In this fortnight’s Frensham Schools Newsletter, Ms Kate Chauncy, P-12 Director of Teaching and Learning, has provided parents with an overview of Gib Gate’s high-quality Literature programme, explaining why quality literature is core to the Gib Gate Experience and how our specialist children’s Library is at the centre of our School and curriculum.
Catching up with holiday reading over the break reinforced for me just how critical it is for adults to model good reading practices and encourage students’ daily reading of good quality literature, especially given the increasingly online nature of our lives.
In the ‘Quarterly Essay, Net Loss – The Inner Life in the Digital Age’, author Sebastian Smee commented in a way that particularly resonated, noting that, ‘in our constant recourse to devices…it gets harder to be alone with ourselves or to pick up a book; harder still to stay with it.’ Looking at my tower of ‘must read books’ I was ashamed to admit to myself how my time spent reading quality literature had diminished, replaced by shallow, less challenging, far less character building ‘online time’.
Determined to change this habit, I switched off my phone and laptop, relegated these devices to another room and ploughed my way through books I had been so excited about reading but somehow never had the time to get to. What did I learn? I learnt about the world, about relationships, cultures, history, attitudes, perspectives, nature, art, humour, empathy, fear, loss, gratitude and grief, joy, wonder, adventure, words and language, how to think and question, the writer’s craft and probably, most importantly, I learnt more about myself.
I know parents share our concerns about the impact on children growing up in a seemingly all-encompassing online world. How best to help children find the balance needed when we ourselves can find it so difficult to achieve this? Finding time to read, to model good reading, to actively encourage good reading habits in our students and children is a simple but powerful way we can do this.
Ms Sally Robson, Head of Gib Gate
From children’s author Katherine Patterson: ‘It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations—something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.’
At Gib Gate a major goal is to develop in children a love of literature in all its forms and to continually encourage them to be lifelong readers. We do this through carefully considering the types of texts we choose to read with the students from Preschool to Year 6 ensuring that, by the end of their time with us, they have enjoyed a plethora of books we believe they ‘should not leave childhood without having read’. In each classroom, every day and in each weekly literature session in our library students learn to express themselves and respond to a variety of texts through discussion and formal and informal written response.
All family members -- parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters – play a significant and vitally important role in shaping our children into lifelong readers. Through modelling a love of reading as a worthwhile and enjoyable activity, and by ensuring time is spent reading daily, parents have the opportunity to be the best reading teachers in the world. Parental involvement is key to a child learning to read, to use language and to develop a love of reading – thereby enriching their lives.
Reading aloud to children is the single most important means of building the skills and knowledge necessary for children to successfully learn to read when they begin school, and to continue reading as they progress through primary and secondary school. Children who are good readers are usually successful learners. By setting time aside each day to turn off the TV, phones and electronic devices and to read aloud to children, we share the words and pictures, the ideas and viewpoints, the rhythms and rhymes, the pain and comfort, and the hopes, fears and big issues of life that we encounter together in the pages of a book. In this world of written information, of text and email, literacy is more important than it has ever been. We need to read and write, and we need global citizens who can read confidently, comprehend what they are reading, understand nuance, and make themselves understood.
Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise: ‘If you want your children to be intelligent,’ he said, ‘read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.’
We look forward to sharing the quality literature – the books - your child will listen to, share and read daily in the classroom and as part of her homework programme in 2019. Our classrooms and our highly specialised children’s Library are treasure troves of books to enjoy.
Ms Kate Chauncy Director of Teaching and Learning P-12 and Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Programmes
Extra-Curricular activities commenced last week and there are places available in a limited number of classes. Please contact Mrs Graham if you would like your child enrolled.
Hokuriku Gakuin Elementary School
Gib Gate students recommenced the Skype sessions with our sister school, Hokuriku Gakuin in Kanazawa, Japan. Mrs Gemell prepared the students to say hello and introduce themselves in Japanese. Kindergarten to Year 4 have all had a session of communicating with our sister school in the first weeks of the term.
Year 3 & 4 Outdoor Adventure Day
On Monday 25 February students in Year 3 and 4 will participate in their Outdoor Education Adventure day. Year 3 will abseil and bushwalk at Mount Alexander and Year 4 will mountain bike and engage in bush skills in Welby. Parents are reminded to refer to the information on Schoolbox regarding the start time and items to bring for this excursion.
Mrs Anne Graham, Gib Gate Coordinator (Administration)
We congratulate the following students for being invited to trial for IPSHA Basketball representation last week: Tempe Arnott, Isabella Carpenter, Sophie Goodisson, Oliver Linde, Elizabeth Shadbolt, Arabella Whitehead (Year 6), Piper Berkelouw, York Doyle, Gretel Graham-Wansey (Year 5). Arabella was chosen in the final team of ten and she will now play for the IPSHA Basketball team at the CIS trials in Sydney this Friday.
Sophie Goodisson (Year 6) is congratulated on her trial at the IPSHA Girls Tennis selections.
During the Summer holidays, Isabella Atra (Year 6) and Sebastian Atra (Year 4) were chosen to represent the Australian Winter Sports Club (EDEP) at the Welsh Alpine Championships in Champerey, Switzerland. Sebastian achieved outstanding results, winning the U10 GS and coming 2nd in the Under 10 Slalom. Isabella also achieved creditable results placing 15th in both of her U12 events.
The Winter Sports Selection note was posted on Schoolbox last week. Students should nominate selections for their winter sports team. Hockey, Netball and Soccer are offered as Gib Gate winter team choices. Selections need to be finalised over the next two weeks so teams can be entered in the local competitions.
Mr Michael Standen (Co-ordinator PE and Sport Gib Gate)
‘Play is the highest form of research’ Albert Einstein
Gib Gate’s Preschool students are keen explorers who eagerly head ‘Out the Gate’ to explore the Gib Gate forest, paddock and pine tree areas. Before each walk, Preschool students and staff run through a checklist of how to keep themselves safe while exploring. The list is extensive and includes sun protection, wearing boots as protection from insects, stick handling rules, precautions when turning over leaves on the ground, avoiding swooping birds, etc. Our students remember the safety precautions well and understand why we have them, often adding safety precautions of their own. One of the first points of call on our walk is to replenish the water supply we leave out for the animals that live around the School. We have noticed many parakeets, ducks and other birds drinking from the water pots which are visible through the Preschool fence.
On our walk last week, the students were quick to notice some sap on the bark of the trees, just out of our reach. One innovative thinker suggested we get a long stick to knock the sap off the tree. After some deliberation, discussion, trial and error, the students worked together to find sticks that were strong and long enough to reach the sap. After it was retrieved, they explored the texture and stickiness of the sap. The students were fascinated and huddled around, sharing their theories as to why the sap was sticky and how it got on the tree.
Exploring outdoor spaces generates natural discussion and contemplation on a level that promotes the sharing of theories and understanding. Through play, the students learn to be explorers and questioners of the world around them.
Mrs Tinna Loker, Preschool Co-ordinator