Back-to-School Resources

Check out these great articles compiled by our guidance counsellor, Francine, to share with your family members as we prepare to be back in the physical or virtual classroom. 

Self-Care 101

Reaching Out

My back-to-school checklist during COVID-19 – Kids Help Phone

8 ways to foster hope in your daily life – Kids Help Phone

Breathing Balloon – Kids Help Phone


Move Your Body!

This informative and motivating article by school parent and Toronto Star reporter, Michele Henry, reminds us that staying active is more important – and in some ways more possible – now than ever.

Read her article here and get ready to move!

Henry explains that at Paul Penna DJDS, preserving “gym” is a priority for the school in its new Digital Learning Space, because exercise is particularly important in the scope of a long digital day. “Kids need movement to allow their brains to engage properly,” says Head of School Amy Platt. “If we can get their endorphins going that will increase their aptitude to learn.”



This is a stressful time for many students, families and educators. Anxiety, stress and worry is to be expected and is a typical response to these unprecedented times. More than ever it is important that we feel connected and supported as a community.

As the school counsellor,  the role of Francine McLeod is to work collaboratively with our staff and families to support the social and emotional growth and the well-being of our students. Francine is available to our families for one-on-one phone/virtual sessions in order to support students in need and/or provide parent coaching to encourage and maintain positive mental health.

There are many things that families can STILL do to keep each other mentally, emotionally and physically healthy during this time. Here are some resources that you may find helpful:

  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • School Mental Health Ontario website (
  • Mindfulness and meditation apps: CalmStop, Breathe and ThinkHead space

Children can also reach out to counsellors at Kids Help Phone, who are available 24/7, via phone (1-800-668-6868), text (CONNECT to 686868) or online (


Social Narratives

Social narratives are teaching tools most commonly used with children and adults who have exceptionalities to help develop skills and support the understanding of abstract concepts. Below is a COVID-19 story (social narrative) for kids. Most of the information is from the WHO website.



Toronto Public Health

We are also happy to share a letter from Toronto Public Health that provides information about important strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 including advice for all travellers who are returning back home.  They would like the letter to be circulated to all school communities.



Paul Penna Downtown
Jewish Day School
750 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2J2
(Located in the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre)


(416) 928-3537