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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:42am

Children in two rows wearing blue school uniforms, two wearing white hats and black t-shirts with Selwyn District logo hold up small black books titled Children's University in front of two teachers and Mayor Sam Broughton

Selwyn District Council has partnered with New Zealand’s first Children’s University programme to support lifelong learning in the district.

Children’s University is an award-winning international learning programme that encourages 7 to 18 year olds to engage in learning activities and experiences outside school.

Children on the programme earn stamps in a ‘learning passport’ for each hour they spend at approved learning destinations. When they have completed 30 hours they can graduate in a graduation ceremony.

Learning destinations can be anything that connects with the Children’s University curriculum and a university programme—from visiting a museum, participating in an outdoor activity, art classes, or exploring a farm.

Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury partnered to bring Children’s University to Canterbury in October and the Council has joined the partnership by offering learning destinations throughout the district. Destinations are marked in the Term Three Selwyn Activity Programmes sent to every house  this month.

Community Services group manager Denise Kidd says supporting Children’s University was a great opportunity for the Council to invest in Selwyn’s children and future. “It’s important to encourage our children to learn in the world, as well as the classroom, and we know that Selwyn has a lot to offer and is a world worth exploring.”

Te Taumutu Rūnanga has also joined the partnership and in a world first it hopes will impact other Children’s University programmes the Canterbury programme includes formal recognition of learning that enhances the cultural identity of Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki ki Taumutu tamariki and mokopuna.

Prebbleton and Ladbrooks Schools in Selwyn are among those taking part in the programme. Ladbrooks School Children’s University coordinator Keryn Wilson says her students have been excited by the programme and the activities that are counted. “Students have been embracing their passions and looking for ways to reflect on these through a lens of what has been learned. They are keen to talk about what they have been involved in and families are showing their support by using local learning destinations.”