All posts by spieladmin

Botanic Gardens Excursion 2018

The Thursday/Friday GAP class enjoyed an excursion to the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

We savoured our morning tea out in the fresh air under some fragant gum trees, looking around in wonder at all the greenery, spotting birds, insects, plants and ponds.

Our enthusiastic early-childhood-education-trained German-speaking guide soon met up with us and took us over grassy fields, along secret paths, helped us cross over a creek using hopping stones, along part of the children’s trail, and told us about all sorts of plants and native critters along the way.

We came to the newest feature of the botanic gardens: a big tree house for children!  There is a ramp up to the first storey, but after that, one must climb a giant ladder to reach the crow’s nest platform.  There was some discussion amongst the children as to how best to achieve this.

It was fun up at the top!  At last, having conquered our fears, we returned back down the ladder. Phew!

We then walked allllllll the way back to GAP (over a kilometer), while chatting and singing.  We stopped part way to refresh ourselves in a shaded rest spot, with slices of orange and drinks of water.

The teachers all commented that it was a good reminder about how the children can manage more walking than we give them credit for, and we felt we should offer more opportunities to explore our local parks on foot as the children enjoyed stretching themselves like this.

We are grateful to the parents and grandparents who came along to help on the excursion.  Thank you!

Fire Inspector’s Visit

The GAP children enjoyed a visit from the fire-fighters today.  No, the fire-fighters were not there to extinguish the large number of candles on our Director’s birthday cake… but rather, our annual fire safety inspection was today.  (You know you have a great job when good looking fire-fighters visit you at work every year for your birthday AND when your adorable clients guess how old you are, they pick numbers like ‘ten’ and ‘fifteen’!)

After passing our inspection with flying colours, we were treated to an exciting tour of the fire truck and some of its goodies, including (would you believe) some oil spill mop up stuff the fire-fighters called kitty litter!

We marvelled at the long ladder on top of the truck and some of the very cool things they had on board, and we got to see some enormous heavy scissors used for cutting open cars.

We even got to see inside the secret closet!  Maybe it was because we asked so nicely (or perhaps it was because we asked so often).

We asked lots and lots of questions, such as:  does the paint on the truck melt in a fire; why are the wheels so big; what sorts of rescues do the fire-fighters do (it turns out that, yep, they even rescue birds out of trees!); what is that black thing (the thing that is actually orange); what does that say on the truck; why are you wearing sea-horses (which we finally figured out was ‘sun-glasses’); do you have a fire extinguisher in your truck; where were you when my sister was sick; and many other really great questions!

We saw how to carry a big hammer, axe and a giant can opener called a Halligan bar.  We admired oxygen tanks, saw a fire-fighter put on a mask, and checked out some fire-proof trousers.

Everyone who wanted to, was allowed to have a turn squirting water from a big hose onto a tree quite far away!

And when one of the children was too shy to squirt water at the tree, Charlie the fire chief asked if anyone would like to try to squirt HIM instead… there were immediately quite a few offers (including from his staff!)

One of the fire-fighters even knew how to say “Auf Wiedersehen”, which prompted us to say “Danke schoen” to him and his platoon.

When the fire truck left, we all waved them off, and they put on their flashing lights and sirens for us as an impressive farewell.

 

Another great experience at the GAP!

 

 

Gruen, Gruen, Gruen…

There is a German children’s song about colours that starts, “Gruen, gruen, gruen, sind alle meine Kleider; Gruen, gruen, gruen, ist alles was ich hab.”  (You can enjoy hearing it by clicking here.)

Well at Spielwelt, we love being green too!

This post celebrates and acknowledges what we have done to date to be GREEN, and let’s you know what is next on our agenda.

To date, we have:

  1. upgraded all our lighting to LED
  2. upgraded our heating systems from hideously inefficient old heaters to fabulously efficient reverse cycle heaters
  3. programmed those heaters to switch off at regular intervals 4 times a day, in order to make sure they are not left on accidentally
  4. installed 6 panels of solar space heating on our roof, and provided personalised tours and information to other groups and individuals about this technology
  5. with help from LAROS Technologies in Fyshwick, we replaced our drafty old ill-fitting windows with wonderful new triple-glazed windows
  6. had an ACT Smart audit done and successfully applied for a grant, which we used for some of the audit recommendations
  7. installed that sticky fluffy stuff around door frames to prevent heat loss
  8. checked our big appliances for efficiency ratings (and replaced them where necessary)
  9. teach children in our playschool program about recycling
  10. we collect food scraps for chickens and composting
  11. introduced the Terracycle coffee capsule recycling program
  12. put up signage around the hall to remind staff about turning off lights and heaters
  13. our staff are trained that if they turn the heater or air conditioner on, they are to put the heater remote control with their car keys or bike lock keys, so that when they go home, the person is automatically reminded about turning off the heaters/air conditioning
  14. we encouraged our scouts to use recycled building materials to design and install a way to move warm air down from the ceiling area and onto ground level where our younger children play (that was a really fun project!)
  15. we had heavy curtains made to section off areas of our scout hall we don’t need to heat
  16. we have double doors between our heated areas and our outside doors, to cut down on heat loss in winter or heat ingress in summer
  17. check our electrical appliances each year to make sure they are not faulty and draining more energy than they should
  18. undertaken a study to see if solar energy would be feasible for us
  19. we have a 1000 litre rain water tank which is plumbed to our toilets
  20. we only use instant hot water, rather than trying to maintain large quantities of hot water for long periods of time
  21. we have recyling bins inside and outside, and educate the children in our programs about how to use these
  22. we talk to children and parents about reducing waste in packed lunches
  23. new toilets installed with half-flush
  24. installed new quarter-turn taps that are easy for young children to turn off fully
  25. our chldren’s programs use recycled supplies wherever possible for their art and other activities; and we have banned glitter (micro-plastics)
  26. we shun plastic toys where possible, in favour of wood or nothing (it is okay to not have things!)
  27. our teachers have all been given reusable coffee cups and a carry bag for them
  28. we use non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible
  29. we sorted our library of over 1000 childrens books and gave many away for free into the community (re-use)
  30. gave away some board games to the Buy Nothing Facebook group members in our local area
  31. our default superannuation fund is Australian Ethical Super, who support green technologies

… and finally…

32. we have a whole lot of fun thinking up new ways to stretch ourselves and the children in our programs to be and think cleaner and greener!

 

Next steps?  Soft plastics!   We will be aiming to reduce our use, helping families to reduce their use, and recycling soft plastics through the Redcycle program.

Want to get involved and help us be greener? Get in touch!  Just email  ask.us@spielwelt.org.au

German Easter Celebrations

The Thursday/Friday GAP children particularly enjoyed celebrating German Easter traditions.  The children have been busy over the last week or so, creating and decorating an Osterbaum (Easter tree), crafting their own colourful cardboard egg-cups, dying hard-boiled eggs all different colours, creating adorable bunny ear head-bands to wear, and today we topped it all off searching for shiny chocolate eggs in the park.

Each child had a lovely wicker basket to collect their eggs in, courtesy of Lukas and Anja’s Oma who wove the baskets for us.

Our German parents may recall having heard the well-known German story, Die Haeschenschule, as children.  (It’s English translation is A Day in Bunny School). This old classic is about these sweet little rabbits who learn the school rules and more particularly, the art of being Easter bunnies. [Our teacher skips a couple of pages where there are references to a naughty bunny, as we don’t have any naughty children at the GAP, of course.]

We wish all our little wonderful Easter bunnies and their families a safe and happy Easter long weekend.

Frohe Ostern, everyone!

Enjoying our new taps and sinks

Over the summer holidays, Paul from JimFin Gas Fitting & Plumbing was very busy installing all sorts of treats for us.

We are now enjoying a new junior toilet in the girls washroom, and double children’s sinks in both washrooms.

Paul visited us today to put on the finishing touches we requested, by installing another two sets of his most heavenly child-friendly quarter-turn taps.

Being the friendly guy that he is, he also  fixed a leaking tap, gave us a lesson on washers, checked we had safe water temperatures for children, and replaced the covers for our water meter and mains tap which were broken and hazardous.

This all helps us look after our water consumption, and be the clean green community organisation we strive to be.

$20 feasts for Pfadfinder

The challenge was on.  Each patrol was given $20 and let loose at the shops.  The idea was to shop and cook a meal for themselves, for $20 or less.  They were also allowed to use any salt, spices or sauces they found at the  scout hall.

Their scout leader was delighted to see a lot of healthy discussion going on, followed by quite a healthy selection of foods emerging from the shops.

Back at the scout hall, the kitchen turned into a hive of activity as the Scouts cooked up their ingredients into great feasts. There were pasta dishes, fresh salads, meat and veggie sauces, and desserts.

Our Venturers also had a go at this – and served themselves a meal of fish, soft drinks, ice cream and lollies, after which they complained of stomach-aches!

We all learned a lot that evening!

Federweisser Fest 2018

Saturday’s Federweisser Fest was a big hit with the crowds who came to enjoy the good food, wine, music and company.

From all accounts, the Federweisser (young wine) fermented especially for Spielwelt by Alex McKay of Collector Wines, was absolutely delicious, and a great treat for connoisseurs of such things.

Folk had a huge variety of delicious Zwiebelkuchen to choose from, thanks to the many families who tried their hand at Oma Heidi, Tante Gertrude or Oma Internet’s favourite recipes.   (There was even enough for the event organisers to be able to take some home at the end – what a great way to reward our wonderful event organisers!)

Children enjoyed the playground and running around in the park, as well sampling the grape juice, German sausages and buns.

It was great to see so many families from our playgroups, GAP, Pfadfinder, as well as Deutsche Stammtisch members, and other community supporters.

The event raised $600, which is a terrific result – thank you everyone for your generosity and support.

Special thanks go to Gerda, Gerald, Uli, Chris and their families and team members for all the great organisation and work; and thanks to Richard and Friederike who helped with the BBQ, cleaning and serving on the day.

A few of the many delicious Zwiebelkuchen on offer at Federweisser Fest!

 

Pfadfinder welcome German exchange students

Pfadfinder had the pleasure of welcoming 21 German exchange students to Canberra on Monday.  They are here on exchange for a week with Canberra Girls Grammar school, before moving on to a school in NSW.

Pfadfinder held up our Welcome to Australia banner outside the scout hall when the students’ bus arrived.  Inside the hall, the students could refresh themselves and store their luggage, while they waited for their host families to pick them up.

Our Pfadfinder welcomed the students and talked to them (in English und auf Deutsch, natuerlich) about what it is like to live in Canberra, and heard about what the students planned to do while in Australia and a little about their lives back in Germany.

Of course, we served a few traditional Australian treats:  Tim Tams, Arnott’s Tiny Teddies and iced Vovos, lamingtons, mango and apple juice, Milo, and slices of watermelon.

Some students had a go flying our drone, which was fun.

It was a pleasure to meet the students and their teachers, and we hope they enjoy being German in Canberra as much as we do!

 

Outdoor Classroom

At the GAP, our teachers don’t wait for Outdoor Classroom Day to take our eager students outdoors to learn.  We spend time outdoors every day!

Apart from our own playground, we often have picnics and take walks into Haig Park (adjacent to our hall), or further afield to the local playground. Getting there is half the fun, as we encounter cyclists, dog-walkers, pedestrians, and stop to examine sticks, tree nuts, leaves, grasses and insects, along the way.  We walk across bridges, learn to walk together as a group, hold hands, keep to the side of the path, and become more aware of our surroundings.

Apart from the obvious benefits for children being outside, it is also great to increase our awareness of our environment and what we can do to care for it.

When we return to the GAP, we get to have a big race for the last 100 meters or so, which always brings a lot of cheers and smiles to our faces.

 

Joeys Environment Night

Our Joeys were delighted to be part of an exciting environmental awareness night.  ACT Conservation Volunteer Manager, Tatjana Schmidt, ran an evening of fun and educational activities.  The joeys and their Joey Leader, Kerria, are already looking forward to Tatjana’s next evening, coming up later this year!

We collected objects from our natural environment, and learned their German names.

We made a poster about the things we find and must care for in our environment. Alles auf Deutsch, natuerlich!