Young people will have a passport to exciting new out-of-school-hours learning experiences with the launch of a Children’s University in the Isle of Man.
Children’s University offers all five to 14-year-olds access to a wide range of opportunities and activities that take place outside of the normal school day.
Pupils buy a passport for just £2 and obtain stamps by visiting validated ‘Learning Destinations’, both locally and further afield. Certificates chart their progress and are awarded at a graduation ceremony where children wear caps and gowns.
An accompanying E-Passport will even allow children to rate the activities they have attended. It will also allow schools to manage children’s participation in a more efficient way.
Carys Lloyd, who leads Children’s University in the Island, said:
‘Children’s University is about having fun with learning and gaining a real sense of achievement at the same time. It’s about giving our children opportunities to choose their own pathways into learning, aiming to raise their aspirations, broaden their horizons and build their confidence and self-belief.’
Public Learning Destinations that have been validated so far include Manx Sport and Recreation’s many clubs for children, run at the NSC and other venues, the Manx Youth Orchestra, which rehearses on Saturdays, has several offshoot groups and enjoys foreign tours, Manx Heritage Foundation’s Bree, a Manx music youth movement that features a monthly Saturday afternoon music session and regular workshop days and weekends, a number of activities run by the Manx Wildlife Trust and Film School, which is run by Community Arts, DCCL.
Museums and other sporting and cultural activities will soon be displaying the black and gold Children’s University ‘Learning Destination’ logo.
Attending the many lunchtime and after-school clubs and activities at restricted Learning Destinations, such as participating schools and clubs and societies they belong to, will also qualify children for passport stamps.
The Isle of Man Children’s University is a charitable trust funded by a Henry Bloom Noble education endowment, a grant from the institution nationally and sponsorship. Celebrated wildlife artist Dr Jeremy Paul, from Colby, has agreed to be its Chancellor.
It is already up and running at four schools – Cronk-y-Berry Primary, Rushen Primary, Scoill Vallajeelt and St Ninian’s High School – while five more will launch the initiative to pupils and parents imminently and 24 will take part in total.
Children’s University was formally launched at Scoill Vallajeelt today (Thursday), an event attended by Ger Graus, one of the founders of the institution and the Children’s University (CU) Trust’s Chief Executive.
‘Children can only aspire to what they know exists and the Isle of Man is providing its young people with every opportunity to journey on the road to discovery. Learning is a satellite navigation system to better places in life and I am very proud that the Isle of Man is the latest member of an ever increasing family of Children’s Universities and that its richness in learning attractions will now also be available to children from across the British Isles and beyond.’
Cathy Asbridge, Children’s University co-ordinator at Scoill Vallajeelt, said:
‘It’s great to be involved with Children’s University. It will give children further encouragement to continue learning outside of the curriculum and motivate them to broaden their experience of activities not offered within our timetable.
‘The children were excited to receive their passports and cannot wait to start filling them in. To have their successes celebrated in such a brilliant way, by wearing caps and gowns at their own degree ceremony, is fantastic.’
Children’s University has been running nationally since 2007 and there are 129 centres throughout the British Isles, with plans for expansion into Europe, Asia and Australia.
An independent assessment of Children’s University, conducted by Professor John MacBeath from Cambridge University in 2010, found participation led to significantly higher achievement at school among five to 14-year-olds.
For more information on Children’s University, visit the website www.iomcu.im which has been sponsored by local business and technology company Intelligence, the Facebook page Isle of Man Children’s University or the Twitter feed @IOMCU.
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