Maintain Physical Distancing, But Enjoy A Healthy, Balanced Life

Written by Shamim Ahmed The last pandemic we faced took place almost a century ago. COVID-19, a deadly disease caused by coronavirus, has emerged as a catastrophe and completely shifted our world in every way possible. It has infected millions of people and…

My Son Will Know Multiple Stories

Written by Heather Watts

“The single story creates stereotypes…They make one story become the only story”.  When I heard these powerful words spoken by renowned author Chimamanda Adichie, it brought me back to a day in my twelfth grade Canadian Politics class. It seemed as if it was just another day. The same students. The same teacher. The same posters celebrating the “cultural mosaic” that is Canada lining the walls. But something would happen during these seventy-five minutes that would change the way I saw myself, forever.  

Heather's son smiling while holding a book, looking up at Heather. They are sitting on a set of stone steps and are both wearing graduation caps and gowns.
Heather and her son getting graduation photos taken (2019) in celebration of a Master of Education program and pre-school! 

A Glimpse into the Lives of Disabled Student Parents at the University of Toronto

Originally published by the University of Toronto’s Innovation Hub. Written by Lead Writer & Editor, Terri-Lynn Langdon.

Terri-Lynn and her daughter smiling

I am a wheelchair- using mother and a PhD student at OISE in Social Justice Education. When the lockdown in Toronto began we lost access to daycare and we also lost more than one support person (Nurturing Assistants) who felt that their own lives were too disrupted by the pandemic to continue to provide ongoing support to us. Without this direct support neither myself nor my child can shower safely, and I have no means of taking my twenty-one month old outside on my own. On top of which our building has been plagued with significant apartment maintenance issues all summer which has meant I have had to solve big family pandemic issues for 4 months and counting….

The Conversation That We Need to Have

By Shamim Ahmed

Shamim speaking at a webinar or talk. Is wearing a deep blue shirt and using hand gestures to convey a message.
Shamim Ahmed – Design Researcher

I was sitting on the couch, reading a popular “Bengali”[1] fiction, and all of a sudden heard my daughter mumbling “brutal”. I looked at her once, and again went back to my reading when I heard her infuriatingly saying “that’s totally unacceptable”. I took a pause from my reading, sat back properly, looked at the television and saw that horrid image of a policeman sitting on the road with his knee placed firmly on a person’s neck with a stone face. I was a little startled whether my 12-years old daughter should be watching this, but then she left on her own without saying much. I inquisitively continued to watch the news and came to know about the horrific act of killing George Floyd, a 46-year-old black American, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. To be frank, I came to know about the allegation at least two weeks after the killing, as I was not curious about the reason why a person could be killed so brutally. I had no idea why a person should be treated so inhumanely as if he was not a living object. I was shocked. 

How to Talk to Your Kids About Racism

By Amanda Cheung
Originally published on the University of Toronto’s Family Care Office Blog, Intersections.

Family reading a story book with their young child.

Race is a complex but necessary topic we should be considering to discuss in our homes, and especially with our children. We know that many families are beginning to have these difficult conversations with their kids. The Family Care Office has compiled a list of resources to help support discussions about race and equality with young people.

Enriching Outdoor Activities for Children While Social Distancing

Authored by University of Guelph student Megan Coghill Social distancing rules and the closure of many public parks and recreation areas has caused many of us to spend more time indoors than we would like. Especially with the warm weather and sunshine, it is important…

A Letter To My Son

By Heather Watts

Heather and her son Nico enjoying the celebration at Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation annual powwow!
Heather and her son Nico enjoying the celebration at Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation annual powwow!

You were born late on a cold November night. At that moment, I also experienced a rebirth of sorts. When you were first placed in my arms, I felt more weight than the 10 pounds 2 ounces announced by the nurse. I felt the weight of your safety; physical, emotional, spiritual, and the great honour bestowed upon me to guide you through life. The weight of responsibility was overwhelming. You watch my every move, listen to my every word, and observe every emotion. What traditions I decide to practice, what language I speak, my hobbies, how I deal with sorrow, how I express joy, are all going to shine through as ‘the way’ to be.

My mother’s daughter: The story of a student mother and her child

By Sauliha Alli

These past few months, as I worked on the planning team of the Redefining Traditional initiative, I have reflected a lot on an aspect of my positionality that I had largely neglected: my own experience as the child of a student parent.

The Redefining Traditional Backstory: How Design Thinkers Created a Virtual Community of Student Parents and Supporters During COVID-19

Redefining Traditional: Making Higher Education Family Friendly

By Celeste Pang, Sauliha Alli, Sanja Ivanov and Heather Watts

Design thinkers at the Innovation Hub share the backstory of the Redefining Traditional virtual community of student parents and their supporters.

This month, Redefining Traditional: Making Higher Education Family Friendly’s virtual community of student parents and supporters across departments and institutions was launched.

Raising and Teaching Anti-Racist Kids

Cover of Aricville by Shauntay Grant

By OISE Library Staff

Originally published on the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education blog.


The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet have brought much-needed attention to the racist policies and systems that harm Black people in the United States, Canada, and throughout the world. Many parents and educators are wondering how best to speak to children about race and racism, and how to educate for antiracism and for Black Lives. The University of Toronto Libraries and the OISE Library are here to help parents and teachers find the resources they need and to feel empowered as educators.