Category Archives: GAP

We love the Arboretum

We love the Arboretum so much, we have been a couple of times this year. We even helped launch their new network of trails and discovered there is more to the Arboretum than the fabulous acorn playground.

Looking at bark, leaves, insects and wondering about different types of eucalypts

We scrambled over big boulders and up the sides of steep hills, adventured into forests we hadn’t seen before, played atop a hill in a forest, completed an exciting scavenger hunt in a formal garden, and visited the building that looks like the Sydney Opera House.

On another visit, we went again with our favourite education officer, Heather, to help let some helicopter seeds fly in the wind, watch birds feeding their young in a nest, see a big nest, explore the bonsai garden (and imagine we were tiny fairies living in those tiny forest scenes), and hear a lovely story.

Helping Heather launch helicopter seeds in the wind
Testing our skills and confidence inside the acorn playground
The teachers were impressed by seeing how many children were brave enough to go all the way up to the top of the acorn playground by themselves.

The joys of volunteering

We really appreciate our volunteers at Spielwelt. Our parents (and of course the children) are what make our community so wonderful.

While the organisation certainly benefits from volunteers, it would seem that the volunteers benefit themselves. For example: Each term, a parent volunteers to wash the hand towels for us. (We save trees and give the children a more home-like experience by not using paper towels.) Recently our hand towel washing volunteer posted a nice comment on her Facebook page, saying ” Aaaaah… the beauty of washing GAP’s towels. It’s like having a rainbow on the line.”

If you’d like to have a rainbow on your line, or any other feel-good experience by volunteering, let us know. We’d be happy to help you!

Haig Park Nature Playground

We absolutely adore the new nature playground that has been installed in Haig Park as part of the Haig Park Experiments. We really hope it is allowed to stay.

There are cool coniferous tree teepees to play in
There a lots of logs to climb on, over and around, and some really huge stumps to challenge us.
Up until some twits vandalised it on the weekend, there was this really cool hay bale maze as well. We all really enjoyed that.
There are two different bridges across the creek, which are really fun.

Please urge the ACT government to let this amazing nature playground stay here in Haig Park. It’s awesome. And ask them to build more of these all over Canberra! Jump onto the Have Your Say website, and look for Haig Park Experiments, or click here and add your feedback to Map 2. Or email CityRenewals@act.gov.au

German Story Night 2019

Story Night was another lovely event at Spielwelt this year. Children and their families enjoyed sharing delicious food for dinner, while chatting and playing in the playground.

We then moved indoors for the main attraction: the songs and stories.

Paul got us all singing “Meine Haende sind verschwunden”, with the actions of course, and accompanied us with his ukelele.

Then Tatjana tooks us all on a bear hunt with all the funny noises and actions; and Johanna had us giggling at a story about slippers.

To finish the evening, Torsten and Otmar entertained us all with some hilarious puppets who had the children rolling in the aisles with laughter.

Everyone pitched in to help clean up after the event, and all agreed we had enjoyed a lovely evening.

This was another keen-to-be-green event: No single-use items were used, and the whole event fed and entertained a lot of families and created less than a shopping bag of rubbish to landfill. Thanks, everyone!

Twinkle toes artists

The children at the GAP got to enjoy some artistic experiences as usual last week, but this time only using their feet. Imagine using your toes to paint, hold a paint brush, or try to knead and shape play dough! It provoked lots of conversation and was a lot of fun too.

A Fair Chomp

Some of the children at the GAP joined their teacher Lisa-Marie starring in an ActSmart video to share one of our tips about being green.

By replacing our old bar heaters for more efficient reverse cycle heaters, we have reduced our carbon footprint and now save ourselves over $1000 a year. As our young GAP friends in the video will tell you, that’s a fair chomp!

We have posted the ActSmart video on our Facebook page for your enjoyment.

Our Solar Panels are on

Some say the Turner Scout Hall is a power house of energy and sunshine! That’s all the more true since our solar panels went on today.

The children at the GAP sang a traditional German children’s song about busy tradespeople (Wer will fleissige Handwerker sehen? (sing along if you wish)) while the installers Carn and Ambrose were hard at work on the roof installing the panels and Rhys was wiring up the inverter.

When the workers were finished, the children came outside to admire the panels and talk about what they were for and why we are “keen to be green”.

Thanks to Mark and the team from Captain Kilowatt who organised it all for us, and Eshan at ActSmart who helped us with our feasibility study and picking the right components.

We are very grateful to the ACT government: Our contribution of $5,000 was matched by the ActSmart program, and we are now the proud users of a 6.48kW solar system with Jinko panels and a Fronius inverter.    

Based on current electricity consumption, and using our new SmartMeter, our investment will pay for itself within 3.5 years. 


Frozen Rainbows

In Lisa-Marie’s latest lesson about colours and colour-mixing, the children had a great time painting with blocks of frozen paint. As the little blocks melted, we could paint and mix more and more colours into our works of art. It was really fascinating and lots of fun!

A special guest to the GAP went through the list of colours of the rainbow with the children, and one little girl added at the end, “And don’t forget sparkles!” So it seems that just because we have banned glitter due to environmental concerns, doesn’t mean we can’t still have sparkles in our lives!

Frozen paint on a popsicle stick

Environmental Scientists

The GAP children had an amazing time learning about water, with our resident environmental expert, Paul Doyle.

We wondered, what lives in the rivers? Ducks, fish, platypus, swans, water fowl, yabbies….

What do those animals eat? Small water bugs, small fish, fish eggs, snails, zooplankton, insects…

What else gets into the water and how does it get there? Rubbish sometimes gets washed into the rivers by the rain and through drains.

Paul very kindly brought in some of his scientific equipment and interesting water samples for us to look at. It was fascinating.

We also made platypus puppets from paper bags, and talked about how we can keep our environment clean so that animals like platypus can live in clean water. In fact, we all need clean water to live.

Field Biologists at work

In the past weeks, the GAP children have been talking about sciences like biology, chemistry and geophysics, and performing fun experiments in class. The children are always keen to explore outdoors, so….

We ventured out into the field as biologists searching for animals. And guess what? We found some never discovered before! With the discovery of a new species, comes the prestigious naming rights in Latin, of course.

The photo featured above is Igelus Nicki. Meet some of our other newly discovered geo-flora-fauna below!

Mausus Stock
Hausschuhus Lickibum (don’t ask. It’s Latin)
Fussabdruckus Glitzerbombe
Schlangus Bente