All posts by Lisa St

Ostereier suchen

The GAP children enjoyed a traditional Easter egg (Osterei) hunt in the park. We reviewed the German words for each of the colours we found, and counted them all up. There were “ganz viel” (lots)!

We love to be good friends, and we like to share and be fair, so we gathered all our eggs together and then divided them up equally into our own baskets to take home and share with our families.

Gefunden!

Mental Health initiative

Spielwelt has recently established a relationship with BeYou, a national mental health initiative with an enormous number of resources for families and teachers, to promote and protect children’s mental health and well-being.

At Spielwelt, we promote healthy messages throughout each session, incorporate our favourite topics like friendship, kindness, resiliance, affirmation, inclusivity, adaptability, respect, compassion, being mindful, healthy eating, self-belief and more.  These help build children up, and gives them tools to cope with  the epidemic of anxiety and depression which has been emerging in Western societies in recent years.

Our mental health coordinator can be reached on mental.health@spielwelt.org.au

You can read about our mental health and well-being program here.

We also have a support library and help pages for families who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, family violence, separation, dying/death of a loved one, addiction, or other stressful situations.  Read on by clicking the square below, and talk to the teachers or director.

Supporting Children in Difficult Times

Another sustainability award from ACTSmart

We were suprised and delighted to be acknowledged once again at the ACTSmart Sustainability Award ceremony this year.

Last year, we won the Energy and Water Star award, and this year we received “highly commended” for the Small Business award, presented by ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability,  Shane Rattenbury.

Spielwelt has  made over 50 green changes to its operations, including installing LED lighting, triple-glazed windows, energy efficient reverse cycle heating with shut-off timers, solar space heating and instant hot water; we have draught sealed the doors and curtained off areas we don’t need to heat. This has reduced electricity consumption and continues to save us $1100 per year and 4 tonnes of CO2.  Our families’ use of single use soft-plastics has greatly reduced as our GAP and Pfadfinder children have their own bees wax food wraps.  Our Pfadfinder scouts have taken their green lessons to heart and now regularly include green practices in their activities.

You can read about our many other changes in our Keen to Be Green posts, and read about the awards on the ACTSmart awards page.

Further education for our children on environmentally responsible practices is planned for this year, and thanks to ACT Smart funding assistance and their expert guidance navigating the world of solar quotes….

SOLAR PV PANELS are coming to Turner Scout Hall!  Watch our roof!

 

 

ACTSmart Sustainability Award Winner

Youth led, adult supported

Pfadfinder has been offering more and more opportunities for our youth members to lead our scouting activities.  As the youths progress from joeys to cubs to scouts to venturers to rovers, they are given more input opportunities and chances to practice their leadership skills.

This doesn’t happen without adult support, however, and on the scouts’ recent bike tour, I was the nominated adult.

It will be fun, they said!

Punctures, getting lost, it getting dark, getting lost again, searching for drinking water, repairing bikes on the run… all the while hearing this phrase over and over in my head:

It will be fun, they said!

Trying to keep the patrol together, following the patrol as they were biking up staircases, biking across bridges, biking under bridges, retracing our route to get back on track…

It will be fun, they said!

Biking through clouds of flies, ringing for backup, inquiring about the need for first aid, watching the patrol figure out where we were on the map and their phones, and hearing them calculate how dark it would be by the time we got back to the scout hall…

It will be fun, they said!

Caring for the stragglers, encouraging the scout patrol leaders, enjoying a beautiful sunset over the lake, sharing a fun learning experience with enthusiastic scouts…  What a privilege.   They were right:  It was fun!

Join our adult scout leader team and help support and enable young people to be their best.  It will be fun!

Leaders at Pfadfinder

German Author Visit

The children in our Thursday/Friday GAP class thoroughly enjoyed a visit from Almut Weiler Andersen, her daughter Hannah and teddy-bear Rosa.

Almut is a native German-speaking preschool teacher working in Sydney, and she was the national winner of the Early Educator of the Year award in 2018.

Almut kindly agreed to visit us at GAP, meet us all, and share a children’s book she has recently published, called “Auf der Suche nach Rosa“.

In the story, Hannah (whom we all met in real life) follows a trail of clues left by her teddy bear Rosa (whom we also met).  Rosa has a lesson for Hannah, we hear.

The children listened attentively as Almut read the story and discussed how Hannah had to become brave in order to visit a few local places, like the local bakery and playground, and a seek help from a friendly neighbour in order to find her teddy bear, Rosa.

After overcoming some of her fears in order to follow Rosa’s trail, Hannah finds her teddy.   Rosa has a lesson for Hannah:  Be brave. Tell yourself, you can do it.  We all practised saying, “Ich schaffe das” (I can do it), and it felt positively good to say it.

The little illustrations in the book are Hannah’s own work, and the photographs are great, as we could see a glimpse of a normal child’s life and their normal local surroundings in Germany.

Danke, Almut, Hannah und Rosa for visiting us.

A copy of the book is available in the Spielwelt library, for families to read at home.

Handmade Teddies

One of our beautiful mums hand-crafted these adorable teddies for us.  They are the perfect size for each child to take one to snuggle at rest time.

As we are keen to be green, we noted with great delight that the teddies were lovingly created from re-purposed colourful woollen gloves.

The children and teddies joyfully showing a big “Danke” (thanks)

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.