Tag Archives: California

Devastating California Wildfires – Here is how you can help

Wildfires in California have kept a whole state on edge for the past few weeks.  While many fires have been contained, lots of people directly affected by the fires have to deal with the aftermath: homes and communities destroyed and people displaced.

Following the devastating news on wildfires ravaging particularly in Northern California but also in parts of Southern California, we want to help spread the word on how we all can pitch in and help by either donating money or our time as a volunteer.

List of Fire Relief Crowd funding campaigns and Community Foundations offering help:

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GO-FUND-ME -SPECIAL Page containing all verified campaigns to help with Fire Relief.

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Bay Area Unite for California Fire Relief  

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CNN – ‘Impact Your World ‘ – via Public Good

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Disaster Relief Santa Rosa Fire

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Sonoma County Resilience Fund

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Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund

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FREE CLOTHES give away by San Francisco store Love on Haight 

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VOLUNTEERS – Red Cross is looking for volunteers.

If you live near Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano, Marin and Mendocino and are interested in volunteering to support wildfire relief efforts, please Apply Now!

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IN ORANGE COUNTY:

Influence Church is helping with shelter food and support

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Image: Pixabay.com


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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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Last Days of Summer. Catch’em While You Can!

First day of September…and summer is over. Well, not officially. While the real change of season is still a few weeks away, I am sure you can sense a slight change in the air already, too.

Come Labor Day, and summer is clearly turning into just a warm memory. Schools are back in session, most of us are back at work and beaches are blissfully empty.

Pretty soon it’s Oktoberfest time rather than beach time. Yes, Oktoberfest season starts in California already as early as September 8th!

Before saying good-bye to summer 2017, treasure these last few nights of warmth and sunshine.

Should you spend time at Universal Studios this Labor Day weekend, don’t leave the theme park before you have seen the magical light show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is really mesmerizing!


Image & Video Credits: ©CaliforniaGermans


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German Summer Camps 2017 in California – A Retrospective

As summer vacation draws to an end, we wanted to take a look at some of the German summer camps that were offered this year throughout California. The variety of camps is growing each year, and expat parents now have plenty of choices for their offspring to perfect their German language skills right here in California.

From sleepaway camps to science camps to unique camps like ‘Innerweaving’, we are sure you’ll find your favorite. Enjoy our compilation of a select group of German summer camps in Southern California & Northern California!

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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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GermanSchool Campus in Newport Beach

“Earth-Water-Air-Fire” was the motto for GermanSchool campus’ adventurous STEM Science Camp right on the Newport Bay in the beginning of July. The weeklong German immersion camp took young language learners out on the Newport Bay in sail boats and kayaks to learn about wind and solar energy first hand. When not aboard a vessel, the children explored the various environments, learned about sustainability, recycling, clean air solutions, wind power and much more. In cooperation with the Newport  Sea Base, GermanSchool campus put together a camp around a field that is gaining on popularity throughout the world. To help retain the new vocabularies learned, the children received a folder with all pertinent information in German and took a variety of day trips to manifest the theoretical knowledge by experiencing the real thing. Trips to a Newport hatchery and the Back Bay Science Center rounded off a week full of science adventures.

The next STEM Science Camp is planned for the beginning of July 2018. Please contact the school by April 2018 to find out more about the details.

GermanSchool campus starts its regular academic school year Monday, August 28th. The open enrollment policy makes it possible to join anytime during the year. New this year is the Vorschul-Klasse, that introduces the German language to the 4-6 year olds with the help of music, rhythm, and role-play and incorporates Carl Orff’s music education. You can register for the 2017/18 academic year here. You can also contact the school at PH: (949)  285  0829 or email at principal@GERMANSCHOOLcampus.com



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GASA – German American School Association of Southern California

GASA Summer Camp 2017  – A time travel through Germany awaited the children when they arrived at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center. 67 children aged 7-14, 6 teachers, 4 volunteers and our leader, participated at this year’s summer camp and spent an exciting time together at this 5-day overnight camp. Throughout the week children had German lessons in the mornings. The general theme was “Time Travel through Germany” with several interesting topics, such as: “The Knighthood in the Middle Ages”, “The German Fairy Tale Route with the Bremen Town Musicians”, “German Inventions”, “The Twenties in Germany” among others. In the afternoons the children enjoyed activities like archery, swimming, zip-lining, fishing or baking, or worked on painting the stage for the theatre play that was set to perform the last day of camp. The last day was marked by a visit to the local zoo and was rounded off by the theatre play and a cozy evening around the camp fire with s’mores and camp songs.

GASA’s summer camp is planned to partake again in June/July 2018.

During the regular school year GASA offers German language classes with a curriculum that stresses language skills, culture, art and music on all levels. The youngest students learn German primarily through songs, rhymes, games while writing and reading is added at the beginning elementary school level with the addition of grammar as the students advance in their studies.  The regular school year starts September 16, 2017.  For further information contact the school. Phone: 562-693-0223 or office@gasaschool.org and our website: www.germanschool4kids.org



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WanderKind PRESchool in Los Angeles

WanderKind Preschool offered its first language immersion day camp for children ages 3-8 this July. Children got together to read, sing, play and create amazing art projects, all while building new vocabulary and understanding in German. “We even got a chance to head out into nature at Brand Park, which is located across the street from the school. Families got together for a German movie screening, as well as a splash party and BBQ.”

The camp will be expanded and offered again in June 2018. Please call the school for more information.

During the school year WanderKind Preschool offers a German Immersion Nature Preschool Program for 2-5 year olds. Children spend half of their time outdoors, enjoy time set aside for free play and get creative in a curriculum rich with arts and crafts. The highly qualified staff nurtures the whole child, supporting social and emotional development in a small mixed-age group. Please sign up now for classes to start in September. Contact Dr. Franziska Reff at 415-812-6675 or wanderkindschool@gmail.com .



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German Pacific School San Diego

Kids at German Pacific School in San Diego (GPSSD) had the choice of 4 different camp weeks in July. 2017 marked the school’s fourth year of summer camps.  The youngest campers traveled back in time to learn about dinosaurs, the medieval ages, princesses, knights, and dragons. They hand-built and hand-painted an almost life-size pirate ship while the 10-12 year-old campers learned quite a bit about movie-making this summer – from the first idea to the final cut. “During the four weeks of camp we went on to two field trips. We visited NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and went on a tour (in German) at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.”  The highlight of this year’s summer camp was the production of the musical “Ritter Rost” (Rusty Knight). In addition to their regular language classes, the school offers different enrichment programs, and organizes events for the whole family with the goal to bring the German community together.

Regular classes will resume in September, at four different locations throughout the greater San Diego area (classes in La Jolla, Clairemont, Carmel Valley and Poway).

New this year is that Saturday classes will meet at La Jolla’s beautiful campus of SDFAS, the French-American School. Most of the GPSSD students come from bilingual families or have visited German schools in other countries. They have therefore a very good understanding of the German language already. GPSSD is an accredited school to prepare for the various German exams all the way to the ‘Deutsches Sprachdiplom’. Find more information on the upcoming school year at germanpacificschool@gmail.com,  Ph: (858)-461-9118 or visit the website: www.gpaas.org



NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

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German-American School of Palo Alto (GASPA)

GASPA held its annual Summer Camp from June 19th through July 15th on the Campus of ALTO International School in Menlo Park. The 65 campers were ages 3-12 and from all over the San Francisco Bay Area.

The ever popular camp is a full immersion camp and not only is it about learning German, but about doing everything in German! This summer did not disappoint! Among other things tree-house caves were built, songs were sung, buffets cooked, costumes sewn, screenplays were written, movies were made, artwork was drawn and painted, experiments conducted, cucumbers pickled, metal was forged, juices squeezed and pressed, boats were sailed in, pinball machines were built, Stockbrot was grilled, Zumba was danced and of course, Fussball was played.

This fall, our Saturday School Program gets underway on September 9th. Next to our tried and true program for children ages 3 to 18, we are pleased to expand our program this year to include a “Parent& Me” toddler group for children ages 0-3 and a class for adults.  Registration is currently open and ongoing. All program details can be found at www.gaspa-ca.org 



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GISSV – German International School of Silicon Valley in Mountain View

The GISSV (German International School of Silicon Valley) Saturday School in Mountain View had a 4-week-long full-day German Immersion Camp in June/July for students age 6-16. Students had academic German language classes in the morning, and participated in different fun afternoon activities each week. Extended Care was also available. Afternoon activities included yoga, soccer, cartooning, science experiments, music, international cooking, and much more! Everything was taught in German.  The GISSV summer camp is open to both full-time GISSV students and students from the community ranging from total language beginners to native speakers.  This year we had over 80 students joining us!

New this year was the KinderCamp for younger students. Based on the GISSV Kindergarten program, the KinderCamp gave a loving introduction to the German language through songs, crafts, and nature experiences–also all taught in German.

Based on demand, GISSV considers offering an additional two weeks of camp in June/July 2018 (for a total of 6 weeks). The weeks will be again packed with challenging/rewarding language classes as well as new and favorite afternoon activities for school children, and engaging immersion activities for preschoolers.  2018 Camp Dates are not yet set. Registration will open in early February. Dates will be announced on our website when available: www.gissv.org/saturdayschool



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INNERWEAVING – ARTFUL GERMAN SUMMER CAMP IN MARIN COUNTY

The first Innerweaving German Summer Camp “Deutsch lernen mit Spass, Kreativität & Naturerfahrung” for 4-11 year old children was held from July 5th-6th this year. The camp at Fairfax/Marin County offered a playful, effective German experience based on fun nature explorations, sparkling creations of weaving art, wood craft and mixed media collage. “Throughout the Camp we talked German and introduced language based on nature and craft activities.” At the end of the final day, family members got the unique opportunity to attend the children‘s craft presentation.

Innerweaving projects: – Nagel-Fadenbild/String Art – Wünschelstab/Talking Stick – Gewebte Naturkunst/Woven nature creations – ‚Schatzsuche‘/ Treasure hunt – Fluss-Zoo-Landschaft/Land-art . The camp was facilitated by Silvia Schroeder, Founder of INNERWEAVING Coach and Counselor for Experiential Learnings http://www.innerweaving.com .

The next German Innerweaving Summer Camp will take place in August 2018. Please contact Silvia Schroeder for details at coaching@innerweaving.com .

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Images: Copyright ©All Images are property of the respective schools, GermanSchoolCampus, GASA, Wanderkind, GPSSD, GASPA,GISSV, Innerweaving


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California Beaches – No alcohol and, please, don’t go topless!

Andere Länder – andere Sitten 

It’s summer and since we are staying here in California this year instead of visiting Germany, we decided to make it a California vacation. Let’s enjoy what California is known for! Beautiful weather and endless beaches right in front of our doorsteps.

Apparently the Germans’ favorite way to enjoy the sun in the summer is nude or at least topless. While this argument can be wildly disputed, free-body-culture loving Germans beware!

One of the first things I was told as a teenager when visiting our friends in Los Angeles and Orange County was, “Never sunbathe topless on the beach! It’s illegal here in California.”

Surprised, I just took notice of this warning, but I didn’t dwell much on it. I didn’t really care. Besides, I liked all the bright and colorful California bathing suits, so this wasn’t much of an issue for me.

But what if you really enjoyed summer most without clothes! Where to go in California? What to do if you just want to strip off all your clothes and jump into the water the way nature has made you…?

Well, there are actually a few beaches in California that do allow you to enjoy the FKK -Freikörperkultur (Free Body Culture); however none of them are in L.A. County or Orange County!

Click for a list here.

You lose with booze

Now, the other day when we went to the beach, I was surprised to have a police patrol roaming the beach and stop … Gasp!…, almost in front of us. A few people over to our right the police came to a stop, and all eyes were on that family the police started talking to. Confused many beachgoers tried to figure out what was going on as one man of the group had to show his I.D. After the police took hold of a few containers it dawned on us… alcohol. Oh, yes, I remember this now, too! No alcohol at the beach!  Unless you want to be the next attraction…

But you can find some exceptions also here, of course. Check out this link to find some places, where you can sip your prosecco in style and watch the sunset while relaxing in the sand.

Cheers!

Images:  ©CaliforniaGermans

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