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Learning at Waldsee: Gesang und Familie

Published: October 14, 2019

After a delicious Frühstück, it is time to get the day started with Gesang (song hour)! Everyone walks from the Gasthof to Cafe Einbeck to sing old favorites, as well as brand new songs each morning. To learn a brand new song, we begin with Vorsagen und Nachsagen (call and repeat). Our lovely Gesangsleiter (song hour leaders) says the lyrics line-by-line in a regular speaking voice, and the campers repeat back. After the campers have learned the words, it’s time to learn the tune using Vorsingen und Nachsingen (counselors singing the line and having the campers sing them back). Once everyone has figured out the lyrics and the melody, we sing the songs mit dem Text (with the written lyrics), so everyone can see how the words are spelled out.


At no point during Gesang are the lyrics translated. Instead, to make sure that campers of every language level understand the songs, Gesangsleiter use a variety of gestures and short skits. For example, the song “Grün, grün, grün sind alle meine Kleider” (Green, green, green are all of my dresses), counselors will point to a number of objects asking, “Ist das grün?” (Is this green?) and the campers will answer yes or no until it’s clear that everyone has understood that grün means ‘green,’ and the counselors will do the same with the word Kleider (dresses).


After Gesang, it is time to go Familien/Gesprächsgruppen (small speaking groups). Campers are split into different groups based on both age and language proficiency to learn German through different games and activities. Familien/Gesprächsgruppen might play games like Charaden (charades) and Obstsalat (fruit salad) to learn new vocabulary or explore the campsite through wandern (hiking), Kanu fahren (canoeing), or a Schnitzeljagd (scavenger hunt). 


Campers can also choose to join an Abenteuerprogramm (adventure program), which are themed Familien/Gesprächsgruppen. Campers can learn German through these special programs, including Märchenwald (medieval theater), Waldsee Digital (music and media), Kollegstufe (grammar), Grüne Welle (nature), Atelierkunst (studio art), and Fußball (soccer). Our Fußball Abenteuerprogramm is led by soccer coaches that come to Waldsee through the organizations Auf Ballhöhe, which leads German-learning soccer programs worldwide.


At Waldsee, German learning happens largely outside a classroom setting. Campers learn through song, dance, theater, sports, and a wide variety of other daily activities. Join us this summer for our one-, two-, or four-week programs, as well as family and adults weeks and Alumni Weekend (July 17-19)!