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Enriching the Arts, What is a Quality Education?, Research Night, Daycare PD Day

Topics covered in this post:

  1. What is quality education?

  2. Research Night – Feb 11

  3. Enriching the Arts

  4. Midterm Holiday - Daycare

  5. Upcoming February Events


1. What is a Quality Education?

How do we define the meaning of a quality education? Commenting on education reform in a back-to-school issue of the New York Times Magazine, historian Diane Ravitch stated, “The single biggest problem in education is that no one agrees on why we educate. Faced with this lack of consensus, policy makers define good education as higher test scores.” The definition of a “quality education” matters because it defines what we give time to and what becomes a priority in the life of the classroom. It shapes our expectations of what schools can contribute to our lives and to society. In short, our definition shapes our aspirations as parents, educators, and as a society at large.

To help think about what makes a quality education, try this simple thought experiment (inspired by the work of Ron Ritchhart). Answer the question: What do you want the children we teach to be like as adults?

At JICS, we have asked this question multiple times to international visitors, parents, future educators and seasoned teachers and, regardless of the group, the same set of qualities tend to appear over and over again. There is often an emphasis on attributes that drive learning (curiosity, inquisitiveness, questioning). Those that facilitate innovation (creativity, problem solving, risk-taking, imagination). There are the skills needed to work and get along with others (collaboration, empathy, good listening, helpfulness). And those that support the ability to deal with complexity (analysis, making connections, critical thinking). And usually there are those that situate us collectively in the world (as a global citizen, a member of a community, someone aware of her/his impact on the environment and on others, and the ability to communicate). What emerges is a portrait of the child as an engaged and active thinker, able to communicate, innovate, collaborate, and problem-solve. This is JICS’s vision and for over 20 years, we have been involved in a mutually-beneficial research collaboration with Dr. Marlene Scardamalia and Dr. Carl Bereiter of OISE. Together we have explored the use of “Knowledge Building” pedagogy and “Knowledge Forum” software to help achieve our goal of a quality education. Knowledge Building is a community’s process of creating new knowledge that is of value to the community through shared goals, group discussions, and a synthesis of ideas. We invite you to attend the JICS Research Night on February 11 at 7:00pm to learn more about this transformative way of learning used at JICS with your child.


2. Research Night

Following the JICS Parents’ Association Meeting on February 11, 6:00pm, please join us for the annual Parent Education Research Night, 7:00-8:30 pm:

RSVP here to attend, and please indicate if you need babysitting (6:00-8:30)


3. Enriching the Arts (Drama, Music, Visual, Library, Phys Ed)

The JICS community 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, Visual, Library and Phys Ed 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.

Your opportunity to support the enrichment in the JICS Arts Program will take place at the Parent Dance on Friday, February 21. Dance “old school”, nibble on delicious snacks, enjoy the open bar, and receive a $35 tax receipt for $70/person ticket. There will be surprises and prizes too! Only a limited amount of tickets to the dance will be sold.

Purchase tickets and/or make a direct donation to the PH Arts Fund here


4. Midterm Holiday - Daycare

On February 14 the Lab School will be closed but the JICS Daycare will be open!


8. Upcoming February Events (Black History Month):

Fri 7 – Gr 1-3 morning skate; Gr 4-6 afternoon skate (Bill Bolton Arena)

Tues 11 – Parents’ Association Meeting 6:00pm

Tues 11 – Parent Education: JICS Research Night 7:00-8:30pm RSVP (free babysitting)

Fri 14 – Midterm Holiday (school closed, daycare open)

Mon 17 – Family Day (school and daycare closed)

Wed 19 – Parent Education: Math Morning 8:30-10:30am (registration coming soon)

Fri 21 – Gr 1-3 morning skate; Gr 4-6 afternoon skate (Bill Bolton Arena)

Fri 21 – Parent Dance (supporting enriching the arts at JICS – PHA Fund) 8:00-12:00pm Purchase tickets


Lunar New Year celebrations in the classrooms




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