School students graduate from Children’s University Australia at ECU Joondalup

Wanneroo Primary School students.
Wanneroo Primary School students.

MORE than 100 primary and high school students recently celebrated their uni graduation in Joondalup.

Students from nine schools were the first in WA to graduate from the Children’s University Australia, a program run with Edith Cowan University, at a ceremony in Joondalup last month.

They attend Alkimos, Craigie Heights, Currambine, East Wanneroo, Lancelin, Quinns Beach and Wanneroo primary schools, as well as Joseph Banks and Wanneroo secondary colleges.

Alkimos Primary School students with Principal Andrew Gorton, ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman and deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Cobie Rudd.

The program involves students aged between seven and 14 doing outside-of-school educational activities throughout the year, logging the hours in a ‘Passport to Learning’ which is validated by their school.

To graduate, they had to do a minimum of 30 hours but some reached more than 100 hours.

ECU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Cobie Rudd said the university was proud to bring the program to WA.

“The overall goal of this initiative is to raise aspirations and develop a love of learning at a young age with our members,” Professor Rudd said.

Children’s University graduates.

“The program also recognises the value of different learning styles and environments in which children engage and work and it provides learning opportunities for a variety of interests.

“The program is child-led and we encourage students to choose activities and subjects they may never have thought of before.

“There’s everything from museums and galleries right through to festivals, art studios and even climbing centres.”

While students were encouraged to have fun, the activities had to relate to a higher education course, such as linking a course held at a football club to a sports science or management degree.

At the November 14 graduation ceremony students donned miniature gowns and mortar-boards to accept their certificates from ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman.

East Wanneroo PS Year 5 student Alisha Sommer found the program to be a rewarding experience.

“My favourite part of the program is how it helps me and other kids to step out of our comfort zone,” she said.

“It has helped me find different things that I would have never tried.

“The Children’s University program has changed my opinion – universities seem so fun and challenging.

“After I’ve finished school, I hope to become an artist.

“I want to help people through my art and animations and I also hope to do comics in the future.”