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Celebrations, Weather, Library Support

Topics covered in this post:

kids building together

1. COVID-19 Update - Vaccination

See flyer regarding upcoming Toronto Public Health webinars for Parents & Guardians on the COVID-19 Vaccine and Children.


2. Celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa - Festivals of Light

We are asking for parents to help us celebrate at JICS. If you are interested, please email your child’s teacher and submit receipts for celebratory expenses to the JICS PA for reimbursement.


3. Visitors and Special Guests

kids gathered outside in circle

Parents are still not allowed in the school building. However, classroom teachers may reach out to connect with parents who wish to help us celebrate holiday customs or share about topics of interest. Invited parents or other special guests may visit with students and teachers in creative ways outside of the building on school property, such as sitting in the stump circle. Visiting parents or guests still need to screen for covid symptoms beforehand, sign in with Paige in reception, and wear a mask.


4. Food and Holiday Celebrations

We are still not permitting cooking or baking to take place at school. The guidelines are clear that any food distributed at school needs to come from an inspected facility that has proper food handling and safety practices (such as our Lunch Mom program), and shared in individual servings. Unfortunately, this means that no treats from home can be shared at school.


5. How to Know if the School is Open in Inclement Weather

children in snow

Should you be concerned about adverse weather conditions and/or school closure, information can be found on the University of Toronto website (St. George Campus, University of Toronto): or on the JICS Twitter (@jackmanICS), which is also displayed on the JICSfamily homepage. The Lab School remains open if the University is open.

children playing in water

6. Outdoor Clothing

Children play outside in all-weather at JICS (including light rain, snowy days, and cold conditions). Please send your child with outdoor clothing appropriate to weather conditions.

“There is no inappropriate weather, only inappropriate clothing!”

7. Supporting the JICS Library

child posing with books
Library club member with the display they created about Hanukkah!

We know that our students love to read and that books are cherished at JICS. Books can make us laugh, make us sad, and build our knowledge of the world. We believe it is essential for our students to have access to quality and diverse books. We are always on the hunt for new ones that explore topics that are important learning and we want to be certain that our curated collection represents a wide variety of perspectives and experiences, allowing all children to know they are valued and represented. Along with new additions, favourite books need to be replaced because they have been so loved.

The JICS Library runs an ongoing fundraiser through Indigo. When you purchase gift cards through this link, 20% of your purchase amount is given to JICS to spend on books! The gift card arrives in your email, and then online or in-person purchases can be made from Indigo.

We will use these funds to continue to develop our library collection to represent:

  • The diversity of Canada’s religious, ethnic, and cultural groups and their contributions to our heritage

  • Indigenous perspectives and ways of knowing

  • Experiences and perspectives of individuals from diverse backgrounds, lifestyles, sexual orientation and gender identity expression, and people of varying abilities

  • Gender, cultural, and racial inclusiveness

Please consider using the link when you are purchasing for family, colleagues, or loved ones.


8. Parent Education Events

Poster for What I Need From You: Emotion Coaching Through a Developmental Lens workshop

December 2 | 12:30-1:30pm (Zoom)

Lunch & Learn with Ellie

Join Lab School Social Worker Ellie Lathrop for another Lunch and Learn workshop: What I need from you: emotion coaching through a developmental lens. Learn what children of all ages find helpful and supportive as a parental response when they are dealing with difficult emotions. RSVP here


Past Event: November 23 | 7:00-8:30pm (Zoom)

Building Inclusive and Equitable 'Bookshelves' with Rabia Khokar

Rabia Khokar

On Tuesday night, educator and equity consultant Rabia Khokar shared a wonderful workshop with JICS Lab School Parents on Building Inclusive and Equitable 'Bookshelves'. If you missed this event, we encourage you to take the time to watch it soon, as everyone would benefit from this learning. You can find the recording of this event on the Parent Education page, along with Rabia's recommended inclusive and equitable book list. You may wish to use this list to shop at Indigo and support the JICS Library at the same time.


9. Laidlaw Journal

The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (JICS) is Canada’s most integrated and dynamic institution committed to children’s education and well-being. JICS is composed of the Lab School, the MA CSE Teacher Education Program, and the Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw Centre which is a multi-disciplinary research centre internationally recognized for leading research in child development. This year, The Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw Centre has launched an open access, peer reviewed journal called the Laidlaw Forum: Emerging Ideas in Child Study and Education. We invite Lab School parents to view the first issue of the Laidlaw Forum which commemorates the unprecedented move toward online learning due to COVID-19, featuring an all-digital collection of MACSE student "video stories" designed to support classroom teachers. Nine videos highlight research and classroom approaches to support mathematics teaching, executive functions, social and emotional learning, and literacy in play-based kindergarten.


10. A Tour of the JICS Courtyard

Here is a glimpse into the state-of-the-art student sensory outdoor space in the courtyard. Native plants, forest therapy design, and structural features that attract wildlife have created a unique space for classes (especially our Nursery children) to connect with nature. Watch JICS teacher, Krista give a tour.


11. Research & Dissemination: The Knowledge Building Summer Institute (KBSI) 2021

We have a long-standing 25+ year research partnership with the Institute for Knowledge Innovation and Technology (IKIT) at OISE, and Knowledge Building is integral part of every student’s experience of learning at the JICS Lab School. All students at JICS from Nursery to Grade 6 are invited into discussions and learning experiences with teachers that support their development as knowledge builders and knowledge creators. Students in Grades 1-6 use a networked database program called Knowledge Forum (or KF for short) to post notes sharing their questions, theories, and research, and then build onto each other’s notes to work collectively on knowledge advancement for their classroom community. Each year, teachers, admin, and researchers collaborate together to explore how to improve our understanding of how to use the knowledge building pedagogy to deepen students’ learning of content knowledge and learning how to learn. It is our goal that all students will see themselves as valued knowledge contributors.

The Knowledge Building Summer Institute (held this year in November) is an annual gathering and conference for researchers and educators from around the world who work in the Knowledge Building field. The JICS Lab School continues to be advancing the exciting exploration of what is possible in terms of knowledge creation by students. We want to highlight the contributions of Lab School teachers Raadiyah Nazeen, David Osorio, Michael Martins, and Ben Peebles whose work with their students was represented at this year’s KBSI, and congratulate them on their participation last Friday and Saturday at the KBSI 2021, Building Knowledge for Public Good: Meeting New People and New Ideas in Knowledge Building’s Metaspace. Chriss Bogert and Richard Messina also attended the conference and participated in conversations about advancing the global frontiers of knowledge building and student-led design with many international colleagues.

Here are some of the papers involving Lab School students that were presented at the KBSI:

  • Learning Analytics Goes to School: Shifting the Paradigm from Student-Centered Design to Student-Led Design. Leanne Ma, Xueqi Feng, Yuyao Tong, Guangji Yuan, Dan Tao, Bodong Chen, Chew Lee Teo, Jianwei Zhang, Mei-Hwa Chen, Jun Oshima, Yoshiaki Matsuzawa, Benjamin Peebles.

  • Knowledge Building and Computational Thinking: Exploring Models and Simulations Across the Curriculum. Dina Soliman, LeanneMa, Benjamin Peebles, Michael Martins, Darlene Martin.

  • Here and There: Community for Everyone, Everywhere: Raadiaah Nazeem, Leanne Ma.

  • Knowledge Building Metaspace: Designs for (Re-)Distributing Expertise and Advancing Knowledge for Public Good. Rob Huang, Leanne Ma, David Osorio, Pere Boluda.


12. UNICEF - Thank you from the Grade 6 Class

Dear JICS community,

The Grade 6s would like to thank you for your UNICEF donations! We have surpassed our original goal of $2,600. Let’s go!

With your help, we have raised $3,400! Online we raised $2,591.00, and in the classroom donation boxes we raised $809.00.

Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we have helped many children go to school, get food and water, get vaccinated, and so much more. We hope to raise even more next year. So thank you for helping so many children by donating!

The Grade 6s


13. Upcoming November Events

Hindu Heritage Month

Sun 28 – First Evening of Hanukkah (Nov 28-Dec 6)

Tues 30 – Giving Tuesday


14. Upcoming December Events

Mon 6 – Last Evening of Hanukkah (Nov 28-Dec 6)

Thurs 9 – Last day of Block 1 placement & Fall Internship (JK to Grade 6)

Mon 13 to Fri 17 – Report Cards mailed home (Nursery to Grade 6)

Fri 17 – Last day of Fall Term. School ends at noon. Daycare open until 6:00pm

Mon 20 – Winter Holidays begin (Dec 20 to Jan 3). School and Daycare closed.

Sat 25 – Christmas Day

Sun 26 – Kwanzaa begins (Dec 26 to Jan 1)

Tues January 4 – Winter Term begins. School arrival starts at 8:30am (Daycare opens at 8:00am)


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