First Children’s University in Alice Springs celebrates success

Charles Darwin University

The first graduation ceremony for a new child-focused university in Central Australia led by Charles Darwin University (CDU) has major cause for celebration.

It celebrates the impassioned, extracurricular development of 30 children who graduated from the 2022 Children’s University program that CDU introduced to Alice Springs in May.

CDU Children’s University Project Officer Mariann Reu said the graduation ceremony not only recognises the success of local children, but also the success of the program that underpins their achievements.

“The inaugural ceremony rewards the graduating children with a sense of pride in their accomplishments and helps builds their confidence and aspirations for educational achievement in the future,” Mrs Reu said.

“However, it also marks the successful development of the CDU program piloted in Alice Springs.”

Over the past six months, Children’s University has progressed from pilot to established program, meaning it has become a permanent feature of the educational landscape in the Red Centre.

“It’s an important new advance for the outback region since the program delivers a range of benefits, both in educational and personal development for children,” she said.

Children’s University engages young people in out-of-school learning to nurture their passions and interests which, in turn, lifts their potential for educational achievement and independent learning.

The program’s tangible link to CDU also highlights the tertiary education pathways available to young people beyond school and builds confidence in navigating those pathways to higher education. Plus, it encourages parents to engage in learning activities with their children.

The 2022 pilot was run in partnership with two schools, nine community organisations and parents in Alice Springs.

It saw 40 children, aged seven to 12 years, from Yipirinya School and Living Waters Lutheran School issued with a ‘Passport to Learning’, which are officially stamped at accredited learning destinations – community organisations, schools and CDU – to record cumulative hours of extra-learning.

Mrs Reu said the program’s scope is set to expand to include new schools next year, with potential to double the cohort from 40 to 80 children. It will also partner with three more community organisations in 2023, including Alice Springs Reptile Centre, Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission and Royal Flying Doctors Service Alice Springs.

Children’s University students currently have access to learning activities at Alice Springs Desert Park, Alice Springs Public Library, Alice Springs School of Air, Araluen Arts Centre, Bunnings, Megafauna Central, Museum of Central Australia, National Road Transport Hall of Fame and Olive Pink Botanic Garden.

More than 100 people will attend the Graduation Ceremony in the hall at Living Waters Lutheran School on Thursday, 17 November from 5.30-7.30pm.

Of the graduating students, one will receive a Gold CU Award for completing 100 hours of extra-learning, two will receive a Silver CU Award for completing 65 hours of extra-learning and the rest will receive Bronze CU Awards for completing 30 hours of extra-learning.

/Public Release.