Category Archives: GAP

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.

Well-being and learning can’t be separated, because well-being underpins the way children feel about themselves and how they relate to others.  It affects how children think, learn and engage.

At our German Playschool and Pfadfinder scout group, we promote healthy messages throughout each session, touching on our favourite topics:  resiliance, affirmation, inclusivity, adaptability, respect, friendship, kindness,  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.

We are delighted to have the support of our very own mental health coordinator, who can be reached on mental.health@spielwelt.org.au

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.  We can help you to help your child.

Supporting Children in Difficult Times

 

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 will be available shortly 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)

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.

Our award winning teachers

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!

Outdoor Classroom Day 2018

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.

Story Night 2018

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!

Adaptive Sport at GAP

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!

ACTSmart Sustainability Expo

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.

Spielwelt German Parents Association and Pfadfinder Scout Group

The Spielwelt German Parents Association and Pfadfinder Scout group are keen on being green! Learn what they have done to become an Actsmart Business Champion

Posted by Actsmart – Canberra on Thursday, 6 September 2018

 

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.