Albany’s first Children’s University inspires youth and opens learning for the future

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
UWA Albany.
Camera IconUWA Albany. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Youth in the region will be able to take the first steps towards their tertiary education and careers with a Children’s University launching in Albany.

The internationally recognised program will be launched by the University of WA in partnership with Edith Cowan University at the UWA Albany Centre next year.

The Children’s University will encourage students aged seven to 11 to learn outside of the classroom to develop new skills and discover new interests. Little Grove Primary School and Flinders Park Primary School have already signed up as partners to get children into the program, and Spencer Park Primary School has also expressed interest for a 2021 start.

Albany Centre director Jennifer O’Neil said UWA Albany had employed a children’s university officer to work with schools and the community to create a suite of learning destinations.

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“The program embraces local learning opportunities offered through the community,” she said. “Places such as libraries, parks, museums, galleries, theatres, sporting clubs, environmental groups and businesses — these are called learning destinations.

“These are created in conjunction with the Children’s University team and then the children are provided with access to these high-quality extra-curricular learning opportunities through a ‘passport to learning’. Children’s University members can travel to local learning destinations, recording their hours in their passport.”

Albany Public Library, the Museum of the Great Southern, the Wave Energy Research Centre, the Great Southern Science Council, the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence, and Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park are already signed on as learning destinations.

The first graduation will be held at the end of 2021.

Ms O’Neil said children and young adults in the Great Southern wanted to have the same opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts.

“This program is aimed at closing that gap,” she said.

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