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Solar Eclipse, Family Skate at Varsity Arena, & Lesson Study

JICS at a Glance

We've condensed the important highlights for your convenience:

Topics covered in this post:


1. Solar Eclipse - Monday, April 8, 12:00pm Dismissal

On Monday, April 8, 2024 a total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Southern Ontario from approximately 2:00pm to 4:30pm. Notably, this time coincides with our dismissal time. In light of safety concerns outlined in a recent announcement from the Canadian Space Agency, which addressed the potential risks associated with observing the eclipse, several public school boards and local independent schools have made adjustments to their calendars. In an effort to ensure the well-being of students, some of these institutions have designated April 8 as a PA (Professional Activity) Day, ensuring that students are not outdoors during the eclipse.


At the JICS Lab School, we prioritize the safety and welfare of our students. Therefore, we have chosen to modify the school day on April 8, to end at 12:00pm. Additionally, afterschool daycare services will be canceled, and the school building will be closed from 12:00pm onwards.


We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in prioritizing the safety of our students during this extraordinary event. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you.


2. Outdoor Clothing and Shoes

At JICS, we foster a learning environment where children engage in outdoor play, regardless of the weather – be it rain, snow, or chilly conditions. To ensure your child's comfort and well-being, kindly equip them with suitable outdoor clothing tailored to prevailing weather conditions. Essential are proper outdoor shoes. This measure helps us maintain a clean and welcoming indoor classroom space by preventing the tracking of snow inside and onto indoor carpets. Children are required to have a set of indoor shoes for safety reasons.


3. Late Student Arrival

Being on time for school sets a child up for a successful day. Not only is punctuality a critical life skill, but it also communicates respect for the classroom community, the teachers, and each child's learning. Being late affects a child's connection to the learning that is taking place in the classroom. Entering a room where a class has begun, and students are already engaged in the work means missing part or all of the lesson and instructions, making it challenging for the child arriving late to transition and settle into the class. It may also disturb the other students and draw the teacher's focus away from the class. Sometimes coming late throws a child off as they realize what they have missed, which may affect their well-being throughout the day.


We hope all JICS Lab School students have the best possible start to their day. It is ideal for children to have time at the beginning of the day to gather with friends and chat, share news, and be ready and waiting when the teacher draws the class together as the school day begins. The school doors open for (JK to Gr 6) children starting at 8:35; the optimal time to arrive is at 8:35am. Any student arriving after 8:45am is considered late.

Your child/ren’s attendance record is published weekly on your FAM Profile:

We understand that morning can be a challenging time of day for families. Yet, we know that arriving on time is possible from our experience with our "no late school entry policy" in 2020-2021. Please let Richard or Chriss know if you want to discuss your morning routines and strategies. We are happy to help! Alyson Schafer, a renowned Adlerian parenting expert, suggests that parents of older children release responsibility for their child's participation in this process (read more here). This approach requires parents to get themselves ready calmly and wait by the door for their child – leading by example rather than prodding from behind (a strategy Alyson echoes in this article). For some children, providing a simple checklist of what they must accomplish each morning with a clock or a timer may help them achieve independence. And sometimes what's required to maintain a calmer routine is for the morning process to start 15 minutes earlier for the whole family! Of course, everyone can better cope in the morning if they've gotten enough sleep the night before (Click Here for an excellent website with information about how much sleep children should get each night).

However you choose to organize the morning, it is in your child's best interest to prioritize being on time for school. We value our partnership with you as we work together to provide the best educational experience possible for your child/ren.


4. Lesson Study Day - Wednesday, February 21

Each year, the educators at JICS Lab School actively participate in a distinctive form of professional development known as Lesson Study. This innovative approach, originating from Japan, empowers teachers to lead research initiatives collectively, focusing on targeted areas for improvement in their students' learning. The process involves collaborative efforts in researching, planning, teaching, and observing a series of lessons. Ongoing discussions, reflections, and expert insights are woven into the fabric of this teacher-led research, allowing for continuous tracking and refinement of interventions.


During our recent staff meeting, the following topics were presented:


Courtyard Connections: Ways of Seeing and Partnering with the Space.

  • Planning Group: Jessica, Norah, Judith, Tara, Krista

  • Lesson Goals: Explore how to shift from a hierarchical model of engaging with the natural environment to a reciprocal, interconnected approach, emphasizing values such as restoration, eco-literacy, relationship building, mental health and wellbeing, reconciliation, seasonal change, community, knowledge, and knowledge keepers. Mini Machines – Making Things Work in SK.

  • Planning Group: Nick, Walker, Kenisha, Tania, Nadia, Carol.

  • Lesson Goals: Explore an open-ended approach to introducing STEM materials and the concept of electrical circuits to young children.


Fractions in Grade 3: Starting Points.

  • Planning Group: Marcia, Zoe, Michael, Robin.

  • Lesson Goals: Introduce the concept of fractions in ways that reveal and address misconceptions.


Engaging in Lesson Study enriches our professional development by deepening our understanding of specific topics through research and experimentation. The collaborative nature of this professional development design allows teachers to work and learn with colleagues in innovative ways. For those interested in delving further into the JICS approach to Lesson Study, the following comprehensive chapter is available: 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. To obtain a copy, please email Richard at the provided contact information.


5. Family Skate at Varsity Arena - Hold the Date (Tuesday, April 2nd, 5:00-6:00pm)

Join us for a delightful "Family Skate" organized by the JICS Parents’ Association Executive at Varsity Arena (299 Bloor Street) on Tuesday, April 2, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. Save the date and stay tuned for registration details. The arena has space for up to 100 guests and offers skate rentals for adults (no children skates unfortunately), so mark your calendars and get ready for a fun-filled community event. 


6. Upcoming February Events

Black History Month

Fri 23 – Skating at Bill Bolton Arena – SK

Mon 26 – Grade 6 volleyball tournament at Montcrest

Tue 27 to Fri March 1 – Grade 4/5 trip to Camp Pine Crest


7. Upcoming March Events

Readathon Month

Mon 4 – Readathon Assembly

Mon 4 - JICS Pink Shirt Day Celebration

Fri 8 – International Women’s Day

Mon 11 to April 9 - Ramadan

Mon 11 to Fri 15 – March Break Week 1 (School and Daycare closed)

Mon 18 to Fri 22 – March Break Week 2 (School closed. Daycare open.)

Tue 19 – Spring Equinox (feasting of JICS bundle)

Thur 21 – Nowruz

Sat 23 to Sun 24 - Purim

Mon 25 – Holi

Mon 25 – Spring Term begins

Wed 27 – Wednesday Afternoon Program: start of 3rd Term

Thur 28 – School-wide lice check (Thank you, PA!)

Fri 29 – Good Friday (School and Daycare closed.)





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