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Twice the fun for Children's University graduates

Thursday, 21 November 2019

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A year of hard work has paid off for 12-year-old twins Aidan and Ciaran Mackrill, who donned their mortar boards and gowns last week to graduate from Children's University Australasia, run by Edith Cowan University (ECU).

The Wanneroo Primary School siblings joined more than 200 fellow graduates from almost 20 schools from Lancelin to Rockingham.

The internationally renowned Children's University program recognises and rewards the extra-curricular learning activities of school children aged between seven and 14 years.

Aidan and Ciaran, who each logged more than 100 hours of activities, said the program was a great way to make new friends.

“I wanted to do the program because it looked really fun and it would give you learning skills for later on in life,” Ciaran said.

Aidan said Children's University has made him think about university in a different way.

“It's not at all like what we thought it was,” Aidan said.

“When we were learning, the teachers did it in a fun way so we took a lot more from this than usual.”

A university for kids

ECU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Partnerships) Professor Cobie Rudd said the University was proud to be the first to deliver Children's University to Western Australian students.

“We've been running the Children's University program for three years now and it's grown significantly during that time,” Professor Rudd said.

“This is our biggest group of graduates yet and we've also had a number of new schools join us this year with more coming on board in 2020.

“The overall goal of the program is to raise aspirations, boost achievement and instil a love of learning in the students who participate.”

Just like a traditional graduation, ECU's Chancellor the Hon. Kerry Sanderson AC handed the ‘testamurs' to some 215 graduates over two ceremonies.

Widening access

Children's University has a particular focus on young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The program is about giving young people greater opportunities to connect with and be inspired by education,” Professor Rudd said.

“It's an approach we're passionate about at ECU and is in line with our commitment to making higher education accessible to anyone who has the ability and desire to participate.”

Making learning fun

Children's University is not your typical university – students can learn anything from robotics to sports science, or from art to biology.

There are no lectures, tests or exams, with the focus on making learning fun. All the activities link to a course that can be studied through higher education.

“We encourage students to choose activities and subjects they may not have considered before and to be in charge of their own learning,” Professor Rudd said.

“We want students to come away from the program with the confidence to achieve their education goals.”

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