Teach Problem-Solving by Asking Questions

Discussing his latest book, She has her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, renowned science journalist, Carl Zimmer, stresses that we ignore at our peril how the coping skills of adults are profoundly shaped by how they were raised.

Working in partnership with the Gib Gate community, I know parents and teachers understand that ‘helping’ children by ‘fixing’, sweeping away, smoothing out or avoiding obstacles, hardships, and other potential problem-solving opportunities, directly impacts on a child’s ability to develop essential coping skills.

Communicating with parents each day through the Preschool Daily Reflection, Mrs Tinna Loker, Gib Gate Preschool Director, explains problem-solving opportunities encountered during the preschool day and often includes helpful information for parents so they can continue this learning at home. One such anecdote from last Wednesday’s Reflection caught my attention…

Teach Problem-Solving by Asking Questions

Young children can be very needy. It's as if they go through their day pointing out problems that need to be solved. When you think of these needs as opportunities for learning, it changes how you respond. Don't give the answer; instead use guiding questions to support problem-solving. Some examples:

  • Child says, "I'm cold!" You say, "What can you do to get warm?"
  • Child says, "I can't climb over the log!" You say, "What are you going to do now?"
  • Child says, "My backpack is muddy!" You say, "What can we do about that?"
  • Don't be the 'fixer'. Allow children to become capable, thinking problem-solvers who are intellectually and emotionally independent.*

Joining the Year 5 and 6 students in the Gib Gate Outdoor Education Programme later last week, I was reminded of these wise words as I observed students developing independence, supported to manage decision-making, overcome problems, learn how to take calculated risks, push themselves physically and emotionally, support others and learn how to collaborate and be part of a team, all in an environment away from the comforts of home.

The reward for all is to see students grow in independence, learning about themselves and others through interactions with the natural world. Thank you to all the parents who sent us feedback about their child’s experience on the Outdoor Education Programme, sharing how grateful they are that their children have the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful learning experience in Primary School, ably supported by dedicated and caring OEG and Gib Gate staff.

I think the ‘before and after’ shots of Year 5 student, Skye Spong (right), participating in her first Gib Gate Outdoor Education Programme, captures the exhilarating feeling of stepping out of your comfort zone…and being all the better for it.

Ms Sally Robson
Head of Gib Gate


National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) 2019 Information for Parents and Carers

In May 2019, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) will be completed by students in Years 3 and 5. NAPLAN has the support of all State and Territory Education Ministers and will assess the literacy and numeracy skills of students across Australian schools.

The results of the tests will provide important information to schools about what each student can do, and will be used to support teaching and learning programmes. Parents will receive a report indicating their child’s level of achievement. Each student’s level of achievement will be reported against the national minimum standard.

Student background information (student name, gender, date of birth, language background and Aboriginality) will be collected as part of the National Assessment Program. This information is treated confidentially and held securely to ensure that every student’s right to privacy is maintained.

The NAPLAN tests will be conducted in Week 3 of Term 2 from 14-16 May 2019.  Please note that ALL NAPLAN Tests conducted at Gib Gate will be PEN & PAPER this year. Where possible, schools are permitted to arrange for individual students who are absent at the time of testing to complete missed tests at another time during the relevant testing window. Individual students are not permitted to sit the paper tests after Friday 17 May 2019.

Tuesday 14 May
Year 3 & Year 5: Language Conventions (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) – 45 minutes
Year 3 & Year 5: Writing test – 40 minutes

Wednesday 15 May
Year 3: Reading test – 45 minutes
Year 5: Reading test – 50 minutes

Thursday 16 May
Year 3: Numeracy test – 45 minutes
Year 5: Numeracy test – 50 minutes

The Year 3 and Year 5 Numeracy tests are conducted as one test session. Students will use the calculator that they currently use at school.

In NAPLAN writing tests, students are provided with a writing stimulus or ‘prompt’ and asked to write a response in a particular text type. Students sitting NAPLAN are tested on either narrative or persuasive writing. There is one prompt for Years 3 and 5.

Friday 17 May is the scheduled ‘catch-up’ day for students who missed a test or were absent on a test day. Students may be considered for exemption from the tests if they:

  • are newly arrived in Australia (less than one year before the test) and with a language background other than English, or
  • have significant intellectual disability and/or significant co-existing conditions which severely limit their capacity to participate in the tests.

All other students are expected to participate in the tests. Disability adjustments which reflect the student’s normal level of support in the classroom may be provided. Large print, braille, coloured paper versions and electronic tests are available to meet the needs of individual students.

Access to disability adjustments or exemption from the tests must be discussed with the Head and a parent or carer consent form signed.

Students may be withdrawn from NAPLAN by their parent or carer. This is a matter for consideration by parents in consultation with the Head. If you wish to withdraw your child from the tests, a parent or carer consent form must be signed.

Additional information about NAPLAN can be found at https://nap.edu.au/naplan/parent-carer-support

We stress that we do not believe in the value of excessive preparation for NAPLAN beyond teaching the NESA Curriculum and familiarising students with the NAPLAN process. Parents and carers are welcome to discuss any questions they may have with Ms Sally Robson or Ms Kate Chauncy.

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


Grandparents’ Day
Students from Preschool to Year 2 will present an Assembly on Friday 5 April for their Grandparents or special visitors. It will be held in the Gib Gate Hall at 9.30am. Year 2 students lead the Assembly as part of their leadership responsibilities, and each class presents some of their work. Visitors can then have a look around the classrooms and share a morning tea in the courtyard.

Musica Viva Performance
This week, students from Preschool to Year 6 attended the Musica Viva in Schools Incursion performance by Taikoz. Taikoz is an Australian, Sydney-based performance group that specialises in the art of taiko – the Japanese drums. Taikoz introduced students to the instruments and music and also gave historical and cultural background, including the place of taiko in a contemporary Australian context. The programme was drawn from Taikoz’s large repertoire which includes traditional Japanese music and drumming styles, compositions written by contemporary Japanese composers, as well as original works by members of the ensemble. It was exciting to have an ensemble of this calibre performing at Gib Gate.

Extracurricular enrolment forms are published on SchoolBox. Please return enrolment forms before the end of term to ensure your child’s place in Term 2 activities.

Mrs Anne Graham
Gib Gate Coordinator (Administration)


Cross Country
After our successful Gib Gate Cross Country Carnival, a strong team of runners was chosen to represent Gib Gate at the SHIPS Carnival which was held at Gib Gate on Tuesday 26 March, and at the IPSHA Cross Country carnival being held at The Kings School Parramatta on Saturday 6 April. We wish all those students invited to run in the IPSHA Cross Country the best of luck and fine weather. 

Winter Sports
Winter Sports begin very soon. Soccer and Hockey will commence on Saturday 4 May with the first training sessions being held in the first week of Term 2. Netball has already begun with the Gib Gate Netball team have been in training and playing games for several weeks. Please check the Gib Gate weekly Bulletin for game and training times.

Water Polo
Congratulations to the students who represented Gib Gate in the Southern Highlands Water Polo Association representative U12 teams which competed at the State event in Orange over the weekend of 23 and 24 March. The team containing Tempe Arnott, Isabella Atra, Isabella Barber, Isabella Carpenter (Year 6) and Luca de Manincor (Year 7), took out the championship.

Mr Michael Standen
Coordinator PE and Sport


Tell me, and I’ll listen.
Show me, and I’ll watch.
Involve me, and I’ll learn

(Teton Lakota, Native American)

Collaboration experienced through shared learning at Gib Gate enhances the Preschool programme, strengthening the sense of connection and belonging. Kindergarten and Preschool students join together each week exploring and sharing ideas about their investigations, what they have been learning, and their sporting achievements. Recently, Gib Gate’s youngest pupils visited the Kindergarten room to meet the class chickens and learn about them from the older pupils. Later in the week, Kindergarten and Preschool students had a bush walk through the forest and paddock before finishing with a running race. The Kindergarten students are keen to share their newly acquired knowledge and it is pleasing to see the Preschool students listen intently and share their thoughts, thinking and questions.

From and early stage, Gib Gate is laying the foundations for the transition to Kindergarten, ensuring that the next stage of the Preschoolers’ education journey is met with excitement and eagerness.

Mrs Tinna Loker
Preschool Coordinator