The University of Newcastle, Australia

Children's University Newcastle

Children’s University Newcastle engages children in learning in its broadest sense.

Participating children, between 7 and 14 years, are encouraged to discover new learning experiences outside of the classroom, in their local and regional community and on campus. The children build their own learning program by engaging in extracurricular activities throughout the year, recognising that learning happens everywhere and doesn’t have to be constrained by curriculum.

UON is one of only a handful of universities offering this program in Australia. Facilitated by the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education, Children's University Newcastle is committed to facilitating the program in a way that prioritises relationships and the redistribution of resources across our communities.

We partner with schools across the Hunter, Central and Mid-North Coasts, learning destinations, Out of Home Care organisations and colleagues at UON to facilitate exciting learning opportunities for children in our communities.

Participants that reach 30 hours of learning, collected in their Children's University Passports, are invited to attend a formal graduation ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge the children (and their supporters) and their commitment to learning. In 2019, UON welcomed over 5000 community members across six separate ceremonies.

Children’s University Newcastle is a member of Children’s University Australasia.


Children's University Newcastle Evaluation Project

Innovative evaluation methodologies developed within CEEHE have been put into practice in a cutting-edge evaluation project that brings in the voices of participating children, teachers, school leaders and learning destination partners. The evaluation aims to foreground the values held across community groups to shape the future of the program within their local contexts.

The project team includes: Professor Penny Jane Burke, Matt Lumb, Dr Rhyall Gordon, Selina Darney and Shaye Bourke.


Getting involved

We always welcome new suggestions for learning activities and events. If you are interested in contributing to Children's University Newcastle please get in touch.

Activities include:

  • Learning lunchtimes - a series of conversations where presenters share their own learning journeys
  • Learning afternoons - hands on workshops where children learn a new skill
  • Webinars - a 5 minute presentation with a follow up research task for participants
  • CU On Campus Discovery Days - participating children and families attend a one day on campus event, with access to lots of amazing projects at UON

CU Grad 2018