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From strength to strength

Term 1 No 1

High quality Visual Arts and Music teaching have always been core to the Gib Gate experience and in 2020 we look forward to extending these programmes under the expert guidance of Music Teacher, Miss Emily Sinden and Visual Arts Teacher, Ms Jacqui Bolt.

Talented musician and experienced teacher, Miss Sinden (B Music (Music Ed) Syd Con (USYD)) (Frensham Schools) will be working in conjunction with Gib Gate Music Teacher, Mrs Anne Graham, in the Year 2 and Year 3 Strings Programme. This initiative ensures that all students in Years 2 and Year 3 experience small group lessons on stringed instruments (violin, viola or cello) with Miss Sinden and specialist tutors, Mrs Ann Mercer and Mr Jacob Antonio, and have the additional opportunity to play together in class ensembles. The benefits of learning a musical instrument are well documented; learning to play an instrument stimulates the brain, improving memory and abstract reasoning skills essential for maths and science as well as building confidence, memory and patience. Playing an instrument that can be played in a group has social benefits as well, building skills in leadership and team-building, as well as providing the rewards of working with others.

In the discipline of Visual Arts we are very much looking forward to welcoming Ms Jacqui Bolt (BA Hons Visual Arts Sydney University, Fine Art – National Art School Darlinghurst) to the Gib Gate staff. Ms Bolt’s long term position (2004-2019) as the P-6 Visual Arts Teacher at Cranbrook Junior School (Rose Bay) and Cranbrook’s St Mark’s and St Michael’s Preschools (Vaucluse/Rose Bay) provides her with the expertise and experience to extend the Gib Gate Visual Arts programme. Ms Bolt’s role as a Reggio Emilia Atelierista and Primary Years International Baccalaureate Visual Arts Teacher, ensures she is more than able to work within the Preschool Reggio Emilia Philosophy and Frensham Schools’ Making Thinking Visible (Harvard University) and Frensham Schools’ Professional Learning Community (PLC) pedagogical model.

Pictured above: Ms Bolt with Year 6 students and Ms Sinden (left) with Mrs Graham and Year 2 Strings

Ms Sally Robson, Head of Gib Gate


Curriculum Insights: The InitiaLit Programme at Gib Gate 2020

MultiLit, the leading provider of effective literacy instruction in Australasia, has launched the final phase of InitiaLit – the InitiaLit-2 for Year 2 students – in its three-year programme for instruction in literacy. InitiaLit is an evidence-based whole-class literacy programme which will provide all children with the essential core knowledge and strong foundations to become successful readers and writers, and is designed to be delivered by fully trained and experienced classroom teachers.

The InitiaLit programme has been developed and extensively trialled over the last five years. The Foundation (Kindergarten) year of the programme was released in 2017 and implemented in Kindergarten at Gib Gate in 2018, the Year 1 component was released in 2018 and implemented in Year 1 at Gib Gate in 2019, and the final instalment for Year 2 will be implemented in 2020 in our Year 2 classroom.

InitiaLit explicitly teaches the key components of reading as identified by scientific research into literacy. InitiaLit- Foundation and InitiaLit-1 focus on the areas of phonics (for reading and spelling), vocabulary, oral language and listening comprehension, while InitiaLit-2 has a greater focus on comprehension and fluency, and continues to teach spelling and grammar. Decodable readers are used in the programme, as well as the highest quality children’s literature titles. Ongoing progress monitoring using curriculum-based assessments ensures no students are left behind. 

MultiLit company chairman, Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall said: ‘MultiLit arguably occupies a unique position in the Australian literacy teaching space in that our programmes are not only soundly based on the latest reading research but are also carefully trialled and evaluated by our MultiLit Research Unit before they are released for use in schools. We have been researching effective programmes for low-progress readers for nearly 25 years. With the advent of the InitiaLit F-2 programmes for whole class instruction, we are now able to ensure that all children may be taught to read effectively.’

Teachers implementing InitiaLit must first undertake a two-day Professional Development workshop, which provides training in early reading instruction and programme implementation. Our teachers, Mrs Nicci Brigstocke, Miss Stephanie Klauer, Miss Jackie Pawl and Mr Greg Hannah, have completed all training and are thus qualified to teach each level.

Gib Gate continues to lead the way in effective literacy instruction from Preschool to Year 6 as we are now accredited to deliver the whole suite of MultiLit programmes including: PreLit (used extensively in the Gib Gate Preschool programme), the one-on-one Reading Tutor intervention programme, and the small group MiniLit and MacqLit intervention programmes. This is in line with our ongoing teaching and learning goals of:

Creating a learning community which is world class and embraces innovation, inspired by evidence-based research and external critique; and meeting the individual learning needs of all students by personalising programmes, experiences and outcomes.

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


Water Polo
Congratulations to the U14 team of Sophie Alexander, Tempe Arnott, Isabella Atra, Isabella Barber, Madeleine Bendror, Amelia Hartnell and Arabella Whitehead (Year 6, 2019) who finished top of the Southern Highlands U14 Water Polo competition at the end of 2019. Isabella Barber was named Best and Fairest Player for the competition.

Congratulations to Gretel Graham-Wansey (Year 6) who has been selected in the Southern Highlands U12 Representative Netball Team.

Jump Rope for Heart
In Term 4 2019, Gib Gate students were involved in the Jump Rope For Heart programme which aims to raise awareness and money for the Heart Foundation. Along with a fun term improving their skipping and working in groups to prepare exciting skipping routines, Gib Gate students raised almost $8,000 for the Heart Foundation. A special congratulations to Ruby Iredale (Year 6) and Ruby Rodgers (Year 5) who managed to raise over $5,700 between them.

Summer Sports
The second half of the summer season is under way with Basketball, Water Polo and Junior Cricket games and training all starting back this week. Students will shortly be asked to make their selection for winter sports, with teams needing to be finalised with the Sporting Associations by early March.


  • The Swimming Development programme at The Centenary Pool for all classes from Kindergarten to Year 6 will resume next week.
  • The Year 3 to Year 6 Carnival will be held at The Centenary Pool on Friday 14 February and all students have been asked to nominate the events they wish to compete in at this event.
  • The Fun Aquatic Carnival for Kindergarten to Year 2 will be held on Thursday 12 March at The Centenary Pool.
  • The IPSHA Carnival at Homebush is on Wednesday 4 March. Teams for this event will be selected following Gib Gate’s Years 3 to 6 Carnival. The Gib Gate Swimming Team competing at the IPSHA Carnival will be participate in training sessions leading up to the event.  Parents are most welcome to come along and provide support at all these carnivals.
  • Squad and Swimming Development sessions for all levels are available at The Centenary Pool. Contact Jason Nichols at AquaBliss on 4872 3672.
  • A Swimming Race Development session is held each Monday afternoon (from Week 3) from 3:45pm at The Centenary Pool and this is open to any Gib Gate students who would like to improve their race skills.

Cross Country
The Gib Gate Cross Country carnival will be held on Friday 20 March. The IPSHA Carnival at The Kings School Parramatta is being held on Saturday 4 April. Cross Country training will be held two mornings a week beginning in Week 5 this term. Training is open to all students from Year 2 to Year 6.

Representative Trials
A number of selection trials for various representative sports will take place over the coming weeks and several students from Years 5 and 6 may be invited to trial for IPSHA selection in a range of sports. .

Mr Michael Standen, Coordinator PE and Sport Gib Gate


Music lessons will commence for continuing students next week and new students will start lessons the following week. Places are available in all instruments if your child is interested in starting this year. Junior Singing sessions and Senior Choir have been held this week and Orchestra rehearsals will commence on Friday in Week 2 at 12.30pm.

Extra-Curricular Activities
Extra-Curricular activities commence in Week 3. There are places available in a number of classes. Please contact Mrs Graham if you would like your child enrolled.

Years 3 and 4 Outdoor Education Adventure Day
These year groups will participate in their OEG Adventure Day on Monday 24 February. Please refer to Schoolbox for information about the Adventure Day, as well as the OEG Medical forms which require completion.

Mrs Anne Graham, Gib Gate Coordinator (Administration)


Preschool staff were eager to start the year incorporating their studies of Reggio Emilia into the Gib Gate Preschool programme. The Reggio Emilia philosophy of Early Childhood Education is world-renowned for its innovative curriculum and pedagogy which recognises the potential of young children to question, reflect, problem–solve, theorise, experiment and express their understanding through the provision of sufficient opportunities and time to experiment, explore and play. Children master the many tools and skills of communication and are encouraged to actively translate what they perceive, not only through the spoken word but also through other potent expressions such as drawing, sculpture, sound, drama and movement. 

With the theories of many of Reggio’s pioneers fresh in the Preschool staff’s minds, they observed the youngest Gib Gate students in their interactions and conversations, mindful that the community have been through a challenging time over the holidays due to the fires, smoke and the drought. Staff are conscious that children at this age express concern, fear, unease or curiosity in a variety of different ways, and know they can’t underestimate the impact of this time on the students.

Taking this into account, the Preschool environment was set up to be empathetic to the children and create an environment where listening was a main focus. We explored the story of animals who had been affected by fire, focussing on recovery and healing. Conversations flowed:

  • Mia Vasales: I packed up my clothes and went to Sydney when the fire was near my home.
  • Joseph Den-Macquire: Some trees burnt at my house. There was lots of smoke.
  • William Macpherson: There was smoke at my house. I had to stay inside because of all the smoke.
  • Jack Spong: I saw pictures on the news of the big aeroplane that dropped water.

I shared how I had been involved over the vacation in sewing pouches for joeys and kangaroos with other Frensham Schools’ teachers. 

Through art, the students have started to explore and share their ideas. Charlotte Vale suggested we do something to help the animals. This ignited the youngest Gib Gate student minds, so the year starts with us contemplating what we can do to make a positive difference.

Mrs Tinna Loker, Preschool Coordinator