Category Archives: Keen to be Green

Caring for the Environment in Space

The MondayTuesday GAP class had a fascinating presentation by Dr Doris Grosse today. Dr Grosse brought in a satellite to show us, and using a model rocket she built, she showed us how it launched into space. What was most surprising, however, was how much space junk was left behind in the process. Dr Grosse is working with other scientists to figure out how to clean up the environment… in space! We all agreed that was an important (and very cool) job!

Here is the rocket before launch. Of course, we liked seeing the European Space Agency logo on it! 🙂

To get a satellite up into space, we need a rocket to take it there. Here is our rocket on the GAP launch pad, ready for lift off. We all helped Dr Grosse to count down from ten (in German, of course), and then “blast off”!

To lift off, the rocket burns a lot of fuel, and that tumbles back down to Earth or goes into the atmosphere. This was simulated with crumpled paper dropping out of the bottom of the cylindrical rocket engines.

Look at all the burnt fuel from our rocket and the toxic chemicals that ended up in our beautiful blue ocean!

Then the rocket booster stages themselves are jettisoned and land in the ocean too.

Once the rocket gets up even higher, the nose cone, the second booster stage and the upper stage rocket body are released into space, where they remain in orbit. The satellite is put into its orbit around the Earth giving us data and communications.

We learned that satellites are very handy, as they allow us to video chat with Oma and Opa in Deutschland over Skype or Whatsapp, for example.

We all helped Dr Grosse to find and pick up all the space junk created by our launch and clean it away. Just like on Earth, if everyone helps, we will keep our environment nice and clean.

The photo at the very top of the blog shows a double cube satellite, with some sample electronics in it. We had a closer look at that tiny satellite, and the children wondered if we could also use it to find aliens…

We love having parents visit us at GAP and telling us about their work or hobbies. Let the teachers know if you’d like to come in!

What Makes Spielwelt Special

The committee has been discussing “who is Spielwelt and what makes it so special?”

These are some of our answers:

  • German language
  • We are welcoming
  • Teachers spending time with children rather than admin during the day
  • Teachers having the time to show care and love to each child and family
  • We look at the family as a whole
  • We consider each family part of our wider Spielwelt family
  • Families can progress from playgroup to GAP to Schlaumaeuse and Pfadfinder
  • We host great German cultural events each year
  • We enjoy small numbers, so families have a personal experience
  • A great sense of community (including at our events and working bees)
  • Great teacher:student ratio at GAP and Pfadfinder
  • Teacher retention is high: most of our teachers have been with us for quite a few years
  • Experienced staff
  • Committee involvement is high quality
  • We go on really cool excursions (at GAP and Pfadfinder)
  • Parents make friends too (as well as children making friends)
  • Our mental health program is strong
  • We are keen to be green in our operations and events

Frogwatch Visit 2021

The Monday/Tuesday GAP children enjoyed a visit from Anke Maria, the wonderful Frogwatch ACT coordinator.

We learned lots about frogs: what they eat, what they like (insects) and what they don’t like (pollution), where they like to live and the importance of taking care of habitat, and their life cycle.

Then we got to go outside and help a whole bunch of frogs LEAP into the air with the help of a colourful parachute! This, of course, was a highlight as everyone could help send the frogs flying!

Eins, zwei, drei, HUEPF!!

With any luck, you might be able to view a little video clip of our frogs flying here.

Aboriginal Tent Embassy visit 2021

After our visit to the National Portrait Gallery (see previous blog), we walked to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, where we would be welcomed and hear from one of the ambassadors there who had come from Gamilaraay country (near Moree NSW).

Between the gallery and the tent embassy we found an empty fountain pool. We simply could not resist the idea of going for a “swim”, so we did. Back stroke, Australian crawl, doggy paddle, we did it all without getting one bit wet! It was neat seeing the fountain pump and the lights close up – which we could not have done had the pool been full of water.

While we “dried off”, we sat on the edge of the pool, facing Old Parliament House, while our teachers talked about the tent embassy and gave us a safety briefing about the ceremonial fire there.

Arriving at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, we saw the fire, caravans and tents and we were welcomed by Albert and a puppy named Justice. Albert explained how the Aboriginal flag represents the black folk upon the red soils of the Australian outback both being nourished by the big golden sun. Albert liked hearing that the German and Austrian flags are black, red and gold too.

Albert (holding Justice the puppy) addresses the children

We talked about the Black Lives Matter movement in Australia and how Albert and his friends have their flag at half mast all the time because they are sad about how disrespectfully some Aboriginal people have been treated in Australia. We agreed we were sad about that too.

Albert talked to the children about how we are all people, no matter our colour, and that we all need to look after each other; and that we need to look after the land because it looks after us. We agreed that sounded like very wise advice, and then we indulged ourselves in a Justice-patting session.

We made our way to the bus stop, and entertained ourselves (and a fellow traveller) singing our school song “GAP ist meine Schule” in many different animal voices while we waited.

We thoroughly enjoyed the bus ride back to Civic, and the 1km walk back to GAP.

We are very grateful to all the parent helpers who came along: they really helped make the excursion a wonderful experience for the children and teachers. Danke schoen!

Helping Hands in Bushlands

The Pfadfinder Joeys and Cubs enjoyed a little hike up Red Hill with their families.

The kids did a great job climbing up the steep hills, to enjoy some beautiful views. They also used a compass to figure out which paths to take, located landmarks in the distance (like the arboretum and the airport), learned how to identify bush tomatoes, and hunted for Easter eggs.

While they were there, they did the scouting thing and offered their helping hands (and feet) to care for the environment. Everyone joined in a weed pulling competition (authorised by the Red Hill Regenerators nature park care group – otherwise no picking plants in the nature reserve!), which was both fun and helpful.

Clothing Swap 2021

From 7 to 19 June* 2021, we are hosting a second hand stall for quality baby or children’s clothing up to size 12. Tables will be set up in the east foyer (the coat hook/red hat room). Parents are encouraged to donate quality children’s clothing their child has outgrown, AND / OR  browse through the many donations and take whatever they like for free. 

If you don’t find anything suitable one day, check back the next day or week, as fresh items will have arrived.

*The last day will be 19 June, which is also the day of the Lantern Walk, so remember to check the tables when you come that evening.

Photo of just a few of the clothes available last ime, after lots of clothes had already changed hands.

Thanks to Emily, our committee’s “Keen to be Green” officer, for organising this.

Anything left on 20 May will be donated to our nominated charity Round About Canberra, or to Salvos or Vinnies. Enjoy!

Sand Prints

The children and parents at our popular Spiel und Spass playgroup were very busy last week creating beautiful sand prints to keep forever.

They mixed up some sand clay, patted it flat, then decorated it with foot or hand prints and beautiful shells, glass beads and other treasures.

Here’s how to make Meike’s Marvelous Sand Clay at home.

2 cups of sand
1.5 cups of plain all-purpose flour
1 cup of warm water
1.25 cups of salt

Pat it out flat onto a baking sheet. Decorate. Bake at 120 degrees Celcius for about 2 hours.

Being Kind to Birds and Possums

Our Pfadfinder Cubs enjoyed another great evening organised by Venturer Scout Amelia. One week, Amelia helped the cubs to make delicious and rainbow coloured unicorn fudge. She is passionate about the environment and caring for animals, so this week she organised a cub session to make Alfresco Apple Bird Cafes.

The recipe is simple and the results are greatly appreciated by the local wildlife – both winged and furry. The cubs studded cut apples with delicious seeds, and suspended the decorated apples in trees. This of course required some tree climbing, and we are pretty good at that at Pfadfinder.

GAP Lantern Walk

The GAP children enjoyed creating their own lanterns this year, out of recycled materials and sticks from the park. We added a tea light candle and some ribbon, and took them out in the park to test them out.

We walked with our lanterns and sang the traditional German lantern walk songs we learned at GAP.

It was a shame we couldn’t have our big walk this year with all of Spielwelt (due to covid), but it was really lovely having our own little lantern walk.

We took our lanterns to the nature playground and had warm Kinderpunsch there to celebrate our Laternenlauf.

We look forward to seeing you all at next year’s Lantern Walk!

Our Own Floriade

Organisations across Canberra were invited to host a little bit of Floriade in their own communities in 2020.

Our venturer scouts had recently designed, created and installed window boxes for us, so we had the perfect spot for some Spring flowers.

The GAP children got in on the action too, and planted a few water coloured paper flowers in our triangular garden in the playground.

We even had our own Floriade sign outside the Turner Scout Hall! Imagine that!