What is The Children’s University?
Described by the Sunday Times as ‘The University of Fun’, The Children’s University is a charity which encourages all children aged 5 to 14 years to try new experiences, develop new interests and acquire new skills through participation in innovative and creative Learning Activities outside of the school day. Learning Activities are designed to raise aspiration, self-esteem & confidence and to encourage curiosity and a love of learning. Activities should enhance motivation and build resilience, introduce new life experiences and offer progression in learning and personal skills development.
Parents can obtain a passport from the public library to record their children’s activities, or collect one from their own participating school. If a passport is obtained from Toftwood Infant School or Toftwood Community Junior School then it will be free to children attending these schools. Call in at the school office and ask about it! Please note there will be a charge if a replacement passport is needed.
Who stamps the Passport to Learning?
The school co-ordinator will oversee this for all school-led Learning Activities. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for handing their Passport to Learning in when asked by school staff. Activities need not be added separately each week – most schools update the Passport to Learning half termly or termly.
For activities at Public Learning Destinations children should normally have their Passport to Learning stamped by the learning provider. If this is not possible, the school co-ordinator can add the hours if provided with proof of participation.
What Learning Activities count?
Learning Activities must take place outside the normal school day, this could include before school, lunchtime and after school clubs, as well as weekend and holiday activities. Only activities at Learning Destinations which have been quality assured (validated) by The Children’s University can be included. Please note that not all school clubs will be validated. Schools will ensure children know which clubs are included.
Who decides how much time to include for each activity?
A recommended range or set number of hours is attached to each validated Learning Activity.
Our key principle is that the hours included relate to Learning within an activity, and will not necessarily include the whole session. As an example a Youth Club meeting lasting 2 hours may only be eligible for 1 hour of Learning Activity to be recorded in the Passport to Learning as some of the session will be given over to socialising, an equally important part of the evening but not a formal learning experience. A visit to a validated attraction, such as Norwich Castle Museum or Gressenhall Rural Life Museum may be part of a family 6 hour day visit, but not all hours will be eligible for inclusion on the passport. As a general guideline 2-3 hours would normally be counted depending on the length of the visit.
How do I support my child to include a range of activities?
Encouraging children to try new activities and unfamiliar experiences, and promoting independence in learners is a key principle of Children’s University learning. Within any award there should be a mix of activities, ideally no more than a third of any award spent on a single activity.
For example: A 30 hour CU Award could be made up of:
- 10 hours of Swimming Club activities (practice, competitions, coaching)
- 4 hours of Brownies (Badgework is the main focus of learning)
- 10 hours of school clubs (e.g. Chess, Cookery)
- 6 hours of music (tuition, practice, performance)
What about regular clubs and Activities out of school?
As well as signposting new activities, we also want to encourage children to become resilient and persevere with an activity they are good at.
Regular participation in validated uniformed organisations, sports clubs and teams, music practice and performance can all be included in the Passport to Learning.
To maintain the breadth of learning, individual clubs, groups or activities should account for no more than 30 hours in any one school year, or ten hours per school term.
The Children’s University Co-ordinating teacher at Toftwood Infant School is Mrs Reeve.
Enjoy learning with the Children’s University!
Children’s University Summer Graduation July 2017
Sixteen children and their parents attended a Graduation event on Friday 14th July at The Green Britain Centre, Swaffham. They were welcomed to the Centre by Norfolk Children’s University Staff and then were gowned for the ceremony. The children and their visitors took their places and were treated to a Mad Science Show hosted by Anglian Water which involved some messy experiments aimed at helping the children understand about disposing of household waste safely and carefully.
Then the children received their Awards and Certificates from Alix McGarvey-Leggett from the Norfolk Children’s University. 6 children received Bronze Awards for 30 hours of extra-curricular learning in their passports, 3 children received Silver Awards for 65 hours, 3 children received Gold Awards for 100 hours. 4 children received Bronze Certificates for 130 hours, and 5 children received Silver Certificates for 165 hours. Well done to all the children for achieving success in a broad range of activities including sports activities, Rainbows, Brownies or Beavers, and the holiday challenges that are sent home regularly.
Congratulations Everyone! Celebratory hat wave!
Children’s University Spring Graduation
A Children’s University graduation assembly was held in school on Thursday 16th March for fifteen children who have achieved credits in their passports for all kinds of learning activities outside the school curriculum. 9 children received a Bronze Award for 30 hours (credits) of activities. 6 children received Silver Awards (65 credits). 3 children received Gold Awards (100 credits), and 3 children received Bronze Certificates (130 credits). Some children received more than one award as a result of their enthusiastic participation. Photos and activities were displayed for everyone to see, showing children taking part in a whole range of activities including swimming, gymnastics, karate, Rainbows, as well as visiting museums, and completing holiday challenges.
The assembly was attended by parents and included a ceremonial entry into the hall with children wearing their royal blue gowns and mortar boards, formal handshakes and a rather excited “hat throw” at the end!
Any child may join the Children’s University from their fifth birthday. It is free to join if you register with us at school and it is a wonderful way to recognise learning beyond the school curriculum, and involves the whole family. It is surprising how quickly children can build up their credits in their passports.
Call in at the school office for more details.
Graduation Event, May 2016
Gowns and mortar boards were donned at Toftwood Infant School on Thursday, 26th May for a special graduation ceremony for eight children who had achieved awards from the Children’s University. The awards were presented by Amy Sale, The Norfolk Children’s University Co-ordinator, and the ceremony was attended by school staff, children and parents.
A presentation showcased the ways in which the children had earned credits in their “passports” by taking part in a wide range of out-of-school learning experiences, such as swimming, gym, karate, or attending Beavers and Rainbows. Some children also visited venues such as High Lodge at Thetford, Gressenhall Rural Life Museum, or Norwich Castle, and completed various “Challenges” which involved learning to cook, find out information or create art work and sculptures. Four children received Bronze awards for 30 hours of participation, one child received Bronze and Silver Awards, two children received Silver awards, and one child received both Silver and Gold Awards. After the ceremony the children celebrated with photos and a ‘hat throw’ and agreed that they liked this part the best!
Headteacher, Mrs Joanna Pedlow said:
“It is wonderful to see the children having aspirations for their learning and extending their learning beyond the classroom. The whole school was able to join with the children and their families to celebrate their achievements. We hope more children will join the scheme as it is open to all of our children from age 5”.
One parent attending said:
Thank you for the wonderful opportunity of watching the Children’s University graduation. It was lovely to see all the children get their certificates and see what they have been doing. Please pass our thanks to staff for organising the graduation and their commitment to the Children’s University.
My daughter loved it and was so excited! I felt very proud watching her. Before she went to sleep tonight, she was talking about the event. She said it was her ‘most importantest day because it was very special’. It was a shame that her dad couldn’t get the time off work but she’s proudly shown him her award and the photos. She’s now looking forward to when she gets the next award!