German Playschool Director Wanted

We are looking for a wonderful person to be our Early Childhood Education Centre Director and join the team at the German Australian Playschool.

The position is permanent part-time starting as soon as possible (and by 24 May at the latest to allow for a good hand-over). The job is about 27.5 hours per week, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 9:05am to 3:45pm plus one fortnightly afternoon for staff meetings. 

The German Australian Playschool caters to children aged 3-5 years, in Turner ACT, and is run by a small team of dedicated professional educators offering a wonderful program in German, in a loving caring environment.  

The GAP operates during ACT school terms and is also open for limited days during school term breaks, so you will get some school holiday time.

As the Director, you will add your flair and vision to this amazing not-for-profit community organisation.  The job is the perfect combination of administration, management and meaningful interaction with the children, teachers and families. 

The job is Director Level 6.1 to 6.3 under the Children’s Services Award, and the committee pays above Award rates. 

Come support and work with our small team of dedicated educators, while being supported yourself by an amazingly talented committee.

The minimum requirements for a Director at the GAP are to:

  • love working with children aged 3-5 years old and their families
  • have Director, Teacher or Educator experience at a Playschool or ECE Centre
  • hold a Diploma in Children’s Services, Diploma in Early Childhood Education, or similar
  • be fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • hold (or be eligible for) an ACT Working with Vulnerable People Card
  • undergo an AFP police check, and be a ‘fit and proper’ person
  • hold (or be prepared to obtain) a First Aid certificate
  • be a permanent resident, Australian citizen or have a valid work permit.

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • German-speaking fluency (the teachers all speak German; for the Director role this is highly preferred but not required)
  • a deep appreciation for German culture
  • experience running community events for children and families

Questions?  Email gap.director@spielwelt.org.au, or call us on 0422 525 646.

You can apply via SEEK here or send your CV directly by email to gap.director@spielwelt.org.au – where it will be forwarded to the Spielwelt committee. 

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!

Used Clothing Drive

Keen to be green?

Give your used textiles another life

Textile waste is a massive problem in Australia. On average, we each send around 23kg of textiles into landfill each year!

As our next ‘Keen to be Green’ activity, the Spielwelt committee are organising a bulk collection of used clothes and other textiles to send to Upparel for re-using, repurposing and recycling.

If you have old clothes, shoes or other textiles that aren’t suitable for donating to charities, this is your chance to free up some space in your cupboard and make a little contribution to a more sustainable future 😊

Just bring your old textiles to the hall on or before Federweisser Fest on 19 March 2022 and the committee will do the packing and shipping.

To cover the small collection fee charged by Upparel, we’re asking for donations of $2.50 for each kg of textiles you bring (it doesn’t have to be exact, but this gives you a rough idea of what we’ll need to cover costs).

For each kg we send to Upparel, we’ll prevent 3–4 kg of greenhouse gases from polluting our atmosphere!

One lucky contributor will win a $25 credit to purchase some awesome socks made of recycled materials.

What you can bring:

Clothing items (jeans, shirts, coats, etc)
Hats
Wireless Bras
Swimwear
Socks and stockings
Shoes
Linen (bedding, towels, tea towels, etc)
Fabric mattress protectors (not waterproof/plastic)
Fabric off-cuts and sewing scraps
Fabric couch covers and curtains
Bathers & Swimwear
Wetsuits

What you can’t bring:

Unwashed tems
Underwear
Carpet
Duvets/Doonas
Pillows/Cushions
Bags (handbags, duffel bags, etc)
Soft Toys
Wired Bras

Please make sure that everything you bring is washed! (Shoes should be brushed clean).

If you have empty boxes to donate (ideal size 46 x 42 x 41cm), that would also be much appreciated.

If you have kids clothes that are still in good shape, save them up for our next clothing swap.

Any questions? Contact Emily on keen.to.be.green.coordinator@spielwelt.org.au

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…

Working Bees 2022

Many thanks to the GAP parents who came out in numbers to the working bees in January. We accomplished a lot, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned, inventoried, sorted toys, repaired equipment, maintained the buildlng, designed and planned. It is an exciting time of the year when a lot of the dreams on the teachers and committee wish lists come true!

Parents also help assemble a big set of Schultueten for the incoming GAP class, with lots of useful and fun items inside, including these beautiful bees wax wraps made especially for GAP (carefully folded by one of the children).

Thank you everyone! Many hands make light work, and your input is highly appreciated.

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!

Lesson on Solar Panels

The Thursday/Friday GAP class got to learn about solar panels today.

Local electrician, solar installer and GAP dad, Matthew Upshall, came to tell us a bit about his work. He brought some interesting things to show us too.

We got to see a solar panel, hear about how they work and why people have them.

He told us about how people could make energy by digging up coal out of the ground then burning it. That’s not very nice for the environment though, especially for the people and animals and birds who live near the coal mines or power plants, he said.

He told us that nowadays, people can get energy from the sun by using solar panels. He said if we collected up all the energy the sun gives us over one hour, it would give us enough power for every person in the world for a whole year. [1] Solar energy is nicer for our environment, people, animals and birds.

We talked a bit about how we have to pay for our electricity but that energy from the sun can be free. Matthew said if our solar panels make more energy than we need then we can share it with our neighbours or sell it back to the energy companies. (Then he muttered something about how capitalism will ruin all that… and the grown-ups had a little laugh on the side. Hmmm….)

We talked about ladder safety and the children knew a lot about that already, but it was good to review it. We were fascinated to hear about Matthew’s safety harness and ropes though, and agreed a safety harness was a Very Good Idea.

The children had some good ideas about how to get on top of extremely tall buildings — by using a scissor lift, a crane, the fire department, or a long long long lo-o-o-ong ladder. (Again, we heard Matthew muttering and begging us not to make him work that high up. There was, again, general agreement from the grown-ups.)

Safety first!

We got to see a selection of electrician’s tools Matthew had in his tool belt: a multimeter with positive and negative probes, ein Schraubenzieher (screwdriver), eine Zange (pliers) and ein Markierstift (marker) for writing your name.

We all watched as he showed us how to carry a solar panel up a ladder.

Would you trust yourself to go up that ladder carrying a solar panel? Single-handedly? No? Selbst verständlich! Me neither.

We went to look at the solar panels we already have installed, and Matthew climbed up on the roof and helped us to count them (in German, of course).

Matthew on our roof, helping us count our solar panels. Eins, zwei, drei…

After we took a photo of him on the roof, he took a photo of us down below!

Thurs/Fri GAP class as seen from our roof.

A big “Danke schön” goes to Matthew for coming to tell us about his exciting work.

A quick farewell photo with our guest speaker.

We love it when parents visit us to share interesting things: let us know if you would like to come in too!

If you want to get solar panels at your house, here are some great places to start:

  • Solar Quotes (serious unbiased advice and quotes (and we really liked their page on German panels)
  • Solar Hub (they work with ActewAGL)
  • Captain Kilowatt (installed the panels at the Turner Scout Hall)
  • ActSmart an ACT government intiative (for amazing free impartial advice, calculators and subsidy info)

Award Winning Teachers

The Teaching Team at the German Australian Playschool has once again received a Certificate of Excellence as part of the Community for Children Awards during ACT Children’s Week.

The nomination for making an outstanding contribution to young people in the community reads as follows:

The teaching team at the German Australian Playschool, comprising Friederike, Gerda, Lisa1, Lisa3 and Birgit, consistently and carefully create and maintain a wonderfully inviting, inclusive, loving and safe place for our 3-5 year olds, so they can develop their physical and emotional skills, make friends, play together and learn.

It is clear to everyone who watches the teaching staff in action, that they are close-knit team of warm-hearted and caring individuals working together to provide the children with the best possible early education experience, week in, week out, without fail. We wish to acknowledge their hard work and dedication and thank them for their cheerful support of the parents and children.

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.

Spielwelt