Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category

Birthday, Planets, Mt Cootha

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Nicole turned 7 on her 2nd birthday in Australia. In the morning we had breakfast with cake and gave her some presents, including the the presents from overseas sent by post. (Thanks for the presents and postcards, it was very much appreciated !) At school she celebrated her birthday with “Freddy Frog” chocolates and Dutch “speculaas” (Dutch spiced cookies).  For her birthday party she wanted to have a dance party what turned into a Bollywood Dance Party.

Nicole's birthday early in the morning. Nicole in Bollywood tenue.

Anita already visited a Bollywood Dance Workshop earlier where she met a real Bollywood Dance teacher from India, so we hired her for teaching the moves and leading the dances which was fun. All girls had a lot of fun Got caught by the girls.with helping each other with their make up and getting  dressed up in Indian dresses. The learned a nice Bollywood dance with different moves than usual Our Australian western dances. Jorick was also invited to join, but unfortunately he already became a bit of an Australian bloke, so he refused to do “girls things”.  When he flew away several girls went looking for him and brought him up, but still he refused to join 🙂

At school Jorick is learning a lot about space and the Milky Way. He comes home telling about the all the 8 planets of the solar system like “Mercury is the closest to the sun”, “ Pluto the coldest” , Jupiter the biggest and from gasses so you cannot stand on it, Comets have tails, the Kuiper belt and so on. But also “Louis Armstrong was the first man on the moon, comets have tails, …  The count down for rocket lift off can also frequently be heard in our house. This week in the car Jorick pointed to the Tom Tom navigator and told us that this device could tell us were to go because “satellites were shining on it”. Compliments for the teacher who’s getting the kids so fascinated and is learning them already so much ! As a result of this mania we went to the Sir Thomas Planetarium in Brisbane and visited the show “ Secret of the Cardboard Rocket” about two kids taking a flight into space with their cardboard rocket.

3D projector with planets above Brisbane. The movie was projected in 3D as usual in many theatres. After the show we got a presentation about the star patterns in the sky above Brisbane. This was fun and completely different from what we were used to in the Netherlands. It is amazing how much stars you can see from here. Especially when we were in Canarvon Gorge, a dark place in the “ middle of nowhere”  it was great without any background light.

Again we visited the Brisbane Botanic Garden Mt Cootha. This is a beautiful place with many typical plants, trees and many wild dragons.

One of the Wedding lawns in the Botanic Garden. Special tree with "apples" everywhere. One of the dragons.

In the garden/park there are several wedding lawns which can be reserved for your wedding. Several times we saw weddings taking place in the garden in the open air.  A strange experience for Dutchies.

In the garden is also a bonsai area with different types of bonsai trees.  Here we read some beautiful texts about Bonsai culture.

A bonsai is never finished – it is a living, constantly changing work of art. Bonsai are not “tortured”, they are cultivated miniature trees. They are well looked after, watered and fed.

A Bonsai tree.

Creating Bonsai satisfies many human needs – responsibility, creativity, silent communication, and the desire to work with nature and with others.

A deep love and reverence for trees, not theory or technique is most important in creating bonsai. Nature is always our greatest teacher – it suggests beautiful forms and balanced shapes of plants” (Master bonsai artist Masahiko Kimura)

A visit to Mt Cootha lookout gave us another view on the city and suburbs. Below a panorama picture from Mount Cootha lookout. At the left you can see the higher cloud scratchers of the Brisbane Central Business District. (click to enlarge)

Mount Cootha lookout.

For winter the weather is very good here and we still never wear a coat.

Earlier we described that Queensland introduced fluoride in the drink water system and that chemist were not allowed to sell fluoride tablets anymore. They probably forgot that many households live from rain/tank water like we do, isolated from the drink water system. Anyhow, Dutch friends brought fluoride tablets with them from the Netherlands, so the kids can now spoil their teeth again. No worries.



Mt Mee State Forest + School

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

After a wet start of the winter we’re now having many sunny days. Temperature differences during the day are considerable. During the day it typically is around 20 degrees and at night it can fall to 6 degrees (Celsius). Since dual layered glass is not usual here, temperature in house may decrease to 17-18 degrees requiring us to start the wood burner, or to invert the airco (NL: warmtepomp).

Sunrise is already at 6.20 am, but when Nicole and Jorick go to school at 8 am it is still cold. In their uniforms with bare legs. That’s why we bought them long trousers from the school uniform shop in uniform colors (we bravely follow the rules here).  Poor Nicole is only allowed to wear her long trousers on Tuesday when she is in sport uniform. On the other days she can wear some stockings (from the school uniform shop) under her dress.  They also have a jumper (also part of the uniform collection) for during the cold morning hours.  The sun is very powerful so an hour later the temperature is already much better.

The dry sunny weather in Winter is perfect for activities outside. One of our trips was to Mt Mee State Forest for a walk, a bbq and playing. We took an unsealed road to The Gantry which is a recreation area with barbecues and lots of space for a play.  The unsealed road was beautiful and we didn’t expect this so close (40 km) to our home.  Unfortunately the wood for the BBQ was wet, so lots of smoke guaranteed, but finally we had a delicious meal. The kids always love the barbies in Forest Parks.

unsealed road to The Gantry (Mt Mee) Smokey BBQ at The Gantry (Mt Mee) Hungry Kookaburras waiting for an opportunity.

The Kookaburra’s noticed our food and were waiting for an opportunity as usual. During our play they made several dives to our table. We  played some soccer and watched the birds.

New game: Keeper behind the goal.Somerset Lookout Black parrot

The Somerset Trail (4WD track) brought us to Somerset Lookout. On our way we saw some beautiful black parrots.




Leaving the mountain over the Sellin Road gave us some nice views over the area.

View from Mt Mee (Sellin Road). Sunset


 Nicole at Athleticsday Jorick at Athletics DayOnce a year the school organizes an Athletics Day with many activities. Parents and family is welcome to have a look. It was first planned a month ago, but then it was raining so it was postponed. It was fun. Nicole could jump very far. On the left photo she is joining a “running relay in the box”. 

You may have noticed that the  children always wear hats outside. That’s a school rule for sun protection.

Nicole had an excursion to the Osprey house about rubbish, recycling and saving nature. Lessons about sea life. Many animals get killed by plastic and other rubbish.

A week later Nicole had an excursion to the Osprey House. Jan joined as a volunteer and it was fun to see how the children learned about how to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. They also learned about how harmful rubbish can be for animals and the environment. Nicole found it very interesting. Following to this Nicole got an assignment from school to register all rubbish flows in home and to look for ways how we could improve reducing, reusing and recycling our waste. Not bad such an internal “rubbish consultant”. 🙂