Chocolates and straws are next to go

As delicious as chocolate is, the committee has recently decided to knock it from our fundraising campaign despite its reasonably good return on investment.

Aside from the obvious questions about modelling healthy habits for children, chocolate is a luxury the environment can’t really afford on the scale it is being produced in the world.  Add to this the unethical treatment of farmers (including children), and this is simply not an issue we choose to ignore any more.  So chocolates are off the list.  Luckily, there are still bake sales and mangoes to look forward to!

Encouraged by the ACT government’s “Straws Suck!” campaign, we have ditched straws from our craft supplies and kitchen, too.

 

Winter arrives at GAP

Our recent chilly mornings have put colour into our cheeks and piqued the children’s curiosity about winter, frost, snow, ice and all things frozen. (No, no, not the musical Frozen… that’s a whole other story!)

Today the children created some lovely paper snowflakes and winter-themed art.  We sang songs about the seasons, and learned about winter in Australia and Europe.

German Year 10 student service activity

When we were contacted by a Year 10 student from Canberra Grammar school, who spoke perfect German and was interested to put in some community service hours for his school with us at GAP, we said, “Ja klar!”  And we are glad we did.

Carl arrived bright and early on a chilly Monday morning and was an instant hit with the children, who surrounded him wanting to play games.  He eagerly embraced the opportunity, playing chasing games which they love, and he and the children were all soon warmed up from all the running around.

The bell rang to go inside, and after helping children with zips, shoes, bags, hats, Hausschuehe, and so on, Carl settled on the carpet to enjoy our morning circle with us… already with two children on his lap and another two stuck to his side.

At morning tea, some of the children even saved a place for him at their table.  What an honour!

By mid-morning play time outdoors, he’d gathered an even bigger following, and was walking around with kids hanging off his arms and legs.  The teachers did nothing to help him, and only laughed and took photos for you!

The children played police and put Carl in jail.  He soon escaped on a tricycle, however, until more police caught him and tried to tie his tricycle up.   He waited patiently while they did this, offering helpful suggestions…

… and then cleverly suggested a variation on the game, and organised to have his get-away vehicle pulled along by the police!

After a lot more running around, it was time to head back inside for story time, and three pages in, one of the children fell asleep on his lap.

After lunch, Carl tried to sneak off for his own nap time, but the children soon discovered him in the tunnel, much to everyone’s merriment.

Monday and Tuesday nights, he also came to help out at Pfadfinder, where there was even more running around and chasing games to be had with the bigger kids. It was exhausting!

Carl had so much fun, and we had a great time hosting him, he braved a second day with us.   It is rumoured that we tired him out so much that he actually did fall asleep at rest time on his second day… the photo proof of which could be available to the highest bidder. 🙂

Danke, Carl! Bis naechstes Mal!

Frogwatch Visitor Hops In

The Thursday/Friday GAP class enjoyed having our German biologist early educator friend Anke Maria hop in to visit, bringing her educational toys from Frogwatch.

We heard from her friend Friedrich der Frosch (a frog puppet) about some of the threats to his environment:  feral cats, bulldozers, people, sunscreen and detergent in the rivers, plastic bags and rubbish; and discussed what we can do to keep the environment frog-friendly.

We heard interesting facts about frogs, and got to explore and play with insect models in order to decide what to feed a big fabric frog.

We lined up other models from eggs to tadpoles (“Kaulquappe” in German), tadpoles with legs, young frogs and adult frogs; and solved puzzles showing frogs’ various stages. Even our teachers learned things.

We even enjoyed singing a couple of German songs about frogs.   As Anke Maria packed up at the end, we all hopped off to morning tea, croaking.

Did you know a German frog doesn’t say ‘ribbet’, but rather, ‘quak’?!

More recycling at Spielwelt

You may have noticed a few extra bins around at the Turner Scout Hall, in the kitchen and the new foyer.  We are making it easier for families to be greener… which is very German, so embrace the programs and enjoy feeling cultural and forward thinking with us!

The GAP children and scouts enjoyed their rubbish sorting lesson too, and most are now experts on it.

In the kitchen we have, starting from the top left on the shelf:

  • we are collecting unwanted oral care products (all brands of toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, dental floss containers) under a Terracycle program (we will get a small amount of money for each 2kg we collect).
  • we continue to collect organic kitchen scraps for chickens

Along the bottom row in the kitchen, we have:

  • the usual mixed recycling (unlike you at home, we don’t get  our recycling bins collected for free at the hall…but we believe it is important, so we pay for a collection service).
  • waste to landfill (getting less each week, which is good, because we pay for that to be collected too!)
  • our new soft plastics recycling through RedCycle, where plastic bags, wrappers, peel-off lids, cling wrap, yogurt squeeze pouches all can be recycled.  We also encourage families to think of ways to reduce their use of soft plastics by wrapping lunches in reusable containers or bees-wax-wraps or similar; and taking their own household’s soft plastic waste to their local Redcycle bin.

Next to the yellow sign-in desk in the foyer, we have:

  • our can and bottle refund scheme collection, through the ACT government’s container deposit scheme.   As you play or walk in your local park, all families (and particularly our scouts) are encouraged to collect any containers they see as litter and bring them in to the hall for our collection.  Eligible containers for the refund are ones that are commonly found in the litter stream, including most cans and bottles; ie glass, PET, HDPE, aluminium, steel or liquid paperboard (cartons) between 150mL and 3L in size.
  • [soon to appear] our e-waste collection box, through ecoActiv / Storage King, taking broken electronic toys, old laptops,  hard drives, keyboards, mice,  cameras, iPods, mobile phones, batteries, chargers and accessories.  You may also take them to Office Works yourself, or bring them to the scout hall if that is easier for you.  Computers and TVs can be collected from your home or office for free by TechCollect.

 

Clockworks

Sometimes the children’s interests takes our curriculum in all sorts of directions.   There has been an interest in clocks and time lately in the Monday/Tuesday class, so we decided to create our own clocks.  We have heard stories with clocks and time in them, and sung songs about clocks.   You could say we are going cuckoo about clocks!

Some of the children were able to amaze us with their ability to figure out what numbers would be in which place on a clock face.  Gee!  Perhaps they have Swiss-German watchmakers in their family tree.

Architect visit

During our occupations theme, we were lucky to have Serge (one of our dads) visit the Monday/Tuesday GAP class to tell us about his work as an architect.  First we had the chance to check out pictures of some of the buildings he had designed, and other neat European buildings.

We each were allowed to have a copy of an airport fire station he had designed, so that we could make any additions we liked and choose the colour scheme for it.  We were given an expansive range of colour swatches to choose from, and we each chose our favourite colours.

There were a large number of pink fire stations designed by some of the girls, which reminds me:   Our teachers are starting professional development about gender equality in early education settings, so watch this space!

Serge invited the children to design a dream house for us all to live in and he drew up the floor plans according to the children’s instructions.  What a good thing there was so much room in our house for dancing.

Then out came all our crayons and felt pens to go with the looooooong roll of architect’s paper Serge had brought in for our budding architects to design their own buildings.   Serge helped the children to develop and discuss their ideas, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

In the afternoon, the children decided that it would be fun to add some colour swatches to our cupboard doors, and I’m sure you agree the result is rather aesthetically pleasing to the modern artist’s eye.

We love having parents visit the GAP, so please get in touch if you would like to come and tell us about your hobby, passion, pet or work.

Danke, Serge! It was great to have you visit.

Lantern Walk 2018

Sankt Martin was seen galloping about on his trusty horse on Sunday night in Haig Park, amidst the many children and families with their beautiful lanterns, at this year’s German Lantern Walk.

Many Spielwelt families and their guests rugged up and braved the authentic-German-winter night air, to join the festivities.

There was music throughout the event:  Mike and his wonderful hand-crafted traditional German Drehorgel, an ambient guitar, a peppy brass and wind quintent including one of our talented scouts,  the sweet tones of the Pfadfinder Joey & Cub choir, and of course the many voices of families participating in the walk  who had no doubt been practicing the lantern walk songs at home.

The food was, of course, delicious and warmed our hands, stomachs and souls.  There were scrumptious home-made soups, German Bratwurst (from the Brathaus) served on buns with onions and steaming sauerkraut (and thanks to our cracker-jack team of efficient BBQ volunteers we had very short queues this year),  fresh breads,  traditional Weckmaenner (who held their own lantern parade before coming to ours, judging by the photo below), a mouth-watering array of Nachtisch (desserts) all baked and donated by  our wonderful families, and of course, the ever popular Kinderpunsch and Gluehwein served up by our all-time-favourite Gluehwein team.  (Craving more? Recipes here!)

We are keen to be green, so proper mugs, cups and bowls were all provided instead of disposable ones (thanks to an ACT government multicultural grant) in our continued efforts to reduce waste.

Thus nourished, the crowds gathered to sing some of the songs, guided by the lyrics (projected onto the side of our new shed), before setting off on the walk.

The procession headed out into the park, lanterns bobbing along and brightening our paths, as the sounds of singing voices and accompanying instruments floated out through the darkness.

We stopped part way, to form a large circle so the Spiel und Spass children and friends were able to parade their lanterns inside the safety of the circle, while the sweet voices of the Pfadfinder Joeys & Cubs delivered a fine performance of a beautiful lantern song for us, accompanied by the talented guitarist.
Arriving back at the hall, the procession was greeted with baskets of Weckmaenner to eat and share.  The children gathered with their lanterns on a large tarp to sit and watch a short play about Sankt Martin stopping in his travels to share his cloak with a poor beggar dressed only in rags at the gates of Amiens.  The narration of the interactive play was partly provided by the crowds singing the various verses of a Sankt Martin’s Leid.  Inspired by the kindness of Sankt Martin, our families kindly donated just under $100 to our collection tin for Barnados in Canberra.

Following the play, our “after party” enjoyed a bonfire to warm up, before helping to  tidy up, wash the dishes and head home.

A huge THANK YOU to all those who helped in all ways great and small, to make this year’s walk an indisputable success.  Special kudos goes to Alice who orchestrated the whole event from the planning to the delivery.  Danke!

Occupations

The children at the GAP have been learning about various occupations in our community.

They enjoyed baking and selling their delicacies at the Lecker Baeckerei bakery, styling our teachers at Fritz Frisur’s hairdressing shop, selling goods at our grocery shop, engineering  new buildings at our Bob der Baumeister construction site…

… doing administrative work and stamping letters in our post office…

… and saving lives at the Krummbein Krankenhaus hospital.

Sweet Garden Surprise

We had a visit from some secret garden fairies yesterday.   While the children were busy inside, a merry band of volunteers from Bunnings arrived and installed a sweet garden surprise outside for us!

The Bunnings volunteers, under the direction of one of their activity organisers studying to work in early education, have been busy preparing the ground, choosing and digging in hardy plants, and installing a fun colourful fence as a backdrop to showcase our new little garden area.

It was fun seeing the children’s reactions to their new garden.  The children will be responsible to care for the plants, and learn a bit about environmental studies and botany in the fun new setting.

Fun fact #1: The scientists aboard Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia were botanists from Germany, Johann Forster and his son Georg.

Fun fact #2:  One of the initiatives considered by the founders of Spielwelt was a German primary school to be named the Johann Forster School.

 

Spielwelt