Every year, The Toronto Heschel School is united by a slate of carefully curated programs expressive of mainstay values at Heschel—like standing up for the rights of all humanity, showing much-needed care for our environment, and seeing the world through eyes of awe and wonder. School-wide, these programs transcend classroom walls and grades, and are devised by teachers and student committees focused on social good and lifting each other up—as well as solidarity, fostering understanding that all deserve it.
During A.J. Heschel/MLK Pluralism and Diversity Week, students from JK to Grade 8 are included in age-appropriate activities around civic responsibility. Grounded in the teachings of Rav Heschel and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who championed equality, school-wide activities range from making art in the early years about advocacy (standing up for family and helping others), to performing vignettes in elementary that teach others about the interlock between civil rights and the Jewish experience.
Environment Week brings the school together around the week of Tu Bishvat, the “new year of the trees.” To celebrate and raise awareness for the environment, the Environment Committee organizes all sorts of activities, from making bird feeders to driving energy bikes and running a battery contest in which kids collect and recycle used batteries to keep harmful chemicals from leaking into landfills. These conservation-related activities echo other student-led, school-wide initiatives, like the community cleanup, when all grades tidy the Heschel field (the winning grade gets a meal cooked from scratch!), and ABC (Anything But Cars) Week, when the Heschel community reduces its carbon footprint by walking, riding bikes, or taking the TTC to school.
Spirit Days inject even more enthusiasm into the Heschel experience. From the Poetry Festival to Decades Day and Pink Shirt Day, students and teachers use costume and dress to express joy, school ruah, and solidarity against bullying and exclusion.