Category Archives: playgroup

A-Z of Spielwelt in 2022

Herzliche Grüße liebe Spielwelter und Spielwelterinnen,

Mensch, it has been a very busy year for Spielwelt! Thank you to everyone who contributed in ways both large and small, it is your efforts that make our wonderful organisation possible.

To celebrate 2022, we have collated a bit of an A-Z of Spielwelt below.

A is for Administration, and all the people who make sure the website operates, the emails get sent and the invoices get paid. Particular thanks to Margie, our amazing bookkeeper and administrator extraordinaire, who is always cheerful and willing to help on matters small and large.

B is for Budget. As a not-for-profit organisation, we take financial responsibility very seriously. The committee had to make some hard decisions this year, but we have achieved a broadly balanced budget for the year and made sure that we remain in a strong position for years to come. Particular thanks to Salim, who is stepping down after a number of years of service as Finance Adviser (2020-2022), and before that Public Officer (2017-2018).

C is for Committee. The Committee has contributed a lot this year, including a number of extra meetings after Lisa’s resignation. They also put up with me being in a different time zone (there may have been more than one occasion where I would have been an hour late, were it not for prompts!). I am very grateful to the whole committee (Christiane, Emily, Janne, Jensen, Lisa, Minh-Tam and Salim). Particular thanks to Salim (see B above) and Emily, who is stepping down after two years as our Keen to Be Green / Enrolment Secretary.

D is for the Delightful Story Night, where the Pfadfinder put on a fantastic evening’s entertainment for Spielwelt families. There are some graduating GAP children who are now very excited about getting to join Pfadfinder and join the concert in years to come!

E is for End-of-Year Concert, where GAP children showcased some of the songs they have been learning at playschool, to rapturous applause. Of course, they finished with the ever-popular Tschu Tschu Wa!

F is for Federweißer. Particular thanks to our special events coordinators Gerda, Gerald, Christian and Uli for organising all of our events this year, and Alex from Collector Wines (and Pfadfinder Papa) for making the delicious Federweißer.

G is for GAP (ist meine Schule), where children’s dreams come true.

H is for Haig Park, the lovely park where the Turner Scout Hall is located. It is such a great location to practice setting up Pfadfinder tents, and little excursions for Spiel und Spaß and GAP, including to the Nature Playground. 

I is for Interesting Books, which you will find in the Spielwelt Library. We have an extensive collection of German language children’s books available for all ages and skill levels, as well as books on raising multilingual children. Particular thanks to Martine for keeping the Library ordentlich and updated!

J is for Janitors, our wonderful cleaning staff who keep the place spick-and-span and COVID safe.  

K is for Katrin, who took over as GAP Director from May to December. She did a great job over this time, hiring new staff, learning the ropes, keeping our children’s services licence up to date, stepping in to cover when teachers were absent, and even representing GAP on ABC Canberra!

L is for Lisa S, who stepped down as GAP Director, after 15 years helping to build up Spielwelt to what it is today. She has been incredibly helpful throughout the transition to a new director. We are very grateful to still have her wisdom and guidance on the Committee, as well as for continuing to be Tschil / chill at Pfadfinder throughout.

M is for Martinstag (in June!). A particular shout-out to the recipients of Presidential Certificates of Awesomeness after the night (the Pfadfinder Cubs, for their inspirational play, and Richard K, for his finesse at perfectly frying Würstchen and commitment to clean BBQs).

N is for Nikolaus, who again graced GAP, Spiel und Spass and Pfadfinder with his presence and presents! Special thanks to Jens and Andi for assuming the Mantel this year. 

O is for Oktoberfest (in November!), when Spielwelt families were transported straight to München thanks to the wonderful live brass band, delicious German foods, tasty home-brewed beer and the sounds of children running around happily while the adults chatted away. 

P is for Pfadfinder, where (slightly older) children’s dreams come true. Special thanks to our leaders (Alice, Jens, Lisa, Melanie, Stephanie, Struppi, Swantje and Wolfgang), and all of the Adult Helpers (Andi, Byrd Esther, Hanna, Ivo and Tatjana) who make this such a great program. 

Q is for Quatsch😎

R is for Renovations:This year the eastern mural was completed, the sandbox renovated, new colourful carpets were purchased for the eastern foyer and a new bench installed for the comfort of those waiting outside.

S is for Spielgruppen: Spiel und Spaß / Spiel und Spannung / Schlaumäuse, where (slightly younger) childrens’ dreams come true. Particular thanks to Seyhan, Meike, Doris and Stephanie for all of their contributions to these fun groups over the year. Play and socialising is such an important part of children’s development – and adults’ too! 

T is for Teachers. Our GAP Teachers have gone well and truly above and beyond this year, managing despite staff shortages and sickness. Special thanks to our teachers, Gerda, Lisa (Third of Her Name) and Toby, and our casual staff and volunteers, Barbara, Cristina, Eli, Friederike, Jasmine, Nic and Ulrike.

U is for Used Clothes. This year we organised two very successful used clothes exchanges. Look out for the next editions in 2023, in the two weeks leading up to Lantern Walk (in June) and Oktoberfest (in November).

V is for Volunteers, without whom Spielwelt wouldn’t exist. We celebrated this year over 3000 volunteer hours put in since 2008 to improve the Scout Hall. We really appreciate all of your contributions, whether you bring delicious food to one of our events, help maintain the library, get sweaty at the working bees, keep the hall maintained or wash towels. The Committee this year also awarded Life Membership to those volunteers who have gone above and beyond over a significant number of years. Congratulations and thanks to Christian, Gerald, Gerda, Jens, Lisa, Stephanie, Steven and Uli. We welcome further suggestions of those deserving of this recognition!

W is for Wandel des Klimas. The voices of Spielwelt children and young people were heard as part of Spielwelt’s submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communication, for the Climate Change Bill 2022.

X is for eXcursions, which eXtended our children’s horizons as they eXcitedly eXplored the National Portrait Gallery and the Arboretum.

Y is for Yummy Mangoes, with over 100 trays sold, $648 raised and many tummies filled with sweet yellow deliciousness! 

Z is for Zweitausend Dreiundzwanzig! We can’t wait to have more fun with you all next year, whatever comes our way!

Macht’s gut zusammen!

Spielwelt celebrates Nikolaus in 2022

Lustig, lustig, tralalalala!

An article from our President Tobias.

December is an exciting time when you are a child, what with end-of-year celebrations, long summer days and, of course, the promise of Christmas presents. But the children at Spielwelt are doubly lucky, because they can expect a visit from not just one, but two jolly men this season!

Spielwelt, which runs German-speaking playgroups, the German Australian Playschool and a German-speaking Scouts group, commemorates every year the good St Nikolaus. Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other German-speaking communities traditionally celebrate the feast of St Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra, on the 6th December. But in Canberra, Spielwelt celebrates with delicious Plätzchen (biscuits), Lieder (carols) and a visit from the good Saint himself throughout the week, to make sure no-one misses out.

The hot Canberra summer is a sudden shock from the depths of a European winter for Nikolaus, and to make things worse he doesn’t speak a word of English. But luckily he has landed at the scout hall in Turner, where the fun bilingual programs teach his native tongue to children raised with English and German alike. The children make Nikolaus – complete with bishop’s mitre, cloak and staff – feel immediately at home by singing Lasst uns froh und munter sein (Let us be happy and cheerful), which tells of the upcoming celebration of Nikolaus.

Santa Claus and St Nikolaus share a similar cultural heritage: indeed, the name Santa Claus comes from the Dutch word for St Nicholas, Sinterklaas. It is no surprise then, that Nikolaus brings presents for children who have been good this year. Luckily, all of the Spielwelt children – and their teachers too – have their names written in Nikolaus’ Golden Book this year!

Before they receive their present, the children proudly show off what they have mastered that year. They sing loudly, run quickly, read German poems or dance. Sometimes, Nikolaus shows off what he can do too! He then rewards the proud children with a mandarin and a chocolate.

After a photo and a final song, the good Saint with his bishop’s mitre and staff bids farewell to the children for another year. But there is still one more surprise in store! When they check their shoes, dutifully left by the front door, they find a little chocolate coin left in each pair of shoes.

The Spielwelt German Parents Association runs a variety of fun and supportive programs to develop German language skills for children and young people aged 0 to 26. It also builds a strong community that celebrates the cultures of German-speaking countries. It welcomes children, young people and their families with all levels of German language ability. The programs are centred around the Scout Hall in Haig Park, Turner, and include:

  • Spiel und Spass (Play and Fun), a playgroup for children aged 0-5 and their families that meets 9:30-11:30am every Wednesday.
  • German Australian Playschool, which offers a play-based educational program for children aged 3-5 during school hours. There is a German immersion class on Mondays and Tuesdays, and a bilingual class on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • Pfadfinder, a Scout group for children aged 6-26. The Pfadfinder meet on Monday nights (for young people in high school and above) or Tuesday nights (for primary school aged children), between 6-7:30pm.

“We are welcoming enrolments for 2023 and beyond, and cater for children who are fluent speakers and those who are learning German as a second or third language”, says Spielwelt Committee President Tobias Beckmann.

Nikolaus will visit Spielwelt programs on Tuesday 6 December, Wednesday 7 December and Friday 9 December. The German Australian Playschool is currently taking enrolments for 2023 and beyond; and Spiel und Spass and Pfadfinder always welcome new friends. For more information, see www.spielwelt.org.au, or contact the Director, Katrin, on gap.director@spielwelt.org.au.

Turner Scout Hall Playground Update 2.0

In addition to our playground make-over which took place in February this year, the Turner Scout Hall has recently seen a transformation of the sandpit, which has been a complete redesign of the existing one, very much to the children’s delight.

Children and teachers were involved in the design last year, testing out different configurations using boxes and wooden planks as a mock-up to see what they liked best and what worked well.

Many thanks to the talented carpenter and early educator Aaron Knudsen from Pallet Play for this amazing and delightful addition to our outdoor space. The sandpit now functions as a modern outdoor kitchen with heaps of counter top space for children to cook and bake delicious “Pizza”, “Sandkuchen” and serve up tasty “Cappuccinos”.

In addition to its functionality of keeping the sand more contained now, the sandbox also hosts a range of dinosaur fossils which are keenly excavated by our young explorers. This beautiful play area makes our outdoor space an even more fun and engaging place which the children truly appreciate.

Lantern Walk 2022 – Plan Your Visit

The Turner Scout Hall and surrounding Haig Park will come alive with bobbing lanterns, excited children, traditional lantern walk songs, families socialising and delicious food on Saturday 18 June 2022, from 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

Bring cash for food and drinks: $5.00 per German sausage; $3.00 for a baked potato; $2.00 for each mug of Gluehwein, Kinderpunsch or soup; and gold coin donations for each serving of the other delicious foods. Water is free. (Participants are encouraged to bring a plate of finger-foods to contribute to the tables. Members: see the volunteer sign up list.)

Dress warmly and wear footwear suitable for walking on wet grass.

Covid safety rules apply: Stay home if you are unwell. Distancing of 1.5m between different families at the event.

The order of events are:

4:30pm Arrive, socialise, browse the children’s clothing swap table. Food tables and BBQs begin to serve.

5:00pm MC gives official welcome while folk enjoy food, drink and each other’s company.

5:25pm All gather to sing lantern walk songs, as food tables and BBQs start packing up.

5:45pm The parade commences.

5:55pm Parade forms a circle amongst the trees; young children’s parade inside the protective circle of adults.

6:10pm When the children’s parade finishes, adults should STAY IN THEIR CIRCLE FORMATION until we have reunited all children with their parents.

6:15pm Parade arrives back at the scout hall and assembles at the stage (behind the scout hall) to watch the Scouts’ play about Sankt Martin (who is associated with the lantern walk in Germany).

6:30pm Pack up and head home. If everyone tidies up at least three items, the job will soon be done.

6:30-8:30pm For those people with older children who want to stay on for the “after party” (and help with the clean up) we will keep our little bonfire going.

Read more about the lantern walk event here!

Over 3000 Volunteer Hours

Pfadfinder Scout Group will be presenting a special Certificate of Appreciation to the parents and families of Spielwelt this week.

Since 2008, Spielwelt parents have contributed over 3000 hours of volunteer work to improve the Turner Scout Hall, and the number of hours keeps growing.

The hours include time spent planning, fundraising, managing capital works projects, and attending annual working bees to perform routine maintenance and contribute to major improvements.

Spielwelt and Pfadfinder enjoy a close relationship, with each helping the other to create a wonderful experience in our programs and a safe and friendly space at the Turner Scout Hall for all our children and their families.

Danke schoen!

Turner Scout Hall playground mural

The children returned to their programs to see that their playground had been completely transformed by the addition of a beautiful mural.

Many thanks to Byrd & Hoon for this amazing and delightful addition to our hall. The Fachwerkhaus theme (from the west and south sides of the building) now carries on into the playground side… with the addition of ivy and a lot of birds and tiny critters.

The birds all feature in popular German children’s songs and rhymes. It is a lot of fun to try to find them all hiding in the ivy.

Our shed has been transformed into a barn.

There is a rainbow pan pipe which makes different sounds when you tap on the holes at the bottom. Out of the pan pipe, float a few magical mirror bubbles. The lower-level mirror bubbles are big enough for children to see themselves (especially helpful when rubbing in their sunscreen).

There is also, of course, der kleine Onkel (the horse from Pippi Langstrumpf), who looks like he lives in the scout hall!

The playground is an especially beautiful space to play in now.

This wonderful mural is the work of local muralists and artists, Byrd and Hanna Hoyne. We are very grateful to them for really transforming the building for us all.

It looks like one of our groups who hire the hall, All Round Good Hounds, also heartily approve of the new look for the hall…

A-Z of Spielwelt in 2021

Here is an A-Z for Spielwelt in 2021, created by our fabulous President Tobias!

A is for ACT Health, who used our hall three times as a vaccination pop-up clinic. The staff even left behind a lovely note in German for us!

B is for Bilingual Education Alliance seminars: our Präsident, Tobias, spoke at two ACTBEA seminars this year on “Raising Children in More than One Language” and “A Celebration of Languages“.

C is for the Committee. Thank you so much to our wonderful 2021 Spielwelt Committee: Christiane N, Emily K, Janne L, Julia B, Lisa St, Minh-Tam N, Salim M and Tobias B! They make sure that this fabulous organisation remains the best it can be, by providing their time, wisdom and perspectives on all things governance.

is for Deft Financial Management. Spielwelt made only a slight operating loss this year, due to covid. This is about 2% of our annual budget, and is pretty incredibly given the pandemic circumstances. In addition, we spent around $35,000 on capital works to improve our hall and playground. Special thanks to Margie, our amazing Finance Admin person, who keeps everything running smoothly.

E is for Environmentally Friendly, which is a very important element of Spielwelt’s ethos. As part of our continuous pursuit of being Keen to Be Green, we banned non-biodegradable craft items and small plastic toys, ran two clothing swaps, decommissioned the second fridge, and looked into more sustainable cleaning products.

F is for Friederike, who is moving to the coast after 10 wonderful years with GAP. She has such a beautiful energy with the children and her colleagues, and she will be very sorely missed by all.

G is for GAP (ist meine Schule), which celebrated its 15th year in 2021! GAP continues to delight children and parents alike, from the very first day of Schultüte, to Karneval, German Easter traditions, picnics, a lantern walk, nature park play days, music lessons, special guests, concerts, excursions, all the way through the year to the ceremonial ribbon archway at graduation. Special thanks to teachers Gerda, Friederike, Lisa3, and Birgit, and relief assistant Amelia, in 2021.

is for Harmonie Connect. Committee Member Christiane spoke on behalf of Spielwelt at an event hosted at the Harmonie Club in January. The event allowed people to hear all about the amazing German, Austrian, Swiss and German language organisations from across the ACT, including us!

I is for “Ich geh mit meiner Lanterne”, which could be heard again through the crisp night air of Haig Park at our Lantern Walk in June. An estimated 200-250 parents and children joined in the festivities and shone light into the dark winter!

J is for Juice from Grapes, Fermented Quickly aka Federweisser! In March, we were able to celebrate our first combined event since 2019, with a glass of delicious Federweisser, a slice of Zwiebelkuchen and the warmth of the fire barrels.

is for Konzerte: It was such a joy to be able to celebrate the end of the year with our GAP Konzerte. The children enjoyed singing a sample of their repertoire on the new deck in the playground. After our encore, the final act was having parents and children dancing and singing along to the highly popular Tschu-Tschu-Wa!

L is for Lockdown: we made it through another one, we hope we won’t have to go through any more, and think that this Aranda School sign put it best…

M is for Mäuse, die schlau sind: our Schlaumäuse program again provided wonderful play-based German lessons for children in Kindergarten and Year 1. Special thanks to Stephanie for her amazing work that she does for this program.

N is for Nikolaus, who was able to visit GAP, Pfadfinder and Spiel und Spaß again this year. All of the children left their shoes out in the hope of receiving Zuckerstangen, and also were able to show Nikolaus how they can jump, sing, dance, run and read poems. Nikolaus returned the favour to some children by showing how he can (almost) fly! Special thanks to Tim and Tobias for helping guide the good saint our way this year.

is for the Online Resources that kept us all a little bit saner during lockdown. There are so many ideas in the Spielwelt Remote Learning pages to keep up your children’s exposure to German over the holidays. Plus don’t forget to check out our online German language children’s media list and the Spiel und Spass Spotify playlist!

P is for Pfadfinder, who have been busy this year learning about German traditions, culture and history through fun games, as well as going on hikes, canoeing, orienteering, helping others, baking to raise funds for charity, learning to service their cars (our L- and P-Platers), making amazing nature art, floating home-made boats, treasure hunts and LOTS more. Special thanks to our leaders: Jens, Wolfgang, Stephanie, Struppi, Melanie, Alice and Lisa, and all of the Adult Helpers who make this such a great program.

Q is for Quality Children’s Services, with the successful renewal of our Children’s Services Licence for another three years. Special thanks to Lisa for the mammoth effort that goes into this process.

R is for Raises for Staff: The committee is aiming to increase staff wages in recognition of the important, and often under-valued, work that childhood educators do every day in caring for and educating our little people, and the big responsibility they take on.

is for Spielgruppen: Spiel und Spaß, and Spiel und Sport. We have had such fun growing and playing together this year, whether in person or on Zoom. Next year, we will launch Spiel und Spannung, in addition to continuing Spiel und Spaß. Particular thanks to Seyhan, Doris and Meike for all of their wonderful work in organising the groups and fantastic activities, whether online or in person.

T is for Teachers: we all know that we’ve got the best teachers at GAP, and they’ve won yet another award to prove it! We also welcomed the fun-loving Toby to our GAP staff in 2021. In the words of one of our little people: “I like Toby, he is richtig gut.”

is for Upgrades to the Hall, which included the Black Forest Retreat in the north-east corner and the amazing murals around the hall. We’re also looking forward to seeing the new fans in the hall and our new sandpit, both to be installed in early 2022.

V is for Volunteers – without them Spielwelt wouldn’t exist! A huge thank you to all of our volunteers in 2021, whether you helped lead one of our programs, kept the hall in top shape, helped out at one of our fabulous events, or did the little, often-unnoticed but super important things to make sure everything we do runs smoothly.

W is for Wolfgang (der Wolf), who took over leading the Joey Scouts from the wonderful Alice this year, has been on the leadership training course, and brought such joy to our Joeys.

is for X-mal, for the countless times that you checked in, washed your hands, wore a mask, kept socially distanced and stayed home when you were even just a little bit sick to make sure that we all remained safe. Thank you!

Y is for Yummy Mangoes: despite smaller trays due to a lower harvest, we still raised funds for Spielwelt and filled big and little tummies alike!

is for Zweitausendzweiundzwanzig! We can’t wait to see you all again for more fun next year, whatever comes our way!

Playground Corner Upgrade

After years of trying unsuccessfully to get some greenery to grow in the North-East corner of our playground, we called in Canberra-based playground expert carpenter and educator, Aaron from Pallet Play.

Aaron’s background in early childhood education combined with his artistic talent, experience with playground creation and carpentry construction skills were the perfect skill set. Our director and some of the teachers, committee and children all provided input into the design, and the Black Forest Retreat was born.

Aaron was happy for the children to be involved and ask questions while he installed it, which they enjoyed. Once the children could see what the finished product was going to look like, the most common question of course became “Have you finished yet?!”

The children were interested in the construction and had many questions.

The new corner space provides a deck, a stage, a hiding retreat area when the curtains are drawn, a cubby, a display area, a house, a horse stall, a colourful forest, a pretty reading corner, and much more.

The new corner cubby deck is also a great place for a class photo with its creator Aaron!

There is a forest theme inside, and when the sun shines through the leaf-shaped cut-outs, the interior lights up with pretty colours which move around as the sun does. When you dance on the stage, you can have pretty coloured lights on you. When you hide in the cubby, the colourful lights add a fun atmosphere. When you lead your horse into the stable, it becomes a unicorn.

The early morning sun has just started to shine through our beautiful colourful forest onto the stage.
What a lovely surprise: the colourful leaves shine onto the curtains in the mornings too!

Do the trees look familiar? They echo our indoor tree art made by the Pfadfinder scouts with our artists in residence, Byrd and Hanna, a few years ago.

We can hardly wait to see what Aaron’s magic will do for our Sandkiste sand box.

We are Back Again

Thanks everyone, for your patience during the COVID-19 pause.

We are returning to operations, with increased hygiene protocols, on the following dates:

Spiel und Spass: Wed 27 Oct 2021
GAP: Monday 25 Oct 2021
Pfadfinder: Monday 1 Nov 2021
Schlaumaeuse: Tues 9 Nov 2021
Spiel und SPORT: TBA

We will be outdoors as much as possible.

Parents are asked to remain outside unless:
– they are leaders, teachers or rostered on to help
– their playgroup child needs to be accompanied to the toilet
– they are attending a Schnupper session

Remember to use the CBR Check-In app (mandatory) on arrival.

If you do need to enter the building then:
wash or sanitise your hands (please)
wear a mask (mandatory for people 12 years and up)

We are in accord with the sign outside Aranda Primary School!

The maximum occupancy in our hall, at 4 sqm per person, is as follows:

main hall: 21 people
large (east) foyer: 10 people
kitchen: 3 people
quiet room: 4 people

Birgit’s Nature Mandalas

Wenn ihr spazieren geht und in der Natur seid koennt ihr doch mal versuchen Mandalas zu machen. Es gibt viele Dinge mit denen man kreativ sein kann. Zum Beispiel: Blumen, Baumrinde, Blaetter, kleine Aeste.

When you go for a walk out in nature (or as our indigenous friends say, when you are “on country”), it is fun to be creative by making natural mandalas. You can try using flowers, bark, leaves, grasses, small sticks or anything you find.

To be even more keen-to-be-green, try to use objects that have already fallen to the ground rather than picking fresh flowers and living leaves .

It can also be fun to use these natural objects to make ladybird playgrounds with slides and mazes, or tiny decorated fairy tents.

Here are some of Birgit’s beautiful nature mandalas