Topics covered in this post:
Tragedy in Texas and How to Talk to Children About Tragic Events
1. Hot Dog Night
Tuesday, June 7 | 6:00-8:00pm
Hello JICS Community…Hot Dog Night is fast approaching and we are SO excited to be able to gather once again! However, such special events do not happen on their own, we need help from our community to make it happen! Volunteers are greatly needed in order to ensure a wonderful evening. We are particularly asking parents in Gr 1, Gr 2, & Gr 3 to sign up and help out!
Volunteers are needed! Please sign up: https://signup.com/go/zKbdWAH
Purchase your tickets now on our Events page: https://www.jicsfamily.com/events
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!
3. Parent Education
Dismantling Anti-Asian Racism: Beyond Performativity, Checklists, and Hashtags with Dr. Mary Reid
May 30th | 6:30-8:30pm
Since the onset of the pandemic, acts of anti-Asian violence and hate have increased significantly. Anti-Asian racism has deep political, social, and economic roots in Canadian history. The contemporary manifestation of anti-Asian hate continues to impact Asian communities, affecting their health, well being and safety. This session aims to educate participants on recognizing and addressing anti-Asian racism, and how to discuss these critical issues with children. The workshop will also delve into actions that support the dismantling of institutionalized oppression and colonization, through cross racial solidarity and ally-ship.
This workshop with not be recorded. We strongly encourage all Lab School parents to join us live for this vital opportunity to learn from Dr. Reid.
Presenter Bio: Dr. Mary Reid is an Assistant Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Mary is a first generation Canadian of Hakka Chinese descent and is a settler on Turtle Island. As an executive member of the Asian Canadian Educators Network (ACENet), she leads the research committee which primarily focuses on examining Asian educators’ and students’ experiences. Her scholarship centers on the model minority myth and its impact on Asian students in STEM classrooms. In March of 2021, she was featured in a CBC article about Anti-Asian Racism. As an integral member of OISE, she recently won the 2022 Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership for her outstanding service in combatting anti-Asian racism, and in 2018, Mary was the recipient of the teaching excellence award.
Lunch & Learn: Where's Your Water Bottle?
If you missed our final Lunch & Learn with Ellie & the Spec Ed Team on May 19, “Where’s my water bottle?”: a discussion about Executive Function, what it means, and what it looks like, you can view its recording and recording of previous parent education events HERE. We are looking forward to planning more parent education sessions with Ellie for the 2022-2023 school year. If you have suggestions, please contact Ellie.
4. One year anniversary of the discovery at the Kamloops Indian Residential School
It has been one year of mourning for the 215 children found in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. At the time of discovery, it was impossible for us to comprehend this tragedy and yet Indigenous people had known this reality and others and they have been ignored. This anniversary is a stark reminder of the violence inflicted by the residential school system and the wounds and trauma carried by communities, families, and survivors into the present. From 1831 until the last Indian residential school closed in 1996, over 150,000 children between the ages of 4-16 were forcibly separated from their families. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded that residential schools were a "systematic, government-sponsored attempt to destroy Aboriginal cultures and languages". The intergenerational harm and trauma of residential schools is not only a part of our history, it is ongoing. Anti-Indigenous racism continues to exist today in countless forms. Indigenous people have been aware of the children who were hurt and died at residential schools and as a society, we haven't listened. We need to listen. As a school and a community, JICS strives to instill the values of a just society, one that honours and respects all people. We join the call for Canadians to implement all 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The work of the JICS Natural Curiosity Program is a reaction to the TRC calls to action. We are committed to supporting public school educators and students with learning about the true history of our country but also about the importance of knowing and benefiting from Indigenous perspectives and understandings. We will continue to work with Indigenous members of our community to ensure we are doing all that we can in a good way. We must acknowledge and mourn, and yet this alone is not enough. We must also bring about action, education, and justice. We ask that all JICS parents and faculty read or reread the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and continue to educate themselves about anti-Indigenous racism by consulting Indigenous voices. "Our leaders must not fear this onus of reconciliation. The burden is not theirs to bear alone; rather, reconciliation is a process that involves all parties." Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC Chair. Dr. Cindy Blackstock, member of the Gitxsan First Nation, Associate Professor at the University of Alberta, and Executive Director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, talks about accountability for residential schools and ending discrimination in this CBC interview: What could accountability for residential schools look like? Dr. Blackstock and The Caring Society invite participation in a social movement to make a difference in the lives of First Nations children and their families. They offer these seven campaigns to meaningfully help address disadvantages and promote culturally-based equity for Indigenous children, 7-Free Ways to Make a Difference.
Learn More about the Lab School’s Commitment to the Truth and Reconcilation Commission here: https://www.jicsfamily.com/truth-and-reconciliation
5. Tragedy in Texas and How to Talk to Children About Tragic Events
Our hearts are broken with the horrific news of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas. We mourn for the victims, their families, and their community following this senseless act of violence. While we would all like our children to remain blissfully unaware of this frightening situation, we need to recognize that we cannot fully shield them. Children are very intuitive and perceptive: they may see information, hear other children or adults speaking about it, detect that their parent/s may be more concerned than usual and paying more attention to the news. Even if they do not fully understand, they may know something has happened. Providing children with age-appropriate information can help take away the confusion, and help them to feel better. Here are some thoughts about approaching this with your children:
1. Make space to notice and pay attention to your own reactions first
You may feel any number of things including stunned, exhausted, outraged, shut down, or devastated. This may have more of an impact depending on your experiences and particularly with the recent hate crime in Buffalo last week. Try to carve out some time to talk about your thoughts and feelings with someone. This may be a partner, a relative, a friend, a co-worker or therapist. Strongly consider limiting the amount of media you take in. Consider doing something to take action as this can help mediate feelings of helplessness, such as working with an organization towards a cause you believe in.
2. Adjust what you share to the age of your child
High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and caregivers can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears. Consider providing a one or two sentence summary about what has happened so they are informed but not scared. Answer their questions honestly but not extensively: they don’t need to know a lot of details that could upset them.
3. Be direct and open with preteens and adolescents
Ask your preteens and teens what they have heard and how they feel about it. Use open-ended questions, such as “What do you think about what has happened?” or “How are you doing with the news?” Know that they may not want to talk about it in the moment but you are letting them know that the door to this conversation is open. Avoid oversharing details and be mindful of the amount of news they are exposed to. Listen to what they have to say and validate their feelings. They know that you can’t fix things. Providing a supportive space to discuss emotions and their questions will help.
4. Acknowledge and contextualize
Providing a context for the negative and frightening information can be important, consider sharing examples of courage and our common humanity. If questioned, parents can acknowledge that what happened is scary and reassure your child/ren with your words and behaviour. First, put it in perspective. You can explain that the reason the crime is on the news so often is because it is such an unusual occurrence. Next you might want to paraphrase the famous Mr. Rogers quote: When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” While there are bad people, there are many more good people who are working very hard to keep everyone safe.
Some resources we’ve found that may be helpful:
6. Music Day
On Friday, May 27, we will record each class, JK to Grade 6, performing songs they learned as part of their weekly music classes. Once edited, the full recording will be shared with JICS families to be enjoyed by parents and children together. We are looking forward to returning to our annual in-person “Music Night” in Spring 2023, a celebration of song that takes place in our auditorium with parents.
7. Games Day
June 1 (June 3 rain date)
We are delighted to be able to organize our annual JK to Gr 6 Games Day on the morning of Wednesday, June 1 (rain date is afternoon of Friday, June 3). Information will arrive home soon about “team colours”. Pairs of children from each class are grouped in multi-age teams and together they rotate through a series of fun challenges run by JICS staff such as limbo, Pictionary, bean bag toss, etc., in our school yard. Snacks and drinks are kindly provided by the Parents’ Association and parent-volunteers.
8. Daycare June Camp – June 20 to 30
The ICS Daycare is excited to be offering June Camp to interested families. Please see information here:
9. COVID-19 Update
We thank you for continuing to test each Wednesday and Sunday. There have been 4 positive cases reported to the school since our last Parent Info POST (Thursday, May 19). 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.
Please enjoy these glimpses into life at the Lab School!
Over recess Grade One students worked with Krista to take care of their radish and carrot plants growing in planters on the playground.
The Grade Ones have been learning about roots and soil, and they had a question about how nutrients get to a plant. They designed an experiment to see what happens in plants - using celery! They will be revisiting their experiment throughout the day and recording our observations.
The Grade Ones have been learning about coding in an offline way, using paper grids and large grids on our classroom floor. On Thursday they applied their learning to an online activity, where they practiced giving instructions to work through mazes.
Five bullfrog tadpoles were welcomed to their new home in the courtyard pond!
Grade Six student taste radish sprouts and lettuce from their garden, and check on the progress of their bean plants.
Grade Five Printmaking - an interrupted Art project revisited from Grade Four!
11. Upcoming May Events
May is Asian Heritage Month
Fri 27 – Music Day
Mon 30 – Dismantling Anti-Asian Racism with Dr. Mary Reid | 6:30-8:30pm | RSVP
12. Upcoming June Events
Canada's National Indigenous History Month & World Pride Month
Wed 1 – JK to Gr 6 Games Day (rain date: June 3)
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