UON holds inaugural children's graduation
Almost 300 school students and their families from across the Hunter and Central Coast regions will attend the inaugural Children’s University Newcastle Graduation next week at the University of Newcastle (UON).
UON is one of only three universities in Australia implementing the program, which encourages children between the ages of seven and 14 to be curious learners by participating in validated activities beyond the school curriculum.
Program Coordinator, Selina Darney, said despite the program still being in its first year, it had received overwhelming support from the community and successfully encouraged students from diverse backgrounds to engage with education outside of the school curriculum.
“Graduation is an occasion for students and their family members to celebrate the fantastic achievement of completing 30 hours or more of learning activities this year. This important milestone creates opportunity for discussion among families about tertiary education options and encourages communities to support life-long learning initiatives,” she said.
Students involved in the program receive a passport where their hours are recorded and stamped by registered organisations, referred to as learning destinations.
“We’ve worked with 58 learning destinations such as schools, museums and community centres to provide a broad range of options to participants. The variety of activities, from baking and gardening to horse care and music, allows students to explore and learn new skills, enabling them to be curious about the world around them,” Ms Darney said.
“Some school staff are running activities during breaks or before and after class for students to build up their hours without having to go offsite. Family members have also volunteered their unique skill sets and time, including two mothers who sewed passport covers with the kids and a grandfather with a pastry chef background who has offered to run some classes,” she added.
Director of the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE), Professor Penny Jane Burke, said she was thrilled the Centre was supporting the program.
“CEEHE builds on the University’s outstanding reputation of equity and excellence and is committed to supporting students and communities from under-represented backgrounds access higher education,” Professor Burke said.
“We are so proud to be one of only a few institutions in the country providing students and communities with the opportunity to build lifelong learning skills through Children’s University Newcastle,” she added.
Graduation is being held on Tuesday 18 October from 6pm in the Great Hall at Callaghan.
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