Dear JICS Families,
We can hardly believe that we are in our last days of Fall Term! In each of our classrooms, this term has been full of deep engagement, learning and excitement. We look ahead to our final day tomorrow as we gather for our annual Festivals of Lights Sing-along - details below.
Last Day of Fall Term: Wednesday, December 20:
8:30am Coffee for all parents during drop-off - thanks to the Parent Exec!
9:00am Festivals of Light sing-a-long, Trinity St. Paul's United Church, 427 Bloor St.W
School closes at 12:00pm – Wednesday Program ends at 3:00pm and Daycare to 6:00pm
News from the school:
"Sway" JICS Newsletter
We hope you will spend some time exploring the new format for our JICS Newsletter with your child(ren) Holly sent this link and password last week by email. The newsletter will be posted on this website under 'News and Events". We have heard from several children that they have not yet seen this newsletter. Please share it with your children and enjoy reading it together! If you need the link and password again, please email Holly.
Thank you to the Grade 6 students for their leadership of the annual food drive for Walmer Road Food Bank. The Grade 6 students delivered 500 pounds of food yesterday and spent time sorting and shelving the donated goods. Thank you to everyone who donated.
We will be mailing home Fall Progress Report Cards this week.
Research Night - Hold the Date!
Please mark your calendars for our annual Research Night, Monday, January 22. More details in the New Year
A look ahead into the Winter Term:
Monday, January 8: Winter Term Begins: School Opens at 8:45 | Daycare Opens at 8:00am.
* Hot lunch begins
Tuesday, January 9: School wide lice check
Wednesday, January 10 to Friday, January 12: Grade 3 & 4 Tawingo Trip
Monday, January 22: Research Night at JICS - an evening event, more details soon
Monday, February 5: PA Meeting + Community Chat (Topic: TBD) 6:00-8:00pm - Free babysitting
Monday, February 5: Non-refundable re-enrolment deposits due ($5,000 per child)
Thursday, February 15: Parent Education Morning at JICS (Topic TBD). More Details in the New Year
Friday, February 16: Mid-term Holiday; School Closed; Daycare 8:00-6:00
Monday, February 19: Family Day; School and Daycare Closed
Monday, March 12 to Friday, March 23: March Break; School Closed; Daycare March Break Camp: March 19-23 only.
The Intentional Day at JICS
At the Dr. Eric Jackman ICS Lab School, our decisions regarding programming reflect our belief that students have different needs at different developmental stages and at different times of day. Our approach is both rigorous and flexible, encouraging the construction of knowledge of the world and of the self. Along with academic learning, we strive to balance social, psychological, and emotional growth to support the healthy development of the whole child.
The daily and weekly experience of the child is intentionally designed in keeping with our principles:
At Jackman ICS, we
engage the whole child, believing that each learner is an individual who brings body, mind, emotions, relationships, and experiences to learning.
create a secure environment that allows self-expression, exploration, investigation, and creativity to flourish.
believe that learning is a rigorous process of inquiry, driven by curiosity, discourse, assessment and reflection, in pursuit of idea improvement and purposeful innovation.
believe that all learners deserve time to learn deeply, reflect on their learning, and make meaningful connections.
believe that education should be a joyful process.
Classroom teachers, Special Education teachers, Specialty teachers, Day Care ECE specialists, and Wednesday Afternoon Program providers work in partnership to support and enhance the learning of the children of the Lab School in a university setting which involves working with researchers, professors, and teacher-candidates.
The School Day
Classroom teachers and Specialty teachers design and implement an intentionally rigorous and flexible inquiry-based educational program in which:
each student is viewed as individual, unique in his or her combination of developmental readiness, culture, lifestyle, learning style, temperament, and special talents
each student masters important subject matter, learns to think critically and creatively, understand the values and traditions which underlie our global society, and develops a sense of personal and community responsibility.
Timetables allow for specific subject teaching as well as integrated approaches to the curriculum. Music, Visual Arts, Drama, French and Physical Education are taught by specialty teachers and integrated with the work of the classroom.
Jackman ICS has always believed that education in the arts is essential to students’ intellectual, social, physical, and emotional growth and well-being. Experiences in the Arts, during our weekly Drama, Music and Visual Arts classes play a valuable role in helping students to achieve their potential as learners and to participate fully in their community and in society as a whole. The Arts provide a natural vehicle through which students can explore and express themselves and whereby they can discover and interpret the world around them. It is well researched that the intellectual and emotional development of children is enhanced by the study of the Arts.
Here is a link to our curriculum practices: https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/jics/our- curriculum-practices/
Before and After School Care
Our licensed Day Care provides an intentionally “casual” atmosphere where children engage in self-directed play and activities in a multi-age indoor and outdoor setting to balance the rigour of the school day experience. Based on the belief that the most natural, effective, and engaging vehicle for young children’s learning is focused and productive play, the qualified and experienced Day Care Staff both create a safe, secure, loving environment in which children feel comfortable exploring their interests and expressing themselves, and also provide some of the guidance each child needs to develop a healthy sense of self in a larger social setting outside the home.
Wednesday Afternoon Program
The Wednesday Program offers a variety of intentionally non-academic arts and sports-based classes to students in Grades 1 – 6, following the noon dismissal each Wednesday. Classes regularly offered include: clay design, drama, rock climbing, skating and shinny hockey, improv, badminton, tennis and squash, sewing and knitting, jewelry design, sports and games, basic engineering, cooking, trampoline, cartooning, and felting.
Recess & Outdoor Play
At the Lab School, we value outdoor playtime as a vital part of the school day. When children play freely during recess, they have the opportunity to grow in socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively important ways. We view recess as a time for children to be as autonomous as possible. Our goal is to provide developmentally appropriate parameters that allow for independence, choice, physical challenge, solitude, exertion, and social connection.
“Decades of research has shown that play is crucial to physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development at all ages. This is especially true of the purest form of play: the unstructured, self-motivated, imaginative, independent kind, where children initiate their own games and even invent their own rules.” David Elkind, author of The Hurried Child and The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally
Yearly Enrichment Opportunities
Valuing the opportunity to surround our children with the best in education, school- wide or cohort-specific events are organized such as visiting experts sharing their knowledge; presentations by touring theatre groups, musicians, dancers and story- tellers; and trips to local theatre productions and the Stratford Festival.
Donations to the JICS Patrick Harvie Arts Fund extend the connection to the Arts by helping to purchase items such as our school piano, drum sets, and a pottery kiln along with subsidizing our unique “Artist-in-Residence Program”:
Clay Potter, Carolynn Bloomer (2009/10)
Drummer, Kwasi Dunyo (2010/11)
Soulpepper Theatre Company Workshops (2011/12)
Photographer, Marina Dempster (2012/13)
Story-teller, Dan Yashinsky (2013/14)
Stratford Festival Production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (2014/15)
Mural Painter, Christi Belcourt of the the Métis Nation & Story Teller, Isaac Murdoch from Serpent River First Nation; Singer, Dione Taylor (2015-2016)
Visual Artist, Kelly Jazvac (2017-2018)
It is through child-centered instruction based on students’ needs and interests that the extra-curricular program aims to instil confidence in students to participate actively and think critically. Clubs and sports teams are designed to be developmentally appropriate for specific age groups. Every child who is interested is able to fully participate. New spaces in our building will open up new learning possibilities that are aligned with our philosophy.
Sports Teams: cross country running (Gr 3, 4, 5, 6); sports club (Gr 3): sports club (Gr 4); co-ed volleyball (Gr 5,6); girls’ and boys’ basketball (Gr 5,6); track and field (Gr 3, 4, 5, 6). JICS participates in competitions with Toronto District School Board schools. Practices take place before school.
Clubs: Newsletter Club (Gr 4, 5, 6); Book Club (Gr 4, 5, 6); Social Justice (Gr 5, 6); Choir (Gr 1, 2, 3); Choir (Gr 4, 5, 6), Technology (Gr 4, 5, 6); “Porte ouverte au calme”.
Each year, new clubs are suggested by students and are supported by JICS teachers. Clubs meet during the school day in order to welcome all children who are interested in participating.
Participating in any extracurricular activities offers a variety of positive experiences with varied peer groupings. Extra curriculars create an opportunity for the children to socialize outside of the school day about a range of topics of interest to them. Children have the chance to build lasting bonds with other children over shared interests as well as opportunities to enhance leadership skills.
Extra curricular experiences are designed to help build self-confidence and positive attitudes. When children discover a passion or hobby and can take ownership of an activity they feel successful with, their confidence soars, they become surer of themselves and can thus build stronger connections with their peers through positive play.
Extra curriculars also contribute to the development of lasting healthy habits that benefit the mental and physical health of children. Learning ways to stay active, express ideas in a large group, work together with peers, and other important life skills will all impact the decisions the children make for themselves well into their futures.
Lastly, participating in extra curriculars can expose children to different ideas, opinions, and ways of seeing the world. Nurturing their curiosity and sense of wonder, as well as empathy and care for others through volunteer work helps school- aged children make meaningful connections with their communities and individuals or landscapes within it.
Outside the School Day
For all our children, what we value most for their time outside of school is:
Quality family time
Fresh air, sunshine, and time in nature
Fun time with friends
Quiet time alone
Reading for pleasure and sharing stories together
Pursuit of specific interest such as learning a musical instrument or joining a community sports program
Getting a good night’s sleep
Excessive programming plays less of a positive role than many people believe. Knowing oneself through awareness, being recognized and honoured for who you are, quality time with friends and family, and coming to know your strengths and passions as you grow and change, are the most influential experiences and the experiences we value and support as a school.
Reading is always highly encouraged. Studies link pleasure reading of rich fictional texts to the development of children’s ‘moral imaginations’ and their ability to understand others, empathize, and see another person’s point of view. Overscheduled children may have no or limited time left for pleasure reading and, as a result, are missing out on an opportunity to develop these skills. Alison Gopnik, University of California, Berkeley professor, describes the perils of overly scheduled and controlled learning environments for children in her parenting book: The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children. https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xURCmzmQG8s
Research shows that much of what is assigned as homework in elementary years is counter-productive and may harm young students’ attitudes towards learning (Dr. Harris Cooper, Duke University). In light of this research, and our own experience and philosophy as an educational institute exploring best practice, we take a developmental approach to homework.
Across all the grades, there are requests from teachers to connect learning between home and school. These “homework” requests are used to foster positive attitudes and engagement with learning, provide a link between school learning and home learning, and in our junior grades, allow for the growth of developmentally appropriate time management skills.
“A tree, as a symbol for the [full-day] curriculum, reminds us that it is a living thing, adapting and growing in response to the children’s own growth and development. We can name each branch of the program, while remembering that as the branches are connected; each area of a child’s growth - physical, social, emotional, cognitive or academic - is connected to a the other areas. In play and in community a child’s learning comes together in a whole experience.”
Norah L’Esperance, JICS Nursery Teacher
Have a wonderful holiday!