There is a German children’s song about colours that starts, “Gruen, gruen, gruen, sind alle meine Kleider; Gruen, gruen, gruen, ist alles was ich hab.” (You can enjoy hearing it by clicking here.)
Well at Spielwelt, we love being green too!
This post celebrates and acknowledges what we have done to date to be GREEN, and let’s you know what is next on our agenda.
To date, we have:
- upgraded all our lighting to LED
- upgraded our heating systems from hideously inefficient old heaters to fabulously efficient reverse cycle heaters
- programmed those heaters to switch off at regular intervals 4 times a day, in order to make sure they are not left on accidentally
- installed 6 panels of solar space heating on our roof, and provided personalised tours and information to other groups and individuals about this technology
- with help from LAROS Technologies in Fyshwick, we replaced our drafty old ill-fitting windows with wonderful new triple-glazed windows
- had an ACT Smart audit done and successfully applied for a grant, which we used for some of the audit recommendations
- installed that sticky fluffy stuff around door frames to prevent heat loss
- checked our big appliances for efficiency ratings (and replaced them where necessary)
- teach children in our playschool program about recycling
- we collect food scraps for chickens and composting
- introduced the Terracycle coffee capsule recycling program
- put up signage around the hall to remind staff about turning off lights and heaters
- our staff are trained that if they turn the heater or air conditioner on, they are to put the heater remote control with their car keys or bike lock keys, so that when they go home, the person is automatically reminded about turning off the heaters/air conditioning
- we encouraged our scouts to use recycled building materials to design and install a way to move warm air down from the ceiling area and onto ground level where our younger children play (that was a really fun project!)
- we had heavy curtains made to section off areas of our scout hall we don’t need to heat
- we have double doors between our heated areas and our outside doors, to cut down on heat loss in winter or heat ingress in summer
- check our electrical appliances each year to make sure they are not faulty and draining more energy than they should
- undertaken a study to see if solar energy would be feasible for us
- we have a 1000 litre rain water tank which is plumbed to our toilets
- we only use instant hot water, rather than trying to maintain large quantities of hot water for long periods of time
- we have recyling bins inside and outside, and educate the children in our programs about how to use these
- we talk to children and parents about reducing waste in packed lunches
- new toilets installed with half-flush
- installed new quarter-turn taps that are easy for young children to turn off fully
- our chldren’s programs use recycled supplies wherever possible for their art and other activities; and we have banned glitter (micro-plastics)
- we shun plastic toys where possible, in favour of wood or nothing (it is okay to not have things!)
- our teachers have all been given reusable coffee cups and a carry bag for them
- we use non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible
- we sorted our library of over 1000 childrens books and gave many away for free into the community (re-use)
- gave away some board games to the Buy Nothing Facebook group members in our local area
- our default superannuation fund is Australian Ethical Super, who support green technologies
… and finally…
32. we have a whole lot of fun thinking up new ways to stretch ourselves and the children in our programs to be and think cleaner and greener!
Next steps? Soft plastics! We will be aiming to reduce our use, helping families to reduce their use, and recycling soft plastics through the Redcycle program.
Want to get involved and help us be greener? Get in touch! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Thursday/Friday GAP children particularly enjoyed celebrating German Easter traditions. The children have been busy over the last week or so, creating and decorating an Osterbaum (Easter tree), crafting their own colourful cardboard egg-cups, dying hard-boiled eggs all different colours, creating adorable bunny ear head-bands to wear, and today we topped it all off searching for shiny chocolate eggs in the park.
Each child had a lovely wicker basket to collect their eggs in, courtesy of Lukas and Anja’s Oma who wove the baskets for us.
Our German parents may recall having heard the well-known German story, Die Haeschenschule, as children. (It’s English translation is A Day in Bunny School). This old classic is about these sweet little rabbits who learn the school rules and more particularly, the art of being Easter bunnies. [Our teacher skips a couple of pages where there are references to a naughty bunny, as we don’t have any naughty children at the GAP, of course.]
We wish all our little wonderful Easter bunnies and their families a safe and happy Easter long weekend.
Frohe Ostern, everyone!
At the GAP, our teachers don’t wait for Outdoor Classroom Day to take our eager students outdoors to learn. We spend time outdoors every day!
Apart from our own playground, we often have picnics and take walks into Haig Park (adjacent to our hall), or further afield to the local playground. Getting there is half the fun, as we encounter cyclists, dog-walkers, pedestrians, and stop to examine sticks, tree nuts, leaves, grasses and insects, along the way. We walk across bridges, learn to walk together as a group, hold hands, keep to the side of the path, and become more aware of our surroundings.
Apart from the obvious benefits for children being outside, it is also great to increase our awareness of our environment and what we can do to care for it.
When we return to the GAP, we get to have a big race for the last 100 meters or so, which always brings a lot of cheers and smiles to our faces.
Our library was one of the lucky recipients of Lilli’s love and attention over the summer.
The library underwent a massive re-vamp, starting from a huge jumble of over a thousand books, some on shelves, some stacked in piles, some stored in boxes under tables…. Our library now hosts what is undoubtedly the nicest (and most beautifully organised) German children’s book, video and music collection in Canberra.
Just a few of the myriad books that got sorted this summer.
Many books were given to grateful families, many others were donated to LifeLine to carry on their good work circulating in the wider German community. Only the best made it through to the finals, to our sleek new library, so we are sure you will enjoy browsing our shelves.
New books and donations are being received all the time by our librarians Florian and Lilli, so keep checking the shelves for fresh material and old favourites.
The library caters for 0-16 year olds, and sections include learning German, ABCs and vocabulary builders, children’s classics, the popular Wieso Warum Weshalb series, music, videos, mystery, adventure, and much more.
Pfadfinderinnen! Lilli has even created you a “starke Maedchen” section! Come and check it out!
After many hours of hard work over the summer, our foyer has been completely renovated.
No more horrible cramped, dark, cluttered storage area. We have welcomed in a bright, open, cheerful, greatly enlarged space to work and play in.
Each GAP child now has their own personalised area to store their personal items; Pfadfinder have more room to do woodwork and other projects; Spiel und Spass parents have more room for prams.
Many thanks to the parents and scouts who put so much time into the renovation, designing, demolishing, sorting, purchasing, cleaning, painting, tiling, fixing, woodworking, and much more. We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated and amazing community who can pull together to create something terrific for us all to use.
After the first stage of the demolition
Nearly ready for action (view of the north end)
First day of school in 2018 (view of the south end). Note the cute washing line on the far wall, for lost and found items!
The scouts and playschoolers all had a chance to ‘think outside the box’… and to think inside the box as well! We had a big delivery of cardboard to play with, and simple instructions: Build what you like! Suddenly, there were forts, castles, draw-bridges, sleds, horses, swords, tunnels, mazes and all sorts being built inside and outside the hall.
Speaking of thinking outside the box, the teachers at the GAP were delighted to see the children thinking creatively about what possible alternate uses we could find for our toys. Among other things, it turns out that play traffic cones can be used to turn yourself into a penguin!
Taking a break from the Olympic games to play a few board games at the GAP. Board games are greatly loved in Germany, so it is fun introducing the children to a few of the early classics.
The GAP children went on a little expedition around the hall, checking out all the renovations. Out the back of the hall, we found Saul from TotalSpan Canberra, up on the roof of our new shed, putting on the finishing touches. We waved to him and asked what he was doing up there. He replied that he was making mud pies! We didn’t believe him though, and so he came down to visit with us.
We were allowed to see what he was doing, and go into the new shed. We are sure that the Pfadfinder scouts will be very happy when they see their new shed. And GAP and Spiel und Spass are happy too because they have the old toy shed all to themselves now. No more overcrowding hazards!
Many thanks to the ACT government’s Community Support and Infrastructure Grant program, for allowing us to build the shed.
Our 2018 Thursday/Friday class enjoyed their first day at GAP today.
At the end of the day, the children all received Schultueten. It is a tradition in Germany that each child received a cone shaped Schultuete full of little presents, school supplies, and little items they will need for Kindergarten.
Normally the Schultueten are organised by the child’s family, but here at the German Australian Playschool we provide these for the children as our gift to families. It has been known to bring tears to the eyes of German parents who remember receiving these on their own first day at school.
Many German parents tell us they even have photographs or vivid memories of themselves or even their own parents with their Schultuete on their first day of school in Germany.
Children may keep all the items inside, but need to return the empty cones to us for future use, please.
As GAP opened for its 12th year of operation, an excited class of children received their traditional Schultueten.
We are pleased to announce that there were no tears from the children all day. (We won’t mention the tears of one lovely mum, whose eyes were a bit wet with gratitude and relief as her daughter ran off with her new friends to play, and settled in straight away!)
Our first day saw children busy singing, rolling around on the carpet giggling, creating self-portraits with craft materials, enjoying morning tea on the deck outside, (re-)orienting themselves in the classroom and playground, making new friends, and excitedly exploring their newly renovated surroundings.
The teachers all agree: It is great to be back at the GAP for another year of fun!