Kids warm up to winter learning

18/07/2023 | 3 mins

It is billed as a passport to learning and for Children’s University students from Albany, Peel and Perth, it has been the ticket to some “amazing” adventures during the winter school holidays.

Through Children’s University, students from partner primary schools can get involved with voluntary extracurricular learning activities in their own time, whether at school lunch-time clubs, Community Learning Destinations or at UWA school holiday workshops.

The program works closely with school communities traditionally underrepresented at universities to support aspirations for lifelong learning.

In July, 118 Children’s University students and parents participated in 15 ‘university taster’ workshops across UWA’s Albany and Crawley campuses.

Peel region primary school groups at UWA

Image: Happy campers. One of the Peel region primary school groups who got a taste of university life at UWA over the July school holidays.

Children's University Coordinator Artem Bourov said that, thanks to support from the Peel Development Commission, 43 Peel participants from Boddington, Pinjarra and the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale were included.

"Children's University is all about giving children the chance to discover new interests, connect with the community, explore future pathways and most importantly have fun learning,” Mr Bourov said.

“We know this is key to building confidence and positive behaviours around learning.”

Families are closely involved in the program, joining children on their learning journey and supporting their goals.

For one parent, the best part of the UWA workshops “was enjoying it with my son and watching him have such a great time learning”.

Students loved “spending time with my mum” and learning together and thought it was “so awesome! I wanna come back asap! Thank you CU!”

In Crawley, activities included a School of Psychological Science ‘PsyTech’ expo, a School of Earth Sciences geosciences scavenger hunt, a School of Molecular Sciences chemistry lab show, a Bloom Centre For Youth Innovation backpack design challenge and an Engineers Without Borders renewable energy workshop.

Young boy playing VR game 

Image: Unreal! A primary school student from Boddington gets to grips with virtual reality as part of the PsyTech VR Neuron lab at UWA.

A popular PsyTech activity was the virtual reality neuron lab. By drinking a virtual magic potion, much like Alice in Wonderland, kids were transported to a walkable virtual lab space where they could learn about the anatomy of neurons and how they communicate with each other.

In Albany, students got hands-on with rocks and fossils, extracted strawberry DNA in a science lab, learned the art of science nature journaling and even crafted their own sea shanties, with the campus participating in the annual Albany Maritime Festival.

Young Children's University student at Albany

Image: On UWA's Albany campus, science experiments came with a view!

In December, children who have completed more than 30 hours of voluntary learning will be invited to a formal graduation celebration at the University.

Children’s University Holiday Programs are generously supported by Rio Tinto, the Peel Development Commission, and the Water Corporation. The Children’s University WA Partnership is jointly delivered by The University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University, and Children’s University Australasia & Africa.

Photograph at top of page: (left) Jarrahdale Primary School students get into the fun at UWA's Crawley campus and (right) a Jarrahdale Primary students experiencing virtual reality as part of the PsyTech VR Neuron Lab.

Media references

Liz McGrath, Media advisor, 08 6488 7975

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