Category Archives: Pfadfinder scouts

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 of around $6,000. This is about 2% of our annual budget, and is pretty incredibly given the year we’ve had. 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 Childcare, 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: All GAP teaching and administration staff are now paid 12.5 per cent above the award wage, up from 10 per cent previously. The Committee has also pledged to slowly increase this to 15 per cent in coming years, as long as this remains financially appropriate. The increase is 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 $360 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!

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

Create a Story

It’s fun to make up your own stories (in German and/or English). Story-telling can help pass the time on car journeys, or be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon lying on a picnic blanket, or create a rambling silly bed time story.

If you like, a bunch of random pictures can be used as inspiration for your story. Cut out the pictures below and put them into a little container. Close your eyes and pull a picture out of your container and use it to tell a little bit of the story; then pull another picture out and incorporate that into your story; and so on until your story is finished and you are ready to start another one.

As a family activity, you can each take turns pulling a picture out and adding a bit more to a story you create together.

You can download this here and print it, then cut out the pictures. (Thanks to a kind and lovely Pinterest user for posting the picture sheet.)

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

Survival Tips From Families

In our phone calls to GAP families, we asked them to share some of their lockdown survival tips. Here are some of the tips.

  • Alter your expectations and reframe what “a successful day” looks like.
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  • Yes, you know you want to avoid children having screen time, but this is a pandemic. Give yourself a break.
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  • German podcast Betthupferl (4-5 minute audio stories) and other BR.de German podcasts for children of all ages.
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  • When you make dinner, cut up a plate of crudite to put out on the table with dip the next day so the family can graze on healthy stuff during the day when you are too busy to stop.
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  • We ordered a pile of craft supplies from Office Works through click-and-collect, and have been very busy.
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  • I organised with my boss that I do an hour of work, then spend an hour with the kids, an hour of work, an hour of kids….
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  • We are renovating / moving house, and do not recommend this as a tip for families during lockdown!!! 🙂
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  • Netflix has German kids films and programs like Octonauts, Zauberschulbus and Sesam Strasse. Or you can turn on German language on some of the English programs on Netflix.
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  • My child is regressing a bit in lockdown. This happened to some kids in the last lockdown and they all bounced back, so I’m not too worried.
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  • My partner and I tag-team: one parent is with our child while the other works, and then we swap.
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  • My child really felt connected and lit up hearing the German songs on the Spiel und Spass Spotify list.
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  • If you join the GAP Morgenkreis a few minutes early, you can get individual attention from the teachers (but maybe not now that the secret is out!)
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  • We joined the GAP Morgenkreis and I was delighted to see how happy my child was to see her teachers again.
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  • A number of families were really enjoying using the Reading Eggs app (different stages for ages 2 to 10).
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  • Our child is quite keen on Tag the Picture (a card / bead matching game with 5 languages, including German, suitable for 3-7 year olds).
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  • Involving our child in all the aspects of the housework is a good way to make it all work. It takes longer but our child learns and the job at least gets done. We change bedsheets, hang laundry, fold clothes, cook food, make sandwiches, set the table, stack/unload the dishwasher and vacuum together.
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  • Get used to the clutter at home. It is how you know you’re having fun. HOWEVER, if it starts to feel overwhelming, dedicate some time to tidying up – for the sake of your mental health – even if it is just one room that is tidy.
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  • Restrictions permitting: See if any of your neighbours have a friendly dog that would be willing to get patted, played with or walked. What a mood lifter. We call it Vitamin D (as in Dog) or Vitamin T (for Truffle the GAP therapy dog, pictured above, running near the GAP).
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  • With Lisa3’s craft videos, you can still watch the videos even if you don’t do the craft.
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  • Stay connected with others by writing cards and delivering them into people’s letter boxes. (You can augment your education with our mail lesson #1 and mailbox lesson #2.)
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  • If work and homeschooling older kids clash too much, let kids play while you work weekdays, and leave homeschool stuff until the weekend.

Getting Greener

The IPCC report has been published for 2021 and it is clear that humans have not been doing enough to halt climate change. We have made many “green” changes at Spielwelt, won environmental awards, and implemented our Keen-to-be-Green initiative.

As a parents association responsible for our children’s future, we applaud the ACT government’s efforts, and although we are just one of many organisations in Canberra, we feel we must ramp up our efforts further. We all should. And can.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale

The place we can make the biggest difference is in education (our specialty!) and leading by example.

Starting straight away, we will:

  1. Decommission the children’s fridge, and have children store their food in their insulated lunch bags (like in schools).
  2. Encourage meat-free days.
  3. Offer more vegetarian options at our special events.
  4. No longer use plastic googly-eyes, craft pompoms, foam stickers and plastic stickers in craft, as they are non-biodegradable.
  5. Encourage families to walk or ride to school where possible.
  6. Ban little plastic toys (like the little collectible toys used in supermarket or restaurant promotions) and educate children about why we don’t want them. (If children bring them to school, they will need to leave the toys in their bags.)
  7. Run two toy swaps per year.
  8. Run two clothing swaps per year.
  9. Ensure Nikolaus gifts, Mothers- and Fathers- Day gifts are “green”.
  10. Educate and encourage children to use the backs of paper as well as the front; and using recycled paper.
  11. Replace wet-wipes with reusable cloth wipes.
  12. Replace sponges with reusable cleaning cloths.
  13. Gradually replace as many of our plastic sand toys with metal or wooden pots or implements from the GreenShed.
  14. Replace our many plastic playdough implements with a few simple wooden ones.
  15. Replace our double-plastic-wrapped rice crackers (that we give to children who are still hungry even after eating all their lunch) with similar products in more friendly packaging.

We are further committing to:

  1. Install ceiling fans to make our heating and cooling more efficient.
  2. Provide a reusable yogurt container to each family and strongly discourage single-use yogurt pouches and plastic tubs. (We already provide a bees wax wrap to each child, in their Schultüte, and discourage cling-film.)
  3. Examine how we can reduce any excess use (or waste) of soap, by changing soap formats and educating children on proper use.
  4. Explore options for environmentally friendlier cleaning products.
  5. Teach our scouts about the mountains of waste caused by toothpaste packaging, and ask our scouts if they would like to try making Zero Waste Toothpaste.

Igelchen and Echidna Lesson

The little echidna pictured at the top of this blog lives in Canberra. I took a little video for the children, showing the echidna walking along. She has short bent legs, and it reminded me of a German children’s song about a hedgehog (ein Igel). Hedgehogs and echidnas look quite similar.

Here is my very silly Igelchen action song video (5 min) which includes a little chat, an action song, a silly story and a very simple craft.  

There’s also an Igelchen colouring sheet for you to download and print.

 If you want to sing along to the song, here are the lyrics:

Igelchen, Igelchen, schau in dein Spiegelchen,
Deine Beine sind krumm!
Igelchen, Igelchen, schau in dein Spiegelchen,
Deine Beine sind kurz!

Sind meine Beine auch krumm,
Dreh’ ich mich trotzdem herum!
Sind meine Beine auch kurz,
ist mir das piepe und schnurz!

Make a Crown

Paper crowns are super easy to make, and who doesn’t want to be a Queen, King, Prince or Princess for a day? Schön wäre es, Königin, König, Prinz oder Prinzessin zu sein!

One of our Pfadfinder venturers models the crown she made (… for her Queen Mother, no doubt…ahem!)

Lisa3 has kindly created a fancy crown template for you to download, print and colour in.

Once you have coloured it in, all you need to do is cut it apart along the zig-zag lines, as seen in the photo at the very top of the blog.

Turn one piece 180 degrees and line up the points all in a row, and stick the two pieces of paper together with some sticky tape!

Wrap the length of paper around your head to see how big your crown needs to be, then tape it together at the size you want.

All done, and you’re ready to wear your crown, start issuing orders to your servants, blessing your royal subjects with gracious acts, and generally ruling the world!

Vacuuming Paper Bits

Here’s an extremely simple and fun activity that children (3yrs and up) can do themselves.

Give your child some paper, scissors, a straw and little container.

Your child can cut the paper into little squares (or other shapes). For those who like learning to cut in straight lines, here’s a downloadable sheet of squared paper to print.)

By sucking through a straw, your child can vacuum up the paper pieces, one by one, and them drop them into the container. (The vacuuming can sometimes make a funny noise, which adds to the entertainment!)

Once you have a pile of papers in your container, try blowing down the straw to make a little snow storm in your container! You might even be able to blow the papers out of the container… and start the game again!

Gut gemacht, Gerda! Weiter so! Only 25 more pieces to go! Hee hee hee!!

Bohnenblumen: Bean Flowers

Spring is in the air and flowers are starting to appear! Maybe you can make flowers appear inside your house too…

Join GAP Teacher Gerda in making some beautiful flowers and hearts using beans and lentils! Click on the link to download / watch the video.

As you know, we love art and craft using natural and recycled items!

The educational value here is developing fine motor skills, art and creativity, counting, colours, and the concept of symmetry, if you like.

You can download Gerda’s Bohnenblumen instructions (in German and English) to augment your educational experience by reading aloud and following instructions in German, and be inspired by some of her example pieces.

Please supervise and/or discuss safety with children, as we have heard stories of children putting beans up their noses… and nobody wants that to happen!

Natural objects like beans and lentils make great things to glue to your art work!
Glue on your stem and leaf, and then clutter (ähm! I mean decorate) your house with your beautiful creation!

Once you have made your flower, try some of the variations below.

Variation 1: You could also decorate other shapes (see our activity about learning geometric shapes).

Variation 2: Hunt around the house and garden for other little objects to glue on: grass, pine needles, tiny flowers, wool, cereal, pasta shapes…

Try different shapes!