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Advocacy Space for Racialised Families, New Events, Asian Heritage

Topics covered in this post:

  1. Advocacy Space for JICS Racialised Parents and Parents of Racialised Children - May 25

  2. Daycare AGM - May 26

  3. Natural Curiosity Parent Think Tank - May 27

  4. Ask Ellie!

  5. JICS Parents Association - Looking for new PA Exec Members

  6. Asian Heritage Month

  7. Asian Collection in JICS Library - Thank You!

  8. Ramadan


  10. Upcoming May Events


1. Advocacy Space for JICS Racialised Parents and Parents of Racialised Children

May 25 | 7:00 - 8:30pm

A new parent conversation and advocacy space for racialised families is forming. Please see their message below:

A small group of racialised parents and parents of racialised children at JICS have recently come together to discuss our shared experiences at school and beyond. Over the past year, the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on our communities and the most recent incidents of anti-Black, anti-Asian and anti-Indigenous racism have placed an even greater demand on our capacity for resilience. Together, we hope to form a safe space for discussing the issues impacting our children, and as a means to collect and convey our observations, our needs as racialised families, and any advice to the school around equity and inclusion.

The next zoom meeting of the group is scheduled for May 25, 7 - 8:30 pm, where we hope to have a wider discussion about how and what other purposes the group might serve. If you would like to join, please RSVP here by Thursday May 20. A zoom address will be emailed to registered participants.


2. Daycare AGM

May 26 | 5:30 - 6:00pm

Dear Daycare families and JICS community:

The Annual General Meeting of members of ICS After School Daycare will be held on Wednesday May 26, 2021, from 5:30 – 6:00pm, via Zoom. RSVP for Zoom link

All parents are encouraged to attend this important meeting. Daycare parents and the JICS community are considered ‘members’ of the Corporation, thereby are interested in furthering the Daycare’s objectives of providing quality childcare and programming for JICS students. Your presence is important.

The purpose of the AGM:

  • Introduce the current Daycare Board and recruit new Board members for open Board positions

  • Present the Annual report of the Board, which will highlight the work of the Board, strengths of the Daycare, and future goals of the Board for the Daycare

  • Review the year-end Financial Statements (Sept 2019 – Aug 2020)

  • Opportunity for informal discussion and questions

The Daycare Board is looking for new members. The Board of Directors role is to support the Daycare Supervisor in providing quality childcare, while ensuring fiscal responsibility. The Board meets once a month for 1.5 hours; currently meetings are held online. Should in-person meetings resume, dinner and childcare are provided. Additional work between meetings is limited. Should you be interested, or have any questions, please contact any Board member, or via


ICS After School Daycare Board of Directors

Janina Shuster Julia Dorfman Paul Miskew

Anne Cassidy Polly Dondy-Kaplan Mishaal Hussain

Richard Messina


3. Natural Curiosity Parent Think Tank

May 27 | 7:00 - 8:30pm

In 2017, Natural Curiosity pulled together leaders in our community with the knowledge, skills, and experience to advise us on how best to launch our new resource that adds an Indigenous lens to our approach to environmental education. With your support, Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry is now a bestseller in Canadian educational publishing with more than 9,000 copies sold to date.

At this time, we are again seeking support from parents with an interest in environmental and Indigenous education for the next phase of Natural Curiosity, as we expand our reach and impact through new professional learning offerings and products.

We welcome any parents to join us who can offer business and marketing advice, or who just have an interest in supporting the work of the Natural Curiosity program.


4. NEW weekly content launch: ASK ELLIE!

I'm excited this week to launch Ask Ellie, a weekly opportunity for you to write in with your questions about mental health and wellness. This week feels like a very appropriate time for this launch as May 2-9 is Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental health has been on all our minds with the pandemic and for parents of school age children you are holding both the awareness of the impact on yourself and also on your children and family. So here we go, starting off with a few questions and as always, I'm looking forward to the conversation.


Dear Ellie: As a parent of a 6 and 10 yr old, I'm working from home, and I'm just exhausted lately; it feels like it is taking so much energy for me to get through the day and I'm more irritable than usual. I feel guilty that I'm not doing more for the kids, but we go for a walk almost every day. Is this normal?

Dear Exhausted: First of all, thank you for this honest and courageous question, acknowledging some challenging feelings. You are not alone. There is a collective sense of weariness and exhaustion from the multiple demands of working from home and parenting. Feeling exhausted, bored, weary or irritable are all normal and understandable responses to what we are all experiencing. When we are able to name what we are feeling, and respond to it, it helps us cope. Cultivating opportunities for self-compassion, and internally validating how you are feeling can be soothing and helpful to your nervous system. Doing this for yourself as well as for your children, and your partner is a helpful practice. Finding ways to cope with the guilt you might be feeling is also important, it is such a real experience for so many parents at this time. If you haven't had a chance to read it, I would recommend the recent New York Times piece, written by Adam Grant where he gives a name to the current state, we are all in, languishing. To languish is defined by Merriam Webster as "to continue for a long time without activity or progress in an unpleasant or unwanted situation". There is also a story to be told about how you are going for a walk almost every day. What would you call this skill or ability? What has been possible for you to do that you can acknowledge and celebrate for yourself? What other ways do you have to attend to your own well-being? Self-care is possible when we have support from the other members of our family to protect time for this. Sending you warm wishes for kind thoughts and moments of restorative practices.


Dear Ellie: Can you recommend any good well-being resources for parents and children? There have been so many going around, and it is too much to keep up with.

Dear Longing for One Stop Well-Being Resources: Thanks for this great question. Here are few of my favourite well-being resources that I have come across since the pandemic started. When it comes to well-being, I think it is helpful to think about it as an ongoing process, that will need to be revisited and revised. How can you check in with yourself and your family and find out how it is going and what adjustments might be helpful? I encourage a shopping cart approach to the well-being resources, take what works for you and leave the rest on the shelf. The links I'm including provide links to many other resources in a package way, I hope you find this beneficial. See attachments (TDSB Children's Mental Health Week Resource Kit, Tolerance for Uncertainty Covid-19 Workbook and Stay-at-Home Care Package).


Smile of the day 🐸

Dear Ellie: Why are frogs always so happy?

Dear Curious: It's because they eat whatever bugs them!



JICS kids, parents, teachers and staff are all welcome to email me at with questions. All questions will be answered, and a few will be shared in the weekly post in a non-identifying way. Feel free to reach out to me as I'm also available for parent and child 1:1 consultation on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Warmly, Ellie Lathrop, MSW, RSW

JICS Social Worker


5. JICS Parents' Association - Looking for new PA Exec Members

All JICS parents are members of the Parents’ Association (PA). As a registered charity and parent volunteer group since 1968, the PA’s purpose is to provide educational resources and programs that advance the educational experience of the children, and build, foster, and support the parent community.

The PA Executive is a wonderful opportunity to get more involved and be an active member of the school community.

The PA is looking for new members to fill some Executive Positions (all are 2-year terms) beginning July 1, 2021. See the poster for details and contact PA President Deepta Rayner at for more information or if interested!


6. Asian Heritage Month

The month of May is an opportunity for all to learn more about the many achievements of Canadians of Asian descent who, throughout our history, have contributed so much to Canada. Asian Heritage Month has been a focus of celebration in many communities across Canada since the 1990s. In December of 2001, Senator Vivienne Poy proposed a motion that was adopted by the Senate of Canada, designating May as Asian Heritage Month nationally. During May of 2002, the Government of Canada made this motion official by signing a declaration to designate May as Asian Heritage Month.

Who is of Asian Descent?

The definition of "Asian" may be inclusive and broad, and applies to people who come from or whose ancestors come from:

  • East Asia - China, Hong Kong S.A.R., Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan.

  • South Asia - Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.

  • Central Asia - Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

  • Southeast Asia - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.

  • Western Asia - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

What Can We Learn?

Like all cultures, Asian heritage is a diverse and ever-changing concept that has varied meanings to the different communities and generations. During Asian Heritage Month we are invited:

  • To celebrate traditional as well as contemporary Asian-Canadian culture, which includes poetry, dances, sports, music and art;

  • To learn about the many achievements and contributions of Canadians of the diverse Asian heritage that makes up our Canadian communities;

  • To understand the historical journeys and ongoing struggles of diverse Asian communities;

  • To recognize individual and institutional racism both past and present, that have impacted the lives of many groups; and

  • To engage with students through lessons and discussions of prominent past events, current issues of racism and discrimination that continue to impact the many Asian communities living in Canada and to bear witness to the resistance and resilience of such groups.

At JICS, growing and learning among individuals who share widely divergent life stories, and appreciating their respective cultures, is an invaluable aspect of a true education. Nurturing a respectful and inclusive school culture means paying close attention to individual experiences, our curriculum, admission work, and our daily lives at the Lab School. We partner with families to help children broaden their view of themselves and others by ensuring that they encounter mirrors of their own background and experience, as well as windows of difference. We invite parents to enrich our learning by sharing their culture and identity with us. If interested to help, please be in touch with your child’s teacher or with Richard Messina.

It is important to recognize that Asian Canadian history is part of Canadian history and like Black History Month is not only highlighted during a particular month but integrated as much as possible throughout the school year. We thank parents for your support and for sharing your expertise to enrich out learning.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario’s Asian Heritage Month poster “Resistance & Change: Celebrating Asian Canadian Stories” captures five stories of collective resistance. They chronicle Asian Canadian struggles, experiences, and resilience in different political and social spaces. Emmie Tsumura, Japanese Canadian artist creates a collage with a feeling of warmth and solidarity, spanning many generations of people of different cultural backgrounds and identities to celebrate what is possible.

Asians in Canada have a long history in the labour movement. Asian migrants and Asian Canadians have faced discrimination, exploitation, and danger in many of Canada’s workplaces. Even today, many of our Asian communities experience racism and Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination on individual and institutional levels.

Workers of Asian descent have demonstrated resilience and have organized in order to disrupt laws and practices that were racist and discriminated against certain minority groups.

Helpful Links to Resources:

Thanks to The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario for the information above.


7. Asian Collection in JICS Library - Thank You!

One of the goals of the JICS Library is to broaden children’s view of themselves and others by ensuring they encounter mirrors of their background, identity, and experience, as well as windows of difference. Each year we improve our collection by adding new carefully selected resources. Thank you for your donations to the JICS Library Asian Heritage Collection. We collected $624.65. We look forward to showcasing the new acquisitions ASAP.

We are so excited to share our AAPI month display in the Library. Featured here are a selection of the new books that we purchased with generous donations from JICS families. We used the funds to purchase AAPI focused picture books, graphic novels, novels, and early chapter books to engage students of all ages. We are really looking forward to reading some of these exciting books with the students soon!

8. Ramadan

Alhamdulillah! The blessed month of Ramadan is upon us! For Muslims across the globe, these weeks are a sacred time for worshipping Allah. They offer an opportunity for devotion, reflection, and celebration of the mercy and love of Allah. The Fourth Pillar of Islam is Sawm, or fasting. Fasting takes place during the month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. This year Eid al-Fitr is expected to be celebrated on the evening of Wednesday 12th May 2021. Eid Mubarak to you and your family. May the guidance and blessings of Allah be with you and your family. We invite parents to enrich our learning by sharing their culture and identity with us. If interested to help, please be in touch with your child’s teacher or with Richard Messina.



Making bug hotels in Grade 1!

Chriss drops in as a special guest reader in Grade 1!


10. Upcoming May Events - Asian Heritage Month

Fri 7 – Parent Information Post Talks. 9:30 - 10:00am (Zoom link) Fri 7 – PFLAG Canada LGBTQ2S presentations (Gr 2-6) Wed 12 – Eid-al-Fitr (begins at sunset) Mon 17 to Tues 18 – Shavout Mon 17 or Wed 19 – Hold the Date - Parents' Association Meeting (details coming soon) Thurs 20 – JICS celebrates International Day of Pink

Fri 21 – UofT Presidential Day. School and Daycare closed. Mon 24 – Victoria Day. School and Daycare closed.

Tues 25 – Advocacy Space for JICS Racialised Parents/Parents of Racialised Children. 7:00 (RSVP)

Wed 26 – Daycare Annual General Meeting. 5:30 (RSVP) Thurs 27 – Natural Curiosity Parent Think Tank. 7:00pm (RSVP) Fri 28 – Parent Information Post Talks. 9:30 - 10:00am (Zoom link)





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