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Donations, Parent Ed, COVID-19 & Holidays

Topics covered in this post:

  1. 50th Day of School!

  2. Anti-Black Racism at JICS

  3. Donations to Tuition Support Fund

  4. JICS Parent Panel on COVID-19

  5. JICS Parenting Workshop Series: Sibling Strategies

  6. COVID-19, Winter Holidays, Hybrid Learning

  7. Supporting your Knowledge Builders at Home

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

  9. Cultural Celebrations

  10. More Diwali Photos!

  11. Upcoming November Events

  12. Upcoming December Events


1. 50th Day of School!

Friday is the 50th day of school and each day we stay COVID free is a cause for celebration! Thank you, JICS community for following the health and safety protocols we have in place and thanks to the Gr 1 and Gr 5 students for keeping track of the days!


2. Anti-Black Racism at JICS

Following our Summer PD reading of Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Anti-racist and our ongoing diversity work, our PD Day (Nov 13) with Dr. Nicole West-Burns supported our efforts to disrupt and dismantle Anti-Black Racism (ABR) within our own spheres of influence. The school teachers and staff, members of the ICS Daycare, and Natural Curiosity Team gained understanding of the historical and present-day context tied to ABR. We also benefitted from the opportunity to be introspective about our own thinking and practice.

We believe that it is our responsibility to stand up and do whatever it takes to end racism, hate, and oppression of all kinds. JICS is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we acknowledge the importance of addressing anti-Black racism in developmentally appropriate ways with the children throughout the year. We strive to continuously examine our commitment to making our school a safe place for all students, staff, parents, and community members. We know that we do not always get things right but we will maintain an unwavering focus on ending anti-Black racism and all forms of oppression. We know we need to hear and deeply listen to the voices of our students, parent community and staff, and make sure our diversity and equity efforts are informed by these voices. We invite you to reach out and inform us about your experiences, thoughts, concerns, suggestions. We strive to create brave spaces for the courageous conversations that need to happen, and to welcome input from all of our community members on how we can best meet everyone’s needs to continue this critical work.


3. Donations to Tuition Support Fund

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for sharing and supporting our view that increasing economic diversity at the school is necessary to bring the JICS’s current reality into optimal alignment with our vision, potential, and mission as a lab school with a public purpose. JICS parents have responded to our “For the Benefit of All” email campaign and we have collected approximately $30,000 to date towards the JICS Diana Rankin Muncaster Family Tuition Support Fund. Our goal is to raise $150,000 to support families for the next two years.

Here is a direct link to the UofT online donation webpage for the Lab School:

You can also contribute to the fund through your corporate United Way campaign if that applies to you. Many companies will double your impact by matching your donation dollar-for-dollar. Please consider allocating some or all of your corporate donations to JICS during this year’s campaign.

Here are the steps:

Select: University of Toronto

Click: Charity not Found?

Type charity name: Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, U of T – Diana Rankin Tuition Support Fund

Type business number: BN # 108162330-RR0001

Then proceed with steps to make the donation

All donations will receive a tax receipt.


4. JICS Parent Panel on COVID-19

Join us on tonight (Nov 19) from 7:00pm - 8:30pm to listen to a panel of four JICS parent experts in a discussion about their work in COVID-19 followed by a question and answer session. RSVP to receive the Zoom link and submit your questions! Over 50 families have already registered!

Parent panelist will include:

  • Allison Chris: Associate Medical Officer at Toronto Public Health and Adjunct Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

  • Shawna Irons: Family physician working in general practice, obstetrics, sexual health, addictions and COVID assessment centre.

  • Ian Randall: ICU physician in the Toronto Western Hospital Intensive Care Unit and a cardiac anesthesiologist with the University Health Network.

  • Lisa Strug: Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children, Associate Director of The Centre for Applied Genomics, Professor of Statistical Sciences and Computer Science and has a status appointment in the Division of Biostatistics at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Please submit questions in advance through your RSVP or directly to There will also be opportunities to ask questions through the chat during the panel.


5. JICS Parenting Workshop Series with Ellie Lathrop: Sibling Strategies

Next parenting workshop with Ellie:

Sibling Strategies: peaceful ways to handle conflict. 

Our relationship with our sibling is one of the longest ones most people will have in their life. Let's join together to discuss strategies to support and foster the connection between your children. We will be talking about ways that parents can address conflict, rivalry and upset about who got the biggest piece!! Looking forward to the conversation. 

We will have a 30 min talk that will be recorded and 30 min of open discussion with parents to allow time for questions. The discussion and questions will not be recorded.  

Thursday November 26th from 12:30 -1:30

If you would like to share your questions about parenting siblings in advance, please email Ellie:

RSVP for the zoom link


6. COVID-19, Winter Holidays, Hybrid Learning

Some families are exploring withdrawing their child/ren before the Friday, December 18 (last day of Fall Term) and/or extending their holidays beyond Monday, January 4 (first day of Winter Term) to “isolate” in order to connect with extended family members and friends over the Winter Holiday. We want to remind the JICS community that TPH strongly recommends that everyone in Toronto limit social gatherings to household members only, and limit in-person activities outside the home to essential activities only. We are grateful to everyone in our community for your strict adherence to our COVID health and safety procedures.

We also want to remind you to have realistic expectations about our Hybrid Learning Program (students learning at home while students are in school). This Fall, we learned that the way we teach when in-person, does not lend itself to hybrid learning well. The planned livestream moments are not as frequent as we had anticipated, and we know this can be frustrating to families. With the demands on teachers who are at school working hard to provide engaging and rich learning experiences, in-person learning takes all of our teachers' focus. They cannot be available to students at home in the way that any of us would like. Students who are required to learn from home will be provided with some opportunities to participate in livestream moments and with work that they can do as independently (with the support of a parent) with check-ins by a JICS teacher to make sure they are on track. The Hybrid Learning Program varies depending on the grade, how many students are learning at home at any given time and what is happening in their classrooms. The Planning Team (Administration, Grade Teachers, and Special Ed Team) will require a few days to plan what is possible for each unique situation. We are committed to providing exemplary in-class learning as our first priority because we really believe that students learn best when they are at school, and teachers cannot split their focus between students at school and students at home without compromising the quality for both groups of students. We thank you for your understanding.


7. Supporting your Knowledge Builders at Home with Idea-Centred Learning

The Knowledge Building (KB) theory used in every classroom at JICS was created and developed by OISE Professors, Carl Bereiter and Marlene Scardamalia for describing what a community of learners needs to accomplish in order to create knowledge. The theory addresses the need to educate people for the knowledge age society, in which knowledge and innovation are pervasive.

Dr. Chew Lee Teo, senior researcher at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) has a long history and connection with JICS. Chew Lee spent years at the Lab School studying the knowledge building work of the students and teachers. In this video, she offers a few tips for parents to engage their children in knowledge building, learning how to learn, and “idea talk” at home. We hope you find Chew Lee’s ideas about encouraging your children on their own idea building journey helpful!


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

December 10 to 18 is Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. December 25 is Christmas. Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture which is held from December 26 to January 1. We are asking for parents to help us celebrate at JICS. If you are interested, please email your child’s teacher.

We are planning a family zoom “Festivals of Light” Holiday Sing-along for December. Details coming soon.


9. Cultural Celebrations

At JICS, we celebrate our differences as well as our similarities. The idea that each individual brings a unique and valuable dimension to our shared experience drives the relationships in our community. To us, 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, staffing, 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. Throughout the school year, we invite parents to enrich our learning by sharing their culture and identity with us. Please submit receipts for cultural celebration expenses to the JICS Parents’ Association for reimbursement.


10. More Diwali Photos!


11. Upcoming November Events

Thurs 19 – Parent Education Event: JICS Parent Panel 7:00-8:30pm RSVP

Fri 20 – Friday Parent Information Post Talks 9:30-10:00am (Zoom link)

Mon 23 – Daycare Board Meeting

Wed 25 – Parent Teacher Interviews

Thurs 26 – Parent Education Event: Parenting Workshop Series on Sibling Strategies RSVP

Fri 27 – Friday Parent Information Post Talks 9:30-10:00am (Zoom link)


12. Upcoming December Events

Fri 4 – Last Day of Fall Internship (JK to Gr 6)

Fri 4 – Friday Parent Information Post Talks 9:30-10:00am (Zoom link)

Thurs 10 – Hanukkah begins at sunset (Hanukkah Dec 10-18)

Thurs 10 – Last Day of Block 1 MA teacher-candidate practicum (JK to Gr 6)

Fri 11 – Friday Parent Information Post Talks 9:30-10:00am (Zoom link)

Mon 14 to Fri 16 – Midterm Report Card mailed home (Nursery to Gr 6)

Thurs 17 – (TBC) "Festivals of Light" Holiday Sing-along 7:00pm

Fri 18 – Last Day of Fall Term. School ends at noon. Daycare open until 6:00pm

Mon 21 – Winter Holidays begin (Dec 21 to Jan 3) School and Daycare closed.

Fri 25 – Christmas Day

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

Mon January 4 – Winter term begins. Arrival starts at 8:30am (Daycare opens at 8:00am)


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