Category Archives: GAP

January working bees are underway

Our January working bees and summer renovation plans are well underway!

We are half way through and have accomplished a lot.

We have demolished some walls to enlarge the foyer, done a lot of painting, and reconfigured some of our storage.  We’ve ripped everything out of the storage areas and are sorting through it all.

We have had a new shed built for all the Pfadfinder gear, and we’ve repaired the roof on the old shed which will soon be for toys for 0-5 year olds only.

We have installed a fourth toilet and two new children’s sinks, as well as upgrading some of our lighting in the toilets.

We have pruned our art supplies to keep only the environmentally-friendly ones, in line with our glitter/micro-plastics ban.

Next up will be:

Installing our new and improved children’s coat and bag storage facilities; preparing for the new GAP class; re-covering the bulletin boards;  moving in Pfadfinder and special events equipment to the new shed; topping up sand in the sand box; cleaning…. and lots of it!  And much, much more!!

You are guaranteed to be amazed when you come to the hall next!  And wait until it is all finished (by start of school on 5 February)!! Wow!

 

Visit from Inner North Playschool

In Term 4, the Monday/Tuesday GAP class hosted the children and teachers from Inner North Playschool at GAP for a day.  We all enjoyed the experience, and learned a lot from each other.

We welcomed our new friends and showed them around. At morning circle, we all learned a new German song and dance, and shared our transition rhymes.  After washing our hands in all the various sinks (as there were so many of us!), we enjoyed a giant picnic morning tea together in our playground.  Everyone had a go playing in our sandbox, sliding down our slide, and exploring our pirate ship play equipment.  It was a fun day!

 

 

Preparing for Kindergarten

From Term 4 onwards, we start preparing our older children for their transition to Kindergarten at ‘big school’.   We offer more ‘reading, writing and arithmetic’ in their day, and predictably there are children who prefer to play outdoors, and other children who can’t get enough of pretend school!

We read stories about transitioning to ‘big school’ and in the last week of school, we encourage the children to wear their new school uniforms to GAP to show us all proudly!  It is an exciting time for everyone.

 

Forest Fridays

The children at the GAP are always delighted when we head out amongst the beautiful coniferous trees in Haig Park.  Sometimes we take a little picnic with us of foods the children have requested; other times we play hide and seek, or have races, or build pretend camp fires.

 

Banning Glitter

From 2018, Spielwelt will heed the call of scientists and environmentalists, and delete glitter from our art consumables.

After reading an article in the ABC news about how damaging these micro-plastics are to the environment, the committee decided there was only one way forward for an eco-conscious organisation like Spielwelt:  a ban on glitter.

We will move towards more natural products for our arts and crafts, which of course is something that has been happening for years in Germany already.

Racing Car Visit

The children of the Thursday/Friday class thoroughly enjoyed having a real racing car brought to the GAP for them to see, touch… and hear!

A big thanks to Steve for bringing in his ‘baby’ for us all to explore and learn about fast cars. We even got to see the motor, ask questions, and some of us got to sit in the driver’s seat too!

“It was loud and I think it goes really schnell [fast], but it’s okay if you cover your Ohren [ears]!”

 

Sankt Nikolaus visits GAP

Sankt Nikolaus has been seen at GAP this week already, and will return on Friday for the Thurs/Fri class. As always, it is charming to have him visit.  (The photo above was taken with that same Nikolaus at the GAP in 2008!)
Nikolaus is once again giving out traditional Christmas oranges, together with Christmas stickers and a little chocolate.  The kind saint has obviously got a good connection with the German Embassy as their logo is on the little packets of German gummy bears he has been leaving in the children’s shoes!
Why not toys? Why oranges? you might ask.  Well, apart from the fact that our children live such wonderfully privileged lives in Canberra and receive what many would consider to be far too many material objects and toys already; and putting aside the fact that many plastic toys eventually just contribute to landfill or end up in the Pacific Garbage Patch …. oranges and Sankt Nikolaus are a long-standing German tradition.
According to the legend, Sankt Nikolaus once heard of a family so poor they were planning to sell one of their children into slavery.  Saint Nikolaus visited the family at night, and wanting to leave money anonymously for them, he dropped three golden balls down their chimney.  These landed in one of the children’s socks which had been hung near the chimney overnight to dry.  And so the tradition started.
In times since, oranges have been used to represent the golden balls given by Sankt Nikolaus.  Oranges were rare and precious in those days.
In a more recent example, one of our GAP parents who grew up in East Germany remembers that oranges were still considered a luxury when she was a child, and that to receive one at Christmas was a very special treat.
So the children are not getting “just oranges” – they are sharing a legend, a tradition, and some great German culture.   Sankt Nikolaus mentioned to the children today that they were also getting vitamin C from their oranges, and one of the children corrected him: Oranges start with vitamin O!

Baby Chickens

The Thursday/Friday GAP class enjoyed a visit from some 9-week old chickens.

It was fun seeing how the chickens were transforming from fluffy chicks to feathered chickens.   We’ve been collecting compost from our lunches to feed the chickens, too.

Thanks to the family who brought them in for a visit – that was fun!

Arboretum Excursion 2017

The Monday/Tuesday GAP children enjoyed a wonderful excursion to the National Arboretum today.

We had an absolute ball exploring the acorn playground… and we soon found out that the arboretum has so much more to offer.

We enjoyed morning tea on a large deck overlooking sweeping views of Canberra.  We could see Telstra Tower and all the way to Parliament House, where some of the children reckoned they might work one day.

Our absolutely wonderful guide, Heather, met us outside to tell us about the arboretum.  Heather was so engaging and enthusiastic about our visit, we all immediately fell in love with her trees, seeds and  animals, and it seemed the children had decided they would be prepared to follow her anywhere.

Off we went, faithfully following our wonderful Heather like the Piped Piper of Hamelin (very German).  She showed us all sorts of interesting trees: some with needles instead of leaves, some with enormous pine cones, some with baby pine cones, some with “bird poo spiders” in them,   some with secret “butter bum bird” nests in them.  Heather’s explanations and nice big photos made it all really fascinating.

After our walk among the trees, we climbed the funny zigzag path back up the hill, encouraged again by our enthusiastic guide.  Heather read us her story about a bonsai tree, and we sat all around her, listening and entranced.  Imagining we were fairies, Lego people, birds, bees or tiny elves, we fluttered around all the bonsai plants in the garden and decided which one we would like to live in.

We then enjoyed another delicious hour exploring the acorn playground, had a big drink of water, and went to sit on some really big logs to sing songs while we waited for the bus to take us back to Turner.

The bus dropped us off on Barry Drive, and a short walk later, we arrived back at the GAP full of joy, in time for lunch and a well earned rest.  It was a most enjoyable excursion!

Many thanks to mums and dads who dropped children off at the arboretum this morning, and to our adult helpers who accompanied us today.

Kittens in Kinder

As part of Spielwelt’s community giving program, the Monday / Tuesday GAP class are collecting donations and crafting toys for Canberra Pet Rescue.

On Tuesday, we had a totally engaging visit from three Canberra Pet Rescue volunteers who talked with us about caring for kittens and shared some interesting facts about kittens.

Best of all, they brought along four sweet and charming kittens, who entertained us all enormously with their antics, playing with the pompoms we had been busy making for them.

The children were thrilled to be able to play with the curious kittens. Thanks to the volunteers from Canberra Pet Rescue for bringing them in and educating us!