Category Archives: Special Events

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.

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!

GAP turns 15

The GAP children enjoyed some delicious German cake after lunch today to celebrate the German Australian Playschool being 15 years old this year!

We have had an amazing first 15 years. We started in Scullin with two staff, offering one and a half days a week. We now have a delightful facility in Turner, employing five teachers, a director, a finance adminstration person, and two cleaners; and we operate two classes over four days a week.

We look forward to the next 15 years! The committee is undertaking a strategic financial review this year as part of our “best practice” governance and to ensure we continue to steer our organisation in the right direction. We are grateful to the parents who volunteer on the committee and share their expertise and set our policies, fees and directions.

Many thanks to Janne for the delicious cake!

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!

Raising Children in More Than one Language

The ACT Bilingual Education Alliance recently held an online seminar for families and educators helping to raise children in more than one language.

This informative seminar with Dr Mandy Scott (a linguistics researcher at the ANU and undoubtedly Canberra’s foremost expert on bilingual education) outlined the benefits, approaches and challenges, and then a wealth of knowledge was shared by panel members from the community as well.

You can read our Committee President’s panel presentation text in German and in English, and his reflections on the seminar. (He lost his voice shortly before the presentation, so when you watch the recorded seminar you’ll get to hear his robot voice covering his presentation.)

There is a recording of the one hour session that you can watch, including some excellent discussion and ideas being shared.

Lantern Walk 2021 Report

Somewhere around 200-250 parents and children attended the 2021 Lantern Walk, and enjoyed seeing the children’s hand-crafted lanterns, the delicious Bratwurst sausages and sauerkraut, the German music, the warm tasty Gluehwein and yummy Kinderpunsch, singing the lantern walk songs, the atmosphere, catching up with friends, the little bonfires, the Pfadfinder play about Sankt Martin, and of course the lantern parade.

Thank you to the organisers and everyone who contributed food and volunteered at the event. We all enjoyed it!

Here are some photos. If you have more photos (particularly of the gates of Amiens at night, the Children’s Circle parade in the ‘forest’, and the Pfadfinder play), please send them along so we can post them for all to enjoy.

We started the event with a meet and greet…. and EAT !!! Thanks to our BBQ volunteers and to Thomas at Brathaus for the German sausages.

The barrel bonfires provided a nice atmosphere and warmth all evening.


There was a chance to show off our lanterns while it was light, as well as when it was dark.

As it got dark, we assembled to sing the lantern walk songs, with the help of Sonia (vocals) and Silke (guitar) and the lyrics projected onto our ” Gates of Amiens”

Laternen Licht verloescht mir nicht, Rabimmel rabammel rabum!

After practising all the lantern walk songs, it was time for everyone to walk under the “Gates of Amiens” to start the parade through Haig Park.

Our lanterns helped guide the way, along with little lanterns hanging in the trees to mark the route. It was dark, but our voices carried us all along!

The parade stopped amongst the trees in Haig Park, and formed a protective circle of parents and scouts along the perimeter, while the young children paraded their lanterns in the middle of the circle while we all sang.

It was a delightful evening, and quite enchanting to see the children with their lanterns and their friends.
Minh-Tam, one of our committee members (and last year’s Spiel und Spass co-coordinator) kindly carried the Jelly Fish Lantern this year. This lantern is an easily recognisable safety spot for anyone needing first aid or lost children to be quickly reunited with their parents.

Our children’s circle parade was quite large this year! Many folk really appreciated being able to gather outdoors like this to socialise.

The lantern walk can be quite a colourful spectacle!

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

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!