Category Archives: Keen to be Green

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.

 

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.

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.

Oktoberfest 2017

A huge thanks to our Oktoberfest organising team: Gerda, Gerald, Christian and Uli!  Many thanks also go to those who brought food to share, helped set up, prepared foods, washed dishes, and helped tidy up afterwards.

The crowds enjoyed good company, enjoyable music, and great German foods (the Wurst, pretzels and salads were terrific, the cakes and strudel were superb, and many folk reported that the Spanferkel was delicious).

Children played some fun German games, the entertained themselves playing on the scouts’ rope bridge and riding plenty of bikes and scooters.  It was lovely to see children of all ages running about in the park having a grand time while their parents socialised.

 

A plethora of colourful Dirndls, traditional Lederhosen, felt hats from various regions of Germany, and of course Biersteine, added to the festive atmosphere.

 

Thanks to an ACT government multicultural grant, these great cups can be reused at all our special events. No more waste!

The after-party carried on until 10pm, for those whose children were old enough for such a late night.  There was plenty of laughter coming from around the Lagerfeuer – a good night was had by all.

 

 

Presents Delivered to RSPCA

Inspired by a visit from the RSPCA, the Thursday/Friday GAP children crafted enrichment toys and treats for the animals.  These adorable and delicious treats were delivered along with donations of towels and pet food last week.

It was heart-warming to see the animals sniffing them appreciatively and opening their colourful hand-crafted presents from the children to find a food treat inside.