All posts by Lisa St

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!

Lantern Walk 2021 – 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 19 June 2021, from 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

Bring cash for food and drinks: $4.00 per German Sausage; gold coin donations for each mug of Gluehwein, Kinderpunsch or soup, and each serving of 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. CBR check-in app is mandatory.

The order of events are:

4:30pm Arrive, CBR check-in, purchase food/drink tokens, 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 (covid-singing for 2021), 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.

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 Fire-side chat for those people with older children who want to stay on for the “after party” (and help with the clean up).

8:30pm Scouts aged 11-14 are staying at the hall overnight for a sleepover (2021 only)

Read more about the lantern walk event here!

Indigenous Studies

As part of her pedagogical studies, Birgit prepared and delivered an interesting lesson on Indigenous culture.

Birgit explored (and simultaneously translated) a wonderful book called The Magic Boomerang at story time with us.

We also enjoyed creating indigenous-art-inspired handprint paintings which turned out beautifully.

(Nearly) all eyes are upon Birgit as she presents today’s story.
The teachers’ laps are hardly ever empty! There are always children who come for a cuddle at story time. 🙂

Caring for the Environment in Space

The MondayTuesday GAP class had a fascinating presentation by Dr Doris Grosse today. Dr Grosse brought in a satellite to show us, and using a model rocket she built, she showed us how it launched into space. What was most surprising, however, was how much space junk was left behind in the process. Dr Grosse is working with other scientists to figure out how to clean up the environment… in space! We all agreed that was an important (and very cool) job!

Here is the rocket before launch. Of course, we liked seeing the European Space Agency logo on it! 🙂

To get a satellite up into space, we need a rocket to take it there. Here is our rocket on the GAP launch pad, ready for lift off. We all helped Dr Grosse to count down from ten (in German, of course), and then “blast off”!

To lift off, the rocket burns a lot of fuel, and that tumbles back down to Earth or goes into the atmosphere. This was simulated with crumpled paper dropping out of the bottom of the cylindrical rocket engines.

Look at all the burnt fuel from our rocket and the toxic chemicals that ended up in our beautiful blue ocean!

Then the rocket booster stages themselves are jettisoned and land in the ocean too.

Once the rocket gets up even higher, the nose cone, the second booster stage and the upper stage rocket body are released into space, where they remain in orbit. The satellite is put into its orbit around the Earth giving us data and communications.

We learned that satellites are very handy, as they allow us to video chat with Oma and Opa in Deutschland over Skype or Whatsapp, for example.

We all helped Dr Grosse to find and pick up all the space junk created by our launch and clean it away. Just like on Earth, if everyone helps, we will keep our environment nice and clean.

The photo at the very top of the blog shows a double cube satellite, with some sample electronics in it. We had a closer look at that tiny satellite, and the children wondered if we could also use it to find aliens…

We love having parents visit us at GAP and telling us about their work or hobbies. Let the teachers know if you’d like to come in!

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

Frogwatch Visit 2021

The Monday/Tuesday GAP children enjoyed a visit from Anke Maria, the wonderful Frogwatch ACT coordinator.

We learned lots about frogs: what they eat, what they like (insects) and what they don’t like (pollution), where they like to live and the importance of taking care of habitat, and their life cycle.

Then we got to go outside and help a whole bunch of frogs LEAP into the air with the help of a colourful parachute! This, of course, was a highlight as everyone could help send the frogs flying!

Eins, zwei, drei, HUEPF!!

With any luck, you might be able to view a little video clip of our frogs flying here.

Wiradjuri Echoes visit 2021

We were absolutely delighted to welcome back Duncan and Wiradjuri Echoes to the GAP! The Thursday/Friday class had a wonderful time and learned a lot.

Duncan showed us some interesting Aboriginal artefacts and taught us the Wiradjuri names for them. He played his didgeridoo to make all kinds of Australian animal noises for us to guess, and then put it all together in a story and dance. He let us sing some Wiradjuri songs with him.

All good kangaroos hop to the sound of clapping sticks and Duncan chanting!
There was some discussion about what a one-armed kangaroo might do if it needed to scratch its belly.

As a keepsake, Duncan drew us a kangaroo picture to colour in and take home.

Does it look like a kangaroo yet? (Duncan drew it sideways so it wasn’t apparent to the children that it would be a kangaroo until the end when he turned it right way up and we could all see!)

The best part was being painted like Warriors and Berry Princesses, then dancing along as various Australian animals while Duncan played the didgeridoo and related the story about the frog Tidalik .

Our first brave warrior lines up to have his face painted by Duncan.
Crouching like Tidalik the frog, getting ready to JUMP!
Here comes the eel to try to make Tidalik the frog laugh.

If you are lucky, you might be able to view this little video clip too, of the children dancing to Duncan singing a Kangaroo song:

Aboriginal Tent Embassy visit 2021

After our visit to the National Portrait Gallery (see previous blog), we walked to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, where we would be welcomed and hear from one of the ambassadors there who had come from Gamilaraay country (near Moree NSW).

Between the gallery and the tent embassy we found an empty fountain pool. We simply could not resist the idea of going for a “swim”, so we did. Back stroke, Australian crawl, doggy paddle, we did it all without getting one bit wet! It was neat seeing the fountain pump and the lights close up – which we could not have done had the pool been full of water.

While we “dried off”, we sat on the edge of the pool, facing Old Parliament House, while our teachers talked about the tent embassy and gave us a safety briefing about the ceremonial fire there.

Arriving at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, we saw the fire, caravans and tents and we were welcomed by Albert and a puppy named Justice. Albert explained how the Aboriginal flag represents the black folk upon the red soils of the Australian outback both being nourished by the big golden sun. Albert liked hearing that the German and Austrian flags are black, red and gold too.

Albert (holding Justice the puppy) addresses the children

We talked about the Black Lives Matter movement in Australia and how Albert and his friends have their flag at half mast all the time because they are sad about how disrespectfully some Aboriginal people have been treated in Australia. We agreed we were sad about that too.

Albert talked to the children about how we are all people, no matter our colour, and that we all need to look after each other; and that we need to look after the land because it looks after us. We agreed that sounded like very wise advice, and then we indulged ourselves in a Justice-patting session.

We made our way to the bus stop, and entertained ourselves (and a fellow traveller) singing our school song “GAP ist meine Schule” in many different animal voices while we waited.

We thoroughly enjoyed the bus ride back to Civic, and the 1km walk back to GAP.

We are very grateful to all the parent helpers who came along: they really helped make the excursion a wonderful experience for the children and teachers. Danke schoen!

Portrait Gallery Excursion 2021

The Monday/Tuesday GAP class thoroughly enjoyed their excursion to the National Portrait Gallery last week. We were pleased to be able to visit the Aboriginal Tent Embassy as well.

We gathered outside the gallery at 9:15am and enjoyed our morning tea in the sunshine next to the sculpture garden.

At 10am, our guides met us inside the gallery and after a briefing and toilet stop, we were divided into two groups and set off into the gallery for a special tour.

We admired a beating electrical heart exhibit. There were 120 hearts and we tried to find the fastest flashing one and the slowest one.

The group I was with stopped to admire a self-portrait by Australian artist Ken Dunn. We talked about the colours and the iconic images.

Then everyone got to try drawing their own self-portrait… BUT we had the added challenge of trying to do it with our eyes closed and not lifting our pencils from the page. Our results were quite gallery-worthy!

Our next stop involved looking at different poses that people had chosen for their portraits, trying these poses ourselves and then creating a colourful pipe-cleaner figure that we could bend into different poses.

After examining some other artworks, we created a collaborative work: everyone drew their favourite thing on some card and then we made a tower with the cards. Favourite things included lions, parents, snakes, rain, tall grass, family, and squiggly lines.

We thanked our guides after the tour, and headed out to the sculpture garden to run off some energy.

There were two long paths framed by short hedges which made great run ways, and an expanse of gravel which fascinated us too.

Our next stops were a pool and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, before we caught a bus home, all of which you can read about in the next blog….

Helping Hands in Bushlands

The Pfadfinder Joeys and Cubs enjoyed a little hike up Red Hill with their families.

The kids did a great job climbing up the steep hills, to enjoy some beautiful views. They also used a compass to figure out which paths to take, located landmarks in the distance (like the arboretum and the airport), learned how to identify bush tomatoes, and hunted for Easter eggs.

While they were there, they did the scouting thing and offered their helping hands (and feet) to care for the environment. Everyone joined in a weed pulling competition (authorised by the Red Hill Regenerators nature park care group – otherwise no picking plants in the nature reserve!), which was both fun and helpful.