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PA Note, Courtyard

Topics covered in this post:

  1. Message from PA President

  2. JICS’ own Forest (in the courtyard)

  3. Note from JICS “Trash Team”

  4. Good Luck to JICS Running Club – Cross Country Team

  5. Curriculum Night – Thanks

  6. Orange Shirt Day – Thanks

  7. Global Climate Strike – JICS in the News!

  8. Upcoming October Events


1. Message for JICS Parents’ Association President, Deepta

PA Fees & Donations

This is a gentle reminder to those who have not done so already to please pay your PA Fees/Donations. These fees go a long way to ensure that every family is supported. Here are a few examples of how PA funds are used to build our community:

  • Lice screening (3x per year)

  • Parent Social (September 10th, 2019 – thanks for coming out!)

  • Parent Education events

  • Babysitting for events held in the evenings for parents (Parent Social, Curriculum Night, PA meetings, etc.)

  • Classroom grants (up to $500 per teacher)

  • Access to a Social Worker for our children (1 day per week)

Volunteer Opportunities

We are looking for one Parent who can help us stand up a new committee that will be a learning opportunity for the whole JICS community, “Diversity Celebrations”. We are creating this committee as we’ve found in past years that parents across all the grades often want to celebrate diversity (Hannukah, Diwali, Christmas, Pride, International Women’s Day, etc.), but can benefit from hearing ideas of what is going on in the various classrooms.

The leader of this committee requires a well-organized individual who can get help us define the mission and goals of this committee within the next few weeks. Once we have strong direction, we will be able to effectively organize ourselves across multiple grades to celebrate all of our similarities and differences. If this is of interest to you, please contact Deepta Rayner.

We are looking for one or more parents who can help us stand up a Fundraising Committee. This will involve activities internal and external to the school community.

We have a number of other volunteer opportunities available for parents who are looking to get involved for a few hours this term or later in the year:

Staying warm as the weather cools

As the weather starts getting chilly, we have sweatshirts and toques for you and your family to wear with JICS pride. Get your school wear at the JICS Shop online.

Warm regards,



2. JICS’ own Forest (in the courtyard)

Thanks to your PA fees and donations, we now have begun to construct a state-of-the-art student sensory outdoor space using native plants, top ecological methods, elements of forest therapy design, and structural features to attract wildlife (birds, toads), that will engage students in deep outdoor learning and multi-sensory experiences. The PA donated $8000 toward the landscaping of our courtyard (located on the north side of the 2018 addition.)

Specific unique features that are offered in this landscape design include a condensed forest therapy trail, a Carolinian woodland, a tallgrass prairie, a wet meadow, and a conifer forest.In the Spring, we hope to add a three-stage vertical-flow native plant wetland.

Research indicates that children are suffering from a “nature deficit”.They have very limited access to natural play spaces.While outdoor play in natural environments was once common, data indicates that people spend less than 5% of their time outdoors. Outdoor spaces that children have access to are often void of natural elements. The goal of the courtyard is to create an outdoor space that a teacher can bring her/his class “to be with nature”: to learn about nature, or simply to sit, walk, and think, or to read a book in a natural setting… to provide a multi-sensory holistic experience in an ecological sensory space.

During the 2018-2019 school year, each cohort of the children worked with their teacher to study the courtyard and collect data (light and shade/wildlife/soil) and shared design ideas.The information they gathered and the work they did contributed to the plan for the courtyard.

We worked with native plant expert and ecologist, Ben Porchuk. Ben is the first certified Forest Therapy Guide in Canada, the first Forest Therapy Trainer and he is currently the only person with the qualifications to designate trails for Forest Therapy in Canada.

The JICS children were very excited during the landscaping work and helped with some of the planting. We hope you have the opportunity to experience our new oasis!


3. Note from JICS “Trash Team”

At JICS, we have a group of children and teachers who share a common interest: caring for our environment who are called the “JICS Trash Team”. Read their letter to parents here.

The Trash Team is working to understand our garbage and recycling systems, develop ways to reduce our school’s use of plastic, and learn from and about local organizations that have a zero or low waste policy. They will bring their learning to our school community by sharing tidbits through the weekly information postings, reminders at assemblies, and hosting campaigns throughout the school year.

Here is your first tidbit –

Avoid single use plastics in school snacks/lunches:

  • Instead of purchasing yogurt tubes and individual containers - buy larger tubs of yogurt and use a reusable container in your child’s lunch bag.

  • Avoid purchasing individually plastic-wrapped cheese strings or snacks – buy in bulk instead

  • Provide reusable water bottles for drinks.

  • Always have reusable cutlery and straws on hand. You can make a little kit wrapped in a napkin and keep it in your bag/car.


4. Good Luck to JICS Running Club – Cross Country Team

Children in Grades 3-6 Cross Country Team will be competing with TDSB schools tomorrow at Ashbridge’s Bay.They have been training before school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with coaches Judith, Nick, and Nadia.


5. Curriculum Night – Thanks

It was wonderful to see all of you at Curriculum Night last night. As partners with parents sharing the goals of providing the best learning experiences for the students, the teachers and school administration feel it is important for you to know what we teach and how we teach.

Here is the new Phys Ed Curriculum video.


6. Orange Shirt Day – Thanks

Thank you for supporting Orange Shirt Day on Monday, Oct 1. We should feel very proud of the respectful way we marked this day as a community. We are on a journey of learning, each year improving our practice. We hope to inspire others to do the same. Today, we were fortunate to have Isaac Murdoch, Indigenous story teller from Serpent River First nation and Indigenous drummer, Shannon of the Moose Clan from Lake of the Woods, spend the day with some of the classes.


7. Global Climate Strike – JICS in the News!

Our own Global Climate Strike March along Bloor was an experience that will be remembered for a long time for our Gr 1-6 students: the powerful poster messages, the original and spontaneous chants, and the sound of many cars honking in support! Several JICS families brought their child/ren to attend the large protest at Queen's Park and some JICS students made it into the CBC news!


10. Upcoming October Events:

Fri 4 – JICS Running Club Cross-Country Team (Gr 3-6) at TDSB Meet, Ashbridge's Bay

Wed 9 – Yom Kippur (begins sunset Tues 8)

Mon 14 – Thanksgiving. School and Daycare closed

Tues 15 – Grade 5 & 6 Parent Info Night regarding "Transitions to Grade 7" Register HERE

Tues 22 – Harry Potter Day at JICS with "Principal for the Day" Sarah (details coming soon)

Fri 25 – Diwali celebrations at JICS (details coming soon)

Sun 27 – Diwali

Mon 28 – PA General Meeting 6:00-7:00pm & Parent Ed Presentation on Student Well-Being by JICS French and Wellness teacher, Christel Durand and JICS Social Worker, Laura Gordin 7:00-8:30pm. Babysitting provided, RVSP

Thurs 31 – Halloween (details coming soon) & last day of Block 1 Teacher-Candidate Practicum Placement in JK-Gr 6 classes




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