Category Archives: Pfadfinder scouts

Make The Most of Your Mail

Here is how you can augment the education factor  (and feel like such an awesome home school teacher) before you even open the envelope of ANY mail! (Children who are lucky enough to be enrolled at GAP will be getting some personalised mail this week, too!)

Spend time talking about:

* what does it say on the envelope?

* who is the envelope for and how can you tell?  (address, always in the middle)

* who sent it and how can you tell?  (return address, always either top left or on the back, and smaller than the TO address)

* who brought it to your house (the postie) and how did s/he bring it (on foot, by motorbike)? what do posties wear so you can tell they are posties and people can see them on the road?

* how did it get from the teachers to you? The teachers put things inside the envelope and sealed it and wrote the address on it, and then we took it to the post office. The post office sends it to a sorting station. The mail sorting is done by robots and people. The mail sorters don’t read the address from top to bottom like we do when we are reading a story; they read from bottom to top. First they sort the mail by country; then they take all the mail for our country, Australia, and sort that into different boxes for states/territories. Then they sort all the ACT mail into different postcodes. Then they sort by suburb. Then they sort by street and by the postie’s route, and put it into the postie’s bag to take out to the people!   Look on a world map or globe to see how that all works. 

* look at a map of Canberra, and see if you can figure out where the letter journeyed on its way to you?  There’s a postmark showing which post office it started it. Where is your local sorting station? Mitchell? Fyshwick?

* what’s on the pictures on the stamps? does anyone in your family collect stamps? what do other stamps look like?  would you like to draw your own design for a stamp?

* what do the stamps mean?  (they mean that someone paid the post office to deliver that envelope)  how much did they cost?

* is this a brand new envelope or did the sender use recycled envelopes? why is it good to use recycled envelopes? what else can you use your envelope for now? 

* sing along to the traditional German children’s song Kommt ein Vogel geflogen, about a little bird delivering a note (ein Zettel) to a child. Fly around the room like a bird, flapping your wings and delivering letters.

* want more? Here’s a kids’ video (in English) explaining the journey of a letter through Australia Post.

* now that you know how the postal system works, maybe think about leaving a note or picture on your mailbox for your postie to show your gratitude for their great community service. 


Lisa’s SUPER HOT TIP for parents wanting something to keep kids busy for HOURS for DAYS!!!
Get empty tissue boxes (or some sort of big envelope) and have your kids make mail boxes/pouches for each person in your house (to prop up outside each person’s bedroom door).  Kids can then spend HOURS drawing pictures to “post” to their family members. You can even supply some envelopes (recycled from your bills).  Be sure to check your personal mailbox regularly and make all the right noises when you find post there: Oh WOW! I got mail!!!  “Ich habe einen Brief bekommen!”

Useful German vocabulary:
ein Brief:  a letter
eine Briefmarke: postage stamp 
ein Briefumschlag:  envelope
der Brieftraeger (or die Brieftraegerin): postie (or lady postie), letter carrier
Adresse or die Postanschrift: address
ein Briefkasten: a mailbox

When you make your own mail box, you will surely want to have the German or Australia post logo on it!  Here they are:

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Viel Spass, everyone!!

Tanzen und Turnen – Getting Exercise

Been on your Baerenjagd walk and found all the neighbourhood bears for now?

Tanzen und Turnen (dancing and gymnastics) to music at home is a great way to lift one’s spirits and stay fit and healthy.

 The ABC has some great advice for young and old about staying healthy during the shut down.  

Here are some of our top picks for dance / movement songs: 

  1. Das Lied ueber mich (one of our teachers Katja’s favourite song) covers vocabulary for different parts of the body, and a few animals as well. 
  2. Aramsamsam mit Kinder.  The lyrics are nonsense words but it is very popular with children in Germany. It even has been performed for children by the Frankfurt Opera Company. Have fun with it getting faster and faster! (I wonder if adults sing it in the giant beer tents at Oktoberfest?! Could be a lot of fun… But I digress.)
  3. So ein schoener Tag will have you zooming around the room like an airplane, flexing your tiger-strong muscles, stretching up like a giraffe, jumping, swimming and dancing around holding hands to the music because it is such a beautiful day.
  4. Das Zappellied (the wiggle song) which is also good for vocabulary and concepts like beside / in front / behind / sit down / lie down… when you just can’t sit still on a chair!
  5. Tschu Tschu Wa.  Most GAP parents have participated in this action song at pick up time already, so they can enjoy a reprise at home.  You’d better all know this one off by heart when we get back together later this year!! 🙂  
  6. A-E-I-O-U is another great one for movement. Here’s a version with subtitles, but even if you don’t know the words following the teacher in the first link will give you a pretty good workout. 🙂  (Here is the original of that song with good old Volker Rosin who must have written about a billion children’s hits in Germany since the 1980’s.) 
  7. Ich bin ein Einhorn. I’m not sure what sort of actions you and your children can come up with for this last song, but this one is especially for our unicorn fans.

Viel Spass! (Have fun!)

Prepare Your Home School

Here are a few staples that it would be great for each child to have at their home-school. 

The basics:

  • crayons  (wax crayons; don’t go with oil pastels as you will never get it off your carpet/walls/furniture/work clothes/dog’s fur)
  • pencil crayons (the little tiny packs you get on airplanes are rubbish… invest in 12 or so long ones of a reputable brand like Crayola)
  • a normal pencil
  • a pencil sharpener
  • a pair of children’s scissors
  • paper (lots of white is great, some coloured if you can) (it doesn’t matter if it has Department of Finance stuff or whatever on the back… it can still be used for drawing and colouring)
  • glue and/or glue stick
  • sticky tape

Optional highly desirable items

  • a pack of children’s textas (any size) to colour on paper
  • chalk (for drawing outside)
  • a blank A4 book to draw in
  • an old paint brush (1 to 2 inches wide) to ‘paint’ on the pavement outside, using water in a bucket / empty container
  • a ball of coloured wool (the thicker the wool, the better)
  • a stapler
  • some envelopes (recycled from your bills)
  • a 246-inch screen and unlimited subscriptions to Netflix and Foxtel  (NO! I’m KIDDING!!)
  • bottle of wine and big block of chocolate (for Mummy) (Again, NO! I’m KIDDING!! Put that back!)

In the craft and activity ideas we provide on our website during our COVID closure, we’ll try to give you craft ideas that involve things that can be found at home.

Good luck, everyone!

Going on a Bear Hunt

Looking for some extra fun while you are walking in your neighborhood?

Perhaps you and Oma and Opa would like to join in the fun while staying safe indoors, too.

Pop a teddy bear (or a few of them) in your window, and walk around the neighbourhood in the coming days and see if you can find more. 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-25/coronavirus-bear-hunts-around-the-world-including-melbourne/12085168

To extend the educational experience, you can enjoy children’s author Michael Rosen’s delightful telling of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story (in English).  

There’s a fun audio version of the Bear Hunt song (in German) here, too. 

Be sure to participate in the actions, and enjoy your Baerenjagd.  

Viel Spass!

Setting Routines at home

Here are our tips for setting a routine at home, now that the family are working and schooling from home.

* Set a routine schedule for the kids; it helps make things predictable for the children. 

* Communicate with your partner and share the workloads: one of you works (the paid work) while the other looks after house/food/children (the super-valuable unpaid work), then you swap.

* With a steady schedule in place with your partner, you will know when you will be available for video conferences with colleagues, for example. Stick to that schedule as much as you can.

* If you are on house/food/children duty and are squeezing work in on the side, that’s fine, but if the children need attention remember YOU are on duty and your prompt attention to their needs will ensure your partner can keep working (and they will do the same for you when it is their turn). 

* Schedule in that each parent gets a bit of free time once a week as well, while the other does the children/food/household.

* Whenever both parents can work (ie kids’ nap times, special movie time), do that.

* Involve children in laundry folding, bed making, dishwashing, meal preparation, etc… even if it takes three times as long, it counts as time spent with them, keeps them busy and keeps your household moving forward.

* Plan (and shop for) your meals for the week so you don’t have to interrupt your partner’s work to find out what am I meant to be cooking tonight, nor find out that the ingredients you planned to use on your rostered dinner-night have already been used up. 

* Be realistic in what you can achieve at (paid) work. Your productivity may well dip but that is to be expected.

* If trying to juggle it all starts negatively affecting your relationship with your children, stop and reassess your priorities. Hone down your work commitments or seek outside help.

* Be patient and kind to each other and to the children…. Remember it’s tricky for everyone to adjust to the new situation.  

* Remember the children are not actually trying to wreck your work life (really, they’re not! It just seems like it sometimes!)… They just want love and attention.

* Our teachers will help you by preparing some materials (which we will post on the webpage and email to our GAP families) with activity ideas, and hopefully we will be able to make little videos for the children, too.

* If you have room, set up individual spaces in the house so you each have somewhere to retreat to recharge and maintain your sanity.

* Keep your family routines: Keep normal meal times, wake and sleep times.

* Get dressed properly for work on your work days. It maintains a sense of normalcy and reminds you you’re still working. 

* Make a “happy list” of things you can do and enjoy while at home, include things you can do even when locked down or isolated.

* Music is a wonderful mood setter. Use music to calm children and your household, or cheer everyone up.

* To cut down on the number of directions (orders) you need to give to children throughout the day, like “brush your teeth, get ready for bed, come to the table to eat, tidy up, rest time…” keep to routines and take a tip from our teachers and choose some non-verbal cues such as a certain song or the sound of a little bell or similar to signal the beginning of routine activities. GAP children will know [ring, ring! (of a bell)] “Wir räumen auf!” or “Wir gehen rein!” for example.

* The children have all learned how to sit quietly for one minute (and sometimes longer) having meditation time at GAP. It is a great calmer. Ask them to show you how to do it, and add it to your regular daily routine (we did it 2-3 times per day at GAP after circle/story time and before handwashing and meals). We sometimes chime a little triangle [ding!] to gently signal the end of meditation time.

* Remember that ‘social distancing’ is really just ‘physical distancing’; keep in social contact with your friends, neighbours, colleagues and extended family.

* Think of lockdowns, travel bans and closures not as a reason for panic, but more as a chance for humanity to all stand still for a while, in an act of mass cooperation worldwide to protect the vulnerable in our society.

Our Solar Panels are on

Some say the Turner Scout Hall is a power house of energy and sunshine! That’s all the more true since our solar panels went on today.

The children at the GAP sang a traditional German children’s song about busy tradespeople (Wer will fleissige Handwerker sehen? (sing along if you wish)) while the installers Carn and Ambrose were hard at work on the roof installing the panels and Rhys was wiring up the inverter.

When the workers were finished, the children came outside to admire the panels and talk about what they were for and why we are “keen to be green”.

Thanks to Mark and the team from Captain Kilowatt who organised it all for us, and Eshan at ActSmart who helped us with our feasibility study and picking the right components.

We are very grateful to the ACT government: Our contribution of $5,000 was matched by the ActSmart program, and we are now the proud users of a 6.48kW solar system with Jinko panels and a Fronius inverter.    

Based on current electricity consumption, and using our new SmartMeter, our investment will pay for itself within 3.5 years. 


Outrageous Picnic in Haig Park

The Monday scouts and venturers enjoyed an outrageous picnic in Haig Park. This wasn’t just any picnic!

White table cloths, a candelabra, colourful table lights, classical music and black-tie waiter service were the order of the evening. All set up under twinkling coloured lights in the park at night.

Table settings before the scouts arrived

The scouts had each brought something yummy to contribute to the picnic – home-made bread, delicious winter soup, dips, crudite, drinks and German desserts using Oma’s secret recipe.

The main course was “freshly delivered Turkish pide”, courtesy of a Cathy (in a pink flamingo costume, of course, because you know, it’s scouts and an outrageous picnic) and her team from the Haig Park experiments project.

Our fancy menu, auf Deutsch

As it was a scouting event, there had to be plenty of silliness. Our black-tie venturer scout waiters were harnessed and tethered to nearby trees with bungee cords, making it highly entertaining to see them try to deliver food and drinks to the tables.

Scouts enjoyed a three course meal. At each of the three courses, an envelope was delivered and its enclosed instructions were read out: During the Vorspeise, scouts could not feed themselves, but had to feed those next to them. During the Hauptgang, scouts caught speaking anything other than German had their food swiped by a waiter and had to beg (auf Deutsch, natuerlich) for it to be returned. During Nachtisch, scouts had to be blindfolded with beanies or scarves, and eat without seeing anything.

Then the bill arrived at the table. Oh dear! Rather expensive! Nearly 1000 Euros, including the Mehrwertsteuer and Gastronomie fees. The scouts were given three options for payment: cash, sing, or wash the dishes. Predictably, they chose the singing option and were given the lyrics and forced to sing four German children’s songs as a choir. It was really good fun!

We are grateful for the wonderful support of the Haig Park Experiments team.

Keen to be Green report: This event produced about 200 grams of waste to landfill. A great result, Pfadfinder scouts!

Landscaping in Haig Park

In response to community consultation, the ACT government is trialling some changes to Haig Park. One suggestion was to formalise the walking tracks into paths.

The Pfadfinder joey and cub scouts volunteered to help spread bark chips along one of the paths. Our Pfadfinder kids sure know how to turn work into FUN!

One of our venturers gets things started for the joeys and cubs

Five cubic meters of bark chips were delivered to Haig Park, and in the dark of night, we beavered away spreading bark and beautifying the trees lining the path.

Filling up the cub and joey scouts’ buckets from the dingo shovel!

We wanted to work quickly so that in the morning local residents would wake to a picturesque path.

The scouts had prepared beautiful natural objects and colourful birds to hang in the trees. There are even two hand-crafted eucalyptus bark baskets for people to admire, which had been created by a parent for our lantern walk.

Hanging the colourful birds (courtesy of Byrd) and natural objects.
A beautiful eucalyptus bark basket

Many hands (and buckets) make light work, and we had time for a few races up and down the path in the wagons, bike trailers, billy carts and wheelbarrows that we had used.

Preparing for the races!
The bike trailer and billy cart were so fast, we couldn’t capture them on film!
Preparing for a joy ride! (photo courtesy of Anna)
Singing one of our traditional scout songs amongst the trees in Haig Park

The sun rose the next morning on our picturesque path, all finished. We hope local residents enjoy the scouts’ contribution to Haig Park.

Lantern Walk 2019

What a wonderful winter walk we all enjoyed. This year’s traditional German lantern walk was a magical evening.

Many volunteers helped to put the event on: providing food, drinks, shopping, cooking and serving on the BBQ, cleaning, providing the audio/visual magic, and much more.

Families started arriving from all sides of Haig Park, with big grins and lanterns in hand
Our busy event organiser surrounded by the hungry hoards collecting their soup, Thuringer sausages, sauerkraut, rolls, Gluehwein, Kinderpunsch and yummy baked goods.
Soon the crowds were enjoying themselves, eating, drinking and chatting with new and old friends.
We assembled to sing the songs, surrounded by several magical jellyfish lanterns held by volunteers ready at all times to reunite any lost parents with their children.

The walk took us along a path lit by lanterns, to a wide circle area in the forest. There we enjoyed more singing together while the children paraded inside the circle with their lanterns, and we heard a special choral performance by the joeys and cubs.

Returning to the hall, we were entertained by a play about Saint Martin who is associated with the lantern walks in Europe.

After the procession, some stayed on to enjoy the bonfires.

We are grateful to the ACT government for their ongoing support of this event, through the ACT Multicultural Grants program.

Mental Health initiative

Spielwelt has recently established a relationship with BeYou, a national mental health initiative with an enormous number of resources for families and teachers, to promote and protect children’s mental health and well-being.

At Spielwelt, we promote healthy messages throughout each session, incorporate our favourite topics like friendship, kindness, resiliance, affirmation, inclusivity, adaptability, respect, compassion, being mindful, healthy eating, self-belief and more.  These help build children up, and gives them tools to cope with  the epidemic of anxiety and depression which has been emerging in Western societies in recent years.

Our mental health coordinator can be reached on mental.health@spielwelt.org.au

You can read about our mental health and well-being program here.

We also have a support library and help pages for families who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, family violence, separation, dying/death of a loved one, addiction, or other stressful situations.  Read on by clicking the square below, and talk to the teachers or director.

Supporting Children in Difficult Times