Leaders Honoured

Some of our Pfadfinder leaders and adult helpers were recently formally acknowledged for their leadership, enthusiasm and dedication.   Our Joey leader (Kerria), Cub leadership team (Baghira and Gerald), and Scout leader (Nala) were each the very deserving recipients of Children’s Week Awards for their unwavering contribution to Child Development and Support.

An excerpt from one of the awards:

Kerria is a dedicated and highly conscientious Joey scout leader. She willingly volunteers her time, week after week, planning, preparing, and delivering an educational and fun program for chlidren aged 6-8 years. She considers the needs of the individuals and the group in her programs, and presents her activities in an engaging way. Kerria incorporates elements of science and environmental care [two of her passions], and helps widen the horizons of the children. All this is done in German to encourage the children to embrace the use of their second language in the exciting and supportive environment that Kerria creates for her Joey scouts. 

As one of the awardees was quick to point out, it is very rewarding being a leader in scouting, not just with award certificates, but with smiles, friendship, admiration, a feeling of connection, a sense of achievement, doing something really positive and worthwhile for the community and children, and even personal growth and one’s own mental wellbeing.

Congratulations to our wonderful award winning leaders! They rock our Pfadfinder world!

On The Cutting Edge

We love to be on the cutting edge at the GAP.  So when one of our new families, recently arrived from Germany, shared with us that children in some German kindergartens are learning to use sharp knives to cut their fruit, we decided it was time to start our own knife skills lessons.

What better way to learn to cut safely than to make a big fruit salad together to go with the very German Reisbrei we cooked?

Thanks to our recent mango fundraiser, and the delicious smell of mangoes in the hall, some of the children have been heard singing the Mango Mango Mango song.  (Here are some German school children singing the Mango song, so you can sing along at home.)

Arboretum Excursion Nov 2018

The Monday/Tuesday GAP class enjoyed a wonderful excursion to the Arboretum recently.  We just love to learn about nature and spend time appreciating it.

We started our day by exploring the amazing Acorn Playground, and what an incredible playground it is.  There are sounds, sights and a wide variety of sensory experiences to be had on the play equipment, both on the ground and high up in the air.

After morning tea on the deck, overlooking sweeping views of Canberra below, we were joined by our positively amazing guide Heather, who we all love to bits.

Heather showed us lots of things and told us lots of stories about the plants, birds and animals at the arboretum.  At one point, we stopped under a tree where we could see a bird’s nest and hear little birds twittering and see them flitting about.  We learned that these clever little “butter bum birds” (yellow-rumped thornbills; not to be confused with the North American “butter butt bird”, which is a yellow-rumped warbler) hide their nests underneath decoy nests in order to protect their young from cuckoos and  predators.

After Heather shared her favourite garden fairy story book with us, we were allowed to examine the national bonsai collection and choose where we might live if we were tiny forest dwellers.

The excursion was wonderful and we learned a lot.  Our return journey to the GAP included a ride on an ACTION bus and then a walk, and was an adventure in itself.  We all enjoyed our lunch back at the GAP, sharing stories of our adventures.

Venturers “game on” with Joeys

Five of our Scouts and Venturers attended a Youth Leadership course on the weekend, put on by the ACT Scouts branch, where they learned about what it takes to assist or lead a Joey or Cub scout program.

Two of our Venturers immediately put their new knowledge to good use, and ran a fun and rewarding games session for the Joeys on Tuesday evening.

First up, was “Find the Venturer” where the Joeys had to fan out into the park to find their two venturers.  There was even one hiding up a tree!

This was followed by many styles of racing and running games, a vigourous game of indoor soccer, and an increasingly challenging game of catch and throw where Joeys could practice their skills.

After so much running around, it was time for a drink of water and a fruit break.  No, the Joeys are not worshipping the Venturers in the photo below, but rather, they are participating in our Pfadfinder Puppy Dog Water Bowl Challenge.   It’s a favourite for some of the kids, and something it seems they don’t get to do at home!

Pfadfinder Puppy Dog Water Bowl Challenge

At the end of the evening, the Joeys enjoyed crowding around their new Venturer heroes and laughing at some funny pictures taken during the evening.

Thanks, Venturers! We had a great night, and are looking forward to more scout- or venturer-led programs in the near future.

 

Patrol Cooking Challenge (the woke edition)

In internet-savvy teen parlance,  “woke” means environmentally / socially / politically / ethically aware and responsible.

The Pfadfinder Monday scouts (12-14 year olds) enjoyed another patrol cooking night.  This “woke” edition of the cooking challenge was developed by one of our scouts, and was a whole lot of fun. (Other scout groups wanting to run this activity should contact us for the rules – they are available in English and German!)

We met at the local shops and each patrol was given a budget of $30, with which they had to feed their entire patrol and the two judges (two lucky (or brave) leaders) …. with a THREE course meal!

Extra points were awarded for effort in their presentation

Patrols’ dishes were judged on taste, how complex the dish was, how healthy the dish was, and how sustainable the ingredients were.

In the sustainability category judges were looking for ingredients with minimal packaging, recyclable packaging, best animal welfare, lowest food miles, least amount of water / resources to produce, and so on.

Patrol members eagerly await feedback and scoring from the judges

In addition, patrols were scored on how engaged everyone was, how their team worked together, and how well they cleaned up afterwards.

We all enjoyed the evening – the dishes were delicious (and no leaders became ill in the judging process! On the contrary, leaders reported being well fed up! (Oh, wait!))

The scouts discovered the hard way (once again) how much time it takes to clean up – but that’s the fun of the learning.

Family Oktoberfest 2018

A marvelous time was had by children and adults alike, at the Spielwelt family Oktoberfest on Saturday 3 November.

Along with children currently involved in our playgroups, playschool and scout group, we also enjoyed seeing so many of our alumni returning to catch up… including one family who have returned after having been away in Germany for 5 years.

There were some beautiful Dirndls and great Lederhosen to be seen (even on some of the darling babies), which made the event all the more enjoyable.

The Oktoberfest organising team did an amazing job with the catering and decorating touches.   There were plenty of folk available to help out on the day too, which gave the event a real community feeling.

It was touch and go there the night before, with a total fire ban being announced, but thankfully the ban was lifted in time for us and we were able to use our fire permit and the cooking of our Spanferkel could go ahead.

Christian’s specially brewed Oktoberfest Bier was enjoyed by those who wished, and there was plenty of food, music and games to keep everyone happy.

The Tug of War game was a hit with the dads and kids.  Some of our Pfadfinder set up a rope bridge swing between the trees and lots of children had a wonderful time playing on that.

Our teenaged scouts and friends held their own Oktoberfest picnic gathering in the park, playing soccer and other games, and enjoying each other’s company at what they called “a dignified distance” from the parents.

By using reusable picnic plates, cups, mugs and cutlery, serving fresh home-made foods and creating our own decorations from recycled materials, we were able to reduce our waste-to-landfill from this event by 70% this year.

Our hard-working organising team would like to thank all those who brought such delicious salads, Bretzeln and desserts to share…. and thank the many folk who helped setting up tables, washing dishes and packing up afterwards.

 

 

Our award winning teachers

This week, the GAP teachers were presented with award certificates from the 2018 Children’s Week Awards.  The teaching team had been nominated for a Child Development Award, for significantly improving young people’s opportunities to learn and grow.

The inscription accompanying the award reads:

The teachers at the German Australian Playschool are very deserving of an award, judging by the rave reviews and outstanding feedback they receive regularly from the community.  They are highly dedicated, energetic, loving and caring individuals who prepare, plan and deliver a high quality exciting and educational play-based program for 3-5 year olds.

It is obvious from the moment you walk through the playschool gate in the morning that the teachers strive to let each child and family know just how special and wonderful they are. 

As a team, the teachers work together seamlessly to support the children in all their stages of development; and after work the teachers are often found going the extra mile, discussing children’s individual and group needs, and incorporating these into the program. 

The teachers seem content to be paid in smiles, but now and then an award seems another nice way to acknowledge the energy, dedication, love and passion they bring to their work.

The ACT Children’s Week Committee extends its congratulations and sincere thanks to the GAP Teaching Team for their outstanding example and commitment.  

Congratulations to the GAP Teaching Team!

Outdoor Classroom Day 2018

The children at GAP enjoyed participating in a global initiative called Outdoor Classroom Day on November 1st.

We enjoyed some time to explore the trees, sticks, grasses, leaves, pine needles, bits of bark, insects, fresh air and sunshine in our surrounding heritage-listed park land.

We also enjoyed a picnic in the beautiful dappled shade under a tree, in the company of our teachers.

Pfadfinder visits Cotter Dam

A selection of Pfadfinder joeys, cubs and scouts enjoyed a very informative evening tour of the  Cotter Dam, with tour guide Kate of ICON Water.

Kate, with the help of a blue rope to represent the waterway, an enormous map (and a few dads to hold it up), and her infectious smile and enthusiasm, taught us many interesting facts about the construction and purpose of the Cotter Dam.

We heard about what we can and can’t put into our household water, saw where that water comes from and learned about what happens to it after we have used it.

Being observant scouts, we managed to spot a great many water dragons, skinks, lizards, fish and ducks.  It was interesting to see how the ecologists had helped make sure the river was really healthy, and the flora and fauna that depend on the river were thriving.

The beautiful warm evening wrapped up with time on the playground and lots of laughter and fun before everyone headed home.

It is always fun to hear the banter among parents, chatting together at the end.  Overheard this week: “I know it was a bit of a rush to get out here for 5:30pm, but now that we are here, I’m thinking we should have brought a picnic – it is so lovely here.  But we really must get the children home and feed them dinner.”   To which one of our dads replied, “Well, I fed my kids before we left home, because you know, ich bin Super Papi!”  The assembled parents were all suitably impressed and spent a moment commenting favourably and admiring his superior parenting skills, until one of his children arrived to hang on his arm and complain, “Papa! Can we go now? I’m hungry!”   Kids!  🙂 

Story Night 2018

What better way to spend a warm spring evening than at the annual German story night?  The evening kicked off with outdoor play and a light dinner before we all ventured inside for the story telling.  Children and adults alike were treated to three stories: one story with actions, one short and sweet, and the third a puppet play.

One of our GAP dads, Torsten, and his daughter told the story ‘Die kleine Spinne spinnt und schweigt’ (The Very Busy Spider).  The little spider (played by the daughter) kept busy weaving her spider web as one by one, various farm animals (all played by her dad) tried to entice her to do something else. The children in the audience enthusiastically helped imitate the noises of the various animals as the story unfolded.  Our young spider, not quite happy with her dad’s performance, took hold of the microphone in an impromptu moment of up-staging her dad, to show him exactly how loud a duck should quack.  This quickly devolved into a barnyard coup as the children in the audience then took over, bleating, mooing and quacking into the microphone resulting in a raucous scene! It was a rather unforgettable performance!

Keeping with the barnyard coup theme, our librarian dad, Florian, treated us to a beautiful rendition of Farmer Duck.  Again, animal noises were required from the audience, who did not disappoint.  The children felt for the duck who had to do all the work while the farmer lay around and ate chocolate, so there was great cheering when the duck managed to rally his barnyard friends and stage their own raucous uprising to put things right on the farm.

Next was the puppet play by GAP mum Joey (the prince) and GAP dad Rainer (the princess). Children and their parents giggled along as the royal plans to make soup went strangely wrong.  The poor princess muddled up common German words, and ended up trying to use someone’s head (‘Kopf’) and then someone else’s ponytail (‘Zopf’) instead of using the required saucepan (‘Topf’).   Superbly narrated by our amateur puppeteers who had the audience in stitches.

The night ended as it had started with more playing, eating and mingling before parents had the unenviable task of convincing the children that it was time to go home.

See you all at Oktoberfest on Saturday 3rd November!

Spielwelt