Category Archives: Education

EUSTORY, an International History Competition for German and French Youth to Reflect on Peace

Students of a German School in San Diego learn how to write a movie script

About a month ago  German Pacific School San Diego and San Diego French American School collaborated in preparing for an international competition that invites them to reflect on the concept of peace before, during and after WW I.

EUSTORY, an international history competition wants to guide students to a greater understanding of historic events but also engage them in finding relations between today’s events and events in the past, and overall help them become productive citizens of the world.

Both schools decided on choosing film as a medium for their project, and to learn the ‘nuts and bolts’ of scriptwriting they participated in an intercultural scriptwriting seminar. In the following read more about their experience:

German and French students collaborate on international competition

( by Lenni Elbe)
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An excited buzz fills the air as groups of French and German students discuss their ideas. They are preparing for an international history competition, called EUSTORY.

On October 14, students from San Diego French American School and German Pacific School San Diego partook in a seminar run by a professional scriptwriter, Diane Alpaio, to help prepare them for the competition in Spring.

The script writing workshop led students through a pre-written script in order to learn the basic elements of story writing. First, they watched and analyzed a short film. Then, they were split into small groups and wrote their own scenes using those basic elements such as dialogue, conflict, and characters.

The students left with a greater understanding of how movie scripts are written, and with plenty of ideas on how to continue their own EUSTORY project. “Working with the French students was great and I didn’t expect the seminar to be so much fun. It really got everyone excited about the competition” said Jack, a student at GPSSD.

The script writing seminar was just the start. Students will continue to meet on a regular basis throughout the script writing process. Instructors from both schools are guiding the students, including Mr. Baron (SDFAS), Ms. Brouder (SDFAS), and Ms. Elbe (GPSSD).

EUSTORY was started in order to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on the events of World War 1, to work together, and to foster cross-cultural understanding. This year’s theme is: “Peace in War Time, Peace in World War 1.” This initiative is representative of the creative potential in students, and broadens young people’s perspectives, giving them the tools and skills required to become productive citizens of the world.

The short film will premiere this coming spring at an event at SDFAS.
For more information, please visit http://www.eustory.fr or http://www.gpssd.org

Images: German Pacific School San Diego – GPSSD


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German Cities with Different Names in English

by Kate Müser

A native German speaker might struggle with the pronunciation of Connecticut, Tucson or my birth city, La Jolla. And I often hear them say Chicago with Tsch- rather than Sch-.

And, thanks to all the Germans who helped build the US, we have borrowed a whole number of Germany-inspired city names, like Germantown, Tennessee, or Carlsbad, California.

But the German language doesn’t contain alternative deutsche terms for US cities. Sän Diego? Nüjork? You won’t see those written anywhere.

English, on the other hand, has its own collection of anglicized references to many – though not all – German cities. Usually the English versions conveniently avoid the most difficult letters in the German language: Ä, Ö and Ü.

Here is a closer look at some of the German cities that have gotten revamped names, or pronunciations, in English.

By the way, this video was suggested by my YouTube viewers. If you would like to see a video on a particular topic, leave a comment below the video and let me know!

©KateMüser

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Kate Müser, who grew up in Pleasanton, California, was surprised to discover that she feels even closer to her home state now than she did when she first moved to Bonn, Germany, over 13 years ago.

She is the creator of the successful YouTube series #thoseGermans and the portrait series #germany24. Visit Kate’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/katemuser and her website, justkate.de.

For over a decade, Kate has been a TV, radio and online journalist at Deutsche Welle, where she currently hosts the video series Meet the Germans with Kate and the TV show PopXport.

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German Language Instruction for the Youngest Learners

Research shows, that the earlier you start with introducing a second or third language to your child, the easier it will be for her or him to learn it.

Especially if those languages are spoken at home as well, your child will just grow up using these languages instinctively and will automatically pick up the vocabulary and intonation of each one.

From what I have experienced, this effort of raising children with more than one language, is even more successful if the child can connect one parent to one particular language. It will make it so much easier for the child to switch back and forth between languages since there is also a visual distinction.

But even if your child grows up in a mono-lingual household, you now have so many options to introduce your youngsters to a wealth of languages and give them, too, the gift of understanding other cultures early on.

For many of us German expats it is a given that we want our children to be able to speak our native German. We want them to be able to communicate with family and friends still living overseas. But sometimes it’s hard if all the pressure of passing on this cultural heritage just rests on you!

California is fortunate enough to have many German language schools among its wealth of  language schools all together. Many of them offer classes already for three-year olds. And a few even offer Mommy-and-Me classes that one can attend as soon as the baby is born!

In the following find a few examples of schools, that offer these early language courses; but please feel free to browse our list of various schools under our “Resources” tab.

Learning German for the Youngest all around California


Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool is offering “Mama und Ich” classes starting this September 2017. The classes are instructed by Ilka Sternberger, Director at Tivoli, who is also a certified as a Lactation Specialist UCLA, and Postpartum Doula DONA .

These classes offer parenting information and support, meditation for the Mamas, German children songs and verses, movement and seasonal finger games. Sessions will start on Wednesday, September 20, 2017. All classes are held at: Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool in Mar Vista (3170 Stoner Ave., LA, CA 90066).  Two classes are offered weekly. The 3-4pm baby class is for newborns to age 15 months and the 4:15-5:15pm Toddler class is for age 16 months to 2 plus years.

If you are interested in joining our next session please rsvp to ilkayan@aol.com.

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WanderKind School in Glendale offers a bilingual nature immersion program preschool program for 2-5 year olds and an after school program for 4-7 year olds. Whether children are enrolled full time or part time they will always experience friendship, joy, free play and creative expression. Two mornings and two afternoons a week are spent at Brand Park immersed in a forrest school curriculum. While outdoors teachers guide the children utilizing English and German. The rest of the time we learn, get messy and play in the indoor/outdoor classrooms of the school and focus on German language immersion.

Contact Dr. Franziska Reff at 415-812-6675 or wanderkindschool@gmail.com .

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GermanSchool campus in Newport Beach just started with a “Vorschul-Klasse” for children ages 4-6years. This particular class will playfully engage the children with the concepts of the German language through music, songs, rhythm and dance. Children will learn numbers, the days of the week, the calendar, seasons and much more through fun songs and plays. As it is tradition at the school, also the youngest members will learn how to introduce themselves and will be able to hold up a small and simple conversation by the end of the year.

GermanSchool campus offers a variety of German language classes for children, 4-17 years old, focusing on guiding the older students through the various  exams available. From Deutsches Sprachdiplom to AATG testings for high schoolers.

Contact GermanSchool campus at (949) 285 0829 or email at principal@GERMANSCHOOLcampus.com

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German Pacific School of San Diego offers classes for students ages 3 to 18 at its four different locations in San Diego County: Poway, Clairemont, Carmel Valley and La Jolla. For this school year 2017 /18, registration has already closed. But if you are still looking for German classes for your child(ren). There are just a few spots at each location left. Most classes are full.

Contact Wiebke Elbe (germanpacificschool @gmail.com) to inquire about availability or to get on the waiting list.

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GASA – The German-American School Association of Southern California, Incoffers classes for children ages 3 to 5 years at its Kinderland School and has Parent & Me classes for children 1-3 years old that are currently offered only in Anaheim Hills.

Founded in 1954, GASA maintains several schools in the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego area.  The various schools offer classroom-based German language programs to children ages 4 – 17 years in its Saturday Schools.

Contact the school at office@gasaschool.org or at (562) 693-0223.

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German Language School of Marin (NorCal) has a Kindergarten class that accepts children starting as young as 3-years-old at the Santa Rosa campus and as young as 4-years-old at the Novato campus.

In Kindergarten, children approach the German language in a playful, hands-on way. Through simple poems, circle games, songs and rhymes, story books, and art projects, the children intuitively learn basic vocabulary and grammar. Lessons revolve around themes like family, animals, colors, food, clothing, body, nature, months, weekdays, seasons, and holidays. To support learning on Saturdays, basic homework for our Kindergarteners include poems and songs that they can practice and memorize throughout the week.

Contact the school at (415) 897.9771 or email: info@germanschoolmarin.com

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GASPA – German American School of Palo Alto offers a Parent & Me class  for children ages 0-3, for the first time this year. The “Froggy Group” is for parents and their children. Come to play and sing with your child in German!  Classes start September 16th, from 9am-10:15am.

Since 1965 GASPA has been offering the ever popular Saturday morning program for students ages 2.5 to 18. Students 2.5 years or older must be accompanied by a parent in class until age 3. Saturday classes are already in session since September 9th, 2017. All classes are at the Campus of Alto International School , 475 Pope Street, Menlo Park.

Contact the school at (650) 520-3646 or email: contact@gaspa-ca.org

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Kleine Schule Oakland in the Bay area offers parent-toddler classes for kids from 18 months up to 5 years. They take place once a week for 1 1/2 hours.  The school welcomes to a space where you can have a lot of fun while learning the German language. You may not even realize how much you are learning because you’ll be so busy playing, singing, reading, crafting, experimenting, baking and making friends. Nature plays an important role; sometimes we even take the class outside and meet up in the nearby forest.  The school also runs a daycare program fromMonday to Friday 9am-3pm.

Contact Runa for more information at kleineschuleoakland@gmail.com

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Let us know if you heard of other German programs for the Youngest German Language learners and send us an email at californiagermans(AT)gmail.com

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Body Worlds: PULSE – Getting to Know Your Body Inside Out

 

Gunther von hagens’ Body Worlds: ‘Pulse’ – Getting to Know Your Body Inside Out

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Feeling somewhat uneasy we were standing in front of the California Science Center recently, ready to enter Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds exhibition “PULSE”. We have prepared ourselves well and read almost anything available out there about the show, about Gunther von Hagens, his plastination process and about the process of putting the show together here at the CaliforniaScienceCenter.

Since we had our teenage son with us we wanted to make sure that he as well as us completely understood what we were about to experience. My husband in fact was very hesitant at first about bringing him along since the show’s displays contain bodies of deceased humans that went through Gunther von Hagens invented preservation process called plastination.

All our worries however were put to rest very quickly upon entering this amazing show.

Gunther von Hagen’s Body Worlds PULSE – an incredible journey through your body

Right at the beginning of the show you are greeted by a movie that totally hit home with us.It demonstrates how our busy lives have a profound effect on the quality of our lives, making us receptive to all kinds of modern diseases: high blood pressure, obesity, depression, you name it. Too much stimulation and an overload of information that we modern human beings are constantly exposed to puts our modern life under a lot of stress and finally at risk. The speed that forces us to do more, better and faster becomes increasingly more inhuman.

This movie is the preamble to a rewarding show that explains in detail what is essential for us to keep our bodies healthy and functional.  Ultimately it encourages us to think about how we can develop a healthier pace of life for ourselves.

Impressive displays, exceptional information and in-depth videos guide you along the journey through your body.

The entrance to the various displays starts with one of Gunther von Hagens plastinated bodies holding his skin folded over his arm like an overcoat. Info boards teach you about the skin being our heaviest and largest organ that has vital functions. Next the visitor learns about the skeleton and sees first hand how fractures, implants and prostheses look like. As you move along “through the body” you’ll learn about the central nervous system and see stunning displays.

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In one von Hagen isolated a whole body’s central and peripheral nervous system and instead of a traditional skeleton one sees a “skeleton of nerves”. Amazing!

The various muscles in our bodies are a topic of one section, other sections are dedicated to each of our organs, to nutrition and to the demonstration of what certain diseases do to our body. From heart to intestines to liver and lung and more… you get to know your body inside out!

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A big section is dedicated to the heart explaining its difficult and intensive job. With the help of videos and informational boards we learn how a heart attack builds up within our body far before it actually happens.

The impact of smoking is impressively presented with a shockingly pitch black smokers lung on display that looks like a lava rock. This particular display like so many others certainly make you think about how you are treating your own body and how it may look like if exposed like these displays.

Speaking about the displays. Our initial worry was about our reaction to the plastinated bodies. Gunther van Hagens’ invention of preserving the human body and his quite artistic displays have been quite controversial for years. Many were initially appalled just by the pure fact that these displays were actually showing deceased humans.

We found that the whole show including the displays were put together and presented very esthetically. We were intrigued and captivated throughout. I can’t think of any other exhibit that brings you in such close encounter with your own body. We were awed and so were many other visitors we observed. From families with much younger children than our son, to a group of doctors, who were teaching their college class right on site.

In conclusion I can only say that we were absorbed by this exhibition and didn’t feel time going by. There was so much to see, explore and learn!

Body Worlds: PULSE is on display at the CaliforniaScienceCenter through February 20, 2018 .

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Images: ©CaliforniaGermans

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Summertime – Time for German Summer Camps in California

Summer has officially started and all the school children in CA have most likely started their summer vacation by now. Have you checked out our list of German Language Summer Camps yet? Some camps might still have an open space for your child!

There are overnight camps and day camps, and camps right along the Bay in Newport and some at a serene lake. Most of them offer a variety of activities, of which some are more STEM related and others are more arts heavy. But we just got word of a cool camp in Santa Rosa, that focuses on nature explorations and Innerweaving!! We had to let you know…

Have you heard of Innerweaving before? It’s a method of experiential and emotional hands-on techniques that spark imagination and support personal development and conscious living.  It’s a technique created by Silvia Schroeder, who is also leading this unique camp for children. The camp offers a combination of indoor/outdoor creative fun. “Throughout the camp we will talk German and introduce language based on nature and craft activities.” Family members are invited to celebrate their children’s powerful Nature-Earthcraft accomplishments on the final day.

The Innerweaving German Summer Camp will take place from July 5th-6th for 7-11 year old kids, and a one-day camp is offered on July 7th for children 4-6 years old.

The camp is located in a small Redwood Park along a little creek at the Community Center/Women‘s Clubhouse, 16 Park Rd, Fairfax, CA 94930.

Check out our Camp Listings for more detailed information.

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Images: ©Innerweaving


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