studies and discussions and the EA’s role in supporting students with ABI, as well with those who have physical impairments and/or chronic health impairments.

AB-EA230 / Supporting Learners with Hearing and Visual Impairments

This course introduces students to ways to support students who are hard of hearing and deaf, as well as those with visual impairments. The first part of the course discusses students with hearing impairments and how to support and establish learning relationships in the classroom. Content includes working with teachers, especially vision resource teachers; talking with students and parent interviews; when to get help and when you need it; changes to IPPs; collaborating with the educational team; and the nature and degree of visual impairment. It also explains the student’s functional vision (charts), safety and environment, and supporting the student through planning, instruction, assessment, the print user, the Braille user, and available resources. The second part of the course focuses on visually impaired students including preparation to support/teach students; meetings with teachers, educational team, students; classroom adaptation; communication tips; tips for students; and equipment needs. Training sessions are also included this course, including:
-Using ASL in the Classroom – this follows up on ‘Introductory American Sign Language’ with lecture, discussions, and a project using sign language with a student, including practical examples and presentation
-Working with Gifted Students – using provincial guidelines, students are introduced to gifted education, including identification and student profiles; content (acceleration, telescoping, compacting, independent study, tiered assignments, learning centres, and curricular models); process (higher level and creative thinking, problem solving); the learning environment and products. 

AB-EA250 / Teaching Life Skills

During this course, students will have had training (e.g. Applied Behavioural Analysis) and be able to practically apply behaviour management theory and understand their effects on a child’s behaviour. Students will be challenged to apply knowledge of ABA and Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) in role plays and hands-on assignments in order to practise how to teach life skills and behaviour management. Using provincial guidelines, students will learn about adaptations and modifications to IPPs where outcomes address functional life skills.

AB-EA260 / Supporting Personal Care

This course is designed to provide crucial information on physical management skills and specialized health care procedures for students with disabilities. 


Canadian law requires that any person exposed to hazardous materials in the workplace must be trained in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). This course has been developed to meet and exceed the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. WHMIS 2015 training includes the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling for chemicals (GHS), as well as WHMIS legislation introduced in 1988.

PD-SFA-CPR / Standard First Aid with CPR ‘C’ and AED

This 2-day course suited for the general public and workplace and meets first aid requirements for Canada Labour Code Standard First Aid, and Licenced Child and Adult Care Facilities. This course is suited for police, first responders, lifeguards, ski patrollers, caring citizens and families with children. 

AB-EA298 / Education Assistant Practicum I

Students are required to complete a practicum at an assigned school (either private/independent or public institution) for a total of four weeks. Students will be monitored by both the practicum host and the college throughout the duration of the practicum; this ensures students apply their knowledge and skills learned during the program into practice. The practicum may be in a variety of settings, such as an elementary school, high school class, and special programs. There are two practicum sessions that will be completed by students in two different settings, for a total of eight weeks. The actual hours may vary depending on the practicum host arrangements, typically six or more hours per day, five days per week. Post-conference sessions are also scheduled weekly during the practicum period (approximately three hours per session); a cohort will attend these sessions at the college (for discussing their practicum experience, raising questions, sharing best practices, and submitting assignments).

AB-EA299 / Education Assistant Practicum II

Pre-requisite: AB-EA298
Students are required to complete a practicum at an assigned school (either private/independent or public institution) for a total of four weeks. Students will be monitored by both the practicum host and the college throughout the duration of the practicum; this ensures students apply their knowledge and skills learned during the program into practice. The practicum may be in a variety of settings, such as an elementary school, high school class, and special programs. There are two practicum sessions that will be completed by students in two different settings, for a total of eight weeks. The actual hours may vary depending on the practicum host arrangements, typically six or more hours per day, five days per week. Post-conference sessions are also scheduled weekly during the practicum period (approximately three hours per session); a cohort will attend these sessions at the college (for discussing their practicum experience, raising questions, sharing best practices, and submitting assignments). This second practicum will be at a different type of setting from the first practicum (EA298).

CES4B / Career and Employment Strategies

In addition to learning career-oriented skills, students learn how to get a job in their chosen profession. Our Employment Services department will assist the graduate in resume writing, as well as preparing for job interviews. Our staff is sensitive to current job market trends and the needs of employers in each local market.

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