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.)
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.
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!
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.
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!
One of our dads, Ben, is the Chief Operating Officer of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, which will be held in October. The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for injured or ill veterans and active service personnel.
Ben visited us recently to talk about his work. He told the children about adaptive sports like wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, swimming, sitting volleyball, rowing, archery, athletics and sailing.
We learned a little about the Invictus Games competitors, hearing that some may have lost an arm or leg. Outside, we had the opportunity to run a few races while simulating not having an arm or leg. It was difficult, of course, and we talked about how it was hard to balance or to run as fast as you could otherwise.
Our athletes gather for their briefing with the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Chief
Ben had brought in his laptop to share some pictures and video clips with us, so we crowded around to see the photos and got to see a video message from HRH The Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry*) and Barack and Michelle Obama.
*It turns out there is another charming Prince Harry… not just the young one enrolled at the GAP who we play with on the playground pirate ship every week!
We also had a chance to check out the fancy black “Invictus Games Sydney 2018” LandRover parked in front of the GAP.
It is always interesting to hear from our parents about what they do at work. Thanks, Ben, for coming in and sharing. Who is going to be the next parent to visit us at GAP? Book a time with us to come in and be our next hero!
At Spielwelt and Pfadfinder, we are keen to be green! So far, we have made over 50 changes to our hall and operations, to be more sustainable and do the right thing for the environment.
As with everything we do, we do this for the children. We also hope to educate, support and inspire our families.
The children at the GAP were keen to be involved in making this little video clip, to be screened at the ACTSmart Sustainability Expo on Thursday 13 September 2018 at the Southern Cross Club in Woden.
Come along to the Sustainability Expo, and get further inspired about what you can do (or promote) at your school, embassy, childcare centre or workplace.
Pfadfinder have been learning about the clothing industry and how it affects the environment. The textiles industry is a huge polluter, so we thought up some ways we could reduce our impact. Watch this space!
One easy way to reduce the number of clothes that end up in the landfill: Pfadfinder had a clothes swap night – trading clothes with each other and refreshing their wardrobes without buying anything new. Some clothes donated on the night got upcycled into new and different styles of clothes.
From 13 – 24 August 2018, we are hosting a second hand stall for quality children’s clothing for GAP and Spiel und Spass, too.
Parents can donate quality children’s clothing their child has outgrown, AND / OR browse through the many donations and take whatever they like. If you don’t find anything suitable one day, check back the next day or week, as fresh items will have arrived.
We are keeping it to children’s clothing this time. If people like the concept, we can try other kinds of stalls.
Photo of just a few of the clothes available on Monday night, after lots of clothes had already changed hands.
This is an initiative of Pfadfinder scouts who are hoping to help keep clothing out of landfill and circulating in our lovely community. We are, afterall, keen to be green!
Anything left on 24 Aug will be donated to Salvos or Vinnies.
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.
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.