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Pride Month, Indigenous History Month, Games Day, Hot Dog Night

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

children working on an art display collaboratively

Topics covered in this post:


1. Hot Dog Night

Tuesday, June 7 | 6:00-8:00pm

Hot Dog Night poster - Tuesday June 7th (rain date Wed June 8) 6:00pm-8:00pm. JICS School Yard. Cost: $15 adult, $5 child. Pizza will be served from General Assembly Pizza. If the event is outdoors, masks will be optional (but recommended) outdoors (all JICS staff will be wearing masks outdoors) & mandatory indoors (washrooms and rain date) as per UofT protocols

Volunteers are needed! Please sign up:

Purchase your tickets now on our Events page:

See you there!


2. Hot Dog Night Book Drive

Hello JICS Families!

Do you have books around your house that your family doesn’t read anymore? The JICS Book Club would like to hold a Book Sale/Book Exchange on Hot Dog Night. Students will take shifts at a table with the donated books. They will give recommendations, and provide change, just like at a real book store! Students in the Grade 5 Book Club are planning for funds raised to be donated to an organization focusing on supporting refugees. Any extra books that are in good shape will be donated to the Children’s Book Bank.

Please bring any gently used books to the reception between 8-4 any time before Hot Dog Night on June 7. On Hot Dog Night, be sure to bring your quarters to purchase books!

With thanks,

Krista Spence



3. The JICS Lab School's GSA Fundraiser for Rainbow Railroad at Hotdog Night

The JICS GSA is celebrating Pride Month by making a splash at Hot Dog Night. They have a table and have constructed a Hot Dog Night float, which will be circulating throughout the evening. Their goal is to raise money by selling hand-crafted Pride buttons, and the proceeds will benefit Rainbow Railroad charity. Rainbow Railroad is an organization that helps people in the LGBTQ2SIA+ community who are living in places that are dangerous for them. Rainbow Railroad provides resources to help people move to places where they are safer. The suggested donation for buttons is $2.00. We invite the community to bring along a twoonie to support a worthy cause.


4. Games Day

Friday June 3 9am

As you know, we have postponed Games Day to Friday, June 3. While we originally thought we would host it during the afternoon, we have decided on Friday MORNING. Thank you to the Parents’ Association for providing snacks and drinks and thank you to the parent



5. Pride Month

June is 2SLGBTQIA+ Pride Month! It’s an opportunity to celebrate diversity and raise awareness among all staff and students about the rich culture and history of our 2SLGBTQIAA+ community.

Here are a few of many books used in the JICS library in the theme of PRIDE:

  • Pride celebrating diversity and community - Robin Stevenson

  • Stonewall - a building, an uprising, a revolution - Rob Sanders

  • Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights - Rob Sanders

  • This Day in June - Gayle E. Pitman

  • Pride: The story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag - Rob Sanders

  • Ghost’s Journey - A Refugee Story - Robin Stevenson

  • Love, Z - Jessie Sima

  • Queer, there, and everywhere: 23 people who changed the world - Sarah Prager

  • Donovan’s Big Day – Lesléa Newman

  • Gay and Lesbian History for Kids - Jerome Pohlen

Check out what's happening across the city at

Here are some suggestions for explaining Pride month to children:

Be direct, but keep it simple. You can’t talk about Pride Month without first talking about what LGBTQ+ means. You can explain simply, for example, that being gay/lesbian is when a man loves a man, or when a woman loves a woman. Or that being transgender is when you are born biologically one gender, but you identify or feel like a different gender.

Be honest. Your child/ren may have questions, and it’s important to answer them honestly, but without giving more information than they are ready for. Let their questions guide the conversation. For example, you might answer the question “Why can’t all LGBTQ+ people marry whom they love?” with “Because some people are taught that being LGBTQ+ is wrong. But we believe that being LGBTQ+ is perfectly fine and everyone has the right to love anyone else.”

Provide factual information. Let them know that in Canada, it used to be against the law for a woman to marry a woman or a man to marry a man, but the law changed so that everyone has the right to marry the person they love, whether it’s a man or a woman. It’s also important to share that gender and sexual identity are not “choices” that people make but simply who they are.

Be clear about why we have Pride month. When explaining why we have Pride month, don’t shy away from the talking about discrimination and bullying. Tell children that sometimes LGBTQ+ people have been treated unfairly or unkindly. June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which is when many people all over Canada, the US, and the UK show in different ways that they are either proud of being part of and/or support the LGBTQ+ community. But really being LBGTQ+ is something we should celebrate all year round.

Be open. Being open means promoting an attitude of inclusion and kindness. It also means keeping the conversation going, and letting children know they can come to you anytime they have questions. It’s important for all of us to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for children to share their thoughts and feelings.

Talking about LGBTQ+ Pride with children is a vital step to open everyone’s hearts and minds and promote a safer, more inclusive world.

Happy LGBTQ+ Pride Month!

“Pride is a celebration of diversity, equality, and freedom

-and everyone is welcome to enjoy it." Quote from Robin Stevenson's excellent book, Pride p. 33


6. Anti-Taiwanese Racism

The parent education event on Monday May 30th with Dr. Mary Reid was an incredible learning experience for parents, teachers, and staff who were able to attend. We are hoping to invite Dr. Reid back in the 2022-2023 school year to continue to help us identify, disrupt, and dismantle anti-Asian racism. The message of this talk was particularly timely as we learned the horrific news of the racially motivated attack against a Taiwanese congregation in Southern California that took place on May 18. We mourn with the family members of the victims.

Events like this act of anti-Taiwanese hate are felt personally by our students, staff, and parents, especially members of racialized communities. It is our responsibility to stand up and do whatever it takes to end racism, hate, and oppression of all kinds. We must all work together to address the hate and racism that exists within our community, our neighbourhood, our city, our country, our world.


7. National Indigenous History Month

In June, we commemorate National Indigenous History Month. During this month, people across Turtle Island take time to recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience, and diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. At the JICS Lab School, we are committed to engaging in this critical work year-round.

The JICS Lab School is committed to listening and responding actively to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and diverse Indigenous voices across Turtle Island. We are committed to unlearning and relearning the true history of this country alongside Indigenous educators and students. Our work to bring environmental and land-based education into the heart of Canadian educational settings, will always be in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation.

To learn more about our ongoing commitment, please see this page of the JICS Family website:

Statement of Solidarity for National Indigenous History Month from the JICS Lab School and the Natural Curiosity Program

June is National Indigenous History Month, a month dedicated to learning about Indigenous cultures, heritage, and experiences, and honouring the ongoing contributions of Indigenous Peoples to Canada and the world. We celebrate the thousands of years of Indigenous wisdom, tradition, and resilience while also committing to ongoing reflection and decolonization efforts, year-round. In the wake of the devastating news about the 215 children found at the Kamloops Residential School, and in honour the seven generations of Indigenous Peoples who survived the residential school system, it is critical for all Canadians to listen and respond actively to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and diverse Indigenous voices across Turtle Island. The JICS Lab School and Natural Curiosity are committed to unlearning and relearning the true history of this country alongside Indigenous educators and students. Our work to bring environmental and land-based education into the heart of Canadian educational settings, will always be in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation.

Children and Teen books to read for National Indigenous History Month

Adult Books to read for National Indigenous History Month

Adults can also celebrate by reading one of these books by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors, curated by CBC.


8. Environmental and Sustainability PD for Preservice Teachers at JICS

On Tuesday evening, Krista Spence (Teacher Librarian) and Rosa Na (Natural Curiosity Program Manager) led a guest lecture for 25 MA/MEd/MT students in OISE’s Environmental and Sustainability Education course, taught by Dr. Hilary Inwood, which is the first-ever OISE course in history to be offered fully outdoors! Following an introduction to Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition, the students were guided through a tour of the Lab School’s revitalized outdoor spaces.

Krista shared many beautiful examples of how a deep consideration of Indigenous perspectives and relationships with Indigenous partners have informed the creation of these spaces, and how our growing relationships with the plants, animals, insects, water, seasons, and other beings we share these spaces with, have in turn nurtured our own understanding of the local natural world and the possibilities for pursuing a respectful process of reconciliation with the land, as part of it. Students spent time exploring the spaces and were encouraged to envision the kinds of experiences that they might create in their practicums, and in their future teaching practice.

One student shared this lovely feedback:

"Learning from individuals who are on the ground teaching and breathing life into the Natural Curiosity framework was an inspiring and thought-provoking experience. I am so grateful to have caught a glimpse into the opportunities that exist when a school community embodies inquiry and environmental ed, and centres Indigenous perspectives each step of the way, from the sweetgrass in the garden to the wayfinding post pointing me back to Gabekanaang-ziibi."

– Megan, OISE-MT Student

Rosa and Krista presented to Dr. Hilary Inwood's Environmental and Eustainability Education students (in OISE’s MA, MT, and M Ed programs) on Tuesday, May 31 from 6-8 pm. They were toured around the various gardens and participated in outdoor learning activities that focused on the Natural Curiosity approach.


9. COVID-19 Update

Rapid Testing

We thank you for continuing to test each Wednesday and Sunday. There have been 0 positive cases reported to the school since our last Parent Info POST (Thursday, May 26)!! However, despite this good news, we do ask that everyone please continue to indicate in the JICS Daily Screening that the most recent (Wed/Sun) test has been completed, and inform the school office of any positive results.


10. Reminder: Reusable Water Bottles and Masks

At JICS, we play outdoors in all weather! As we approach summer and rising temperatures, we want to make sure that our students are ready to safely enjoy the heat. Please continue to send reusable water bottles to school with your child/ren each day. They can be refilled on site.

All Lab School children, JK to Grade 6, and all teachers/staff/visitors are required to wear masks indoors in the school until June 30, 2022. Please continue to send masks with your child/ren each day.


11. Photos

Please enjoy these glimpses into life at the Lab School!

Grade Fours thriving in the outdoors!

Grade Fours Learning deeply in the classroom: sorting fractions cards that they created across a number line using visuals, showing their understanding of the relationship between numerators and denominators to determine placement.

Junior Kindergarten and Grade one children in the gym practicing their amazing skills!

Ssshh!!! Top secret: teachers are hard at work preparing medals for Games Days.

Celebrating PRIDE Month in JK! On Friday, May 27th, we welcomed Lab School parent Katie Pearson into the JK classroom to speak about PRIDE. The JKs discussed the meaning of the colours on the Pride Flag, listened to the book, My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart, and made individual Pride Flags.


12. Upcoming June Events

Canada's National Indigenous History Month & World Pride Month

Fri 3 – JK to Gr 6 Games Day

Tues 7 – Hot Dog Night (rain date June 8) | 6:00-8:00pm | Tickets

Thurs 16 – Grade 6 graduation

Fri 17 – Last day of school | Noon dismissal

Fri 24 – Report Cards mailed home

Fun times in Grade Four!




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