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Tournament of Minds… the pursuit of excellence knows no boundaries

Term 3 No 4

Gib Gate Tournament of Minds team members: Piper Berkelouw, Mollie Fitzpatrick, Jade Neilson, Lexi Wimalaratne, Elizabeth Griffin-Peters, Amelia Hazlett, Olivia Quilty, Scarlett Shadbolt (Year 5) and Isabella Atra, Georgina Lewis, Elizabeth Shadbolt, Sophie Alexander, Hannah Day, Sophie Goodisson (Year 6), returned from the Tournament of Minds Regional Competition on the afternoon of Sunday 1 September, ecstatic that both teams had received 1st place in their respective sections, qualifying for State Finals at the University of NSW on 15 September.

Competing in the divisions of Social Sciences and The Arts, the teams presented performances in response to long-term challenges that involved complex problem-solving, creativity and collaboration. Their flawless performances together with original responses to the Spontaneous Challenge on the day, secured an outstanding first place in both divisions.

For a full report on the competition, please see Ms Kate Chauncy’s report below.

Ms Sally Robson, Head of Gib Gate

SHORE School Information Evening for parents of Gib Gate boys interested in a Boarding pathway for high school, for their sons: Tuesday 10 September, 6.30pm-8.00pm. This is an opportunity for parents to meet Headmaster, Dr Timothy Wright and Senior Boarding House Master, Mr Brendan Morris in the Highlands - at Frensham (Registration details per flier emailed to parents).


Tournament of Minds 2019

On Sunday 1 September, two Gib Gate teams travelled to the University of Wollongong to compete in the regional Tournament of Minds 2019 competition against 25 other schools from the South Coast and Southern Highlands.

Tournament of Minds is an international, creative problem-solving programme for teams of seven students. Teams are required to work together on a Long Term Challenge for six weeks, without assistance from teachers, parents or peers. They are encouraged to explore possibilities and experiment with ideas as they endeavour to produce their best possible solution. They develop a creative and original way to communicate this solution to others, working within predefined parameters such as limited materials, complex challenge criteria and the deadline of Tournament Day. Students present the product of their ideas – their challenge solution – to a panel of judges and an audience on Tournament Day. They have ten minutes in which to present and must do so within a three metre by three metre performance area.

The teams must also participate in an unseen Spontaneous Challenge on Tournament Day. This challenge requires rapid interchange of ideas, the ability to think creatively and well developed cooperation skills.

The Gib Gate Arts Team included Piper Berkelouw, Mollie Fitzpatrick, Jade Neilson and Lexi Wimalaratne, (Year 5) and Isabella Atra, Georgina Lewis and Elizabeth Shadbolt (Year 6). Their challenge was to rewrite The Wizard of Oz as if it were set in Australia. They chose where their ‘Yellow Brick Road’ started and ended; created the characters, the hurdles the characters came across and how they overcame them. In this challenge, there were many opportunities for the students to integrate artistic expression in the form of dance, song, musical instruments, theatre and all forms of the Visual Arts.

The Gib Gate Social Sciences team comprised Elizabeth Griffin-Peters, Amelia Hazlett, Olivia Quilty and Scarlett Shadbolt (Year 5) and Sophie Alexander, Hannah Day and Sophie Goodisson (Year 6). The 2019 challenge was entitled: A Legacy of Inclusion. The team chose a country (real or imagined) and outlined the reasons behind that country’s non-participation in a chosen ‘International Event’. The team had to develop both an awareness-raising campaign for inclusion and leave a lasting legacy in that country for the future of a policy of inclusion.

Tournament of Minds is an opportunity for students with a passion for learning and problem solving to demonstrate their skills and talents in an exciting, vibrant and public way. We are proud of the Gib Gate students and their teacher, Mrs Katelyn Williamson’s, achievements with both teams awarded 1st Place in their respective sections on the day. They are now preparing for the State Finals to be held on 15 September at the University of New South Wales (Kensington campus).

Pictured above – left: Social Sciences Team; right: The Arts Team (not photographed: Isabella Atra representing Gib Gate at the National Interschools Snowsports Championships)

Read like a Writer –  Write like a Reader

Sue Whiting at Gib Gate

On Wednesday 28 August Australian author, Sue Whiting, was welcomed to the Gib Gate Campus for the first day of our inaugural Special Delivery: Writer programme at Frensham Schools. An initiative of PETAA (Primary English Teaching Association Australia), the programme provided the opportunity to have a professional writer spend three days working with teachers P-6 and students in Years 5 and 6. Sue is author and editor of children’s and young adult books, who lives and works in a small coastal village south of Sydney. She has written numerous books in a variety of genres such as fiction and non-fiction, picture books, and Young Adult novels, including the best-selling The Firefighters and the award-winning A Swim in the Sea. Her latest books are Missing, a Stage 4 mystery/suspense novel and Beware the Deep Dark Forest, a picture book for young children, illustrated by Annie White.

In the morning session, Year 5 students worked in the Library with Sue and were proud to share their journal writing with her before taking on the writing challenges she had devised. At one point in their writing workshop, Sue ‘dropped’ them out of an aeroplane into the jungle teaching them to ‘think like a writer’ by taking note of what they could ‘see, hear, smell and feel’! In the afternoon, Year 6 students worked with Sue and were keen to learn about the ‘story triangle’ which represented the key elements needed to create their stories – problem, character(s) and place. They particularly enjoyed Sue explaining to them that stories are, in fact, made up of elaborate lies and that they can tell a ‘whopper’ in order to trick their reader.

Some examples of student reflections on their learning:

  • I learned how to come up with ideas for stories even when you think your mind is empty. She taught us how to brainstorm descriptive words.
  • I learned that the story is always based on ‘why?’ Why is this happening?
  • I learned that writing is like being a ‘puppet master’ because with one finger you can add a problem and with another you can add in… a twist!
  • It was good to hear from a real author about some of the struggles... it was interesting to hear that sometimes she wakes up and does not know what to write about, so she writes about the trees or the clouds; and one day this writing might become a story.
  • I learned that there is always something you can write about.
  • It was an especially useful workshop for me because I want to become an author when I’m older.
  • I would enjoy more of her tips and for her to come again!
Gib Gate Years 5 and 6 writers

Left: Year 5 students from left: Harry Lawson, Ewan McLaughlin and Jack Davies working on their ‘I’m a celebrity – get me out of here!’ jungle story. Right: Year 6 students enjoying the opportunity to ‘write like no-one is watching…’ and talking through their creative ideas under Sue’s guidance.

Ms Kate Chauncy Director of Teaching and Learning P-12 and Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Programmes


Winter sports has come to an end for the season and we congratulate all Hockey, Netball and Soccer teams on their efforts and success.

Summer Sports nomination: forms are now available on Schoolbox for families to nominate their Summer Sports preferences. Gib Gate students can participate in a range of sports over summer including: Basketball, Cricket, Water Polo and Tennis. Also promoted is participation in community-based clubs such as Little Athletics, Gymnastic and Swimming.

Gib Gate teams were involved in the recent NSW State Interschools Snowsports Championships held at Perisher. The following teams and individuals have qualified to the National Championships being held at Mount Buller in Victoria this week: Sebastian Atra (Year 4) 1st Boys Division 5 Alpine, 1st Boys Division 5 the Skier Cross; Sophia Atra (Year 2) 1st Girls Division 6 Alpine, 2nd Girls Division 6 Skier Cross; Isabella Atra (Year 6) 9th Girls Division 4 Skier Cross, 17th Girls Division 4 Alpine; Isabella Barber (Year 6) 10th Girls Division 4 Cross Country Freestyle; Tempe Arnott (Year 6) 13th Girls Division 4 Girls Cross Country Freestyle; the team of Tempe Arnott, Isabella Barber and Isabella Carpenter (Year 6) 3rd  Girls Division 4 Cross Country Freestyle and 4th Cross Country Relay.

The following students are congratulated for their success at the IPSHA Athletics Carnival held at the Sydney Olympic Athletics Stadium last week: Arabella Whitehead (Year 6) 1st 12-13 Years Girls High Jump, 5th 12-13 Years Girls 100 metres, 6th 12-13 Years Girls Shot Put; Oliver Linde (Year 6) 6th 12-13 Years Boys Shot Put; Eloise O’Shanassy (Year 4) 1st 8-10 Years Girls Discus; Amelia Blackshaw (Year 4) 2nd 8-10 Years Girls Shot Put. The team of Arabella Whitehead, Isabella Barber, Sophie Baldwin (Year 6) and Piper Berkelouw (Year 5) qualified 4th 11-13 Years Girls 4 x 100 metre relay.

We wish all these students success as they compete at the NSW CIS Championships to be held at SOPAC on 12 September.

Mr Michael Standen, Coordinator PE and Sport Gib Gate


Years 1 and 2 Outdoor Education - Tuesday 17 September
Years 1 and 2 are looking forward to participating in their Outdoor Education Day on Tuesday 17 September at The Outdoor Education Group’s Wombaroo site. Students will participate in bush cooking, fire making, camp craft, orienteering, low ropes, vertical challenge (high ropes) and bushwalking activities.

Interrelate Family Night - Monday 16 September
Years 3-6 parent and student reminder: you are welcome to attend the Family night on Monday 16 September in the Gib Gate Library. Further information is available on Schoolbox. The programme is presented in two sessions: ‘Where Did I Come From?’ at 6:00pm and ‘Preparing for Puberty’ at 7:15pm. Interrelate is a specialist organisation with over 90 years’ experience in teaching emotional, social development and sexuality education in NSW schools.

Interrelate educators are highly trained and skilful presenters providing an informative education programme to families. They have a reputation for non-discriminatory and open teaching on sensitive issues including sexuality, bullying awareness and respectful relationships. The programme is informative and sensitive, being child-focused and designed to prompt discussion. Questions are encouraged and appropriately answered with the programme a useful way to support parents in starting these important conversations with your child.

2020 Japan Trip Information Meeting
Students from Years 4 and 5 joined Mrs Graham this week to discuss the planned trip to Japan in October 2020. Students participating in the 2020 tour will visit Kyoto and Kanazawa including a visit to Gib Gate’s sister school, Hokuriku Gakuin Elementary School, where students will have the opportunity to homestay.

Gib Gate has been making biennial trips since 1990 and values the connections made in Japan and with its sister school. An Information session for parents and students will be held in the Library at 6.00pm on Monday 23 September. During this information session we will be discussing the itinerary and other information.

At the conclusion of the information evening, parents will be given a Japan Trip Reservation Form to be returned to the school office by Friday 18 October. Please note there will be limited places available on the trip and these will be allocated in order of receipt of the Japan Trip Reservation Form after the Information Session.

Mrs Anne Graham, Gib Gate Coordinator (Administration)


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

– Leo Buscagila, author

Gib Gate’s youngest students believe that they have the power to make a difference. By embedding this belief in the Preschool teaching programme, we lay the foundation for our students to change the world as they grow older.

Engaging in this understanding, Gib Gate Preschool students have created a relationship with Anthem Aged Care in Bowral. It is an honour to build a connection with mature members in our community and we feel the benefits will be significant. 

Preschool at Anthem Care

Before the visit to Anthem, we talked about how some people think Preschoolers are not very capable… but we know differently. We also discussed how some people don’t see older people as capable but we understand they also are. We are keen to instil empathy and a connection with members of the older generation.

After the first visit, students thoughts were recorded which led to a conversation about why some of the residents might not talk or cannot walk. Students noticed they liked to shake their hands when they met them and were confident when introducing themselves and asking the residents their names. As we left, one gentleman said, ‘That was magical.’

Prior to the second visit, students pondered how to make the experience worthwhile for all involved. At the second visit, students introduced themselves to the residents by giving them a drawing of some of their favourite activities in Preschool, including participating in bushwalks, playing and visiting the Library. The residents immediately launched into a conversation about the activities depicted which made everyone relaxed and conversational. The children drew a picture with the residents before singing songs, listening to stories, playing parachute games and sharing morning tea.

Student reflections:

I liked the people talking to us – William Macpherson

They liked my Aboriginal drawing – Lachlan Sutherland

I liked using the pencils to draw with the people – Luv Manne

We are excited that some of the Anthem residents will come to the Preschool Performance Assembly later in the term to build on this relationship.

Mrs Tinna Loker, Preschool Coordinator