Is this a pathway into university?
Although Children’s University is not a direct path into a university, it aims to encourage students to aspire to further education by promoting a lifelong love of learning through fun and engaging activities. In order for a Learning Destination to be validated it must have a link to a university program providing participating students with skills that will enable them to succeed at the tertiary level.
Can my child join independently or does the school have to be a member of Children’s University?
Currently Children's University membership is based around the school as many extra-curricular activities are already taking place in schools, and this is a great starting point for Children's University learning. Once children are used to participating in validated learning based at school they begin to explore further opportunities in the wider community. Furthermore, in-school Children's University coordinators are essential for the day to day running of Children's University, and their role in preparing for graduation is invaluable. Other organisations that provide a similar support structure (such as local libraries) can also be involved in Children's University membership.
How does my school get involved?
You will need to have a Children's University coordinator in the school to oversee the program. This role could be filled by a teacher or a member of the support staff and could be carried out in a few hours per week after the initial set up stage. The coordinator will oversee the running and validation of Children's University clubs or Restricted Learning Destinations in school, manage the issue and maintenance of Children's University Passports to Learning, distribute Portal login information, approve Portal online activities , liaise with Children's University around the validation and provision of activities by Public Learning Destinations and assist in preparation for graduations. Training in all of these areas will be provided by Children's University staff.
Is there a cost involved?
Each Children's University partner charges an annual membership fee to each participating student which is agreed locally. It is important to keep the costs for this initiative to a minimum but also ensure that the initiative is sustainable. The membership fee includes a Passport to Learning, assistance with initial school set up, annual graduations as well as validating local Learning Destinations and access to the Children's University website and portal.
Schools may choose how to pass this fee onto their students in order to ensure the participation of all students that wish to be involved. Children's University partners understand that all schools have differing needs and are more than happy to discuss ways that the fee structure can be tailored to suit the specific needs of individual schools and students.
What activities can be included?
Children's University learning activities must take place outside of the normal school curriculum time, so validated activities before school, in recess, at lunchtime and after school are included as well as weekend and school holiday activities. Only activities at Learning Destinations which have been validated by Children's University can be included. Details of these can be found on the Children's University Portal.
What is a Passport to Learning?
The Passport to Learning is where Children's University members ‘collect’ their learning. Each activity is recorded, along with the time spent, and validated with a stamp from the Learning Destination. As learning hours accrue, they build towards Children's University certificates awarded at graduations.
What is a Learning Destination?
Learning Destinations are places and organisations to which children can ‘travel’ with their Passport to Learning. They provide high quality learning activities and experiences that have been ‘validated’ by Children's University's own quality assurance process (Planning for Learning). A Learning Destination can range from a museum to a farm or from an airport to a corporate business as long as the learning activity connects with Children's University learning and is linked to actual higher education course provision.
What is the difference between a Restricted Learning Destination and a Public Learning Destination?
A Public Learning Destination is one that can be accessed by any Children's University member or member of the public, such as a museum or an art gallery. Restricted Learning Destinations are for a predetermined Children's University audience, and are typically school based clubs.
Who stamps the Passport to Learning?
The school coordinator will oversee this for all school-led Children's University activities. Members are encouraged to take responsibility for handing in their passport to be stamped. Some schools will update passports after each activity, some will do so on a termly basis. For activities at a Public Learning Destination, the provider will usually stamp the passport. If this is not possible, the school coordinator can add the hours if provided with proof of participation.
How do I recommend an activity?
Ask your school coordinator for a Learning Destination contact form and take it to the provider. Once the provider has completed their details, return it to the school coordinator who will forward it to Children's University. The validation of Public Learning Destinations is managed by Children's University, and depending on capacity and response rates, this process may take a little time. Once the organisation has been validated, details will appear on the Children's University website and portal.
Who decides how much time to allocate for each activity?
A recommended range or set number of hours is attached to each validated learning activity as part of the validation process.
Are there any restrictions on the hours awarded for a particular activity?
Encouraging children to try new activities and unfamiliar experiences, and promoting independence in learners are key principles of Children's University learning. Within each award level there should be a mix of activities; ideally no more than a third of the hours should be spent on any one activity. For example, to achieve a Bronze Award (30 hours of Children's University learning) a passport may include:
• 10 hours of swimming club activities (practice, competitions, coaching)
• 10 hours of music lessons (tuition, practice, performance)
• 10 hours made up of school club activities and activities at validated Public Learning Destinations
What are Regular Restricted Learning Destinations?
Children's University members are also able to earn hours from Regular Restricted Learning Destinations. These are external organisations of which students are paying members and attend on a regular basis (e.g. sporting clubs, dance studios etc.) These organisations do not need to be listed on the Children's University website to be included in the passport. In order to earn hours, students who participate in these activities must inform their Children's University school coordinator who will pass on an appropriate ‘Review’ form which can be completed over a matter of months. The review forms can also be completed through online activities in the Portal. Once the form has been reviewed by the coordinator, students can earn a maximum of 10 hours in their passport for each activity in a calendar year.
What is a Passport to Volunteering?
The Passport to Volunteering is for students aged over 14 so they can gain recognition for their CUA volunteering activities, such as assisting in running clubs or helping out at graduation ceremonies.
What is the Children’s University Portal?
The Children's University Portal holds all of the information regarding Learning Destinations and validated activities, while also offering a range of online activities which children can complete on the site. Furthermore, members are able to complete and submit online forms for review by their in-school coordinator.
How do I access the Portal?
The Portal can be accessed by visiting www.cuaportal.com. Upon arrival, all users will need to enter their username and password to gain access.
Do I need to create an account?
No. CUA staff will create a unique username and password for all students and coordinators. These will be forwarded to the schools, who can then distribute them to members. Neither the username nor the password can be changed by the user.
What if I forget my username or password?
Contact your CUA Coordinator, they will have a copy of their members’ usernames and passwords. A record will also be kept by CUA.
Is my information safe?
The profiles keep minimal information about each student. We do not ask for home or email addresses, nor any contact details. The only information kept is the student names and schools, and the site has its own security to protect that information.
Does the Passport to Learning/Volunteering still need to be completed?
Yes. The paper passport is still the integral part of the program, and all completed activities must be entered into it to be counted towards certificate hours at graduation.
Will the list of activities completed on the Portal be the same as what is recorded in my Passport to Learning?
Not necessarily. All activities completed and approved online must then be entered into the paper Passport. However, when a student visits, for example, a Public Learning Destination and has their Passport stamped on site – they are not obligated to then add to the Portal.
However, we encourage students to do just that. It will act as a back-up for all of their hours in case a Passport is lost or damaged, and will assist CUA coordinators when it comes time to determine graduation levels.