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Eid Mubarak, Important Update on Playground Renovations, PD Day, IALS Conference, Photos, and More!

Topics covered in this post:

The school gathers dressed in the colours of the rainbow to celebrate the Wonderful Welcoming Month of Rainbow
The school gathers dressed in the colours of the rainbow to celebrate the Wonderful Welcoming Month of Rainbow

1. Eid Mubarak to you and your family!

Enjoy a blessed time during this Eid.

Eid al-Fitr (Holiday of Breaking the Fast or the Festival of Sweets) is the earlier of the two official holidays celebrated within Islam (the other being Eid al-Adha). The religious holiday is celebrated by Muslims in the JICS community and worldwide because it marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. It falls on the first day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar.


2. Professional Development Day (School closed)

Friday, April 28, 2023

On Friday, April 28, all JICS teachers will be engaged in the International Association of Independent Schools (IALS) Conference with teachers/researchers from around the world. The JICS Lab School will be closed. Families who are interested in daycare, please contact Daycare Director, Anne Marie at


A message from Daycare:

Dear Parents,

The Daycare will be open on Friday, April 28th. The hours available are from 8:00a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

We will have activities set up for the children to enjoy throughout the day. We will also have active outdoor fun throughout the day. (weather permitting). Throughout the day your child will have an opportunity to have a play date with all their friends. Two snacks will be provided; children will need to bring their regular lunch. What a great way to spend a holiday.

The fee is $80.00 per day. Fees are non refundable. Parents may register by emailing the daycare. Please include "PA Day" as the subject of the email.

If interested, please register by Monday, April 24th.

Thank you,

The Daycare Staff


3. International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) 2023 Conference at JICS

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 to Friday, April 28, 2023

The International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) 2023 Conference at JICS, April 26-28

The JICS Lab School is honoured to be hosting the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) annual conference on April 26, 27, 28, in collaboration with George Brown College School of Early Childhood, The Mabin School, and University of Toronto Schools (UTS).

This conference is a celebration of the collective work of Laboratory Schools in service to public education, and of the IALS organization that unites them, and represents the ongoing collaboration between these highly valuable institutions that span the globe. The award-winning JICS Lab School is but one of many international schools who are engaging in practices of teacher training, research, curriculum development, professional growth, educational innovation, and advocacy for the improvement of learning for all children.

As well as working as hosts, JICS Lab School teachers and staff will also be presenting at the conference (Wednesday afternoon and Friday), and showcasing our approach to education to some of our visitors during curated tours of the school lead by JICS Admin and staff on Thursday. We are proud to be bringing together almost 200 educators, administrators, and researchers from 36 Lab Schools in 8 countries.

Thank you to the JICS Parent Community for supporting this important opportunity for us to connect with other Lab Schools and to showcase our exemplary work. We are excited about future research collaborations with conference participants.

Here is the 2023 IALS conference theme:

Designing Cultures of Learning: The Essential Purpose of Lab Schools

Laboratory Schools share a common purpose: to intentionally design learning-centred classrooms where ideas, innovation, and research can thrive. Lab Schools began with a desire to explore what is possible in education for children when the educational philosopher John Dewey started the first North American laboratory school at the University of Chicago in 1896. The "Dewey School" flourished as a place to explore and implement emerging theories on child development and education, with the initial premise that the function of a laboratory school should be the "working out and testing" of new educational approaches (Dewey, The Child, and the Curriculum, 1902). This purpose still resonates in this century and shapes what Lab Schools do today. Many Lab Schools now exist around the world as university and college-affiliated schools engaged in practices of teacher training, curriculum development, research, professional development, educational experimentation, and dissemination and advocacy for the improvement of learning for all children.

The 2023 IALS conference will be an opportunity for Lab Schools to share how they are intentionally designing and researching how children learn best in our present-day context. Modern times inspire Lab Schools to continue to explore how to respond to current societal and environmental realities - such as racial and gender-based inequities, urgent issues related to climate change, and post-pandemic trauma - with new learning and new ways of operating. As well as cognitive or academic-focused changes, Lab Schools prioritize social-emotional and moral learning, to foster students who are not only competent to act for a better world but have the caring disposition to do so.


4. Tuition Payment 2023-2024 School Year

The second tuition payment is due today. This payment (JK-Gr6 $11,486.50) is non-refundable and representing 50% of the balance tuition balance. Please make your cheque payable to The University of Toronto. The final tuition payment is due September 1, 2023.


5. Playground Renovations

We are very excited to have a new state-of-the-art playground for the 2023-2024 school year. Renovations will commence on Monday, May 1, 2023 and the playground will be not be accessible until the construction has been completed. We are creating a new fenced-in temporary playground called “North Playground” in the driveway area to the north of the school, which will connect with the area in front of the school.

Map of temporary playground and new pick-up procedures
Map of temporary playground and new pick-up procedures

Beginning Monday, May 1:

  • The Walmer driveway will be fenced off. The bike rakes will be placed outside of the driveway, accessible directly from the sidewalk.

  • The only Walmer entrance to the school yard/school will be the gate from the sidewalk (facing the entrance of the school).

  • Bicycle parking will be outside of the North Playground, accessible from the sidewalk.


  • JK and SK morning drop off will be in the North Playground (formerly our driveway).

  • Nursery drop off will be through the front doors/entrance of 45 Walmer Road.

  • There is no change to Gr 1-3 students and other students who normally arrive through the front entrance of 45 Walmer Road.

  • There is no change to the arrival of children (Gr 4-6) who typically use the Spadina Road entrance.


  • Nursery mid-day pick-up is from the North Playground.

  • JK pick up is from the picnic tables relocated in the woodchip area (south end) of the front yard of Walmer.

  • SK pick up is from the wood stump circle on the grassy area of the front yard (as usual).

  • Gr 1-3 and siblings who typically exit from Walmer, will exit from the North Playground and line up by grade. Caregivers are asked to wait in the paved area that was the 2 visitor parking spaces so that we can ensure that each child is connected to the right adult.

  • There is no change to dismissal for the children (Gr 4-6) who typically exit through the 56 Spadina doors.


  • Children will have recess in the North Playground. We have also acquired a permit from the City of Toronto Park, Forestry & Recreation Department for the daily use of Jean Sibelius Park beginning May 1, 2023. We will also be using other parkettes in the area and our gymnasium for gross motor play.


6. Parent Teacher Interviews

The Spring interviews are an opportunity for a conversation with your child’s teacher who will share observations about your child’s academic profile as well as their social emotional development.

Interviews are short – usually 20 minutes. Teachers are preparing to describe observations of progress to date and may share information from the specialty teachers. In addition to the classroom teacher, your interview time may include one or more of the following: teacher-candidate/intern, Special Ed teacher, and/or Chriss or Richard. At the JICS Lab School, the classroom teachers work collaboratively with the admin team, the specialty teachers, the interns, and the Spec Ed teachers. We meet weekly to discuss the progress and needs of children. Students do not have to be identified on the Spec Ed Caseload to benefit from this shared building of understanding. Our Special Ed teachers spend much of their time in the classroom and offer supports to all children; they provide a long-term multi-year view of the progress and development of children.

Please note that the interviews are designed as an adult-only experience so that teachers and parents can speak frankly and openly about the child’s needs and strengths.

In next week’s POST, we will share the links to sign up for your Spring interview with your child’s/children’s teachers. The dedicated interview dates are Wednesday, May 10 and Wednesday, May 17. Your child’s teacher may list other available days/times.


7. Parent Education: Conversation with Doug Anderson

Tuesday, April 25, 2023​ | 6:30 – 8:30pm

Conversation with Doug Anderson on working with teachers to deepen relationships with Indigenous knowledge

Doug Anderson (Métis) is the co-author of JICS’ Resource for Educators, Natural Curiosity.

He has consulted extensively on education and program development for Indigenous communities across Canada for over 20 years. Since 2001, he has devoted much of his energy to research and writing on Indigenous histories and cultures, and translating them to contemporary education systems and media. He enjoys the challenge of designing and building new platforms for representing Indigenous knowledge, and is committed to preserving these forms of knowledge and presenting them as models for thinking and problem solving in the 21st century. Mr. Anderson worked at both the government and community levels for many years in the development and evaluation of learning programs, and has many years of front line experience in building learning and training opportunities for community members of all ages and levels of learning.

Agenda: Doug Anderson will discuss how he has been working with teachers at JICS on deepening relationships with Indigenous knowledge, in the context of a ceremony (and ceremonial site) that parents will be invited to participate in. There will then be an opportunity for conversation/sharing and question/answer.

The event will be held at the Lodge on U of T campus.

A message from Doug: "Bring food - no need for whole meals, unless you’ve missed an early dinner and want a whole meal, but some food. I will explain why there, but some of whatever food you bring will go in the fire (the rest you will eat so I advise against bringing, say, a whole roast pig)."

Location: New college courtyard, behind 20 Willcocks at University of Toronto, St. George Campus. It’s a white Canvas Structure, you can’t miss it.

There is a limit on the capacity of the lodge at U of T campus. We are taking RSVPs on a first come first serve basis and will close registration once we have reached the limit. Please only RSVP if you are committed to attending as space is limited.


8. JICS Read-a-Thon Update

Dear JICS Community,

At a time when books that speak truths are being challenged or outright banned, and librarians are losing their jobs, I am especially grateful for the incredible support of the Read-a-Thon library fundraiser.

This year, avid readers, our students, and parents, grandparents, nannies, family friends, and siblings raised a grand total of $7,385.95 to fund our library collection. These funds will also be used to bring in authors, illustrators and storytellers.

We will continue to critically examine the stories on our shelves, to bring in perspectives that were not even published for a long time, and to give these voices spaces in our library. In the library, we engage in deep discussions that are grounded in stories that allow us to imagine being someone else OR to see ourselves. I am grateful for the funds to bring in more of these powerful stories and perspectives.

Many, many thanks for helping us continue to do this work at JICS.

Krista Spence


9. Happy Earth Day

Saturday, April 22, 2023

For this special day, we are sharing the Thanksgiving Address, as told in the book: “Strong Stories Kanyen’keya:ka: The Thanksgiving Address” by Michelle Corneau, Kanyen’keya:ka (Mohawk). This book is available for purchase at the Native Canadian Center of Toronto Book Store, 16 Spadina Rd, or from GoodMinds publishing company, located at Six Nations.

The Thanksgiving Address is from the Haudenosaunee People.

This is a short version of a much longer address that can take hours or sometimes days to tell.

The Thanksgiving Address is used to begin important meetings or gatherings in the Longhouse.

We give thanks to our Mother, the Earth. Thank you for gifting us all that we need to live.

We give thanks to the water. Thank you to the streams, rivers, oceans, and rain for gifting us fresh water to drink.

We give thanks to all the fish. Thank you for the food and nutrients and for keeping the waters clean.

We give thanks to all the sacred plants, above all sage, cedar, sweetgrass, and tobacco. Thank you for helping us to feel better.

We give thanks to the insects, thank you for your hard work and dedication to keeping the earth healthy.

We give thanks to all the food plants, especially corn, beans, and squash. Thank you for gifting us yummy things to eat.

We give thanks to all the fruit plants, above all the strawberry. Thank you for representing the unity of the Six Nations.

We give thanks to the trees, above all, the maple. Thank you for gifting us sweet sap in the spring.

We give thanks to all the animals. Thank you for gifting us food and clothing and teaching us many important lessons.

We give thanks to the birds. Thank you for sharing your beautiful songs throughout the seasons.

We give thanks to the winds. Thank you for blowing and keeping us cool in the summer.

We give thanks to Grandmother Moon and the stars, thanks for giving us light in the night-time.

We give thanks to our Elder Brother the Sun, thank you for the light that makes things grow and for keeping us warm.

We offer our thanks and greetings to the Creator. Thank you, Creator.


10. Parent Education: Recording of Lunch and Learn

If you missed the (Tuesday, April 18) session “Supporting Your Child through Transitions – Strategies to avoid meltdowns” with JICS Social Worker, Ellie Lathrop you can view the recording here.


11. Photos from the Week at JICS

Wonderful Welcoming Month of Rainbow

On Wednesday we celebrated the Wonderful Welcoming Month of Rainbow with a school wide celebration and assembly. The GSA did an amazing job of organizing and leading the celebration. We admire their courage and leadership in leading the assembly in front of the whole school! Each class dressed up as one colour and collectively we made a rainbow as a community. The GSA presented to the school, helped lead songs, read a story, and shared videos. Thank you to all of the students who dressed up to celebrate and thank you GSA for making the Wonderful Welcoming Month of Rainbow so wonderful!


SK Yoga

Olivia’s mother, Paola, has been leading the SKs in yoga on Wednesday mornings for the last month, and Olivia’s dad Wilson has been accompanying the practice on his hand pan. The SKs are very grateful to have been able to start Wednesday mornings in such a wonderful way – namaste!


A Collection of Other Photos


12. Upcoming April Events

Ramadan March 22 to April 21

Thur 20 – 2nd JICS Tuition Payment ($11,486.50) due date

Mon 24 to Fri 28 – Earth Week

Tue 25 – Parent Education: Conversation with Doug Anderson (RSVP here)

Wed 26 to Fri 28 – Conference of International Association of Independent School at JICS

Fri 28 – PD Day (School closed. Daycare open)


13. Upcoming May Events

May is Asian Heritage Month

Tues 2 to Fri 5 – Grade 6 Trip to Quebec City

Wed 3 to Fri 5 – Grade 4/5 Trip to Ottawa

Mon 8 – JICS PA All Parents Meeting. 7:00pm

Wed 10 – Parent/Teacher Interviews

Wed 17 – Parent/Teacher Interviews

Mon 23 – Victoria Day (School and Daycare closed)

Wed 24 – Art & Music Night (more info coming soon)

Thur 25 to Sat 27 – Shavuot

Tues 30 – Parents of BIPOC children meeting (more info coming soon)

Wed 31 – Games Day (more info coming soon)




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