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Dissemination, Research, Lost & Found

Updated: Jun 25

Topics covered in this post:


  1. Nancy's Retirement Party

  2. Meet the Class of 2021

  3. Dissemination

  4. Natural Curiosity Interview on VoiceEd

  5. IALS 2021 Virtual Conference

  6. Research in the JICS Lab School 2020/2021

  7. Lost and Found

  8. Have a great summer!

1. Nancy's Retirement Party


Thank you to all of those who were able to attend yesterday’s virtual retirement celebration for our amazing Office Administrator, Nancy Boudreau. The event was filled with many laughs, many tears, and many laughing tears! A huge thank you to all those involved in the planning, preparation and production, Tara, Christel, Paige, Zoe, Carol, Richard, Chriss, Tory and Nick, and to our wonderful speakers, Elizabeth Morley, Richard, Christel and Russell, as well as those who spoke during the open floor. An extra special thank you to Paige, our incredible lyricist, performer, and creative genius! This celebration truly showed just how special Nancy is in our community and how many lives she has impacted. Generous, Compassionate, Kind, Stylish, Dynamic, Wonderful, Caring, Calm, Warm, Loving, Beautiful, Superstar – these were just a few of the words that guests used to describe Nancy and we couldn’t agree more. Thank you, Nancy, for 19 wonderful years! We love you and we will miss you dearly.

2. Meet the Class of 2021


The graduation profiles of the class of 2021 are ready for you to view! Please use the password provided in the Weekly Info email. We want to thank this incredible group of students for their leadership, resiliency, and wonderful spirits over this unusual year and wish them all the best in their new schools next year.

3. Dissemination


Natural Curiosity Interview on VoiceEd with Stephen Hurley

Haley Higdon, Program Director of Natural Curiosity and Doug Anderson JICS parent and co-author of the second edition of the book: Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: A Resource for Educators: Considering Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry, were recently interviewed by Stephen Hurley on VoiceEd’s In Conversation. In this conversation, they explore the pedagogical principles underlying Natural Curiosity and what it means to bring an Indigenous lens to this work.

Listen here: https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/natural-curiosity-ft-doug-anderson-and-haley-higdon/


IALS 2021 Virtual Conference July 7-9

The International Association of Laboratory schools (IALS) is holding a Virtual Conference on July 7-9. The JICS Lab School plays an active role in the IALS community and deeply values the connections we have made with Lab Schools around the world. Vice-Principal Chriss Bogert and former Principal Elizabeth Morley serve as members of the IALS board and are both members of the committee that is hosting this summer’s conference. Several JICS staff are presenting:

  • Haley Higdon, Rosa Na: Natural Curiosity: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry

  • Haley Higdon, David Osorio: Lighting the Fire: Enriching Children’s Environmental Inquiry through Indigenous Perspectives during COVID-19

  • Ellie Lathrop, Meaghan Jeremic: Giving Voice: A Photography Group with Grade 5 Students

  • Chriss Bogert, David Osorio, Doug Anderson, Haley Higdon, Krista Spence, Norah L’Esperance, Raadiyah Nazeem, Rosa Na: Restoring Children’s Relationship to the Natural World: A Virtual Tour of One Laboratory School’s Ongoing Journey towards Indigenous Education, During the COVID-19 Pandemic

4. Research in the Lab School 2020/2021


The Lab School is committed to research that explores what is possible in education and how children learn best. The Lab School fosters a strong community of researchers and teachers working collaboratively, with the aim to strengthen understanding of best developmentally appropriate practices in the education of children (ages 3-12). The Lab School research program often includes projects with our teachers as collaborators, co-designers, or primary investigators. We receive many applications for research each year from within the University of Toronto, and from researchers and institutions across the globe. Research projects must first pass through an ethical review process from the University of Toronto or their own institution, and then are vetted and approved by the JICS Lab School Child Research Committee. The unique nature and reputation of the Lab School is a significant draw for researchers when applying to the Lab School as a potential setting for their research. Priority is given to proposals consistent with and supportive of the goals of the Lab School: exemplary education for elementary school children, teacher education, and educational research. The Lab School also looks for research that builds upon our three philosophical tenets of security, child development, and inquiry. The JICS Lab School makes a significant contribution to the education, human development, and applied psychology work within our university, in the wider educational community in Canada, and internationally.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the JICS Lab School has continued to fulfill its public purpose by supporting the following research studies this year:


Knowledge Building Research

We have continued to collaborate with Professor Marlene Scardamalia and research partners at OISE’s Institute for Knowledge Innovation and Technology (IKIT) on Knowledge Building research. We have a 20+ year relationship with Dr. Scardamalia and the IKIT research team, and Knowledge Building is an integral part of our school culture. In Dr. Scardamalia’s current multi-year SSHRC funded study, Can digitally-mediated group knowledge processes enhance individual achievement in literacy and numeracy?, IKIT researchers connect with classroom teachers each year to explore different questions about supporting children in the Knowledge Building process. These researchers join our bi-weekly research meetings after school on Thursdays to discuss Knowledge Building pedagogy and practice. Two particular research projects were explored this year within the umbrella study:

  • Robert Huang & David Osorio - Capturing and Storytelling the Evolution of Thought within Online Knowledge Building Communities - Grade 2

  • Dina Soliman & Ben Peebles - Advancing Computational Thinking in Elementary Education: A Knowledge Building - Grade 6

Knowledge Building Research Dissemination

IKIT held a Global Design Experiment Virtual Session on May 19th which featured work from Knowledge Building International Projects (KBIP/ COMconèixer) teams and the JICS Lab School, including this project:

  • Raadiyah Nazeem & Gaoxia Zhu, Emergent Partnerships and Competencies: Co-design for Knowledge Building and Supportive Emotions – Grade 1

We were thrilled to see over 60 participants from 12 nations around the world come together to hear about wonderful examples of classroom work, learn about current research exploring students' engagement in new competencies, and discuss opportunities to connect local and global initiatives across the world to advance the global Design Experiment, Saving the Planet, Saving Lives.


Balance AI Research

OISE’s Professor Eunice Jang and her team of researchers completed the Balance AI Literacy study: “Blended Assessment of Literacy and Numeracy in Computerized Environments (BALANCE)”, started last year, with Grades 3-6 this Spring. This is a federally funded study exploring how intentionally co-designed technology-enhanced assessments support teaching and learning in classrooms, and help students in Grades 3-6 improve their reading, writing, and learning skills. Dr. Jang is particularly interested in the Lab School teacher’s feedback on the experience of using this literacy teaching and assessment tool for reading, writing, and oral literacy. The research team presented to Lab School staff recently about a new program they are designing, called Balance AI Discovery, which will be for Kindergarten and Primary. They are very grateful for our teachers’ input into both program’s development. We plan to continue using Balance AI, and to pilot Balance AI Discovery next year.


Environmental Inquiry in Early Years Research

We are collaborating with Professor Monica McGlynn-Stewart and the George Brown College School of Early Childhood, and Nicola Macguire of the Learning Enrichment Foundation on an NSERC funded study titled: “Designing and implementing environmental inquiry strategies in early years programs in Canada to support healthy development and environmental awareness”, which started in the Fall 2020. The research program’s overall objective is to provide enriching environmental inquiry opportunities for young children in urban, early years educational settings, with an aim to transform children's (and teachers’) relationships with the outdoors and nature. Norah L’Esperance and Krista Spence, the Nursery West teaching team this year, as well as Haley Higdon of our Natural Curiosity Program, have been deeply involved in the research. They also participate in regular research meetings and workshops with educators from across the 12 George Brown College Lab Schools.

Understanding the Experience of Pandemic Learning

Looking ahead: we are launching a qualitative study, “Understanding the Experiences of Teachers and Caregivers Supporting Elementary Students’ Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic within a Laboratory School” which has been in development during this year. This study is a collaboration between OISE PhD student Melissa Kang, JICS Director Dr Rhonda Martinussen, OISE Professor Dr. Anne-Claude Bedard, Former Principal Elizabeth Morley, Chriss Bogert, and Richard Messina. We are interested in JICS caregivers’ and teachers’ perceptions of children’s academic engagement, coping, and emotional well-being during pandemic learning, as well as how caregivers and teachers navigated successes, challenges, and emotional responses when supporting children’s education during this time. In particular, we are especially interested in how JICS's unique learning environment has contributed to their experiences, and how JICS's principles of attachment, security, and community have affected everyone’s experience with pandemic learning in the past year. We hope that this information will add to the literature by informing pandemic and/or online learning practices in the future. Look for more information about this research study during the summer.

The Lab School is very grateful for the valuable contributions of all members of the JICS Lab School Child Research Committee. A special thank you to Elaine Lam (parent of children in SK and Grade 2) for her continuing role as the parent representative on this committee since 2018.

For more information about Research in the Lab School: https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/jics/research-at-the-lab-school/

Or contact Chriss Bogert, chair of Child Research Committee chriss.bogert@utoronto.ca

5. Lost and Found


Many lost items still remain in the school! Parents are welcome to come in and claim these items Monday to Friday between 8am to 3pm, up until Wednesday, June 30th. If you wish to look through these items, please ensure you follow all COVID-19 protocols by screening yourself before coming to the school, wearing proper PPE and signing in at reception. No children will be able to enter the building.

6. Have a great summer!


Look out for an email from Richard tomorrow!

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