Children’s University Australasia & Africa (Indian Ocean) (Children’s University) provides opportunities and recognition for extra-curricular education to children aged between 5 and 18 years. Children can only aspire to what they know exists and Children’s University offers a navigation system to future opportunities through learning.
The model is simple: it offers superior educational experiences to children outside of school hours and recognizes their achievements through the award of formal certificates. The model leverages local educational and learning activity providers such as museums, theatres, school clubs and sports groups. Engaging a wide range of learning experiences and environments is proven to develop children’s self-efficacy, confidence and aspirations. Children are encouraged to explore new ideas, concepts and experiences. All Children’s University validated learning has a link to higher education. For example a school gardening club links to agronomy, micro-biology, botany, and food science.
Target schools are disadvantaged by location, socio-economic status, and the cultural make-up of the student body. Children’s University aims to break cycles of disadvantage through circumstance. Multiple independent evaluations show Children’s University members have improved school attendance rates by virtue of activities which enhance their school experience. They also achieve better academic results because of renewed self-confidence in their own potential. Outcomes show students enjoy learning more after participating in Children’s University because they extend their repertoire of interests and see learning in a new light.
Each member aged 5 to 14 receives a Passport to Learning where hours of extra-curricular activities are logged. Hours are accumulated and once the hours needed to graduate are achieved, members are presented with Children’s University certificates at a formal graduation ceremony held at their partner university. Students aged 15 to 18 receive a Passport to Volunteering and are encouraged to participate in Children’s University by volunteering to run clubs and activities, assist with events, and become a role model to younger students.