German Australian Playschool in Canberra
The German Australian Playschool (the GAP) caters for children 3 to 5 years old. Children can attend two or four days a week.
German Australian Playschool Philosophy
The basic philosophy of the German Australian Playschool is to impart a second language (ie German) to the children in a fun, supportive and caring manner.
Our priorities are: 1) the child; 2) the child's friends and family; 3) the child's environment and possessions. You will see these priorities reflected in the children's lessons and activities at Playschool, in our school philosophies and policies, and in the way our staff interact with the children.
We are sun-smart, non-toxic, environmentally friendly, healthy-habits school, where children enjoy their activities and experience joy in learning.
Our vision is to a) introduce children to the joy of learning; and b) to help children develop their German language skills, by providing a supportive, fun and positive German educational environment.
The Playschool aims to foster the holistic development of each child through active learning and positive interactions.
We will work with families by providing opportunities for participation in the Playschool programs, operation and planning.
Information about the development of the children are regularly exchanged with families.
Our program embraces the multicultural nature of our Playschool community and incorporates and celebrates diversity amongst the children, their peers, communities and families.
The GAP offers two wonderful playschool programs
Monday & Tuesday immersion class: This immersion class is suitable for children with prior German knowledge. Our play-based educational program is taught in German, and English is rarely used by the teachers.
Thursday & Friday bilingual class: ** NEW in 2017: The Thursday/Friday class will be made up predominantly by fluent speaking children and children with a year's experience at GAP. Rather than being a bilingual class, this class will be more of an immersion class in 2017.
In other years though, our Thursday/Friday bilingual class is suitable for children with no prior German, fluent children, children with some prior German, and children who speak only German and wish to learn English. In this class, our play-based educational program is designed to teach German (rather than teach in German). English is interspersed with German by the teachers to maintain children's engagement as well as enhance and encourage their language learning.
Which class shall I choose?
Here are some handy guidelines:
Fluent children are eligible to enrol in any of the classes.
Beginner children are eligible to enrol in the bilingual class. (except for 2017)
Beginner children with strong German language acquisition skills may be eligible (usually after a term of assessment in the bilingual class) to enrol for our bilingual class plus the immersion class, but must continue with both (ie not drop the bilingual and continue only with the immersion).
If you have doubts about which class might be best, please ask us. It is not a good idea to over-estimate your child's German comprehension, as we find these children can become bored and frustrated when they don't understand.
Sessions run from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Drop-off any time from 9:15am is possible; and on some days there may be an early care option from 8am (at an extra cost) - ask us about this option if you need it.
Ja klar! The activities are run in German, by qualified German-speaking staff and volunteers. Our staff are all native speakers. We celebrate German, Austrian and Swiss culture at the GAP as well.
My family aren't German. Can we still enrol our child?
Yes! Children from all language backgrounds are welcome, and no previous knowledge is necessary. We support non-German speaking parents in various ways - please let us know if you would like this support. One of our English families has written out some helpful notes for other English families, and you can read those by clicking on that link.
Where can I find out more?
Click the "related information" links at the bottom of this page to find out more.
There is loads more information in our Parent Handbook. A copy of this is available at the Playschool.
Can I organise a visit to come and see the GAP?
Definitely! It is strongly encouraged that you and your child visit the GAP and see it in action, before you commit to enrol and pay your fees. See the Related Info links at the bottom of this page, particularly the one called Considering Enrolling to help you plan your visit to the GAP.
Can I enrol now, or put my child on the waiting list?
If you wish to enrol your child, please contact us as soon as possible, as places are limited. There may be places available now / soon, so please ask. For future years, our class lists are already underway for up to three years ahead.
It is free to put your child's name on the waiting list, and the earlier this is done, the better your chances of gaining a place. Children are placed by priority rules, and date of first contact is a factor.
See our page called "Apply to Enrol at GAP" (the link is under the "Related information" heading at the bottom of this page).
2016 Term dates for the GAP
Term 1 starts Monday 01 February, and goes until Friday 08 April.
Term 2 starts Tuesday 26 April, and goes until Friday 01 July.
Term 3 starts Monday 18 July, and goes until Friday 23 September.
Term 4 starts Monday 10 October, and goes until Friday 16 December.
2017 Term dates for the GAP
Term 1 starts Monday 30 January, and goes until Friday 07 April.
Term 2 starts Wednesday 26 April, and goes until Friday 30 June.
Term 3 starts Monday 17 July, and goes until Friday 22 September.
Term 4 starts Monday 09 October, and goes until Friday 15 December.
How can GAP work with my other Preschool?
Option 1: Do GAP and Preschool
Many government preschools offer Mon/Tues long days; Thurs/Fri long days; or Mon-Tues-Wed short days; or Wed-Thurs-Fri short days. Some even offer alternate Wednesdays, as part of their regular schedule.
GAP days are scheduled on Mon/Tues and Thurs/Fri so that you can have the best of both worlds and attend GAP and Preschool. You just need to find out which preschool near you is offering the non-GAP days; or enrol for GAP on your non-preschool days.
Option 2: Decline Preschool and do "preschool in German" at GAP
Preschool is not mandatory for families in the ACT*. Some families opt to enrol at the GAP instead of doing preschool, and consider their child is attending "preschool in German". If you let our teachers know you are doing this, we can be sure to extend your child's learning experience. We don't cover the ACT curriculum, but we do offer a great education in a bilingual setting.
*School is mandatory in the ACT as soon as your child turns 6. Alternatively, if you still wish for your child not to attend school once they are 6 years old, you can opt to educate at home, which is unheard of in Germany, but reasonably popular in Australia, and you can register with the Department of Education to do so. There are two excellent support networks (HENCAST and CHEC) who can help you with your home education journey, if you wish.