What is a Spielgruppe?
It is a German play group and like other play groups it allows young children to interact with other young children and learn the social skills that they will need before enterting the school environment.
It also provides an introduction to formal teaching, even if on a quite basic level and in a relaxed setting.
Mothers of infants and pre-school children often suffer a sense of isolation, and play group allows them to meet and discuss the problems and the joys which come with raising quite willful individuals.
The mothers in a play group are invariably supportive of each other.
Yet if all play groups do that, why choose a Spielgruppe?
The Barossa Spielgruppe began three years ago, and what made it different was that much of the instruction and entertainment that the children receive is delivered in German.
At that time Steffi Traeger saw herself as the group’s Oma (grandmother).
She now runs the sessions and says what she enjoys is seeing how the children absorb the German language.
The mothers come for a variety of reasons.
Amy Krzoska is a speech pathologist and she believes that children benefit from learning a second language at a young age.
She is one of three speech pathologists who bring their children to the Spielgruppe.
Liz and Max Beckett have family in Germany, and while they themselves are not fluent in the language, they would like their children to develop the skills which would allow them to communicate easily with their German relatives.
Birthe Mullen brings her children from Kapunda, while others come from Mount Pleasant and Gawler.
Birthe was born in Hamburg and is married to an Australian gentleman; a number of the mothers have a similar background.
At home she speaks English exclusively, and she would like her children to be able to converse with her parents and her German family. She also enjoys the company and the opportunity to chat with friends of a similar background in her native language.
For more information about the Spielgruppe, visit www.barossagerman.com.au.