Category Archives: Keen to be Green

ACTSmart Sustainability Award Winner

Congratulations to all our families, children, scouts, teachers, coordinators, committee and scout leaders:  We won!

Spielwelt and our Pfadfinder scout group were the proud recipients of the ACT Smart Sustainability Award’s Energy and Water Star award for 2018.   The award was presented by the very supportive ACTSmart team and the ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury.

Just being nominated for the award actually spurred us into more action, and we have since introduced Redcycle’s soft plastics recycling at the hall, and are about to launch two other recycling programs working with Terracycle.   We’ve also signed up to be an ACTSmart organisation and will be ramping up our children’s recycling education program and looking at achieving a further reduction in our waste-to-landfill.  Details to come…

We next aim is to inspire you further!  If your home or business is looking for tips or support about what you can do, start with the ACT Smart website and contact their encouraging and enthusiastic team.

Recipients in other categories of the award are also listed on ACTSmart’s awards page.

You can read about some of the many, many things we have been already done to reduce our footprint and educate our children and families, and what we won the award for, in one of our previous posts…

Gruen, Gruen, Gruen…

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”?

 

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!

Gruen, Gruen, Gruen…

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:

  1. upgraded all our lighting to LED
  2. upgraded our heating systems from hideously inefficient old heaters to fabulously efficient reverse cycle heaters
  3. programmed those heaters to switch off at regular intervals 4 times a day, in order to make sure they are not left on accidentally
  4. installed 6 panels of solar space heating on our roof, and provided personalised tours and information to other groups and individuals about this technology
  5. with help from LAROS Technologies in Fyshwick, we replaced our drafty old ill-fitting windows with wonderful new triple-glazed windows
  6. had an ACT Smart audit done and successfully applied for a grant, which we used for some of the audit recommendations
  7. installed that sticky fluffy stuff around door frames to prevent heat loss
  8. checked our big appliances for efficiency ratings (and replaced them where necessary)
  9. teach children in our playschool program about recycling
  10. we collect food scraps for chickens and composting
  11. introduced the Terracycle coffee capsule recycling program
  12. put up signage around the hall to remind staff about turning off lights and heaters
  13. 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
  14. 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!)
  15. we had heavy curtains made to section off areas of our scout hall we don’t need to heat
  16. 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
  17. check our electrical appliances each year to make sure they are not faulty and draining more energy than they should
  18. undertaken a study to see if solar energy would be feasible for us
  19. we have a 1000 litre rain water tank which is plumbed to our toilets
  20. we only use instant hot water, rather than trying to maintain large quantities of hot water for long periods of time
  21. we have recyling bins inside and outside, and educate the children in our programs about how to use these
  22. we talk to children and parents about reducing waste in packed lunches
  23. new toilets installed with half-flush
  24. installed new quarter-turn taps that are easy for young children to turn off fully
  25. our chldren’s programs use recycled supplies wherever possible for their art and other activities; and we have banned glitter (micro-plastics)
  26. we shun plastic toys where possible, in favour of wood or nothing (it is okay to not have things!)
  27. our teachers have all been given reusable coffee cups and a carry bag for them
  28. we use non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible
  29. we sorted our library of over 1000 childrens books and gave many away for free into the community (re-use)
  30. gave away some board games to the Buy Nothing Facebook group members in our local area
  31. 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  ask.us@spielwelt.org.au

Enjoying our new taps and sinks

Over the summer holidays, Paul from JimFin Gas Fitting & Plumbing was very busy installing all sorts of treats for us.

We are now enjoying a new junior toilet in the girls washroom, and double children’s sinks in both washrooms.

Paul visited us today to put on the finishing touches we requested, by installing another two sets of his most heavenly child-friendly quarter-turn taps.

Being the friendly guy that he is, he also  fixed a leaking tap, gave us a lesson on washers, checked we had safe water temperatures for children, and replaced the covers for our water meter and mains tap which were broken and hazardous.

This all helps us look after our water consumption, and be the clean green community organisation we strive to be.

Federweisser Fest 2018

Saturday’s Federweisser Fest was a big hit with the crowds who came to enjoy the good food, wine, music and company.

From all accounts, the Federweisser (young wine) fermented especially for Spielwelt by Alex McKay of Collector Wines, was absolutely delicious, and a great treat for connoisseurs of such things.

Folk had a huge variety of delicious Zwiebelkuchen to choose from, thanks to the many families who tried their hand at Oma Heidi, Tante Gertrude or Oma Internet’s favourite recipes.   (There was even enough for the event organisers to be able to take some home at the end – what a great way to reward our wonderful event organisers!)

Children enjoyed the playground and running around in the park, as well sampling the grape juice, German sausages and buns.

It was great to see so many families from our playgroups, GAP, Pfadfinder, as well as Deutsche Stammtisch members, and other community supporters.

The event raised $600, which is a terrific result – thank you everyone for your generosity and support.

Special thanks go to Gerda, Gerald, Uli, Chris and their families and team members for all the great organisation and work; and thanks to Richard and Friederike who helped with the BBQ, cleaning and serving on the day.

A few of the many delicious Zwiebelkuchen on offer at Federweisser Fest!

 

Outdoor Classroom

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.

 

Joeys Environment Night

Our Joeys were delighted to be part of an exciting environmental awareness night.  ACT Conservation Volunteer Manager, Tatjana Schmidt, ran an evening of fun and educational activities.  The joeys and their Joey Leader, Kerria, are already looking forward to Tatjana’s next evening, coming up later this year!

We collected objects from our natural environment, and learned their German names.

We made a poster about the things we find and must care for in our environment. Alles auf Deutsch, natuerlich!

 

Thinking outside the box

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!

 

 

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.