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March Break, School-Wide Cozy Day, Lab School Dissemination, Photos, and More!

Topics covered in this post:

Grade 4/5s at Camp Pinecrest
Grade 4/5s at Camp Pinecrest

1. March Break

March 13 – March 24, 2023

We wish everyone a fun and safe March Break, March 13 to 24. The Winter Term ends tomorrow at 3:30pm (6:00pm for daycare students).

The Daycare March Break Camp will be open for registered students March 20 to 24. Registration for the Camp closes tomorrow by end of day. If interested, please indicate by emailing us at, and use subject line “CAMP.”

School and daycare will reopen on Monday, March 27 for the start of the Spring Term.


2. School-Wide Cozy Day

Friday, March 10, 2023

JICS students have great suggestions to improve the school experience. A popular request is to hold a school-wide pajama/cozy day. We invite everyone to come to school tomorrow in pjs or comfy clothing and bring a favourite stuffie!


3. 29th Annual JICS Read-a-thon

March 1 – April 14, 2023

The 29th annual READ-A-THON is underway! Students are encouraged to set personal reading goals, read each day, and collect pledges for their efforts.Your donations will be used to replace lost and broken books, purchase new books, and to support authors, illustrators, and storytellers to visit with students.

We are so grateful to our supportive community! Donations of $25 or more will be rewarded with a personalized book plate placed in a new library book.

Additional information for parents:

Online donations:


4. JICS Jets Win TDSB Conference Championship

JICS Jets with Championship Banner

The JICS Jets are TDSB Conference Champions! On Monday, March 6 the Jets travelled to MLSE Launchpad to play in the semi-finals and finals of the TDSB South Conference. The Grade 6 team won both games and were crowned champions! The Jets played incredibly showing amazing teamwork, hustle, and skill. They were supportive teammates to one another, respectful to their opponents, and represented JICS in such a positive way. They finish the season with a a perfect 7–0 record in TDSB play. We are so proud of their dedication to the team and their success on the court. Congrats Jets!

This marks the end of the 2023 Basketball Season. The Grade 4, 5, and 6 Basketball Clubs have been practicing weekly from November to March. Each grade has brought so much enthusiasm and energy. Practices consisted of a mix of fitness exercises, skill development, in-game strategy, and game play. Students practiced their dribbling, shooting passing, and learned how to position themselves on the court for both offense and defense. Thank you to all of the basketball players and families for making the season such a success!


5. JICS Lab School Dissemination

An important part of our mission as a laboratory school is disseminating the work that we do. The following are two recent examples of JICS Lab School teachers sharing their expertise in order to improve public school education.


a. Norah, Krista and Ben for the OECM

In the webinar as a part of their series “Professional Learning for Ontario Educators” for the Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace (OECM), Norah, Krista and Ben shared how literature that centres Indigenous voices can enact change in the classroom and beyond.

Poster for workshop by Norah, Krista, and Ben

Norah focussed on a foundational piece of Truth and Reconciliation (T&R), speaking to how reading outside supports students with forming a relationship with the natural world. From an Indigenous perspective “reconciliation will never occur unless we are also reconciled with the Earth” (TRC Final Report). Ben described how Indigenous texts for novel and graphic novel study create spaces for deep analysis and discussion, focussing on T&R’s Call to Action 63, “building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.” Krista spoke to the work of developing students’ critical lens for representation and authentic voices, sharing texts and resources that provide opportunities to share historical and modern truths, as well as strategies for action. View the webinar here.


b. Tara for the National Art Education Association

Tara and Yichien Cooperm (Assistant Professor, College of Education, Washington State University Tri-Cities) recently presented in the National Art Education Association's Virtual Art Educators webinar, "Building Inclusive Classroom Communities.” They unpacked the meaning and characteristics of an inclusive learning environment through art while uncovering a variety of pedagogical approaches and instructional strategies to build inclusive communities in your learning spaces. They demonstrated how inclusive community building has helped students develop a stronger sense of belonging and how studying a community’s local history and its demographic landscape helps to expand understanding of inclusive learning. They provided strategies to align art teaching resources with cultural competence in order to address issues related to diversity, social justice, and inclusion.


6. Happy Holi!

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

SKs celebrating Holi

Holi is an ancient Hindu tradition and one of the most popular festivals in Hinduism. It celebrates the eternal and divine love of God Radha Krishna. Often referred to as the festival of colour, Holi is a boisterous occasion, characterized by family and friends daubing coloured powders over each other and drenching unsuspecting passers-by with a deluge of water.

In SK, the class celebrated Holi with Maya’s whole family and Kairav’s mom Priya. It was cold, it was snowy, but that didn’t stop the SKs one bit! Thank you Reena and Michael for the shirts, the mango lassi, and the brilliant colours! Happy Holi!


7. Nowruz

Monday, March 20, 2023

Nowruz is the day of the vernal equinox, and it marks the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It also marks the first day of the first month (Farvardin) of the Iranian calendars. Typically, before the arrival of Nowruz, family members gather around the Haft-sin table and await the exact moment of the March equinox to celebrate the New Year. Traditionally, the Haft-sin (seven things beginning with the letter sin (س)) are:

  • Sabze – wheat, barley, mung bean, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish

  • Samanu – sweet pudding made from wheat germ

  • Persian olive

  • Vinegar

  • Apple

  • Garlic

  • Sumac

Following our March Break, we invite parents to suggest ways to help our students gain insight into the celebration of Nowruz. Please be in touch with your child’s teachers with ideas.


8. Ramadan Kareem!

March 22 – April 21, 2023

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon on March 22 and April 21. Islamic tradition states that it was during Ramadan, on the “Night of Power” that God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the Qurʾān, Islam’s holy book, as a guidance for the people. For Muslims, Ramadan is a period of introspection, communal prayer in the mosque, and reading of the Qurʾān. God forgives the past sins of those who observe the holy month with fasting, prayer, and faithful intention. Wishing you all the blessings of the holy month.


9. Lesson Study Day

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Lessons from JICS Lesson Study

This year marks the return of Lesson Study. This form of collaborative professional development developed in Japan has a long history at JICS, sometimes bringing visitors from the Ministry of Education, public schools, and international education scholars. In January 2023, the JICS teachers identified areas of student learning that they wanted to understand more deeply and divided into two planning groups. Both groups were deeply interested in approaches to learning about equity issues. They researched their topics and collaboratively tested and iteratively designed a “public lesson” that was taught in front of an audience of observers (faculty and invited guests from OISE).

On Wednesday, the following two public lessons were presented and debriefed:

  • What Makes a Good City? Analyzing Data to Explore Equity Issues Planning Group: Chriss, Zoe, Walker, Norah, Michael, Ben, Tara, Nick, Carol Student Group: Grade 4B Invited Discussant: Dr. Larisa Lam, OISE

  • Going Beyond the Narrative: Engaging in Critical Conversations with Children through Media Literacy Planning Group: Marcia, Tania, Nadia, Christel, Judith, Raadiyah, David, Robin, Krista Student Group: Grade 5ZB Invited Discussant: Dr. Julie Comay, OISE

Engaging in Lesson Study adds many benefits to our professional development. It deepens our understanding of a particular topic through research and experimentation, and the collaborative nature of the PD design means that teachers get to work and learn with colleagues in new ways. Each teacher is both a planner of one lesson and an observer of another. The observer’s role is to provide valuable feedback to the planners regarding children’s engagement and student learning. The JICS approach to Lesson Study was document in the following chapter. If you are interested in a copy of the chapter*, please email Richard.

*Moss, J., Messina, R., Morley, E., & Tepylo, D. (2012). Sustaining professional collaborations over 6 years: using Japanese Lesson Study to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. In J. M. Bay-Williams (Ed), Professional collaborations in mathematics teaching and learning: Seeking success for all. 2012 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Yearbook.


10. Black History Month

Throughout the year, and especially in February, each class and specialty classes have engaged the students in lessons that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. Here is a sample:

School Wide Events

Everyone enjoyed the special school-wide events we planned for Black History Month: the steelpan demonstration by Joy Lapps, the City Dance Corp’s Hip Hop Dance Workshop, and the Capoeira workshop. These were all amazing moments in which we gathered as a community to share, celebrate, and learn about the artistic creativity, beauty, and expression that come from (and are integrally linked) to black communities and culture.


The JKs and SKs explored sounds, instrumentation and songs from the Caribbean including Steel Pan and Calypso, in preparation for the Steel Pan school-wide workshop. Nursery, JK and SK children learned call-and response songs from East and West Africa, and played musical games inspired by African-American clapping songs. Our work study student, Furqan Mohamed shared a beautiful Somali lullaby that had been sung to her when she was a child. This was a special highlight! Throughout the year, music by Black artists from around the world is woven into the Grade 1-6 Music curriculum. This February each class listened and discussed Blues music. They listened to early country blues like Robert Johnson, then as time passed Urban Blues appears: Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, BB King, Jimi Hendrix. Each class learned about the Blues 12 bar progression and scale, improvisation, lyric form, and content. They listened to Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder and to Prince, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin. Drama The students in Grades 4/5/6 have been exploring theatre traditions from around the world. In February, they looked at the theatre of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. This vibrant style of theatre includes mime, colourful costumes, chanting, singing, traditional drumming, and folklore. They integrated some of these elements into “trickster” tales that were created and performed by groups of students. Younger children were introduced to folktales from Africa and the Caribbean, while students in Grades 2 – 6 celebrated the accomplishments of many Black Canadians and African Americans through pantomime and monologues.

JICS Parent reads "What Colour is My World"

Parent Guests JICS parent, Marlon shared read the book, "What Colour is My World" by Kareem Abdule-Jabbar. The Grade 2 children were surprised to learn that potato chips, ice-cream scoops, and open-heart surgery were all invented by amazing Black inventors. Thank you Marlon and all parent-volunteers for enriching our learning!


11. Parent/Teacher Education from Natural Curiosity

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 7:00pm

Natural Curiosity Poster for Niigaan Sinclair

Natural Curiosity is honoured to welcome Niigaanwewidam Sinclair, renowned educator, author and activist in conversation about How Everything is Related: The Potential of Indigenous Perspectives in Education. This 1-hour webinar will take place on Tuesday April 4, 2023 from 7:00-8:00 PM ET and will include a 15 minute Q&A.

In Branch III of Natural Curiosity’s four-branch framework, the Indigenous lens invites us to consider the perspective that “going deeply into and relating deeply with our immediate world can be the hub around which all subjects revolve.” This webinar will explore the topic of integrated learning and guide educators on how to holistically centre Indigenous perspectives while working with students of any age range.

CLICK HERE to register.


12. Photos from the Week at JICS

SK Skating

SK Students and Parents Skating
We had a magnificent turnout for our last skate – all 22 kids and so many parents!!! A huge thank you to everyone for your help on and off the ice and a particular shout out to Jasper’s dad Josh for bringing the skates back to JICS.

Grade 4/5s at Camp Pinecrest

Last week the Grade 4 and 5 students travelled to Pinecrest for an incredible three days of outdoor education and community building lead by ALIVE Outdoors.

Cross country skiing, tubing, hiking, fire building, cooperative challenges, broomball, campfires, and an epic game of Fire and Ice were some of the many highlights. The cabins were cozy, the food was delicious, and the Alive and Pinecrest staff were fantastic.

Thanks to everyone who made the trip such a success! It was a truly amazing three days.


A Medley of Other Photos

JICS Student with printer
JICS Students are amazing! The printer/scanner/photocopier in the Art Room is back in operation thanks to the technical expertise of our in-house student tech expert.

13. Upcoming March Events

Mon 13 to Fri 17 – March Break (School and Daycare closed)

Mon 20 to Fri 24 – March Break (School closed. Daycare camp open)

Mon 20 – Nowruz (Persian New Year)

Wed 22 to Apr 30 – Ramadan (begins on Wed 22 at sunset)

Mon 27 – Hot Lunch Program (The Lunch Mom) sign-up due date. Order here.

Mon 27 – Spring Term begins (Daycare opens at 7:45am. School opens at 8:35am)

Wed 29 – Wednesday Program's Spring Term begins (Information here)

Thur 30 – School-wide lice check (Thank you, Parents’ Association!)

Thur 30 – Last day of 1st year Teacher-Candidate placement in JK to Grade 6


14. Upcoming April Events

Ramadam March 22 to April 21

Passover April 5 to 14

Fri 7 – Good Friday (School and Daycare closed)

Mon 10 – Easter Monday (School and Daycare closed)

Wed 12 – International Day of Pink

Fri 14 – Last day of Intern Teacher-Candidate placement in JK to Grade 6

Fri 14 – Vaisakhi

Fri 14 – Holy Friday (Orthodox)

Sun 16 – Easter (Orthodox)

Tues 18 – BIPOC Parent Group meeting (details coming soon)

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

Mon 24 to Fri 28 – Earth Week

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

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




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