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Lunar New Year, Historic Naming Opportunities, Letter from PA President, and more!

Topics covered in this post:

SK Students in Drama
SK Students in Drama

1. Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year begins on Sunday, January 22. Throughout next week, each class will celebrate and learn about this joyous festival celebrated in many Asian countries. The colour red is associated with celebrating Lunar New Year and we encourage students to wear red throughout the week particularly on Friday, January 27 as a school wide community.

At the JICS Lab School, we are so fortunate to have families from diverse backgrounds. If you celebrate Lunar New Year, please enrich our learning by sharing your culture. Don't hesitate to get in touch with your child's teachers.


2. Message from Parents’ Association President

Dear JICS parent community,

Happy New Year, and welcome back to JICS! We, at the PA, hope that you had a rejuvenating break, and look forward to continuing to work on your behalf in 2023. Our plans for the coming months include a number of parent education events, an informal social (to be held in conjunction with research night), hot dog night, and many other activities to be advertised through the school's weekly blog.

Please mark your calendars. Our first All-Parents PA Meeting of the year will be held on Monday, 23 January from 7-8pm on Zoom.

The meeting will be held virtually. Please use this Zoom link to join:

The password was included in the email notice for this Parent Information POST (Subject: "Weekly Info" Sent on: Jan 19, 2023).

We will be discussing our upcoming plans and the PA's finances. Richard and Chriss will also provide a general update about the school. We very much hope that you will be able to join us for this occasion!

It is also already time to start planning for next year. Many PA executive members will be stepping down at the end of this academic year, and we will need to replace them. The positions that will need to be filled are:

1. Vice-President

The Vice-President assists the President in all aspects of supervising the Association and performs the President’s role (including Executive and Association meetings) in the event the President is absent.

2. Treasurer

The Treasurer is responsible for the Association finances, including collecting and tracking all fees and donations, all banking and payment of debts of the Association, and keeping the accounts of the Association for the current fiscal year. At the end of each fiscal year, the Treasurer prepares financial statements for such year, which consist of the balance sheet of the Association at the end of such fiscal year and a Statement of Income and a Statement of Disbursements during such fiscal year.

3. Communications Officer

The Communications Officer records and maintains minutes of all Executive and Association meetings. The Communications Officer also assists the President in communicating with parents as needed.

4. Two Volunteers Coordinators

The Volunteer Coordinators inform parents of the need for help with various committees, recruit and organize volunteers for the committees, maintain an up to date list of volunteers and committees, and work with the President as needed.

5. One or Two Parent Education Coordinators

The Parent Education Coordinators organize, in concert with the school administration, a range of parent education events throughout the school year.

Working with the PA Executive provides unique insights into the workings of the school, allows one to be part of conversations with the school administration about many aspects of its day-to-day life, and provides great opportunities to contribute to a thriving parent community.

If you are interested, and it is our hope that many of you will be, please email and/or Both Megan Pearson (who will take on the reins of the Association as President next year) and I are happy to answer any questions you may have about the roles and responsibilities listed above.

Very best regards,

François Tanguay-Renaud

JICS PA President


3. Historic Naming Opportunities – Make Your Mark!

We cannot imagine a more generous community than the parents and friends of the JICS Lab School. While there are many school choices in this great city, you have enrolled your child/ren in the Lab School. You understand that our mission is to improve public school education through our research, teacher education and by providing exemplary education to the 200 JICS children. Thank you for your trust in us and your support of our public purpose at the University of Toronto.

As integral parts of the JICS community, we wanted to share with you three historical opportunities that have arisen at the Lab School. These three opportunities would make a generational impact on JICS!


The Playground

The JICS playground has been designed to be an exemplary and joyful play space that will challenge and entice children aged 2 to 12. With ample spaces for collaborative sport play and multiple smaller zones and nooks (and a secret garden) for imaginative and creative play with sand, water, and a variety of building materials – the playground will offer many options to children. The new play structures will present robust challenges (climbing, spinning, sliding).

Rendering of JICS Playground Re-design
Rendering of JICS Playground Re-design

New ramp and entryway
New ramp and entryway

In addition, the playground will continue to serve as a gathering space for our community. It will be fully accessible from the building with a thoughtfully designed ramp and new entryway. We decided to renovate the playground to provide an ideal outdoor play space which offers the children optimal opportunities for engaging in rich, meaningful, and developmentally responsive outdoor play experiences. Our understanding of best practice for outdoor play has evolved over the 16 years since the last renovation. The playground will inspire and model the value of well-designed outdoor play spaces for the public school system. Construction will begin in the Spring.

The naming opportunity would allow a JICS family to leave a lasting mark on the School – bolstering the importance of uninhibited childhood play. Valued at $1,000,000.


The Courtyard

Students pick berries in the courtyard
Students pick berries in the courtyard

Nestled among tall downtown Toronto apartment buildings and Victorian homes, you will find our outdoor classroom, our natural oasis… our courtyard. The sounds of the busy city are replaced by the songs of birds and our waterfall, creating a calming space where children build an authentic relationship with the Land. Unique features of this multi-sensory learning space include a condensed forest therapy trail, a Carolinian woodland, a tallgrass prairie, a wet meadow, a conifer forest, a native plant wetland and a waterfall. Research indicates that children are suffering from a "nature deficit." They have limited access to natural play places. The JICS courtyard is used by teachers and students to learn about nature and to be in nature. It is where we gather for Indigenous teachings with guests, and it is a model to public schools of what is possible in a small urban space.

Valued at $300,000 – this naming opportunity will help JICS students form relationships with nature and inspire public schools.


The Book Nook

We have huge design dreams for the second-floor open area between the Grade 4/5 and Grade 6 classrooms. This light-filled space will be transformed into a multipurpose space dedicated to the Junior Grade children and embodies many values of the JICS philosophy: well-being, knowledge creation, exploration, sharing, collaboration, diversity, and community building. The Book Nook will be a much needed gathering area for clubs and projects as well as a breakout space for small group meetings and, simultaneously, offer quiet nooks for reflection and self-directed study. In addition, it will house a curated collection of Junior Grade novels reflecting our community's diversity.

Valued at $250,000 – this naming opportunity would allow a JICS family to have an impact on how our students grow as leaders, interact with their peers, dream and begin to imagine themselves in the world beyond JICS.


For more information on these historic opportunities and to learn more about what is possible with naming gifts, please reach our Senior Development Officer, Reesa Barkhouse, at or 705-978-3610.


4. Update on Tuition Support Fund

The launch of our 2022/23 campaign for The Diana Rankin Muncaster Tuition Support Fund has been going very well! Our JICS at the Movies series and Matching Campaign has raised $82,000 to date, bringing us over halfway to our $150,000 goal. Much of this progress was due to generous leadership gifts from current families. We hope their incredible philanthropy serves as inspiration - no matter what your means, all donations bolster our mission and are deeply appreciated. The Diana Rankin Muncaster Tuition Support Fund helps provide tuition aid to families of all backgrounds. We are intentional about creating and supporting a diverse community at JICS – Donate today to help us fulfill this commitment and reach our fundraising goal.


5. Parent Education – Lunch and Learn with Ellie

The Pursuit of Perfect: ​When Perfectionism Has a Hold on Your Child

Tuesday, January 31, 2023​ from 12:30 – 1:30pm

The pursuit of perfect: when perfectionism has a hold on your child

Lunch & Learn Series with JICS Social Worker Ellie Lathrop

Striving for excellence is celebrated and adaptive, but what happens when it is never good enough? Join us for our ongoing Parent Lunch and Learn session on Jan 31. We will consider the facets of perfectionism and how as a parent you can support your child (and possibly yourself). We will have a 30 min talk (recorded), followed by 30 min of discussion and questions (unrecorded).​


6. Parent Education – Parent2Parent Conference 2023

Wednesday, February 15, 6:30pm at The Mabin School

Parent 2 Parent conference flyer

On Wednesday, February 15, 6:30pm, The Mabin School, UTS, and the JICS Lab School have partnered to present “Hold on Tight: One Mother’s Journey Parenting Two Exceptional Children” with Jan Stewart. Stewart will describe the rollercoaster journey from hope to terror, and back again, of raising two children with mental illnesses as the children go to school and grow up to be young adults with jobs. Stewart offers invaluable advice, from the voice of deep experience, to parents of children with mental illnesses. The keynote will take place at The Mabin School, 50 Popular Plains Road.


7. Update on Drive to Support Christie Refugee Welcome Centre

In December, Zoe’s Grade 4/5 students ran “Operation Donation” for the Christie Refugee Welcome Centre. They collected over 856 items – toys, diapers, grocery gift cards, books, and winter gear. Thank you, Daniel, Emma, Noam for delivering the donations and thank you to the JICS community for your generosity!


8. JICS Skate Swap

The JICS Skate Swap is accepting donations for the 2023 Winter Skating Season. If you have skates or helmets to donate, please bring them to the reception area of the Lab School. Likewise, parents looking to borrow may bring their children to try on donated items in the reception area.


9. Natural Curiosity Interview

Two members of the Natural Curiosity team, Alysse and Aleksa, were recently interviewed on "Choose to be Curious", an award-winning radio program all about curiosity. The show features research and theory, but mostly it’s conversations about how curiosity shows up in work in life. CLICK HERE to listen to the episode.


10. Photos of the Week at JICS


11. Upcoming January Events

Sun 22 – Lunar New Year – Year of the Rabbit Mon 23 – Parents’ Association “All Parents Meeting” on zoom. 7:00-8:00pm. Meeting info

Tues 24 – Meeting for Parents of BIPOC Children at JICS (RESCHEDULED - new date tbd)

Wed 25 – Skating Grades 4-6

Thur 26 – Skating Grades 1-3

Fri 27 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day Fri 27 – School-wide Invitation to wear red to celebrate Lunar New Year Mon 30 – Research Night at JICS. 6:30-8:00pm (more info coming soon)

Tues 31 – Parent Education Lunch and Learn with Ellie: The Pursuit of Perfect. RSVP here.


12. Upcoming February Events

Black History Month

Wed 1 – Skating Grades 1-3

Thur 2 – Skating Grades 4-6 Thur 9 – Joy Lapps interactive steel pan performance for students

Tues 14 – Valentine’s Day

Wed 15 – Parent Education “Hold on Tight – One Mother’s Journey, Two Exceptional Children” The Mabin School (50 Popular Plains Rd.) 6:30-9:00pm RSVP here

Fri 17 – Mid-Term Holiday (School closed, Daycare open)

Mon 20 – Family Day Holiday (School & Daycare closed) Tues 21 – City Dance Corps workshop for students




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