George Jay School

New maple trees planted at George Jay Elementary. Photo: Kate Wallace

John Threlfall
Published June 2013
Village Vibe Newspaper

Two trees have just been planted on the grounds of George Jay Elementary School and it’s no coincidence that they’re maples. They were chosen for the shade they’ll provide to the equally new playground but also for the balance, promise and practicality they represent—all values shared by George Jay teachers and families alike.

“We are always looking for ways to connect the school community with Fernwood as a whole,” says George Jay PAC president Kate Wallace. “Now that so many families are coming to George Jay to use our beautiful new playground, we wanted to create a shady meeting spot. Families are lingering longer, which promotes a stronger community.”

If you haven’t walked past George Jay’s century-old heritage building on Princess Avenue lately, you may well be surprised by some of the recent changes. There are new trees and adventure playground, yes, but also a walking labyrinth and the garden boxes which are a part of Lifecycles Project Society’s Growing Schools program. Then there are the surrounding painted telephone poles, which were Fernwood’s first large-scale pole-painting initiative and served as a pilot for NRG’s successful annual Pole Painting Project—once again showing George Jay’s active role in the neighbourhood.

Together these initiatives involve all three levels of George Jay’s community—families, volunteers and teachers—and embody the school’s motto of “Learning to Care, Caring to Learn.” George Jay is a microcosm of Fernwood; a diverse and vibrant place focused on learning, caring and community engagement. Essential school philosophies include a code of citizenship that fosters self-control and concern for others, a positive restitution approach to conflict, and an inclusive environment where kids can interact based on who they are and not what they have.

A mix of George Jay parents, teachers and students had a booth at the recent Quadra Village Day where current students led activities for younger kids and former students made a point of stopping to visit. Whether it was the chap who graduated in nineteen fifty-eight (and was keen to come back for a tour) or the girl who graduated just last year but was excited to reconnect with a favourite teacher, George Jay clearly continues to hold a valued place in the community. Be sure to drop by their table at FernFest!

Caffe Fantastico’s Ryan and Kristy Taylor are George Jay parents, and they feel the school reflects their own attitudes as individuals and small business owners. “Living local is very important to us and that also means being a part of our neighbourhood school,” says Kristy. “George Jay has been an amazing place for our kids and family.”

If you’re looking for a world of learning and caring that’s equally concerned with instilling positive values in the next generation, look no further than your friendly neighbourhood elementary school. Considering George Jay has been around longer than Fernwood itself, it’s not much of a stretch to say that Fernwood’s values started here.

George Jay Labyrinth

Painting of the labyrinth at George Jay in 2012.

© Copyright 2013