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:
- upgraded all our lighting to LED
- upgraded our heating systems from hideously inefficient old heaters to fabulously efficient reverse cycle heaters
- programmed those heaters to switch off at regular intervals 4 times a day, in order to make sure they are not left on accidentally
- installed 6 panels of solar space heating on our roof, and provided personalised tours and information to other groups and individuals about this technology
- with help from LAROS Technologies in Fyshwick, we replaced our drafty old ill-fitting windows with wonderful new triple-glazed windows
- had an ACT Smart audit done and successfully applied for a grant, which we used for some of the audit recommendations
- installed that sticky fluffy stuff around door frames to prevent heat loss
- checked our big appliances for efficiency ratings (and replaced them where necessary)
- teach children in our playschool program about recycling
- we collect food scraps for chickens and composting
- introduced the Terracycle coffee capsule recycling program
- put up signage around the hall to remind staff about turning off lights and heaters
- 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
- 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!)
- we had heavy curtains made to section off areas of our scout hall we don’t need to heat
- 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
- check our electrical appliances each year to make sure they are not faulty and draining more energy than they should
- undertaken a study to see if solar energy would be feasible for us
- we have a 1000 litre rain water tank which is plumbed to our toilets
- we only use instant hot water, rather than trying to maintain large quantities of hot water for long periods of time
- we have recyling bins inside and outside, and educate the children in our programs about how to use these
- we talk to children and parents about reducing waste in packed lunches
- new toilets installed with half-flush
- installed new quarter-turn taps that are easy for young children to turn off fully
- our chldren’s programs use recycled supplies wherever possible for their art and other activities; and we have banned glitter (micro-plastics)
- we shun plastic toys where possible, in favour of wood or nothing (it is okay to not have things!)
- our teachers have all been given reusable coffee cups and a carry bag for them
- we use non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible
- we sorted our library of over 1000 childrens books and gave many away for free into the community (re-use)
- gave away some board games to the Buy Nothing Facebook group members in our local area
- 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 email@example.com
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!
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.
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!
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 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!
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.
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!
Our library was one of the lucky recipients of Lilli’s love and attention over the summer.
The library underwent a massive re-vamp, starting from a huge jumble of over a thousand books, some on shelves, some stacked in piles, some stored in boxes under tables…. Our library now hosts what is undoubtedly the nicest (and most beautifully organised) German children’s book, video and music collection in Canberra.
Just a few of the myriad books that got sorted this summer.
Many books were given to grateful families, many others were donated to LifeLine to carry on their good work circulating in the wider German community. Only the best made it through to the finals, to our sleek new library, so we are sure you will enjoy browsing our shelves.
New books and donations are being received all the time by our librarians Florian and Lilli, so keep checking the shelves for fresh material and old favourites.
The library caters for 0-16 year olds, and sections include learning German, ABCs and vocabulary builders, children’s classics, the popular Wieso Warum Weshalb series, music, videos, mystery, adventure, and much more.
Pfadfinderinnen! Lilli has even created you a “starke Maedchen” section! Come and check it out!
After many hours of hard work over the summer, our foyer has been completely renovated.
No more horrible cramped, dark, cluttered storage area. We have welcomed in a bright, open, cheerful, greatly enlarged space to work and play in.
Each GAP child now has their own personalised area to store their personal items; Pfadfinder have more room to do woodwork and other projects; Spiel und Spass parents have more room for prams.
Many thanks to the parents and scouts who put so much time into the renovation, designing, demolishing, sorting, purchasing, cleaning, painting, tiling, fixing, woodworking, and much more. We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated and amazing community who can pull together to create something terrific for us all to use.
After the first stage of the demolition
Nearly ready for action (view of the north end)
First day of school in 2018 (view of the south end). Note the cute washing line on the far wall, for lost and found items!