Category Archives: GAP

Lantern Walk 2018

Sankt Martin was seen galloping about on his trusty horse on Sunday night in Haig Park, amidst the many children and families with their beautiful lanterns, at this year’s German Lantern Walk.

Many Spielwelt families and their guests rugged up and braved the authentic-German-winter night air, to join the festivities.

There was music throughout the event:  Mike and his wonderful hand-crafted traditional German Drehorgel, an ambient guitar, a peppy brass and wind quintent including one of our talented scouts,  the sweet tones of the Pfadfinder Joey & Cub choir, and of course the many voices of families participating in the walk  who had no doubt been practicing the lantern walk songs at home.

The food was, of course, delicious and warmed our hands, stomachs and souls.  There were scrumptious home-made soups, German Bratwurst (from the Brathaus) served on buns with onions and steaming sauerkraut (and thanks to our cracker-jack team of efficient BBQ volunteers we had very short queues this year),  fresh breads,  traditional Weckmaenner (who held their own lantern parade before coming to ours, judging by the photo below), a mouth-watering array of Nachtisch (desserts) all baked and donated by  our wonderful families, and of course, the ever popular Kinderpunsch and Gluehwein served up by our all-time-favourite Gluehwein team.  (Craving more? Recipes here!)

We are keen to be green, so proper mugs, cups and bowls were all provided instead of disposable ones (thanks to an ACT government multicultural grant) in our continued efforts to reduce waste.

Thus nourished, the crowds gathered to sing some of the songs, guided by the lyrics (projected onto the side of our new shed), before setting off on the walk.

The procession headed out into the park, lanterns bobbing along and brightening our paths, as the sounds of singing voices and accompanying instruments floated out through the darkness.

We stopped part way, to form a large circle so the Spiel und Spass children and friends were able to parade their lanterns inside the safety of the circle, while the sweet voices of the Pfadfinder Joeys & Cubs delivered a fine performance of a beautiful lantern song for us, accompanied by the talented guitarist.
Arriving back at the hall, the procession was greeted with baskets of Weckmaenner to eat and share.  The children gathered with their lanterns on a large tarp to sit and watch a short play about Sankt Martin stopping in his travels to share his cloak with a poor beggar dressed only in rags at the gates of Amiens.  The narration of the interactive play was partly provided by the crowds singing the various verses of a Sankt Martin’s Leid.  Inspired by the kindness of Sankt Martin, our families kindly donated just under $100 to our collection tin for Barnados in Canberra.

Following the play, our “after party” enjoyed a bonfire to warm up, before helping to  tidy up, wash the dishes and head home.

A huge THANK YOU to all those who helped in all ways great and small, to make this year’s walk an indisputable success.  Special kudos goes to Alice who orchestrated the whole event from the planning to the delivery.  Danke!


The children at the GAP have been learning about various occupations in our community.

They enjoyed baking and selling their delicacies at the Lecker Baeckerei bakery, styling our teachers at Fritz Frisur’s hairdressing shop, selling goods at our grocery shop, engineering  new buildings at our Bob der Baumeister construction site…

… doing administrative work and stamping letters in our post office…

… and saving lives at the Krummbein Krankenhaus hospital.

Bake Sale: the Sweet Taste of Success

A big thank you to all those who volunteered their time and cooked, baked and donated lovely baked treats; and to those who volunteered their time to manage the cake stall last Sunday.

We had a lovely sunny start to the day, and the event was a great success.

All those lovely treats, beautifully packaged, enticed the locals to buy and support our fundraising efforts.

The most-talked-about cake of the day was the beautiful berry cake with vanilla custard centre which looked too good to cut up! But cut it up we did, and it drew a crowd!

We made $594 on the day.  Money raised during fundraising events is spent on improvements to the hall which benefit all our groups, such as the recent renovations to the foyer and upgraded lighting. This year’s funds raised will be spent on shelving and lighting in the new shed, and storage for our art supplies in the main hall.

Once again, thank you for your support.  It is greatly appreciated by all our members and the Spielwelt fundraising group.

Sweet chefs at GAP

The Thursday/Friday GAP children have been busy refining their Austrian/German culinary skills.

There are so many ingredients to learn the German names of,  and to smell, examine, discuss, weigh, measure, stir, pour, and taste when baking at the GAP!

The class really enjoyed making and eating delicious Kaiserschmarrn (literally translated as Emporer’s mess) and Apfelmus (apple sauce) to go with it.

No internet recipes for us!  We used a good old German recipe book for the full authentic experience!

Therapy Dog Visits

We were delighted to have visits from “Brown Dog” and his  psychologist friend Matt, from Sage Psychology, for both our classes this month.

After gentle introductions, the children decided it would be fun to have Brown Dog join them in the circle, so into the circle he went and sat down on one of the coloured squares just like the children do… much to everyone’s delight!

As Matt talked, the children had the chance to pat Brown Dog and rest their heads on his side and feel relaxed.  (Brown Dog was very relaxed too, and rested his head and paws on some of the children’s laps while they patted him…  which resulted in more delight!)

What is a therapy dog?  Matt explained that Brown Dog’s job is to help people feel calm (and not, as one child suggested, to sleep all day), while Matt helps them to talk about things that might be making them feel sad or worried, so that they can feel better.

The children also asked about what Brown Dog liked to do and liked to eat.  (Matt the psychologist joked as an aside that he could afford to feed Brown Dog now that he was considered a tax deduction!)

We really enjoyed the visit, and it also helped diminish some of our children’s anxiety around dogs.  Even some of our teachers enjoyed some dog therapy!

Perhaps one day, we will teach Brown Dog (Brauner Hund) some German and he can become a teacher at GAP!  Imagine that!



Muttertag / Mothers’ Day 2018

The children have been busy at GAP preparing for Mothers’ Day, making beautiful bookmarks using items collected from nature.

In one of our classes, the children started by glueing beautiful autumn leaves onto a big poster.  The colourful group of leaves reminded us how the mums at GAP are also one big wonderful colourful community together, so we stopped to take a group photo with our “community of leaves” poster for you.  Then the poster was cut into smaller pieces to make bookmarks for each mum.

In our other class, the children have also been busy making beautiful bookmarks using pretty leaves and pressed flowers.   It has been delightful to hear the children’s thoughts about their mums, while they chat with each other and work on their crafts.

We wish all our wonderful mums and grandmums a happy Mothers’ Day!  We hope they feel loved by the children and teachers, and are reminded about how all our mums and grandmums are each a special part of our GAP community.



Thought:  Are leaves on a mothers’ day gift called “maternity leaves”?


Australian Aboriginal Visit

The Thursday/Friday GAP children were educated and entertained today by Duncan Smith OAM and his colleagues Lorraine and Jakida, from the Australian Aboriginal educational group,  Wirudji Echoes.

At first some of us were a bit shy, but we soon warmed to our guests as they had all sorts of fun things to show us and tell us about.  And they had some funny jokes which soon had us giggling.

First we learned all sorts of local Aboriginal words, and were shown artefacts and how they are used.  There was a special carved stick for digging up edible roots and a basket to collect roots and berries in.  This was traditionally women’s work, so we needed a princess in pink slippers to model it for us.

There was also a shield and club for fighting (although Duncan was quick to point out that he didn’t like fighting, so assured us he never uses it).  It is nonetheless a requirement to pull a scary face when one models the fighting equipment, however.

We learned about how the Aboriginal people hunted for food using boomerangs – different sorts of boomerang for different animals.  We also saw that by tapping the top of a special emu call-maker, the Aboriginal people would trick emus into coming away from their nests, which gave the people time to steal the emu eggs and eat them.  This emu noise was made by slapping the wooden tube with the hand (not the forehead, as suggested by one of the children!)

We were shown how the Aboriginal people used sticks to start fires, and were allowed to have a turn. It is very tricky to keep that stick in place, spin it at the right speed, AND look at the camera!

Another exciting part of the program was having our faces painted in the local Aboriginal style.  The children could choose from Berry Princess or Kangaroo Warrior face decorations.

Duncan played us all sorts of native animal sounds on his didgeridoo: droning, kangaroos (of various sizes and hopping speeds), emus, dingos and kookaburras.  He soon had us up dancing and hopping like kangaroos as well, listening with our big kangaroo ears, and learning kangaroo dance movements.

While we rested from all that dancing, Duncan told us the Aboriginal Dream Time story about the Rainbow Snake who created the world and put all the colours in it.  The children were quite enchanted with that, and were very eager to participate in the Rainbow Snake dance.

First, we all lined up and Duncan checked with us that he was making the right snake noises.  We were quite adamant that moo and woof were not right!  Eventually he got it right, and we followed our Aboriginal dance teacher Jakida around the room in a winding snake pattern.

The children were absolutely delighted with this twisty turny rainbow snake dance and there were a lot of big big smiles and laughter.  The accompanying didgeridoo music and clapping sticks made it all really exciting and fun.

Just like the snake in the story, our dancing snake wound itself up into a tight curl at the end, and went to sleep.

We gathered together on the carpet again, and Duncan created some art in front of our very eyes, telling us about how different things can be depicted in Aboriginal art. He drew a scene showing the Rainbow Snake story and signed it for us.  He said we could photocopy it and colour it in.

At the very end, we were given wooden boomerang shapes as a gift to decorate ourselves (this isn’t usually part of every preschool presentation), and we had the opportunity to teach Duncan and his friends one of our favourite German words…








Musik mit Mirjam

The Monday/Tuesday GAP children had a fun visit from Mirjam recently.

Mirjam comes from Switzerland, speaks German (and French), and is a talented musician and music teacher.  She even used to be an assistant teacher at GAP, and kindly took time off her work at the Austrian embassy, to return to the GAP and give the children a special music lesson.

The children really enjoyed her clever musical rhythm train, and had plenty of questions and comments to add!  We also learned a lovely song and enjoyed calling out “Ole!” at the end of each line.


Botanic Gardens Excursion 2018

The Thursday/Friday GAP class enjoyed an excursion to the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

We savoured our morning tea out in the fresh air under some fragant gum trees, looking around in wonder at all the greenery, spotting birds, insects, plants and ponds.

Our enthusiastic early-childhood-education-trained German-speaking guide soon met up with us and took us over grassy fields, along secret paths, helped us cross over a creek using hopping stones, along part of the children’s trail, and told us about all sorts of plants and native critters along the way.

We came to the newest feature of the botanic gardens: a big tree house for children!  There is a ramp up to the first storey, but after that, one must climb a giant ladder to reach the crow’s nest platform.  There was some discussion amongst the children as to how best to achieve this.

It was fun up at the top!  At last, having conquered our fears, we returned back down the ladder. Phew!

We then walked allllllll the way back to GAP (over a kilometer), while chatting and singing.  We stopped part way to refresh ourselves in a shaded rest spot, with slices of orange and drinks of water.

The teachers all commented that it was a good reminder about how the children can manage more walking than we give them credit for, and we felt we should offer more opportunities to explore our local parks on foot as the children enjoyed stretching themselves like this.

We are grateful to the parents and grandparents who came along to help on the excursion.  Thank you!

Fire Inspector’s Visit

The GAP children enjoyed a visit from the fire-fighters today.  No, the fire-fighters were not there to extinguish the large number of candles on our Director’s birthday cake… but rather, our annual fire safety inspection was today.  (You know you have a great job when good looking fire-fighters visit you at work every year for your birthday AND when your adorable clients guess how old you are, they pick numbers like ‘ten’ and ‘fifteen’!)

After passing our inspection with flying colours, we were treated to an exciting tour of the fire truck and some of its goodies, including (would you believe) some oil spill mop up stuff the fire-fighters called kitty litter!

We marvelled at the long ladder on top of the truck and some of the very cool things they had on board, and we got to see some enormous heavy scissors used for cutting open cars.

We even got to see inside the secret closet!  Maybe it was because we asked so nicely (or perhaps it was because we asked so often).

We asked lots and lots of questions, such as:  does the paint on the truck melt in a fire; why are the wheels so big; what sorts of rescues do the fire-fighters do (it turns out that, yep, they even rescue birds out of trees!); what is that black thing (the thing that is actually orange); what does that say on the truck; why are you wearing sea-horses (which we finally figured out was ‘sun-glasses’); do you have a fire extinguisher in your truck; where were you when my sister was sick; and many other really great questions!

We saw how to carry a big hammer, axe and a giant can opener called a Halligan bar.  We admired oxygen tanks, saw a fire-fighter put on a mask, and checked out some fire-proof trousers.

Everyone who wanted to, was allowed to have a turn squirting water from a big hose onto a tree quite far away!

And when one of the children was too shy to squirt water at the tree, Charlie the fire chief asked if anyone would like to try to squirt HIM instead… there were immediately quite a few offers (including from his staff!)

One of the fire-fighters even knew how to say “Auf Wiedersehen”, which prompted us to say “Danke schoen” to him and his platoon.

When the fire truck left, we all waved them off, and they put on their flashing lights and sirens for us as an impressive farewell.


Another great experience at the GAP!